United States

Topic: Enforcement

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Financier Worldwide Magazine feature – Regulatory futures: challenges and opportunities in 2021

Throughout 2020 and 2021, financial services firms have had to respond and adapt to a number of regulatory challenges in an unprecedented fashion. Firms now have to navigate a diverging regulatory landscape as a result of Brexit, at the same time as continuing to respond to an array of pandemic-related risks that have arisen. Nevertheless, … Continue Reading

Production of information to government authorities: a combined US and UK review

Information requests from regulators can raise a host of complex legal and practical issues for entities and individuals. Our experts in this field have set out the key considerations around the production of information to UK and US regulators, including information-gathering powers, privilege issues and increased global data sharing. Information-gathering powers Many UK regulators have … Continue Reading

New York State imposes a $1.5 million penalty in cybersecurity breach case

On March 3, 2021, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) announced a Consent Order with a NYDFS-licensed Maine-based mortgage banker and loan servicer settling alleged violations of the NYDFS cybersecurity regulations. (In the matter of Residential Mortgage Services, Inc., March 3, 2021). As a result of the regular safety and soundness examination of … Continue Reading

SEC’s Division of Examinations Releases Risk Alert for Digital Asset Securities

On February 26, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Division of Examinations (the “Division” and formerly known as “OCIE”) released a Risk Alert (the “Risk Alert”) reminding market participants – investment advisers, broker-dealers, exchanges, and transfer agents – of the framework surrounding digital assets that are securities (“Digital Asset Securities”). The Division also set … Continue Reading

SEC Settles with BlueCrest: Algorithmic Trading and AI-Based Strategies Must be Disclosed to Investors

On December 8, 2020, BlueCrest Capital Management Limited (“BlueCrest”), a UK-based investment adviser, agreed to a $170 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to settle charges involving insufficient and misleading disclosures to investors that BlueCrest was also operating a proprietary, internal fund, moving its best traders to such fund and replacing the … Continue Reading

Dealers in antiquities added to the list of businesses to be subject to AML compliance requirements

The National Defense Authorization Act was enacted on January 1, 2021, after the US Senate joined the House of Representatives in overriding a presidential veto of the bill. In addition to authorizing appropriations for the Department of Defense, the new law also contains several provisions designed to improve policies and procedures aimed at policing money … Continue Reading

Congress Expands SEC Disgorgement Authority

On January 1, 2021, the National Defense Authorization Act became effective after Congress overrode President Trump’s veto. Although unrelated to national defense issues, Section 6501 of the legislation amends Section 21(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to double the SEC’s statute of limitations for seeking disgorgement of a defendant’s unjust enrichment from five … Continue Reading

New whistleblower provisions for reporting AML violations

The National Defense Authorization Act was enacted on January 1, 2021, after the Senate joined the House in overriding President Trump’s veto of the bill. In addition to authorizing appropriations for the Department of Defense, the new law also contains several provisions designed to improve policies and procedures aimed at policing money laundering and terrorism … Continue Reading

New beneficial ownership requirements should help with AML KYC obligations

When banks and certain other financial institutions open accounts for entities, among other anti-money laundering (AML) customer identification requirements, they must obtain beneficial ownership information on individuals owning 25% or more of the entity and a person with significant control over the entity such as a president or chief executive officer. We have published several … Continue Reading

SEC continues to allow broker-dealers to rely on investment advisers for customer KYC requirements

In a December 9, 2020, letter, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) extended its no-action relief to broker-dealers in securities (“broker-dealers”) that wish to rely on investment advisers to perform the broker-dealer’s obligations under US federal anti-money laundering (“AML”) customer identification program and beneficial owner identification regulations. First provided in 2004 regarding customer identification … Continue Reading

New SEC Final Rule clarifies whistleblower program

On September 23, 2020, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a Final Rule, effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, regarding various aspects of its whistleblower program (the Program). Two points are particularly noteworthy. First, the SEC “clarified” that it has the authority and discretion to adjust large awards. Second, there … Continue Reading

FinCEN finalizes AML requirements for certain banks; asks for comments on possible rulemaking on AML compliance programs

