News - Bates Research

FINRA Announces 2019 Regulatory and Examination Priorities

Bates News, Bates Research, Industry News  |  01-22-19

FINRA Announces 2019 Regulatory and Examination Priorities

FINRA has announced their regulatory and examination priorities letter for 2019.

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New FINRA Report Details Effective Practices for Broker-Dealer Cybersecurity Compliance

Bates News, Bates Research  |  01-17-19

New FINRA Report Details Effective Practices for Broker-Dealer Cybersecurity Compliance

Right before the new year, FINRA published a report on specific cybersecurity compliance concerns raised in recent broker-dealer examinations. The report provides important guidance for broker-dealers to ensure that their compliance programs adequately address particular risks. Specifically, FINRA highlights best practices among firms on (i) branch office controls; (ii) limiting phishing attacks; (iii) mitigating insider threats; (iv) testing compliance networks for security weakness; and (v) controlling risks related to mobile devices. In this article, Bates reviews these elements and what they may mean for your compliance program.

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OCIE to Prioritize Protection of Retail Investors in 2019 Examinations

Bates News, Bates Research  |  01-03-19

OCIE to Prioritize Protection of Retail Investors in 2019 Examinations

The SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations ("OCIE") will prioritize risks to retail investors in this year’s examinations. That concern is a distinguishing highlight of a new report summarizing OCIE assessments of regulatory issues, market risks and policy developments.

Additional featured priorities include continuing risks and concerns related to fee disclosures, share class, and wrap fee programs, anti-money laundering, cybersecurity, digital assets, FINRA and MSRB operations, and issues of compliance by registrants involved in critical market infrastructure. In this article, we review the new report, contrast this year’s priorities with those of the past few years in our annual Bates year-to-year SEC OCIE priorities chart, and consider some implications so that firms might better prepare and, if necessary, adjust their compliance systems accordingly.

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SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Announces 2019 Examination Priorities

Bates Research, Industry News  |  12-21-18

SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Announces 2019 Examination Priorities

SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) has announced their exam priorities for the upcoming year. You can read the press release here.

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FINRA Issues 2018 Report on Examination Findings

Bates News, Bates Research  |  12-13-18

FINRA Issues 2018 Report on Examination Findings

In its second annual effort to highlight areas of compliance concern, FINRA published a 2018 Report on Examination Findings. The thorough report details selected observations and findings from broker-dealer firm exams that have “potential significance, frequency and impact on investors and the markets.” The primary areas of focus in this year’s report are suitability for retail customers, private placements, abuse of the authority a client gives to a registered representative, and fixed income mark-up disclosure. This article takes a closer look at these FINRA priorities and additional FINRA findings on compliance issues raised by this year’s examinations.

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Compliance in the Age of Robo Investment Advice

Bates News, Bates Research  |  12-06-18

Compliance in the Age of Robo Investment Advice

Investments in robo-offerings have grown, and the application and use of algorithmic programming expanded. A new report cites data that predicts “digital advice users will increase from roughly 2 million to 17 million by 2021.” In this article, Bates Research takes a closer look at existing SEC compliance guidance on robo-advisory services and some of the enforcement concerns in this rapidly expanding marketplace.

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Best Practices When Working with Expert Witnesses

Bates News, Bates Research  |  11-29-18

Best Practices When Working with Expert Witnesses

Your relationship with your consulting or testifying expert is a critical component to your case. Mastering best practices when working with an expert will better support your case.

We recently polled several of Bates’ financial industry experts, many of whom are former general counsels, branch managers and regulators, to summarize best practices when working with consulting and testifying experts. Here's what they had to say.

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The Regulatory Landscape is Changing for Variable Annuity and Life Insurance Contracts

Bates News, Bates Research  |  11-08-18

The Regulatory Landscape is Changing for Variable Annuity and Life Insurance Contracts

Significant regulatory developments are taking place in the variable annuity and life insurance market that are intended to encourage investors to make more informed decisions about these financial products. Along with the SEC’s announcement of an extensive new rule proposal that would leverage technology and create a “layered disclosure approach” to variable annuities and life insurance contracts, the SEC Office of Investor Education (“OCIE”) issued a Bulletin that offers a basic primer on these instruments. This comes a week after state insurance regulators met to revise the NAIC “Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation.” Bates Research takes a closer look at these recent developments.

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Federal Trade Commission Reports on Senior Consumer Fraud

Bates News, Bates Research  |  10-31-18

Federal Trade Commission Reports on Senior Consumer Fraud

In a new report to Congress, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) compiled its latest data on the widespread problem of financial fraud perpetrated against elderly consumers. The agency also highlighted 2017-2018 enforcement actions and described its outreach and education initiatives to combat senior financial abuse. This article highlights the findings in the latest FTC report.

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SEC Finalizes Its Four-Year Strategic Plan

Bates News, Bates Research  |  10-25-18

SEC Finalizes Its Four-Year Strategic Plan

In June, Bates reported on an SEC Draft Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2018 - 2022. The development of the plan is required by federal statute as a means to assess “agency performance and improvement.” The issuance of the Draft Plan was immediately followed by the submission of testimony by SEC Chair Jay Clayton before the House Committee on Financial Services. At that hearing, Chair Clayton expounded on the short draft strategy, describing in greater detail the future agenda for the agency. Now, after the required comment period, the agency’s Final Strategic Plan has been released. Chair Clayton describes the 11-page plan as a “forward-looking framework” that focuses “on the most important goals and initiatives” for fulfilling the agency’s mission. Bates Research takes a closer look.

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