Tag Archives: securities

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

SEC Clears First Two Regulated Token Offerings

In July 2019, the SEC qualified the first token offerings under Regulation A+, approving blockchain startup Blockstack’s bitcoin-like digital tokens on July 10, and live video streaming platform YouNow’s offering of its “Props” tokens on July 11. These decisions will likely serve as new fundraising templates for many blockchain businesses. Blockstack Blockstack describes its services … 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

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

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

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 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

Carl Fornaris to Speak at the Financial Markets Association’s 26th Annual Securities Compliance Seminar

Greenberg Traurig Shareholder  Carl A. Fornaris, co-chair of the Financial Regulatory and Compliance Practice, will speak at the Financial Markets Association’s (FMA’s) 26th Annual Securities Compliance Seminar on April 26 at the B Ocean Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Fornaris will speak on the panel titled “Key 2017 Legislative and Regulatory Initiatives” and will review current developments … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Widens Circuit Split on Whether Dodd-Frank Protects Internal Whistleblowing

On March 8, 2017, in Somers v. Digital Realty Trust Inc., No.15-cv-17352 (9th Cir., March 8, 2017), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to dismiss a whistleblower claim brought under the Dodd-Frank Act’s (“DFA”)’s anti-retaliation provision. In a 2-1 decision, the majority endorsed the approach of … Continue Reading

Derivatives Update: What You Should Know As We Enter 2017

This year has been full of surprises in the global markets with Brexit, the Republicans’ win of the executive branch and continuing control of the legislative branch in the U.S. and the impact of the privatization of energy markets in Mexico. In this GT Alert, we are simply going to address two critical proposals and … 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

SEC Share Class Sweep of Registered Investment Advisers Appears to be Underway

On July 13, 2016, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) announced its 2016 Share Class Initiative (the Initiative). The Initiative is focused on addressing the perceived risk that registered investment advisers may be providing conflicted advice to their clients when recommending investments in mutual fund share classes.  For example, OCIE staff is … 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

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

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

SEC Continues its Focus on Advisory Fees

The SEC recently brought a settled enforcement action against an SEC-registered investment adviser and its CEO/CCO that represents a continued focus on the calculation of advisory fees. On March 2, 2016, the SEC charged Marco Investment Management, LLC (the Adviser), and its CEO/CCO, Steven Marco (Marco), with charging certain clients advisory fees that were calculated in … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Decision Affects Diversity Jurisdiction of Business Trusts

Many registered investment companies and real estate investment trusts are organized as business trusts.  Certain states, such as Maryland, Delaware, and Massachusetts have been hospitable to such entities, and therefore are home to many of these entities.  In some states, such as Massachusetts, the entities are formed as common-law trusts, while in others there is … Continue Reading

SEC and FINRA Name EB-5 as a Priority in 2016

Earlier this month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) each published their 2016 exam priorities letters. Each agency publishes an exam priority letter annually in which they identify topics of examination focus for the coming year, recurring challenges faced by firms, and perceived areas of heightened risk to … Continue Reading

First Circuit Offers Rebuke to SEC in Vacating Sanctions Order

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently overturned an order by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) in which the Commission had imposed sanctions against two former banking executives for violations of the federal securities laws.  In so doing, the First Circuit offered a stern rebuke to the Commission and its … Continue Reading

SEC Charges Attorneys Across the Country for Acting as Unlicensed Securities Brokers

Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a series of enforcement actions against lawyers across the country, charging them with offering EB-5 investments and receiving compensation while not registered to act as brokers. According to the SEC, the attorneys and firms involved in these matters assisted in the facilitation of investment sales … Continue Reading

SEC Permits Companies to Sell Securities Through Crowdfunding

The SEC has adopted new rules which would permit companies to offer and sell securities through online crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a method of raising capital by monetary contributions from a large number of people, usually through the Internet. The new rules will allow small businesses and entrepreneurs to more easily raise capital, and will permit average citizens … Continue Reading

Who Can Source Investors For EB-5 Projects: The World of Finders, Consultants, Attorneys, and Broker Dealers

Use of EB-5 as part of the capital stack for an EB-5 project is a highly complicated prospect. Identifying the right Regional Center or forming a Regional Center and structuring the project so that it is compliant with the myriad of USCIS/DHS rules is a daunting endeavor. The other very real concern for these projects is … Continue Reading
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