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News & Events – Compliance and Regulatory Alerts

DOL Extends Non-Enforcement Compliance Relief for Certain Prohibited Transaction Exemptions

11-04-21

DOL Extends Non-Enforcement Compliance Relief for Certain Prohibited Transaction Exemptions

In a Field Assistance Bulletin issued on October 25, 2021, the Department of Labor extended relief through Jan. 31, 2022 on a Prohibited Transaction Exemption (“PTE”), titled "Improving Investment Advice for Workers and Retirees.” The exemption is offered to registered investment advisers, broker dealers, financial institutions, and insurance companies that “provide fiduciary investment advice to Retirement Investors.”

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FINRA Warns Firms to Pay Attention to FinCEN AML Priorities

10-21-21

FINRA Warns Firms to Pay Attention to FinCEN AML Priorities

On October 8, 2021, FINRA urged member firms to review and update their Anti-Money Laundering compliance programs in light of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s recently published priorities on the subject. FinCEN came out with those priorities on June 30, 2021, in accordance with AML Act of 2020, which became law on January 1, 2021.

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Regulatory Alert: FINRA Exam Letter Targets Options Trading

08-17-21

Regulatory Alert: FINRA Exam Letter Targets Options Trading

On August 10, 2021, FINRA issued a targeted examination letter alerting firms that the regulator was conducting a review of all activities related to options accounts. In the new examination letter, FINRA requests information on account supervision, communications, and diligence from January 1, 2021, through August 10, 2021 (the date of the letter). Though the due date for the information has not yet been published, firms should begin working to formulate their responses immediately.

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FinCEN Issues First National AML/CFT Priorities
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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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With Increase in Options Trading, FINRA Issues Alert on Options Account Approval, Supervision and Margin Requirements

04-21-21

With Increase in Options Trading, FINRA Issues Alert on Options Account Approval, Supervision and Margin Requirements

On April 9, 2021, FINRA issued guidance reminding members of their obligations on customer options accounts. The new alert flows from a reported increase in the opening of self-directed brokerage accounts and a broader risk of whether broker dealers and investment advisers are collecting information and performing adequate due diligence to ensure that options trading is appropriate for their customers. Additionally FINRA highlights compliance obligations on supervision, anti-money laundering and margin for customers seeking to trade options. In this Alert, Bates takes a look at the recently published guidance and what you need to know to stay in compliance.

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Update on New SEC Marketing Rule: It’s All or Nothing

04-05-21

Update on New SEC Marketing Rule: It’s All or Nothing

The SEC’s new marketing and advertising rule will impose considerable oversight, recordkeeping and disclosure requirements affecting “100 percent” of investment advisers when it goes into effect May 4, 2021. The SEC Division of Investment Management staff have made clear that until an adviser chooses to comply fully with the new rule, they must continue to comply with the previous advertising and cash solicitation rules and related staff positions on them. In this Alert, Bates Compliance takes a look at the recently published FAQ on the new marketing and advertising rule and what you need to know to successfully comply with it.

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SEC Division of Examinations Announces 2021 Examination Priorities
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03-03-21

SEC Division of Examinations Announces 2021 Examination Priorities

The SEC Division of Examinations announced its 2021 examination priorities today, focusing on climate-related risks, conflicts of interest for brokers (Regulation Best Interest) and investment advisers (fiduciary duty), and attendant risks relating to FinTech in its initiatives and examinations. Stay tuned for our annual commentary, coming soon.

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New Update from Bates Compliance: Broker-Dealer Branch Office Compliance White Paper
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02-04-21

New Update from Bates Compliance: Broker-Dealer Branch Office Compliance White Paper

In May 2019, Bates Compliance published a review of the supervision, inspection and operational considerations for broker-dealer branch office compliance. Since then, FINRA has broadened its examination priorities, while the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened compliance risks. This updated white paper discusses the responsibilities placed on the supervisors of broker-dealer branches in light of FINRA's broadened priorities and recently updated guidance on remote supervision.

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FINRA Releases 2021 Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring Program
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02-02-21

FINRA Releases 2021 Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring Program

FINRA has announced the publication of the 2021 Report on FINRA's Examination and Risk Monitoring Program. The new Report combines and replaces two previously published annual reports, the Report on Examination Findings and Observations and the Risk Monitoring and Examination Program Priorities Letter.

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SEC Rewrites Rules on Investment Adviser Marketing
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01-08-21

SEC Rewrites Rules on Investment Adviser Marketing

Just prior to the new year, the SEC finalized significant changes to rules and forms governing advertising and cash solicitations under the Investment Advisers Act, replacing both the prior Advertising Rule and Cash Solicitation Rule with a single, broad, “modernized” marketing rule. The new rule also amends investment adviser registration Form ADV and the books and records rule to reflect the related changes. In this article, we detail key provisions of the new rule and how Bates will help your firm navigate and implement this significant rule change.

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FINRA is Reviewing Firms’ Systems and Procedures for Providing Customer Waivers/Rebates through Rights of Reinstatement (RoR) on Mutual Fund Purchases

12-01-20

FINRA is Reviewing Firms’ Systems and Procedures for Providing Customer Waivers/Rebates through Rights of Reinstatement (RoR) on Mutual Fund Purchases

FINRA is conducting a targeted review of brokerage firms' systems and procedures for providing customers waivers and rebates available through Rights of Reinstatement (RoR) on mutual fund purchases. As part of this review, FINRA will request each firm that receives this information request respond to certain questions with respect to the period of January 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020.

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SEC Allows Remote Inspections Through 2021

11-23-20

SEC Allows Remote Inspections Through 2021

On November 18, 2020, the SEC made effective FINRA’s proposed temporary rule amendment allowing remote inspections through December 31, 2021. The SEC regulatory action adopts temporary relief (Supplementary Material .17) under FINRA Rule 3110 (Supervision) by providing member firms the option to remotely complete inspection obligations for Calendar Years 2020 and 2021. FINRA stated that the change was a response to the operational challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Contact Bates Group

Bates Group is with you every step of the way. Contact us today for more information on how our End-to-End Solutions can help your firm.