News - Bates Research

FINRA Roundup: Guidance on Private Placements, Digital Assets, Virtual Hearings, and Proposals

Bates Research  |  08-06-20

FINRA Roundup: Guidance on Private Placements, Digital Assets, Virtual Hearings, and Proposals

Since our last regulatory update on the adoption of FINRA’s proposal to align its suitability and non-cash compensation rules with Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”), the self-regulatory organization issued guidance on private placement communications, recommended that firms provide information to them on digital assets, and proposed a series of new rule changes. Bates examines the details of FINRA’s updated guidance.

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DOL Proposes New Class Exemption for Investment Advisers

Bates Research  |  07-30-20

DOL Proposes New Class Exemption for Investment Advisers

More than two years after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the Department of Labor’s fiduciary duty rule, the agency proposed new regulations on investment advice for retirement accounts under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. Under the heading “Improving Investment Advice for Workers & Retirees,” the DOL proposed a new “prohibited transaction class exemption” for investment adviser fiduciaries, reinstated the 1975 regulation and its five-part test for defining investment advice, and made certain changes to its pre-existing prohibited transaction class exemptions. Bates examines the details of the new DOL proposal.

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Bates Practice Leadership Insights: Julie Johnstone on the Changing Litigation Landscape

Bates News, Bates Research  |  07-22-20

Bates Practice Leadership Insights: Julie Johnstone on the Changing Litigation Landscape

As Managing Director for Bates Group's Retail Litigation practice, Julie Johnstone manages and oversees financial litigation and arbitration matters. Her team assists broker-dealer and investment advisers, banks and insurance companies, as well as State and Federal Regulators, throughout the life cycle of their retail litigation matters, from early case assessments, profit and loss reports, damage analyses, and “what if” scenarios, to expert consultation and testimony at hearing, as well as mediation and settlement support. We asked Julie to consider the state of retail litigation in light of the pandemic and to anticipate some of the long-term implications on case management and dispute resolution going forward.

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New OCIE, FinCEN Alerts Emphasize Vigilance Against Ransomware, Imposter Scams, Money Mule Schemes

Bates Research  |  07-16-20

New OCIE, FinCEN Alerts Emphasize Vigilance Against Ransomware, Imposter Scams, Money Mule Schemes

In the past week, the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) warned financial institutions to guard against specific and increasingly prevalent types of fraud against consumers. These activities have been uncovered through examinations, suspicious activity reports (SARs), law enforcement information and public reporting. OCIE and FinCEN’s alerts follow other federal and state reports urging firms to increase vigilance against similar crisis-related misconduct.

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Bates Practice Leadership Insights: Regulatory Investigations Now and on the Horizon

Bates News, Bates Research  |  06-26-20

Bates Practice Leadership Insights: Regulatory Investigations Now and on the Horizon

Bates continues our practice leadership conversations this week with Alex Russell, Managing Director of Bates’ White Collar, Regulatory and Internal Investigations Practice. Alex’s team supports corporations, financial services firms, law firms and regulators by bringing technical, big data analytics and managerial expertise to a variety of disputes and investigations. We asked Alex about investigations, big data and other regulatory issues now and possibly on the horizon. Get the details in today's Bates Practice Leadership Insights.

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FINRA Special Alert Offers Observations on COVID-19 Remote Work and Supervisory Practices

Bates Research  |  06-18-20

FINRA Special Alert Offers Observations on COVID-19 Remote Work and Supervisory Practices

FINRA issued Special Alert Notice 20-16 to share COVID-19-related off-site transition and supervisory practice information. The information was derived from recent FINRA discussions with small, mid-sized and large firms. Bates has been tracking and reporting on COVID-19-related guidance since the pandemic began. In this article, we take a closer look at FINRA’s observations on firm efforts to transition to remote work environments and to supervise remote work activities.

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NASAA Annual Report Flags Cyber Risk, Investment Adviser Exam Deficiencies and Best Practices

Bates Research  |  06-11-20

NASAA Annual Report Flags Cyber Risk, Investment Adviser Exam Deficiencies and Best Practices

In its recently-released 2020 Investment Advisor Section Annual Report, NASAA highlights the growing concern by state regulators over cybersecurity preparation and practice. Based on firm examinations in 41 U.S. jurisdictions during the first half of 2019, NASAA found that cybersecurity deficiencies are on the rise. The issue has taken on new urgency in the wake of the pandemic. Bates takes a closer look in the full article.

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Bates Practice Leadership Insights: What AML Officers are Thinking About Now

Bates News, Bates Research  |  06-09-20

Bates Practice Leadership Insights: What AML Officers are Thinking About Now

Bates continues our practice leadership conversations this week with Edward Longridge, Managing Director of Bates Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Practice, for his views on the matters most pressing for AML officers right now, including coronavirus-related fraud, transaction monitoring, and third-party risk management. Here is a recap of our conversation.

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New Capital Market Insights White Paper: Bear Markets, Black Swan Events and Volatility

Bates News, Bates Research  |  06-05-20

New Capital Market Insights White Paper: Bear Markets, Black Swan Events and Volatility

The first part of this year has been challenging for the equity markets. In March, the S&P 500 Index plunged into bear market territory as volatility soared to historic levels. The sudden appearance of a severe global pandemic is just the most recent example of a “black swan event” roiling the markets. In this paper, Bates Director and expert Greg Kyle examines in detail bear markets, black swan events, and volatility to gain some perspective on how the recent—or current?—bear market compares with historical periods.

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Oil-Related ETP Recommendations: FINRA Reminds Firms of Suitability and New Reg BI Obligations

Bates Research  |  06-04-20

Oil-Related ETP Recommendations: FINRA Reminds Firms of Suitability and New Reg BI Obligations

Concern about recommendations of complex financial products for retail investors has been at the center of the debate over changing standards for broker-dealers and investment advisers. With full implementation of the heightened Reg BI requirements less than a month away, FINRA issued a Notice reminding firms of their sales obligations when offering recommendations on complex oil-related ETPs. FINRA’s Notice provides an important case study not only as to the specific expectations of firms that trade oil-related ETPs, but also on how the self-regulator appears to be handling concerns about recommendations to retail clients of complex products in a volatile market. Bates takes a closer look in the full article, including what FINRA expects of firms and registered representatives.

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