United States

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Latest issue of Global Asset Management Quarterly now available

Issue 12 of the Norton Rose Fulbright Global Asset Management Quarterly is now available. You can also register to automatically receive each issue as it is released. This publication highlights key developments that will be of interest to, and affect, our asset management clients, including market trends and developments in tax and buy-side regulation globally. … Continue Reading

New monthly securities regulatory publication now available

Glen Barrentine, who recently joined as Of Counsel in the New York Office of Norton Rose Fulbright, has extensive experience in regulatory, compliance and enforcement issues affecting financial service companies, particularly broker-dealers, investment advisers, municipal advisors, and securities exchanges. He prepares a monthly update on FINRA (and selected SEC) regulatory matters at a glance, focusing … Continue Reading

US regulators finalize 2018 legislation-mandated Volcker Rule amendments

On July 9, 2019, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (collectively, the Agencies), announced that it had finalized a February 2019 proposed rule to make two amendments to … Continue Reading

SEC and FINRA address digital asset custody issues

The unique manner in which digital asset securities are issued, held and transferred makes them inevitably prone to unique concerns compared to traditional securities. As expected, these concerns have triggered conversation among market participants regarding whether and how traditional federal securities laws apply to novel digital asset securities and transactions. On July 8, 2019, the … Continue Reading

FinCEN issues advisory and guidance on virtual currency

On May 9, 2019, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the U.S. anti-money laundering (AML) agency, announced issuance of both Guidance and an Advisory on how transactions involving convertible virtual currencies (CVCs) would be subject to FinCEN’s money services business (MSB) regulations. FinCEN characterized the Guidance as a consolidation of its regulations, previous guidance and … Continue Reading

NRF overview of US sanctions laws and regulations now available

The US sanctions landscape keeps changing rapidly. More than ever, both US and non-companies need to understand the various types of US sanctions and their potential influence on the global matrix of business risks, and stay abreast of key developments so that they can nimbly anticipate and prepare their business to respond to emergent US … Continue Reading

SEC sues Kik for its US$100m ICO

On June 4, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a complaint against Kik Interactive, Inc. (“Kik”), which owns and operates a mobile messaging application called Kik Messenger, in connection with its 2017 initial coin offering (“ICO”) that raised over $100 million; more than $55 million of which came from U.S. investors. The SEC … Continue Reading

SEC Adopts Regulation Best Interest Increasing Broker-Dealer Standards of Care and Disclosure Obligations

On June 5, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced it had adopted a number of rulemakings and interpretations aimed at tightening the standards of care governing broker-dealers and investment advisers and clarifying the duties of broker-dealers and investment advisers in providing investment advice. Rulemaking The SEC issued two final rules: (i) the new … Continue Reading

US Senate Confirms Heath Tarbert as New CFTC Chairman

On June 5, 2019, the U.S. Senate voted 84-9 to confirm Dr. Heath P. Tarbert as the new Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”). Dr. Tarbert currently serves as the Acting Under Secretary for International Affairs for the U.S. Treasury Department. His previous government experience includes roles as Special Counsel to the Senate … Continue Reading

SEC Urges Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisors to Evaluate their Cloud-Based Storage Security Settings

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) recently noted that ineffective practices, policies, and procedures governing the use of third party cloud-based storage platforms could result in compliance issues under Regulations S-P (Safeguards Rule) and S-ID (Identity Theft Red Flag Rule). As a result, OCIE has issued a Risk … Continue Reading

No news is good news? The SEC may be undermining innovation in FinTech

On May 9, 2019, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce delivered a speech at the Securities Enforcement Forum in East Palo Alto, California, discussing the SEC’s impact on the FinTech space and growth of the digital asset industry. Commissioner Peirce admitted her prior prediction, that the SEC would discourage the industry’s growth through hurried regulation and overenthusiastic … Continue Reading

