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New CFPB Report finds SARS Filings on Elder Financial Exploitation Quadrupled from 2013 to 2017

Bates News, Bates Research  |  03-07-19

New CFPB Report finds SARS Filings on Elder Financial Exploitation Quadrupled from 2013 to 2017

A recent analysis by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) related to elder financial exploitation provides the most detailed look to date at the size and scope of this issue. Bates Group has been following the issue of senior financial exploitation for some time. The findings from the CFPB analysis affirm previous reports that senior financial abuse is pronounced, but that the current number of SARs filings “likely represent a tiny fraction of actual incidents.” In this article, we review the findings and recommendations contained in the new Report.

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Four Challenges Facing Firms Ahead of FINRA’s 529 Share Class Initiative April 1st Deadline

Bates News, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  02-27-19

Four Challenges Facing Firms Ahead of FINRA’s 529 Share Class Initiative April 1st Deadline

Firms participating in FINRA’s 529 Plan Share Class Initiative should act now to meet the regulator’s approaching April 1st deadline to self-report violations and submit a plan to remediate harmed clients. Bates looks at four distinct challenges facing firms as they prepare their response.

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Planning Your Response to FINRA’s 529 Initiative — Q&A with Bates Managing Director Alex Russell

Bates News, Bates Research, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  02-25-19

Planning Your Response to FINRA’s 529 Initiative — Q&A with Bates Managing Director Alex Russell

Bates Research recently conducted a Q & A session with Alex Russell, Managing Director of Securities Litigation & Regulatory Enforcement at Bates, to discuss FINRA's new 529 Share Class Initiative. Alex talks about responding by FINRA's deadline and potential pitfalls firms should avoid when preparing their response.

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Latest Developments in Variable Annuities and Life Insurance

Bates News, Bates Research  |  02-21-19

Latest Developments in Variable Annuities and Life Insurance

In our last review of developments concerning variable annuities and life insurance, Bates discussed the SEC’s issuance of a comprehensive new rule proposal intended to create a “layered disclosure approach” for regulating these products. That proposal was issued against the backdrop of an ongoing debate among state insurance regulators on revising model legislation on “Suitability in Annuity Transactions.” The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) remains determined to create these standards and procedures for providing suitable recommendations to consumers, despite the likely impact and continuing uncertainty created by the unresolved SEC proposed Best Interest rulemaking.  

In this article, we update the most recent SEC action on variable contract disclosure as well as some important private sector activity, notably Ohio National Financial Services’ (“Ohio National”) strategic decision to pull out of the market for variable annuities.

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Bates Group’s FINRA 529 Share Class Initiative Support for Firms

Bates News, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  02-15-19

Bates Group’s FINRA 529 Share Class Initiative Support for Firms

Last week, Bates sent a time-sensitive Alert concerning FINRA’s new Share Class Initiative -- similar to the SEC’s Share Class Initiative, except that FINRA’s focus is on 529 savings plans.

Bates has deep and proven experience and expertise in share class disclosure matters. To support firms facing FINRA’s 529 Plan disclosure and remediation initiative, Bates has created a plan that provides essential end-to-end steps and solutions to identify and address accounts and clients impacted by share class selection.

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The State of Play on Cryptocurrency Regulation

Bates News, Bates Research, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  02-13-19

The State of Play on Cryptocurrency Regulation

For legislators and regulators, writing rules for crypto-related assets requires balancing the tension between innovation and entrepreneurship, and between sound markets and investor protection. Bates Research has previously described some of the definitional challenges which directly affect which agencies govern crypto assets. In this article, we review recent developments in the ongoing debate over regulating crypto, including legislative proposals, and regulatory activity by leadership at the SEC, the CFTC and FINRA.

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Bates Group Welcomes New Managing Director Hank Sanchez

Bates News, Industry News  |  02-11-19

Bates Group Welcomes New Managing Director Hank Sanchez

Bates is proud to welcome Hank Sanchez, Esq. as a Managing Director. Hank is a seasoned compliance and legal professional as well as a former regulator with both the SEC and FINRA.

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New Congress, New Priorities for Financial Services in 2019

Bates News, Bates Research  |  02-07-19

New Congress, New Priorities for Financial Services in 2019

The priorities of the congressional committees that oversee financial services are changing. The contours of that change are beginning to take shape as Democrats take control in the House of Representatives and leadership from both parties announce committee assignments. This article takes a look at the agendas of Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), the new Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, and Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chair of the Senate Banking Committee. Their dynamic will set the stage for potential political confrontation, possible bipartisan legislation, and certain administrative and regulatory oversight impacting the financial services industry.

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FINRA Rolls Out Its 529 Plan Share Class Initiative - Is Your Firm Ready to Address It?

Bates News, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  02-01-19

FINRA Rolls Out Its 529 Plan Share Class Initiative - Is Your Firm Ready to Address It?

On the heels of the SEC’s 12b-1 Share Class Initiative, FINRA just announced its own Share Class Initiative. FINRA’s Share Class Initiative sets a deadline of April 1, 2019 for firms to self-report 529 savings plan share class violations and to provide FINRA with a plan to remediate harmed clients.

Bates Group has deep and proven experience and expertise in share class disclosure matters. To support firms facing FINRA’s 529 Plan disclosure and remediation initiative, we have created a plan that provides essential end-to-end steps and solutions to identify and address accounts and clients impacted by share class selection.

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FINRA Highlights Online Platforms, Mark-Up Disclosure & Compliance, RegTech in 2019 Exam Priorities

Bates News, Bates Research  |  01-24-19

FINRA Highlights Online Platforms, Mark-Up Disclosure & Compliance, RegTech in 2019 Exam Priorities

In his latest annual priorities letter to members, FINRA Chief Executive Officer Robert Cook emphasized that FINRA will be monitoring firm developments “to identify risks and assess their prevalence and impact.” He noted that the 2019 letter highlights new areas of focus that will allow member firms to determine whether certain issues “are relevant to their businesses” and how they might be best addressed. In addition, Mr. Cook explicitly stated that these highlighted areas do not affect the ongoing monitoring and enforcement efforts detailed in previous priorities letters. In this article, Bates will review the highlights from FINRA’s newly released 2019 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter. We once again list and compare the new priorities to preceding years in the attached Bates’ 2019 FINRA Chart.

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