Blog – Securities Compliance Sentinel

The highly regulated securities and financial industry has a host of complex problems—and financial institutions often find themselves on the receiving end of audits, investigations and other compliance issues. Our team of seasoned securities attorneys share their knowledge and experience to address cutting edge industry issues. Join them in their exploration of this increasingly complex area.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Fox’s Kristen Howell at the Forefront of Bitcoin Developments Recently, the SEC’s Director of Corporation Finance provided long overdue insight on cryptocurrencies.  In particular, he indicated that Bitcoins, Etherium, and other such coins functioning on certain decentralized platforms are not securities.  Our partner, Kristen Howell, authored a fascinating and informative alert on this topic.  See  We commend it to anyone interested in this area. Essentially, the SEC Staff has taken the position that, various cryptocurrencies operating from a central control group, who target passive investors, will be engaging in a securities offering while less centralization focusing... More
  • Matt Lee Authors Excellent Post on the DOJ’s New Corporate Resolution Policy For those interested in a description of the DOJ’s new corporate resolution policy, we strongly urge you to review our partner, Matt Lee’s, recent posting on this topic.  See More
  • The SEC’s Scare Tactics May Work on Advisers In rapid succession, the SEC has issued warnings and announced sanctions against registered investment advisers for fee and expense practices, false statements regarding assets under management, and misleading performance data.  No one should be surprised that the SEC is actively seeking to uncover transgressions in the RIA field. Initially, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations issued a Risk Alert outlining a variety of RIA failures concerning the proper calculation and disclosure of fees and expenses.   See  In particular, the alert detailed... More
  • Josh Horn Appears on TV Regarding Medical Marijuana in Arkansas Although not a securities topic per se (however, a number of companies are popping up and offering securities in this field), our very own Josh Horn was featured on TV regarding medical marijuana.  View the clip here.... More
  • SEC Expands Cryptocurrency Market Worries Not one for making people feel at ease, the SEC’s Division of Investment Management has indicated that it is not comfortable with investment companies investing in cryptocurrencies and similar products. In a letter sent to industry groups, the SEC’s IM Director indicated that the Staff had numerous concerns over funds investing in these instruments.  The concerns boiled down to 5 categories:  valuation, liquidity, custody, arbitrage, potential manipulation and other risks. The SEC Staff is concerned that funds will not be able to properly value... More
  • Uh Oh!! Bitcoins and ICOs Are the Latest Front in the SEC’s War on Lawyers In a recent speech, new SEC Chairman Jay Clayton warned lawyers, who advice clients on bitcoins and initial coin offerings (“ICOs”), to be aware the SEC is lurking out there waiting to pounce.  Of course, he did not say it exactly like that, but he might as well have used those exact words. Clayton stated that the SEC Staff is monitoring (he called it being on “high alert”) lawyers, who advice clients on these transactions.  Apparently, the SEC believes that certain lawyers may... More
  • FINRA’s Further Guidance On Seniors Nearly a year ago, FINRA adopted Rule 2165 (Financial Exploitation of Specified Adults) and amended Rule 4512 (Customer Account Information). This new rule and amended rule were ways to address the myriad of issues dealing with senior clients. With nearly a year gone by, FINRA has now published responses to frequently asked questions involving Rules 2165 and 4512. The responses to the FAQs are broken down into the following categories. Placement of temporary holds. Extensions of temporary holds. Trusted contact. Disclosure. For anyone who has any... More
  • Takeaways From The SEC Investor Bulletin On Wrap Fee The SEC recently put out an Investor Bulletin on wrap fees. Although this guidance is steered toward consumers, there are lessons to be learned by firms who offer such programs. The SEC specifically posed the question of what does the fee cover. Included in that list of possibilities are: Investment advice. Brokerage costs. 24752961 – grunge rubber stamp with text disclosure,vector illustration Administrative expenses. Other fees and expenses like those associated with mutual funds. Third party service provider costs and trading away. So what can a firm take... More
  • What FINRA Found in its Examinations FINRA recently issued a report regarding its examination findings. FINRA issued this report so that firms can gain insight from the work of FINRA’s examination of other firms. Among the FINRA’s findings are the following areas that need additional attention: Cybersecurity, including access management, risk assessments, vendor management, branch office security, segregation on internal duties and data loss prevention. Outside business activities and private securities transactions, including failure to provide notice to firms, notice reviews and post private securities transaction approval conduct. Anti-money laundering... More
  • What’s The Deal With Branch Office Inspections? In Notice to Members 17-38, FINRA has put out for comment a change to Rule 3110 that would allow the remote inspection of certain “qualifying offices” as that term is defined by FINRA. In its Notice to Members, FINRA highlighted the point that technology and a changing industry mandate reconsideration of requiring mandatory, in-person inspections. A “qualified office” is an office that meets the following conditions: A location where there are no more than three associated persons that conduct business for the... More