News – Bates Research

U.S. Anti-Money Laundering Updates

The Treasury Department’s Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued an Annual Report to Congress highlighting the past year’s BSA and AML efforts and setting out strategic priorities and policy initiatives for the new year. The Comptroller says he wants to reduce the burden of BSA and AML compliance, while protecting the financial system. Bates Research takes a closer look at the OCC report and other recent AML-related developments.

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FINRA Reorganizes for More Coordinated Exams, Highlights Priorities for 2020

In his cover note accompanying FINRA’s annual Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities letter, FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook reminded members of significant enhancements to the examination program going forward. Bates Research has analysis, commentary and highlights of FINRA’s continuing and emerging concerns, along with our 2020 FINRA chart, which keeps track of articulated priorities from year to year.

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Download The New Reg BI White Paper from Bates Research and Bates Compliance

Understand what Reg BI requires now — and what more you must implement before the final deadline. Download our new white paper: "SEC’s Regulation Best Interest Perspectives on Firm Compliance."

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OCIE to Prioritize Reg BI Compliance in 2020 Examinations

The SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations ("OCIE") set out their 2020 examinations priorities in an annual report issued last week. The report reminds registered entities that all its priorities are within the SEC’s mandate to protect investors, facilitate capital formation, and maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets. The report is, in effect, a notice to the industry and chief compliance officers to address potential vulnerabilities in compliance programs and practices in order to minimize retail investor and market risks. Bates Research takes a closer look.

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FINRA Releases 2020 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter

FINRA has announced their regulatory and examination priorities for the upcoming year. New for this year is a focus on Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) and Form CRS (Client Relationship Summary).

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Massachusetts State Fiduciary Rule and NAIC Annuity Standards Proposals Continue to Move Forward

Bates Group continues to track a host of issues affected by the adoption of Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”), the 2019 package of rules and interpretations from the SEC setting standards of conduct for broker-dealers and independent advisers. These include a variety of state responses to the federal regulation, as well as Reg BI impacts on issuers of other complex financial products sold through brokers and advisers, specifically, recommendations to consumers on transactions involving annuity products. This week, Bates Research takes a look at some of the latest developments by the Massachusetts Securities Division and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (“NAIC”).

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SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Announces their 2020 Examination Priorities

The SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations has announced their exam priorities for the upcoming year. Stay tuned to the Bates News page in the upcoming weeks for our expert commentary on the SEC's 2020 objectives

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Banking Agencies Clarify SARs Requirements for Hemp, Possibly Paving the Way for Cannabis

A key to understanding new BSA guidance on the “legal status of commercial growth and production of hemp” can be found in provisions of the Farm Bill signed into law in December of last year. That legislation distinguished and removed hemp (though not marijuana) as a controlled substance under law, and interim rules, issued by the USDA in late October 2019, established a federal licensing approval plan that allows state departments of agriculture and tribal governments to submit plans for monitoring and regulating hemp production. Given this context, the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, FinCEN, the OCC and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors issued a statement clarifying BSA obligations under these new USDA interim rules. Bates Research takes a closer look.

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Do The SEC Enforcement Directors’ 2019 Successes Preview Their 2020 Priorities?

Despite “significant headwinds,” including “adverse” holdings in Supreme Court cases and a significant disruption in Congressional funding in the beginning of the year, Co-Directors of the SEC Enforcement Division Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin announced that their efforts in FY 2019 have been successful. In a recently published Annual Report, the Directors described enforcement actions that held wrongdoers accountable, removed bad actors, stopped frauds and prevented losses. Bates Research looks at some key takeaways from their report.

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SEC Zeroes in on Investment Adviser Compensation Conflicts

On October 18th, 2019, more than a year after the launch of the SEC Share Class Disclosure Initiative and targeted enforcement activity, the SEC Division of Investment Management issued information clarifying conflicts of interest raised by different types of investment adviser compensation. In a new set of FAQs, SEC staff reviewed general conflicts of interest disclosure requirements and offered insight on the “material facts” that need to be disclosed concerning mutual fund share classes and an adviser’s receipt of revenue-sharing payments. Bates Research takes a closer look.

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