News – Bates Research

Bates Research  |  07-23-21

Coordinating on Ransomware: Federal, State Law Enforcement and Regulators Mobilize

The White House, Congress, federal and state law enforcement agencies and regulators are mobilizing to combat the threat of ransomware. In the wake of high-profile attacks on businesses of all sizes, the Biden administration has made the issue a priority. In this article we focus on the significant recent administrative, legislative and regulatory efforts to confront ransomware, including: strengthening the digital resilience of critical infrastructure, the launch of a new interagency website to support the private sector’s cyber defenses, a $10 million “Rewards for Justice” program to catch cybercriminals, bipartisan cyber legislation, and SEC and NYSDFS developments, to name few.

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Bates Research  |  07-15-21

FinCEN Posts AML Priorities: A Road Map for Compliance

With the recent publication of its of national priorities for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism ("AML/CFT"), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ("FinCEN") fulfilled one of the core mandates under the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020: the establishment and dissemination of national AML priorities. The 12-page document is the product of consultations among the U.S. Treasury Secretary and Attorney General, federal regulators, state financial regulators, and national security agencies. In this article, Bates takes a look at the newly published policy, each of FinCEN’s national priorities, and what your firm and clients need to know. 

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Bates Research  |  07-08-21

Temporary Holds and Other Developments to Address Senior and Vulnerable Investor Financial Exploitation

Early last month, FINRA proposed new amendments to rules on the financial exploitation of seniors and other vulnerable individuals. The changes have implications for state rules protecting seniors as well. The SEC, FINRA and NASAA have also announced a joint training program designed to help firms comply with Senior Safe Act requirements. The program has compliance implications for firms seeking to utilize FINRA’s safe harbor rule 2165. In this article, Bates takes a closer look at the proposed changes and what they could mean for your firm.

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Bates Research, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  06-30-21

FinCEN Issues First National AML/CFT Priorities

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today issued the first government-wide priorities for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) policy.

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Bates Research, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  06-29-21

SEC Appoints New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal as Director of Enforcement

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Gurbir S. Grewal has been appointed Director of the Division of Enforcement, effective July 26, 2021.

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Bates Research  |  06-17-21

SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s Rulemaking Priorities Emerge

On June 11, 2021, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs released a Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions containing the latest official list of the SEC’s regulatory rulemakings. The list includes proposed items the agency will undertake in the near future, which reflect the emergent priorities of the independent agency’s Chair Gary Gensler, who was sworn in on April 14, 2021. In this article, Bates takes a look at a few of the proposed items positioned for regulatory action this year.

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Bates Research  |  06-11-21

Regulating Cryptocurrency: New Players, New Urgencies

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on June 6, 2021, former SEC Chair Jay Clayton and former Undersecretary of the Treasury Brent McIntosh warned against the “serious risk of both overregulation and underregulation” of cryptocurrencies. They were responding to a rapidly changing financial marketplace in which innovative and complex digital products and services have become mainstream. They were also responding to recent statements by legislators, administrators and regulators advocating for a more comprehensive framework of government intervention to protect consumers and investors from price volatility and the fraud and money laundering that has proliferated across digital platforms. In this article, we review some of the recent pronouncements concerning cryptocurrency regulation, including the latest considerations on the development of a U.S. central bank digital currency.

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Bates Research  |  06-03-21

Regulators Get Tough on Reg BI and Form CRS Phase Two Compliance – Part 2: Reg BI

As we previously relayed in Part 1 of this article, the honeymoon period in which firms needed to show merely a “good faith” effort at compliance with Reg BI and Form CRS requirements has come to an end. The SEC and FINRA have made clear that the regulators are moving to the next, more aggressive examination phase to ensure compliance with the new standard. Part 2 of our article focuses on commentary from FINRA’s 2021 Annual Conference concerning Reg BI and what firms should expect during examinations in Phase Two.

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Bates Research  |  06-03-21

Regulators Get Tough on Reg BI and Form CRS Phase Two Compliance – Part 1: Form CRS

The honeymoon period in which firms needed to show merely a “good faith” effort at compliance with Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”) and Customer Relationship Summary Form (“Form CRS”) requirements has come to an end. At a recent session on Reg BI and Form CRS Observations during FINRA’s 2021 Annual Conference, speakers from the SEC and FINRA made clear that the regulators are moving to the next, more aggressive examination phase to ensure compliance with the new standard. In this two-part article, Bates examines regulator comments and expectations, and what firms can expect in Phase Two. In Part 1, we look at developments concerning Form CRS.

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Bates Research  |  05-20-21

FINRA Warns Members of Increase in Online Account Takeovers and to Follow Rules on Arbitration Agreements; Seeks Diversity and Inclusion Improvements

In a sign of ramped-up concern, FINRA urged members to ensure that cybersecurity programs and practices are in place to protect customers from online account takeover attempts. The regulator also issued Notices reminding firms to follow disclosure and other rules on pre-dispute arbitration agreements and asking market participants for comments on any rules that may create unintended barriers to diversity and inclusion in the broker-dealer industry.

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