Category Archives: Securities

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Lex Machina’s Securities Litigation Report 2017 Names Greenberg Traurig a Top Federal Securities Defense Firm

According to the report issued last week, Greenberg Traurig is among the top 15 firms in the United States, defending national and global financial institutions against bet-the-company securities litigation cases. The report found that securities case filings rose 23 percent from 2015 to 2016, to 1,144 cases. According to Lex Machina, securities litigation is relatively steady … Continue Reading

Federal Reserve Board’s Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs Issued Their First Research Paper on Blockchain Technology

Last month, the Federal Reserve Board’s Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs issued their first research paper on blockchain technology, entitled “Distributed Ledger Technology in Payments, Clearing, and Settlement.” The Report identifies both the opportunities and challenges entailed in widespread adoption of distributed ledger technology. The Report suggests that blockchain technology has the … Continue Reading

The 10th Circuit Declares SEC’s Home Courts to be Unconstitutional and Creates Circuit Split

Right after Christmas, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit delivered a lump of coal to the Securities and Exchange Commission in Bandimere v. U.S. SEC,1 ruling that the SEC’s administrative law judges (ALJs) who preside over SEC enforcement actions hold their positions in violation of the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution. … Continue Reading

Derivatives Update: What You Should Know As We Enter 2017

This year has been full of surprises in the global markets with Brexit, the Republicans’ win of the executive branch and continuing control of the legislative branch in the U.S. and the impact of the privatization of energy markets in Mexico. In this GT Alert, we are simply going to address two critical proposals and … Continue Reading

Hints about New 871(m) Withholding Guidance

On Friday, Oct. 21, a senior official from the Internal Revenue Service said that new transition rules for the regulations for withholding on dividend equivalent payments on equity-linked derivatives under Section 871(m) will be issued in November. At a symposium sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) in New York, Peter Merkel, … Continue Reading

New Proposed RIC Regulations

The Internal Revenue Service (the Service) issued guidance last month that will, practically speaking, make it slightly more difficult for entities to qualify as regulated investment companies (RICs) for federal income tax purposes. Under current law, an SEC registered investment company may qualify as a RIC only if, inter alia, (i) 90 percent of its … Continue Reading

The DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule: Impact on Cash Solicitors for Advisory Firms

Under Rule 206(4)-3, adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (and under a number of parallel state securities laws or regulations), an investment adviser may compensate a cash solicitor who is not otherwise connected to the advisory firm for soliciting and referring prospective clients to the … Continue Reading

SEC Share Class Sweep of Registered Investment Advisers Appears to be Underway

On July 13, 2016, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) announced its 2016 Share Class Initiative (the Initiative). The Initiative is focused on addressing the perceived risk that registered investment advisers may be providing conflicted advice to their clients when recommending investments in mutual fund share classes.  For example, OCIE staff is … Continue Reading

FinCEN Finalizes Customer Due Diligence Rule

May 6, 2016, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (FinCEN) finalized regulations that will require banks, securities broker dealers, mutual funds, futures commission merchants, and introducing brokers in commodities (collectively, Covered Institutions) to identify and perform due diligence on the ultimate beneficial owners and control persons of any legal … Continue Reading

Not Every Broker-Dealer is an EB-5 Broker-Dealer

Nearly all U.S. broker-dealers are members of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  FINRA regulates, and provides oversight and guidance for its member firms.  When a broker-dealer becomes a FINRA member, they enter into a membership agreement which, among other things, specifies which financial products and services the broker-dealer is permitted to offer to its … Continue Reading

SEC Seeks Additional Resources for Examination and Enforcement in FY 2017 Budget Request

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently presented the President’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget request for the SEC to Congress.  Among the notable requests, the SEC seeks significant additional resources for increased examination coverage, primarily of investment advisers and investment companies but also related to broker dealers, crowdfunding portals, and other entities.  The SEC also seeks … Continue Reading

