Category Archives: Client Alert

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SEC Issues Concept Release to Overhaul Current Framework for Exempt Offerings

The SEC is seeking public comment (due by September 24, 2019) on possible ways to improve the framework for exempt offerings under the Securities Act of 1933 and related SEC rules and regulations, via a June 18 concept release. The SEC seeks input from issuers, investors, and other market participants on potential updates to the exempt offering … Continue Reading

Cryptocurrencies and Unclaimed Property: Potential Implications of State Escheat Laws for the Blockchain Technology Industry

The use of blockchain technology and the issuance of cryptocurrencies have grown considerably in recent years, inviting heightened scrutiny and regulation. While federal securities, tax, and other financial services regulatory agencies, such as the SEC, the IRS, state securities commissioners and others, have begun applying their rules and regulations to cryptocurrency businesses, the cryptocurrency industry … Continue Reading

The Newest SEC OCIE Risk Alert: Cloud Storage Is Great, If Your Cloud Is Secure!

On May 23, 2019, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a Risk Alert on the importance of storing customer and data in a cloud environment in a secure fashion. Titled “Safeguarding Customer Records and Information in Network Storage – Use of Third Party Security Features,” the risk alert addresses proper cloud … Continue Reading

FinCEN Issues Guidance on Application of Regulations to Certain Business Models Involving Convertible Virtual Currencies

On May 9, 2019, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (FinCEN) issued “interpretive guidance” addressing how FinCEN’s money services business (MSB) regulations apply to a variety of business models that use convertible virtual currency (CVC) (2019 FinCEN Guidance). This is the first significant guidance FinCEN has issued regarding the … Continue Reading

Summer Is Coming – Are You Prepared for the SEC OCIE Cybersecurity Sweep?

In March 2019 the SEC’s Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) announced it would soon commence its annual “Cybersecurity Sweep” of registered investment advisers and broker-dealers. The reality of daily breaches and hacks combined with the watchful eye of the SEC and other regulatory and enforcement bodies means registrants should recommit to dedicating the … Continue Reading

OCIE Provides Registered Advisers and Broker-Dealers Guidance on Data Protection Compliance Obligations Under Reg S-P and Safeguards Rule

On April 16, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations (SEC OCIE) issued a helpful Risk Alert relating to the privacy Regulation S-P (Reg S-P) and “Safeguards Rule” policies and procedures of registered investment advisers and broker dealers. The Risk Alert gives registered investment advisers and broker-dealers fair notice of … Continue Reading

When Can Futures Commission Merchants and Broker-Dealers Be Deemed Banks?

On March 21, 2019, in Whitaker v. Wedbush Securities, an Illinois appellate court for the first time addressed the liability of a futures commission merchant (FCM) or broker-dealer (BD) under Section 4A-105 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). By way of background, a customer of an FCM dually registered as a BD ostensibly requested a … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Annuities Are Not Securities Under Illinois Securities Act

On March 21, 2019, in Van Dyke v. Jesse White, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a long-awaited opinion relating to Illinois Securities Department authority to regulate annuities under the Illinois Securities Law of 1953 (Act). By way of background, in 2011, the Illinois Securities Department audited Richard Lee Van Dyke following complaints from the adult … Continue Reading

SEC Guidance on Exhibit Redactions For Immaterial, Competitively Harmful Information

On April 1, 2019, the SEC provided additional guidance relating to its new rules that permit companies to file redacted material contracts without applying for confidential treatment of the redacted information provided the redacted information (i) is not material and (ii) would be competitively harmful if publicly disclosed. The new rules became effective upon their … Continue Reading

UK Review of the Bribery Act 2010 – Committee Concludes New Guidance Needed

In 2018 the House of Lords announced it would set up an ad hoc Select Committee to conduct a post-legislative review of the Bribery Act 2010. Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Anne-Marie Ottaway was appointed Specialist Advisor to the Committee, which on 14 March 2019 published the report of its findings. The review confirms that the Bribery Act … Continue Reading

