Tag Archives: financial regulatory and compliance

FinCEN Ruling Clarifies Currency Transaction Report (CTR) Filing Obligations of Financial Institutions

On Feb. 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published administrative ruling FIN-2020-R001, to clarify requirements of financial institutions reporting on currency transactions involving sole proprietorships and legal entities operating under a “doing business as” (DBA) name (“FinCEN Ruling”). The FinCEN Ruling, which becomes effective April 6, 2020 (Sept. … Continue Reading

SEC Issues MD&A Disclosure Guidance and Proposes Amendments to Modernize and Enhance MD&A Financial Disclosures

On Jan. 30, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued (i) guidance regarding the disclosure of key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics in Management’s Discussion and Analysis, or MD&A (the “Guidance”), which is effective immediately and applies to the upcoming annual reports on Form 10-K and 20-F as well as related earnings releases; and (ii) a proposal to … 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

FINRA’s 2020 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter

On Jan. 9, 2020, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released its 2020 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter, in which it identifies its areas of examination focus for 2020. The cover note also highlights key changes in FINRA’s risk monitoring and examination program. These changes include the consolidation of FINRA’s three examination programs into a … Continue Reading

SEC Publishes OCIE 2020 Examination Priorities

On Jan. 7, the SEC announced the publication of the annual Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) 2020 Examination Priorities. In addition to the examination priorities themselves, the 28-page publication includes statistics related to OCIE’s 2019 examination program, touting OCIE’s completion of over 3,000 examinations covering ~15% of registered investment advisers and verification of … Continue Reading

New York State Department of Financial Services Proposes Guidance on Adoption or Listing of Virtual Currencies by Exchanges

In the summer of 2015, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) finalized its regulatory framework for virtual currency firms seeking to conduct certain virtual currency (VC) business activities in the state. Since then, it has issued two dozen licenses and charters involving virtual currency transmission (VC licenses). To promote efficiency and reflect … Continue Reading

IRS Issues New Cryptocurrency Guidance

On Oct. 9, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released revenue ruling (Rev. Rul. 2019-24) and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document, which provide additional guidance on the tax treatment and reporting obligations for transactions involving virtual currency (also known as cryptocurrency). This guidance supplements the original guidance that was issued in 2014 in the … Continue Reading

Recent Rocky Mountain State Law Blockchain Developments

Rocky Mountain States Make Headway in Blockchain-Related Legislation With Wyoming having become the first state to define “utility tokens” as a new asset class (see article in Blockchain & Cryptocurrency’s Winter 2019 Issue), Montana and Colorado are following close behind with their own cryptocurrency legislation. Both states have blockchain-related bills going into effect in July and August … Continue Reading

SEC/FINRA Joint Statement on Broker-Dealer Custody of Digital Assets

The SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets and the Office of the General Counsel of FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) published on July 8, 2019, a joint staff statement (Custody Release) on broker-dealer custody of digital assets. The statement has been eagerly awaited by market participants, including broker-dealers, given significant uncertainty in the application of … 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

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

Florida Creates Blockchain Task Force to Study Benefits of Blockchain Technology

On May 23, 2019, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 1024 (Florida Blockchain Bill) into law to establish the Florida Blockchain Task Force (Blockchain Task Force) within the Florida Department of Financial Services. The Blockchain Task Force will study if and how Florida’s state, county, and municipal governments can benefit from a transition to blockchain-based … 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

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

SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Releases 2019 Examination Priorities

Click here for a comprehensive GT Alert on this topic. On Dec. 20, 2018, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued its annual Examination Priorities for 2019 (Exam Priorities), which is available for download here. The Exam Priorities focus around six thematic areas: (1) Retail Investors, … Continue Reading

Prove It or Lose It! Parts I and II: Unexplained Wealth Orders and Civil Recovery Orders in the United Kingdom

Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) extend the powers available to UK law enforcement authorities under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA), enabling investigators to ask people who are holding assets, which based on their legitimate income they would not be able to afford, to prove that such assets were obtained from legitimate sources. If the … 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 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
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