SEC Continues its Focus on Advisory Fees

The SEC recently brought a settled enforcement action against an SEC-registered investment adviser and its CEO/CCO that represents a continued focus on the calculation of advisory fees. On March 2, 2016, the SEC charged Marco Investment Management, LLC (the Adviser), and its CEO/CCO, Steven Marco (Marco), with charging certain clients advisory fees that were calculated in … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Raises Important Questions About Challenging the Constitutionality of SEC Administrative Proceedings

Two weeks ago, the United States Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Circuit heard oral argument in consolidated appeals by the SEC to overturn two orders preliminarily enjoining its administrative proceedings in unrelated cases, Gray Financial v. SEC, No. 15-13738 (11th Cir.) and Hill v. SEC, No. 15-12831 (11th Cir.).  In both cases, United States … Continue Reading

First Circuit Offers Rebuke to SEC in Vacating Sanctions Order

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently overturned an order by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) in which the Commission had imposed sanctions against two former banking executives for violations of the federal securities laws.  In so doing, the First Circuit offered a stern rebuke to the Commission and its … Continue Reading

‘Harvest’ Built-in Losses to Offset Capital Gains – The Trade Rule

As fund managers, insurance companies, and individual investors re-balance their portfolio at the end of the year, they often try to “harvest” built-in losses to offset capital gains. This implicates what tax lawyers call “the trade date rule.” With a few exceptions, the current income tax system has annual accounting periods, loss offsets, and a realization requirement. This … Continue Reading

OCIE Issues Risk Alert on Use of Outsourced Chief Compliance Officers

Earlier this week, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a new Risk Alert (available here) related to the use of outsourced chief compliance officers (CCOs) by SEC-registered investment advisers and investment companies (Registrants). The Risk Alert shares staff observations of Registrants who outsource their … Continue Reading

SEC Permits Companies to Sell Securities Through Crowdfunding

The SEC has adopted new rules which would permit companies to offer and sell securities through online crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a method of raising capital by monetary contributions from a large number of people, usually through the Internet. The new rules will allow small businesses and entrepreneurs to more easily raise capital, and will permit average citizens … Continue Reading

Pete Michaels Speaks at SIFMA Compliance and Legal Society Regional Seminar

Greenberg Traurig’s Pete Michaels, shareholder in the Financial Regulatory and Compliance and Securities Litigation practices, will be participating in the SIFMA Compliance and Legal Society (C&L) Regional Seminar, Sept. 28, 2015, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Michaels will be a panelist in the session titled “Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) Roundtable,” moderated by Dana S Alligood, Enterprise … Continue Reading

New FINRA Rule 2040 Becomes Effective

Yesterday, the new FINRA Rule 2040 became effective.  The rule was approved by the SEC earlier this year.  Rule 2040(c) requires a broker-dealer who sells EB-5 securities to disclose to investors the amount of fees paid to foreign finders.  In addition, a broker-dealer must receive written acknowledgement from an investor which shows that the investor is aware … Continue Reading

Who Can Source Investors For EB-5 Projects: The World of Finders, Consultants, Attorneys, and Broker Dealers

Use of EB-5 as part of the capital stack for an EB-5 project is a highly complicated prospect. Identifying the right Regional Center or forming a Regional Center and structuring the project so that it is compliant with the myriad of USCIS/DHS rules is a daunting endeavor. The other very real concern for these projects is … Continue Reading

Due Diligence Outsourcing: Traps for the Unwary

Just as a client performs due diligence on a registered representative before engaging him or her, each broker-dealer must perform different types of due diligence in the course of its business. This can pose a particular burden for smaller firms, which often do not have the compliance staff necessary to conduct specific due diligence responsibilities. … Continue Reading

SEC Charges two Businesses for Acting as Unlicensed Broker-Dealers in EB-5 sales

Yesterday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered a US-based foreign finder operation to cease and desist from operation as an unlicensed broker-dealer.  The charges are some of the first against brokers handling investments in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and follow earlier SEC actions against fraudulent EB-5 offerings. According to the SEC’s order, … Continue Reading
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