Tag Archives: compliance

AML Compliance Scrutiny of Virtual Currency Services in 2020 and Beyond

In the last decade, traditional financial institutions such as banks and broker-dealers have faced increased scrutiny from federal regulators and prosecutors related to the adequacy of their anti-money laundering (AML) compliance programs. Until recently, however, the federal government’s enforcement efforts against cryptocurrency exchange platforms and other virtual currency firms subject to the Bank Secrecy Act … Continue Reading

Federal Reserve Takes Actions to Provide Over $2 Trillion in Liquidity to U.S. Credit Markets, Including the Launch of its Main Street Lending Program

On April 9, 2020, in further response to the economic effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System took actions to pump an additional $2.3 trillion in liquidity into the U.S. credit and capital markets. According to the Federal Reserve, this new $2.3 trillion – which … Continue Reading

2020 SEC Exam Priorities for Securities Industry Registrants

The Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released its annual list of 2020 Examination Priorities on Jan. 7, 2020. Many of OCIE’s 2020 examination priorities, including the focus on retail investors, fraud, conflicts (and related disclosures), among others, are perennial risk areas that OCIE routinely prioritizes. While the … 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

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

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

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

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

SEC and FINRA Continue to Root Out Bad Brokers

On Thursday, July 27, regulators and industry professionals gathered in Washington, D.C. to discuss the current regulatory environment, cybersecurity, and other hot topics at the SEC and FINRA’s 2017 National Compliance Outreach Program for Broker-Dealers. The panelists, including SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar, FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook, and Susan Axelrod, the Executive Vice President of … Continue Reading

Coscia Gets 3 Years in Prison: The Criminalization of Trading Commodities?

Sarao, Coscia, and now the Berkshire Power Company, each charged with crimes – spoofing, fraud, false information – relating to commodity trading. Commodity traders likely have incorporated into their compliance regimes the general risk that allegations of criminal fraud could arise. These criminal matters no longer appear to be isolated instances and, instead, counsel for … Continue Reading

SEC IM Guidance Update – Investment Company Business Continuity Plans

In connection with the Press Release announcing a Rule Proposal regarding adoption of written business continuity and transition plans by SEC-registered investment advisers (see our blog post on the topic), the Division of Investment Management also distributed a Guidance Update (No. 2016-04) discussing BCPs for registered investment companies (RICs).  RICs have been expected to address … Continue Reading

Greenberg Traurig Co-Sponsored Atlanta-Israel Fintech Innovation Conference

Greenberg Traurig co-sponsored a unique event bringing together leading fintech companies from Atlanta and Israel. Led by Atlanta shareholder, David Schulman, the event was aimed to match Atlanta-based international fintech corporations with cutting-edge Israeli technology companies in the field, including companies that offer card processing, electronic billing, and multi-channel solutions to the banking industry, as … Continue Reading

New SEC Rule Proposal – Written Business Continuity and Transition Plans for Registered Advisers

Earlier this week, the SEC issued a Press Release announcing a Rule Proposal that would require SEC-registered investment advisers to adopt written business continuity and transition plans (BCP) as part of their compliance program.  The comment period on the Rule Proposal is expected to close in September.  Under the proposed rule, an adviser’s written BCP … Continue Reading

OCC Forum on Responsible Innovation

On June 23, 2016 the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) hosted the Forum on Responsible Innovation in the Federal Banking System in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of industry stakeholders gathered to discuss “Responsible Innovation,” fintech, and the role of the OCC in regulating the financial industry as it evolves.  The forum addressed reaction … Continue Reading

Early Signs on Fintech from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

There is no doubt that the regulation of financial technology (fintech) companies is on the rise. Fintech companies broadly mean companies that provide products, services and technology where traditional banking and financial services leave off and technology takes off. Though all of the federal banking agencies and other agencies will play a vital role in … 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

FINRA Announces Rule 2273, Requiring Broker’s New Firm to Send “Educational Communication” to Broker’s Customers Before Transfer of the Customer’s Assets to the New Firm

FINRA has issued a regulatory notice (RN 16-18) regarding new Rule 2273, which requires member firms, when hiring a new broker from the competition, to send an “educational communication” to that broker’s customers if and when those customers move or seek to move their assets to the hiring firm.  The new rule, which was recently … Continue Reading

SEC Issues No-Action Letter on Custody Rule

On April 25, 2016, the SEC issued a no-action letter to the Investment Advisers Association clarifying its views on the application of Rule 206(4)-2 under the Advisers Act (the Custody Rule) to situations involving a sub-adviser in an investment advisory program for which a related person qualified custodian is the primary adviser and the primary … 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

OCC Issues New Guidance and Policies on Enforcement Actions and Civil Monetary Penalties Against Institutions and Individuals

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) recently released new guidance on the process it uses when considering enforcement actions against banking institutions and individuals for potential non-compliance with Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) compliance program requirements and anti-money laundering (“AML”) rules.  At the same time, the OCC also issued a revised policy for … Continue Reading

Greenberg Traurig Sponsored and Participated in CFSA’s 16th Annual Meeting Conference

Greenberg Traurig was a proud sponsor of CFSA’s 16th Annual Meeting Conference that was held in the Paradise Island Bahamas from March 7-10, 2016. Gil Rudolph, Shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Washington, D.C. and Phoenix office, participated as a speaker in the panel session titled “Compliance Management: Vendor Relationships and Data Security.” Conference attendees were provided … Continue Reading
LexBlog