Posts from January 2015.
The SEC and the Attorneys General of New York and Massachusetts this week fined Standard & Poor's almost $77 million, suspended S&P from conduit-fusion CMBS ratings work for a year and imposed other undertakings, for violations from 2010-2014. The SEC announced three settled administrative proceedings against the firm. The first settled charges that during 2010-2011 S&P changed the way it analyzed debt-service coverage ratios in a way that lessened credit-enhancement requirements in conduit-fusion commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) issues. The SEC also found S&P ...
Posted in: SEC

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 made numerous, and significant, changes to the Securities and Exchange Commission's regulatory powers particularly with respect to regulated professionals in the securities industry. But its broad sweep did not ignore non-regulated persons either. And, the significance of these changes to non-regulated individuals should not be underestimated.

  • 929P(a) of Dodd-Frank granted the SEC authority to initiate the administrative proceedings against both regulated and non-regulated persons and to seek ...
Posted in: Dodd-Frank, SEC
FINRA Rule 2360 requires that members file reports for each account that has an aggregate position of 200 or more options contracts on the same side of the market covering the same underlying security or index. The reports are commonly called Large Options Position Reports ("LOPRs"). The LOPRs allow FINRA to, among other things, confirm that firms have not exceeded the limits in FINRA Rule 2360(b)(3). Currently the position limit rules require that all accounts acting in concert must be aggregated to ensure position limit compliance. The rule change would require that the position ...
Posted in: FINRA

The SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations ("OCIE") released its 2015 Exam Priorities January 13. Director Andrew Bowden's annual list details OCIE's subject of focus for the coming year. The hot topics for 2015 include: For Retail securities sales: - The "retail-ization" of private funds, illiquid investments and structured or other alternative products that pose extra risks when complex products are sold to "mom and pop" investors; - Fees & "reverse churning" (a fixed asset-based fee on accounts with little or no activity) - when account or commission ...

Posted in: FINRA, OCIE, SEC
An all-public panel of FINRA arbitrators entered a preclusion order and awarded $750,000 in punitive damages for Respondents' failure to participate in discovery and disregard of pre-hearing filing requirements. Claimant filed a suitability claim (along with the usual companion counts) over some proprietary fund investments, among others. Respondents' discovery responses originally were due January 17, 2014. They did not oppose Claimant's March 2014 motion to compel and the Chair ordered production. Respondents failed to produce documents and responded only later to the ...
Posted in: FINRA

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") released its 10th annual Exam Priority Letter earlier this week (Jan. 6, 2015). The so-called "Errico Letter" advises broker-dealer member firms of the operational risks the regulator expects to focus on in its examination (and enforcement) program. Moving a little closer to a principles-based regulatory approach than the usual "hot issue" laundry list from past years, this year's Letter first addresses five key areas of concern: 1. Alignment of Customer/Firm Interest 2. Standards of Ethical Behavior 3. Strong ...

Posted in: FINRA
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