Category Archives: GT Alert

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In the Rush to Holiday Good Cheer, Don’t Forget About the NY Shield Act

As the holidays approach, time seems to fly – not in the reindeer sense — but quicker and more rushed than usual as year-end work increases and as parties and other social events seem to multiply like presents under the Christmas tree. In that rush it is easy to overlook the fact that entities that … Continue Reading

2019 Report on FINRA Examination Findings and Observations

In October 2019, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released its “2019 Report on FINRA Examination Findings and Observations.” FINRA publishes a report yearly to highlight its examination “findings” (i.e., findings of violations committed by member firms) detected throughout the year. In addition to findings, the 2019 Report advances further than years past and consists … Continue Reading

CFTC, FinCEN and SEC Issue Joint Statement Reminding Persons in Digital Assets Space of Obligations Under Bank Secrecy Act

On Oct. 11, 2019, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), published a Joint Statement on Activities Involving Digital Assets. The purpose of the Joint Statement was “to remind persons engaged in activities involving digital assets of their anti-money laundering and … Continue Reading

SEC Passes Long-Awaited New Rule 6c-11 to Modernize Regulation of ETFs

On Sept. 26, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it had adopted a new Rule 6c-11 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Investment Company Act” or the “Act”). Rule 6c-11 will permit exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that satisfy certain conditions to operate without the expense and delay of obtaining an exemptive order. The new … Continue Reading

Qualifying Assets Under Investment Company Act Section 3(c)(5)(C) Mortgage Exemption

On Aug. 15, 2019, the staff of the Division of Investment Management at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Staff”) issued a significant no-action letter. The letter clarifies the treatment of certain assets held by an entity seeking to rely upon Section 3(c)(5)(C) to be exempt from registration as an investment company under the Investment … Continue Reading

Joint Statement Emphasizes Risk-Focused Approach to Examinations of Banks’ BSA/AML Compliance Programs

On July 22, 2019, the federal bank regulatory agencies and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (collectively, the “Agencies”), issued a Joint Statement on Risk-Focused Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) Supervision. The Joint Statement emphasizes their risk-focused approach to examinations of banks’ BSA/AML compliance programs and is the third statement from … Continue Reading

Amendments to ‘Volcker Rule’ to Exclude Certain ‘Small’ Banks From Key Prohibitions

In connection with the U.S. financial crisis 10 years ago, legislation was adopted to enhance the safety and soundness of the commercial banking system in the United States. Amendments to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 required five federal financial agencies to adopt joint regulations to (i) limit the authority of commercial banking institutions to … Continue Reading

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

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

SEC Approves Final Regulation Best Interest, Form CRS

On June 5, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 3-1 to adopt a series of proposals intended to “substantially enhance” the standards of conduct for financial professionals. First and foremost, the SEC adopted Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI), a new rule establishing an updated standard of conduct for broker-dealers and associated persons of … 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

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

FINRA’s 2019 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter

On Jan. 22, 2019, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released its 14th Annual Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter, where it identifies its areas of examination focus for 2019. The FINRA president’s cover note points out the addition to the title of a reference to “risk monitoring.” While the Priority Letter describes the multiple … Continue Reading
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