FINRA recently released a podcast AML Update: The Latest Trends and Effective Practices . This podcast provides a great update on the current AML and fraud trends and best practices from Jason Foye, Senior Director of the National Cause and Finance Crimes Detection Program’s Special Investigative Unit . A few highlights from the AML update podcast: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Priorities On June 30, 2021, FinCEN posted a bulletin that set out eight priorities, focused on threats to the U.S. financial system and national security. These priorities include corruption, cybercrime (including relevant cybersecurity and virtual currency considerations), foreign and Read more about FINRA Unscripted Podcast: AML Update[…]
SEC Rule 17f-1 calls for the SEC or its designee, currently the Securities Information Center (SIC), to maintain records of lost, counterfeit, missing, or stolen securities. This rule was created in an effort to reduce trafficking in lost, stolen, missing, and counterfeit securities. The database of securities maintained by the SIC can only be accessed by registered BDs and other financial institutions to ascertain if securities that have come into their possession have been reported as lost, stolen, missing, or counterfeit. No Criminal Action Suspected Upon discovery of the likely loss of a security, if no criminal action is suspected, Read more about Reporting And Inquiry for Lost, Counterfeit, Missing, and Stolen Securities[…]
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network requires certain financial institutions to file a Suspicious Activities Reports (“SAR”) to report suspicious transactions, as detailed in their FinCEN SAR Electronic Filing Instructions. This blog will go over some of the important aspects of filing a Suspicious Activity Report.
FINRA released regulatory notice 21-03, FINRA Urges Firms to Review Their Policies and Procedures Relating to Red Flags of Potential Securities Fraud Involving Low-Priced Securities, discussing issues with these securities offerings and fraud. Specifically, including those involving COVID-19 and cannabis related businesses, which appear to have been part of potential pump-and-dump or market manipulation schemes that target unsuspecting investors.
In the notice, FINRA states that “Low-priced securities tend to be volatile and trade in low volumes. It may be difficult to find accurate information about them. There is a long history of bad actors exploiting these features to engage in fraudulent manipulations of low-priced securities. Frequently, these actors take advantage of trends and major events — such as the growth in cannabis-related businesses or the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — to perpetrate the fraud.”
The messages are clear. Sales practice concerns, fraud, and operational issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic have arrived. Compliance professionals who are responsible for the surveillance and review of targeted areas of the compliance program should understand what may be coming down the pipe and ensure that their programs are sufficiently flexible to identify potential red flags.
On May 23, 2019, the SEC, NASAA, and FINRA published a year-end review of the Senior Safe Act which became federal law one year ago. In doing so, they also issued a Fact Sheet to help raise awareness with financial institutions and describe how the Act’s immunity provisions work.