CFTC and NFA Commodities Regulatory Update

Departing from its historical practice but following the approach taken by the SEC and FINRA, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Feb. 12, 2019, announced its first release of examination priorities for each of its regulatory divisions. In making the announcement, CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo indicated the release is part of CFTC’s “initiative … Continue Reading

Colorado Digital Token Act Exempts Certain Cryptocurrency Transactions From Colorado Securities Laws

Colorado recently passed legislation that will facilitate the sale and transfer of digital tokens in Colorado. Under the Digital Token Act, Colorado businesses will be permitted to effect transactions involving the sale and transfer between certain persons of digital tokens secured through a decentralized ledger or database, with a focus on the production, distribution, and … Continue Reading

NASDAQ Provides Additional Flexibility Under Its 20% Shareholder Approval Rule

Effective Sept. 26, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved amendments to Nasdaq’s shareholder approval rule regarding issuances of 20% or more of an issuer’s outstanding common stock or voting power in a private offering. The amendments are intended to update Nasdaq’s shareholder approval rules from their 1990 adoption and enhance the ability for capital … Continue Reading

11th Circuit Answers When Would-Be ‘Customers’ May Bring a FINRA Arbitration Against FINRA Members and Associated Persons

Last week, in Pictet Overseas, Inc. v. Helvetia Trust, the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a Florida district court’s order permanently enjoining two offshore trusts from pursuing a FINRA arbitration against a FINRA member and its associated person owners. In Pictet, two offshore trusts, Helvetia Trust and AAA Group International Trust, held custodial … Continue Reading

SEC Adopts Amendments to Rule 15c2-12

Rule 15c2-12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Rule 15c2-12) was adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1989 to establish standards for the procurement and dissemination of disclosure documents by underwriters as a means of enhancing the accuracy and timeliness of disclosure to municipal securities investors. Previous amendments to Rule 15c2-12 … Continue Reading

SEC Order Seeks to Clarify Steps Forward Following Lucia

In a previous GT Alert, we summarized and analyzed the Supreme Court’s June 21, 2018, decision in Lucia v. Securities & Exchange Commission, 138 S. Ct. 2044 (2018). That GT Alert cited the SEC’s 30-day stay of “all administrative proceedings” “before an administrative law judge” and foretold continued uncertainty concerning the status of administrative law … Continue Reading

Details on the CFTC’s New Self-Reporting Policy

On Sept. 25, 2017, the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement and the Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance at New York University School of Law hosted a policy speech by James McDonald, Director of the Division of Enforcement, United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Mr. McDonald presented the CFTC’s new self-reporting and cooperation … Continue Reading

New Bill Introduced in the U.S. Senate to Require the Disclosure of Ultimate Beneficial Owners of Corporations and LLCs Formed or Registered in the United States

On August 2, 2017, United States Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) jointly introduced Senate Bill 1717, entitled the “Corporate Transparency Act of 2017” (the “Act”).  The Act was referred to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.  The Act would amend Title 31 of the United States Code, to … 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

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

The DOL Issues Broader Fiduciary Adviser Definition: What Does it Mean for You?

Since the enactment of ERISA in 1974, there has been a dramatic shift in the retirement savings marketplace from employer-sponsored defined benefit plans to participant-directed 401(k) plans, coupled with the widespread growth of Individual Retirement Accounts and Annuities (IRAs). In fact, 401(k) plans did not exist at the time the Department of Labor (DOL) published … Continue Reading

Third District Court of Appeals Reverses Holding on Statute of Limitations for Florida Foreclosures: The Impact of Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, as Trustee v. Beauvais

On April 13, 2016, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal (Third District) issued its en banc opinion in Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, as Indenture Trustee for American Home Mortgage Investment Trust 2006-2 v. Beauvais, __ So. 3d __, No. 3D14-575 (Fla. 3d DCA Apr. 13, 2016), holding that “dismissal of a foreclosure action accelerating … Continue Reading
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