News - Compliance and Regulatory Alerts

Bates Group’s FINRA 529 Share Class Initiative Support for Firms

Bates News, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  02-15-19

Bates Group’s FINRA 529 Share Class Initiative Support for Firms

Last week, Bates sent a time-sensitive Alert concerning FINRA’s new Share Class Initiative -- similar to the SEC’s Share Class Initiative, except that FINRA’s focus is on 529 savings plans.

Bates has deep and proven experience and expertise in share class disclosure matters. To support firms facing FINRA’s 529 Plan disclosure and remediation initiative, Bates has created a plan that provides essential end-to-end steps and solutions to identify and address accounts and clients impacted by share class selection.

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The State of Play on Cryptocurrency Regulation

Bates News, Bates Research, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  02-13-19

The State of Play on Cryptocurrency Regulation

For legislators and regulators, writing rules for crypto-related assets requires balancing the tension between innovation and entrepreneurship, and between sound markets and investor protection. Bates Research has previously described some of the definitional challenges which directly affect which agencies govern crypto assets. In this article, we review recent developments in the ongoing debate over regulating crypto, including legislative proposals, and regulatory activity by leadership at the SEC, the CFTC and FINRA.

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FINRA Rolls Out Its 529 Plan Share Class Initiative - Is Your Firm Ready to Address It?

Bates News, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  02-01-19

FINRA Rolls Out Its 529 Plan Share Class Initiative - Is Your Firm Ready to Address It?

On the heels of the SEC’s 12b-1 Share Class Initiative, FINRA just announced its own Share Class Initiative. FINRA’s Share Class Initiative sets a deadline of April 1, 2019 for firms to self-report 529 savings plan share class violations and to provide FINRA with a plan to remediate harmed clients.

Bates Group has deep and proven experience and expertise in share class disclosure matters. To support firms facing FINRA’s 529 Plan disclosure and remediation initiative, we have created a plan that provides essential end-to-end steps and solutions to identify and address accounts and clients impacted by share class selection.

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BCS Alert: FINRA’s Susan Schroeder Previews 2019 Enforcement Priorities

Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  11-30-18

BCS Alert: FINRA’s Susan Schroeder Previews 2019 Enforcement Priorities

At the November 2018 SIFMA C&L New York Regional Seminar, Susan Schroeder, FINRA’s Executive Vice President and Head of Enforcement, discussed some of FINRA’s enforcement priorities heading into 2019. You can expect these to be included when the official list comes out in January. Read the full alert to preview FINRA's 2019 priorities.

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Risk Alert: OCIE to Conduct Exams on Mutual Funds and ETFs, Review Oversight of Boards of Directors

Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  11-14-18

Risk Alert: OCIE to Conduct Exams on Mutual Funds and ETFs, Review Oversight of Boards of Directors

Staff members at the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations ("OCIE") issued a Risk Alert November 8th informing market participants that they will be conducting a series of examination initiatives on regulatory compliance of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. The OCIE listed and described the categories of funds and advisers for examination and highlighted certain areas for review.

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Alert: OCIE Recommends IAs Review Compliance Procedures on Cash-Based 3rd-Party Client Solicitation

Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  11-02-18

Alert: OCIE Recommends IAs Review Compliance Procedures on Cash-Based 3rd-Party Client Solicitation

On October 31st, the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations issued a Risk Alert informing investment advisers, investors and other market participants of the most common compliance deficiencies related to the so-called Cash Solicitation Rule (Investment Advisers Act, Rule 206(4)-3).

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Alert: FINRA Consolidating Exam and Risk Monitoring Programs

Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  10-11-18

Alert: FINRA Consolidating Exam and Risk Monitoring Programs

On October 1, FINRA announced that it will consolidate its Examination and Risk Monitoring Programs under a single structure. When completed in 2019, the move will incorporate business conduct, financial compliance and trading compliance under one unified framework. 

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Compliance & Regulatory Update:  More FINRA UIT Warnings and Enforcement

Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  07-23-18

Compliance & Regulatory Update:  More FINRA UIT Warnings and Enforcement

In a recent Bates Group article covering FINRA’s 2018 Annual Conference, we reported that Michael Solomon, FINRA’s Senior Regional Director, warned of specific exam deficiencies that may trigger compliance scrutiny. In particular, he urged firms to protect investors against representatives attempting to “gam[e] the system” by trading Short Term Unit Investment Trusts (“UITs”). FINRA has put teeth into that warning by bringing enforcement actions against firms in connection with their representatives’ “offending” UIT client sales activity.

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Alert: Common “Best Execution” Deficiencies in Recent Examinations

Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  07-19-18

Alert: Common “Best Execution” Deficiencies in Recent Examinations

The SEC has highlighted frequent “best execution” deficiencies found in some recent examinations of investment advisers. As described in a new Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) Risk Alert, investment advisers have a fiduciary obligation to seek “best execution” of client transactions. 

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Update: Customer Due Diligence Rule Now in Effect

Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  05-23-18

Update: Customer Due Diligence Rule Now in Effect

Despite some last minute pushback, the Financial Crimes Enforcment Network’s (FinCEN) long-anticipated Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions (CDD Rule) became fully effective on May 11th. The CDD Rule, which was proposed initially in August 2014, amends Bank Secrecy Act regulations to clarify and strengthen customer due diligence obligations for financial institutions. FINRA stated that the purpose behind the CDD Rule is “to improve financial transparency and prevent criminals and terrorists from misusing companies to disguise their illicit activities and launder their ill-gotten gains.”

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