Financial Regulatory & Compliance

The Division of Examinations (the Division) (formerly known as the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, or OCIE) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released its annual
Continue Reading 2021 SEC Examination Priorities for Securities Industry Registrants

On Oct. 7, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) held an open meeting and issued a notice proposing a conditional exemption from securities broker-dealer registration under Section 15


Continue Reading SEC Proposes Exemption from Registration for Finders

On Sept. 21, 2020, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the OCC) issued guidance pertaining to whether national banks could hold stablecoin reserves. That same day, the Securities
Continue Reading The OCC and SEC’s FinHub Issue Guidance on Fiat-Backed Stablecoin Reserves

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) published responses to three frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) regarding customer due diligence requirements for “covered financial institutions” (
Continue Reading FinCEN Issues FAQs Regarding Customer Due Diligence Requirements

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 assessing civil monetary penalties against both institutions and individuals for compliance violations. The revised policy makes clear that the OCC intends to use the threat of monetary penalties to hold individuals – compliance officers, managers, executives, directors, or any employee of a banking institution – accountable for compliance violations. Compliance with BSA/AML programs is not simply an institutional or bank-only issue; responsibility for ensuring compliance with these programs rests with Boards of Directors, management and individual compliance personnel. Additionally, compliance is not merely a regulatory concern; the recent OCC guidance also makes clear that the OCC will notify criminal law enforcement authorities (including FinCEN, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) of “all formal and informal enforcement actions” pursued by the regulators.

The OCC has a statutory mandate to issue a cease-and-desist order when problems or weaknesses in a bank’s compliance systems and controls rise to the level of noncompliance with BSA requirements or result in repeat or uncorrected compliance issues. In addition to a mandatory cease-and-desist order, the OCC may also pursue civil monetary penalties (“CMP”).  The OCC’s process generally allows notice and an opportunity to respond within 15 days of written notice of noncompliance to either an institution or individual. The OCC’s new guidance sets forth the process by which a bank or an individual may respond to a notice of noncompliance.

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