News – Bates Research

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

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

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 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

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

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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NASAA Seeks to Disrupt Fraud, Moves to Online Exams; FINRA Warns of Pandemic Scams

State and federal regulators are pressing firms to increase vigilance against crisis-related misconduct and other vulnerabilities in order to protect investors. The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) recently took several public steps in response to COVID‑19 challenges, including forming a COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force that will identify and stop the latest potential threats to investors. Meanwhile, FINRA issued alerts detailing the most prevalent scams during the pandemic and the recommended practices for both investors and firms to combat them. Bates Research takes a closer look.

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

In this first of a series of conversations with Bates Group practice leaders, we caught up with Robert Lavigne, Managing Director and Bates Compliance Practice Leader, and Hank Sanchez, Esq., Bates Compliance Managing Director and former SEC and FINRA regulator, to get an understanding of what they are hearing from compliance officers right now, as well as advice for compliance teams in the "new normal."

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AML Compliance Report: FinCEN Says Hold the Line, FFIEC Updates Exam Manual

At a time when regulators are emphasizing their understanding of, and flexibility concerning, the difficulties facing financial firms as a result of COVID-19, FinCEN and the umbrella Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) are demanding robust compliance with Bank Secrecy Act/ /Anti-Money laundering (BSA/AML) requirements. Since Bates’ last report, in which FinCEN highlighted warnings about bad actors finding opportunities created by the volatility and the fear in the markets, FinCEN issued additional compliance information to its previous alert, and FFIEC published a long- anticipated update to its BSA/AML Examination Manual. Bates Research has the details.

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FINRA Carries On: Focuses on High-Risk Brokers, Broker Beneficiaries, Arb Postponement & Reg BI

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create unusual and difficult challenges for the financial service industry, FINRA continues to move forward with regulatory matters that warrant attention. In this article, Bates reviews recent FINRA developments on high-risk brokers, proposed limitations on brokers acting as beneficiaries, executors or trustees for senior investors, additional COVID-19-related hearing postponements, a recent arbitration proposal related to claims against inactive members and further remarks on Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI).

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