News – Bates Research

Bates Research  |  10-22-20

SEC Chair and Director of Enforcement Review the Record

In a likely preview of the SEC Division of Enforcement 2020 Annual Report, SEC Chair Jay Clayton and Division of Enforcement Director Stephanie Avakian gave back-to-back speeches regarding the agency’s enforcement record since they took the reins in 2017. In context, these speeches presented a strong accounting of the impact the Division has had on the financial industry during their tenure. The remarks, delivered last month to the Institute for Law and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, also raised some of the important challenges to the SEC’s enforcement priorities presented by COVID-19. Here are the highlights from their speeches.


Bates News, Bates Research  |  10-13-20

Important Takeaways from SIFMA-Bates Virtual Branch Office Compliance Visits Webinar

On Monday, October 5, 2020, nearly 700 Compliance, Supervision, Risk, Legal and Regulatory experts and professionals tuned in to a panel discussion covering virtual branch office inspections and the challenges facing regulators and industry supervision and compliance teams. The webinar, jointly organized by Bates Compliance and SIFMA, reviewed the current requirements and status of branch office inspections, recent regulatory relief, and compliance expectations for on-site inspection requirements going forward. Here are some important takeaways from this discussion.


Bates Research  |  09-17-20

FinCen Focus: Customer Due Diligence with Banking Agencies, SARs Warnings and BSA Enforcement

Just a few weeks ago, Bates highlighted a series of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) compliance communications. Since then, FinCEN, along with other banking agencies (including the Federal Reserve and FDIC), has issued several important public statements on CDD requirements, the unlawful disclosure of SARs information and BSA enforcement approach. Bates has a recap of these new communications.


Bates Research  |  09-10-20

NASAA Rounds Out Busy Summer with Active Policy and Enforcement Agenda

The North American Securities Administrators Association (“NASAA”) continues to assert its member states’ interests in fighting for and protecting investors and consumers in the financial markets. We have assembled a roundup of recent NASAA actions on enforcement, model legislation and regulatory policy, including updates on: COVID-19 enforcement, whistleblowers, restitution funds for securities fraud victims, SEC "Accredited Investor" definition, DOL advice proposal, FINRA proposed beneficiary arrangements, financial professionals with diminished capacity, and what to expect going forward.


Bates News, Events, Bates Research, Compliance and Regulatory Alerts  |  09-03-20

Bates Group Summer Roundup – Catch Up on What You’ve Missed and What’s Coming Up This Fall

Labor Day is almost here, which means those lazy, remote days of summer are coming to a close. What did you miss when you powered down this summer? We have a roundup of all the important Bates news, events and alerts from July and August as well as a sneak peek of the next few months to help you head into Fall fully prepared. 


Bates Research  |  08-20-20

New FinCen Guidance on the CDD Rule, Cyber Fraud and Virtual Currency Scams Exploiting Twitter

Over the past several weeks, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued new guidance on customer due diligence requirements, an advisory on cyber-enabled financial crime and an alert concerning scams involving fraudulent payments denominated in convertible virtual currency. These are significant compliance communications for financial institutions and come on the heels of FinCEN’s recent alerts on imposter fraud and money mule schemes.


Bates Research  |  08-06-20

FINRA Roundup: Guidance on Private Placements, Digital Assets, Virtual Hearings, and Proposals

Since our last regulatory update on the adoption of FINRA’s proposal to align its suitability and non-cash compensation rules with Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”), the self-regulatory organization issued guidance on private placement communications, recommended that firms provide information to them on digital assets, and proposed a series of new rule changes. Bates examines the details of FINRA’s updated guidance.


Bates Research  |  07-30-20

DOL Proposes New Class Exemption for Investment Advisers

More than two years after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the Department of Labor’s fiduciary duty rule, the agency proposed new regulations on investment advice for retirement accounts under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. Under the heading “Improving Investment Advice for Workers & Retirees,” the DOL proposed a new “prohibited transaction class exemption” for investment adviser fiduciaries, reinstated the 1975 regulation and its five-part test for defining investment advice, and made certain changes to its pre-existing prohibited transaction class exemptions. Bates examines the details of the new DOL proposal.


Bates News, Bates Research  |  07-22-20

Bates Practice Leadership Insights: Julie Johnstone on the Changing Litigation Landscape

As Managing Director for Bates Group's Retail Litigation practice, Julie Johnstone manages and oversees financial litigation and arbitration matters. Her team assists broker-dealer and investment advisers, banks and insurance companies, as well as State and Federal Regulators, throughout the life cycle of their retail litigation matters, from early case assessments, profit and loss reports, damage analyses, and “what if” scenarios, to expert consultation and testimony at hearing, as well as mediation and settlement support. We asked Julie to consider the state of retail litigation in light of the pandemic and to anticipate some of the long-term implications on case management and dispute resolution going forward.


Bates Research  |  07-16-20

New OCIE, FinCEN Alerts Emphasize Vigilance Against Ransomware, Imposter Scams, Money Mule Schemes

In the past week, the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) warned financial institutions to guard against specific and increasingly prevalent types of fraud against consumers. These activities have been uncovered through examinations, suspicious activity reports (SARs), law enforcement information and public reporting. OCIE and FinCEN’s alerts follow other federal and state reports urging firms to increase vigilance against similar crisis-related misconduct.


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