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Tough Choices for Regulators: OCIE Sets 2018 Exam Priorities

Bates Research  |  02-14-18

Tough Choices for Regulators: OCIE Sets 2018 Exam Priorities

In the sixth annual publication of examination priorities, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) identified four “pillars” of their mission to protect investors and ensure the integrity of the U.S. capital markets. The 2018 OCIE priorities are consistent with these pillars and do not reflect a significant new direction for OCIE. Beyond the specific highlights, however, there is a clear concern about limited regulatory resources and a corresponding enthusiasm for the use of data, technology and analytics. Bates Research has the details.

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SEC Announces 2018 Examination Priorities

Bates Research, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  02-07-18

SEC Announces 2018 Examination Priorities

The SEC has announced their examination priorities for 2018.

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New Rules, Federal and State Developments to Address Senior Investor Protections

Bates Research  |  01-31-18

New Rules, Federal and State Developments to Address Senior Investor Protections

With a week to go before broad FINRA rules intended to protect seniors from financial exploitation take effect, activity across the federal and state landscape shows no sign of slowing. In addition to looking at the updated FAQs released by FINRA in relation to the new rules, we also review reaction to the passage of the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act, consider this week’s House passage of the Senior $AFE Act, and highlight some important state-level developments.

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A Peek Behind the Curtain: FINRA Publishes Budget, Financial Guiding Principles, Addresses Fees

Bates Research  |  01-25-18

A Peek Behind the Curtain: FINRA Publishes Budget, Financial Guiding Principles, Addresses Fees

FINRA followed up its recently-issued regulatory and examinations priorities letter with the publication of a 2018 annual budget summary containing financial guiding principles. This new disclosure is another first for the self-regulating organization as it continues on a path toward more transparency and accountability. FINRA President Robert Cook also had a chance to comment on this in person at a SIFMA-CL lunch in New York City this week with industry members.

Bates has some key takeaways from FINRA’s latest disclosures.

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Anti-Money Laundering Headlines for the New Year

Bates Research  |  01-17-18

Anti-Money Laundering Headlines for the New Year

Legislators, regulators and enforcement officials are providing a glimpse of what is likely to be a formidable year in the development of a new anti-money laundering (AML) framework. Recent AML activities, summarized last month by Bates Research, included new FINRA compliance guidance for member firms and the launch of the FinCEN “Exchange” program to facilitate greater information sharing between the public and private sectors. Since the first of the year, the U.S. Senate has held hearings on several core AML reforms, the Treasury Secretary alerted financial service firms that AML and know-your-customer (KYC) rules apply to crypto-currencies, and the Comptroller of the Currency and the N.Y. Department of Financial Services (DFS) imposed substantial AML penalties against two large institutions. Bates Research has the details.

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FINRA 2018 Regulatory and Examination Priorities Comparison and Commentary

Bates Research  |  01-10-18

FINRA 2018 Regulatory and Examination Priorities Comparison and Commentary

This week, FINRA released its Regulatory and Exam Priorities for 2018. The Priorities Letter is intended to be a reference point for firms to prepare their compliance, supervisory and risk management programs, as well as to prepare for FINRA examinations. While most of the priorities from previous years remain in force, there are a handful of new topics and new emphases stemming from regulatory developments during 2017. Bates Research explains how these priorities have changed over time and what's in store for 2018.

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2018 FINRA Priorities Announced

Bates Research, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  01-08-18

2018 FINRA Priorities Announced

FINRA has announced their regulatory and examination priorities letter for 2018.

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State News to Watch in 2018

Bates Research  |  01-03-18

State News to Watch in 2018

A flurry of year-end announcements reveals a determination by state advocates toward more aggressive state protection of investors and consumers. NASAA published results from a recent survey of state regulators concerning the top investor complaints and investigations in 2017. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a proposed new rule to amend New York’s current suitability regulation “to provide a best interest standard of care for all sales of life insurance and annuity products.” Democratic senators introduced a bill to give state Attorneys General expanded authority to ensure national bank compliance with state law. Here’s a brief look.

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FINRA, Treasury and Legislators Push AML Back to the Forefront

Bates Research  |  12-13-17

FINRA, Treasury and Legislators Push AML Back to the Forefront

Legislators and regulators continue their uneven path toward a more comprehensive and inclusive framework to combat international money laundering. In the past few weeks, FINRA provided new anti-money laundering (AML) guidance to member firms as it issued a first-of-its-kind public summary of an examination of broker-dealer compliance programs. The U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) announced the launch of a new FinCEN Exchange to support the TFI's approach to Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requirements. In addition, regulatory and legislative initiatives moved forward to broaden the scope of authority for law enforcement agencies.

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Did BitCoin Just Go Mainstream? The Challenge for U.S. Regulators is Getting Real

Bates Research  |  12-06-17

Did BitCoin Just Go Mainstream? The Challenge for U.S. Regulators is Getting Real

Only a few weeks ago, SEC Chair Jay Clayton made clear that trading in virtual currencies can present a significant risk to investors and poses unique regulatory challenges. He warned that investors are vulnerable to price manipulation and fraud because they may lack information about online platforms that list and trade virtual coins or tokens offered and sold in initial coin offerings (“ICOs”). He pledged to provide more clarity and transparency about the risks, and he promised the SEC would publish guidance for investors on standards, process, value and existing protections

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