On September 15, 2020, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the US anti-money laundering (AML) agency, published a final rule that completes the circle of all banking organizations being treated the same for purposes of AML compliance requirements for banks. The final rule covers banks that do not have a Federal functional regulator, such as … Continue Reading

US banking agencies and FinCEN issue statements regarding AML enforcement

Last month the US federal banking agencies (the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the National Credit Union Administration, collectively, the “US banking regulators”) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) the US anti-money laundering (“AML”) agency, issued statements providing guidance on their … Continue Reading

FINRA (and selected SEC) regulatory matters at a glance: What compliance officers need to know

Glen Barrentine is Of Counsel in the New York office of Norton Rose Fulbright. His practice focuses broadly on SEC regulated financial service clients, including broker-dealers, securities exchanges, municipal advisors and investment advisers. Glen frequency represents clients in connection with SEC and FINRA enforcement proceedings and other contentious regulatory inquiries, purchases and sales, and the … Continue Reading

SEC Orders Third Ever Whistleblower Award to Compliance Officer

On March 30, 2020, the SEC ordered its third ever whistleblower award to a compliance officer in the amount of $450,000. In 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which, among other things provided for the payment of monetary awards under certain circumstances to whistleblowers whose tips to the SEC … Continue Reading

US AML compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic

The US anti-money laundering (AML) agency, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), has issued guidance regarding AML compliance for financial institutions during the current COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance would be in addition to any issuances from their respective functional regulators, if any. March 16 Guidance On March 16, 2020, FinCEN issued guidance requesting that financial … Continue Reading

“Crypto Mom” Proposes 3-Year Safe Harbor for Token Projects

In a speech to the International Blockchain Congress on February 6, 2020, Securities and Exchange (“SEC”) Commissioner Hester Peirce, sometime referred to as “Crypto Mom,” proposed a three-year safe harbor for virtual currency token projects.  The safe harbor would exempt (i) the offer and sale of tokens from the provisions of the Securities Act of … Continue Reading

FINRA issues its 2020 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter

Earlier this month, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) released its annual Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter (“Priorities Letter”). This year’s letter includes several new features that are intended to “support” firms in their “significant efforts” to comply with applicable rules. Specifically, each highlighted topic includes a list of practical considerations and questions … Continue Reading

United States imposes additional Iranian sanctions

On January 10, 2020, the United States (US) imposed economic sanctions on: Iranian sectors that previously had not been specifically targeted, namely the construction, mining, manufacturing and textile sectors; Certain Iranian regime officials; Iran’s largest companies operating in the steel, iron, aluminum, and copper sectors ; and Non-Iranian entities for trade in Iranian metals. Norton … Continue Reading

SEC Issues FAQ on Regulation “Best Interest”

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets published responses to frequently asked questions that it has received on Regulation Best Interest (the “Reg. BI FAQ”). Regulation Best Interest (Securities Exchange Act Rule 15l-1) becomes effective June 30, 2020, and imposes a number of obligations on broker-dealers and natural persons associated with … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether SEC may obtain disgorgement of “ill-gotten gains”

On November 1, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take a case challenging the authority of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to seek and obtain disgorgement of profits from persons who violate the federal securities laws. The case is Charles C. Liu, et al., Petitioners v. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC has … Continue Reading

Three US Agencies issue joint statement on activities involving digital assets

On October 11, 2019, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the US anti-money laundering (AML) agency, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) (collectively, the “Agencies”) issued a joint statement on digital assets activities (“Statement”), reminding the businesses under their jurisdictions that digital assets activities may be … Continue Reading

First Data Access Agreement under the CLOUD Act signed by UK and US

On 3 October 2019, the UK and US governments signed the first bilateral Data Access Agreement (the Agreement) under the US Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act 2018 (CLOUD Act) and the UK Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Act 2019. The Agreement seeks to facilitate faster and more direct access by each country’s agencies in criminal … Continue Reading

SEC orders Block.one to pay $24 million penalty for unregistered ICO

On September 30, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced a settlement with Block.one, a blockchain technology company with operations in Virginia and Hong Kong, for conducting an unregistered initial coin offering (“ICO”) that raised several billion dollars’ worth of Ether from June 2017 through June 2018. The SEC alleged that Block.one, a Cayman … Continue Reading
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