CFTC Division of Enforcement Publishes Enforcement Manual

On May 8, 2019, the Division of Enforcement (“Division”) of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (”CFTC”) announced that it had published its Enforcement Manual (“Manual”). This is the first issuance of a public Manual. Prior to this publication, the Manual was only available internally as a general reference to the Division’s Staff during their investigation … Continue Reading

Federal Reserve Board issues proposal to clarify and simplify “control” under the Bank Holding Company Act

On April 23, 2019, the Federal Reserve Board announced that it had voted to issue a proposal for public comment that would simplify and make more transparent the standards under which the Federal Reserve Board determines that a company controls a banking organization or another company. The concept of control is important for determining if … Continue Reading

FinCEN fines peer-to-peer virtual currency exchanger for AML violations

On April 18, 2019, the U.S. anti-money laundering (“AML”) agency, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), announced that it had assessed a civil money penalty of $35,350 against Eric Powers of Kern County, California, for acting as an unregistered money services (“MSB”) business. Mr. Powers also agreed to cease engaging in any activity that might … Continue Reading

US extends economic sanctions on Venezuela to its Central Bank

On April 17, 2019, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that it had designated Banco Central de Venezuela (Banco Central), the country’s Central Bank, as subject to U.S. economic sanctions. A current director also was sanctioned; several other Banco Central management and directors previously had been designated for economic sanctions. The … Continue Reading

New York denies Bittrex a virtual currency license and orders it to cease doing business in New York

A day after the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) approved its 19th application for a license or authorization to conduct a virtual currency business in New York, it issued a denial of the application of Bittrex, Inc. (Bittrex) for a DFS BitLicense and a Money Transmitter License. Bittrex had been operating a … Continue Reading

SEC issues first no-action letter for unregulated ICO

On April 3, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued its first no-action letter related to the offering and sale of digital tokens. The beneficiary is TurnKey Jet, Inc. (“TurnKey”) which proposes to offer and sell blockchain-based digital assets in the form of “tokenized” jet cards (“Tokens”). The no-action letter, which some see as … Continue Reading

FSOC proposes revamping systemic risk designation process

On March 13, 2019, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) published in the Federal Register proposed revised interpretive guidance (Proposed Guidance) on how the FSOC would assess risks to the US financial system, prioritizing an activities-based approach, rather than focusing on identifying specific systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), which come under the FRB’s purview for … Continue Reading

Cutting and pasting misstatements can get you nailed for securities fraud

In a decision with implications for private securities fraud suits, the United States Supreme Court recently held that an investment banker that copied and pasted misstatements from his boss into emails to prospective investors committed securities fraud, despite not being the actual “maker” of the statement, because the statement was attributed to another person. In … Continue Reading

In anticipation of Brexit, US regulators address status of certain swaps under the Swaps Margin Rule

With the next 10 days being crucial in the Brexit process, following the UK House of Commons rejecting the draft withdrawal agreement for a third time and the European Council calling an emergency summit for April 10, 2019, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and the US banking, farm credit and housing agencies have issued … Continue Reading

U.S. Reporting Companies Must Disclose Brexit Risks

Brexit—whether it happens or not, and in what form it might (or might not) take—will shock the global marketplace. Yet despite the known unknowns in these tumultuous times, there is one certainty for public reporting companies in the United States: Brexit risks must be disclosed. On March 15, 2019, William Hinman, Director of the SEC’s … Continue Reading

Paying (or not) fees on registered US patents and trademarks in Venezuela in cryptocurrency

Last month, the Venezuelan Ministry of National Commerce issued a notice requiring patent and trademark fees to be paid in the cryptocurrency issued by the Venezuelan government — the Petro, which supposedly is backed by Venezuela’s oil and mineral reserves. As noted in previous posts, the United States has been increasing its economic sanctions on … Continue Reading

Changing securities laws and regulations for the digital token age

While federal courts last year recognized that virtual currencies based on blockchain platforms could qualify as securities and/or commodities, there has been some concern that these regulatory structures may not fit all digital tokens under all circumstances. In a recent New York Law Journal column, Robert Schwinger, a partner in the New York office of … Continue Reading
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