In August 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) announced that it has adopted amendments to Rule 15c2-12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), in an effort to enhance transparency in the municipal securities market. The SEC has stated that the commission believes the amendments will provide[…]
On October 18, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the launch of the agency’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub). But what is the “FinHub”?
As you may remember from our earlier blogs on registered investment advisers (RIAs), whether a firm should be registered as an investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or with a state is typically determined by the amount of regulatory assets the firm has that receive continuous and regular supervision or management (collectively known as a firm’s “regulatory assets under management” or “regulatory AUM”); with some exceptions, firms that have over $100 million of regulatory AUM must register with the SEC, while smaller advisers must register with state securities authorities instead. But, what if a new investment adviser doesn’t currently have over $100 million of regulatory AUM, but expects to soon? Is the firm required to wait until it has over $100 million of regulatory AUM to register with the SEC?
As you may remember from our earlier post on the subject, under SEA Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4, a broker-dealer is required to make and keep books and records relating to its business and may maintain and preserve records by means of “electronic storage media.” The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently released guidance in response to a letter received from FINRA regarding contractual arrangements between broker-dealers and third-party recordkeeping service providers – more specifically, contractual arrangements that include provisions permitting the third-party recordkeeping service providers to delete or discard the broker-dealer’s records, typically due to non-payment by the broker-dealer of fees due under the contract. FINRA recapped the guidance received from the SEC in its Regulatory Notice 18-31.
[Continued from Customer Identification Program (CIP): Common Questions – Part I]
What Is A “Reasonable Time” To Verify Customers’ Identities?
A customer’s identity must be verified within a “reasonable time” before or after the customer’s account is opened. The rule does not specify what counts as a “reasonable time,” and the Adopting Release for the Broker-Dealer CIP Rule emphasizes that broker-dealers must be reasonably flexible when undertaking such verification. The broker-dealer must be able to undertake verification before or after an account if opened, as the amount of time needed may depend on various factors, which is part of the firm’s risk assessment. A firm’s CIP procedures must enable the broker-dealer to form a reasonable belief that it knows the true identity of each customer. Read More…
In our previous post on customer identification programs, “Customer Identification Program (CIP): Definitions and Requirements,” we defined “account” and “customer” and went over the minimum requirements for CIP procedures and verification, including touching on non-documentary means of identity verification. This post will get a little more specific, addressing common questions firms have when developing and implementing their customer identification programs. Read More…
[Continued from Private Placement Basics – Part I]
Due Diligence and the Suitability of Private Placements
The SEC’s recent amendments to Regulation D in accordance with the JOBS Act do not diminish a firm’s responsibility to conduct adequate due diligence on its offerings to ensure that any recommendations made to potential investors to purchase securities in a private placement are suitable. Additionally, as private placement sales activities continue to be among FINRA’s list of regulatory hot topics, FINRA will examine firms’ private placement activity to determine if firms are taking reasonable steps to confirm that investors meet accredited investor standards.
Broker-dealers that are active in the sale or solicitation of private placement offerings have additional requirements under FINRA and SEC rules. These requirements include filing certain offering documents with reference to any investments solicited and/or sold to clients of the firm. Read More…
[Continued from What is an Initial Coin Offering (ICO)? – Part I]
Online Platforms that Facilitate Trading in ICO Tokens are Not Registered Exchanges
There are no ICO platforms currently registered as exchanges. Further, the SEC has stated that it neither regulates these platforms as exchanges nor reviews the digital assets that may be listed or traded on these platforms. Many fraudulent platforms refer to themselves as exchanges to provide a sense of legitimacy and make investors assume they are regulated entities or meet the regulatory requirements and standards of a national securities exchange.
Digital assets such as cryptocurrencies, as well as other crypto coins and tokens, may be offered to investors in the form of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). But what is an ICO? And why are they such a regulatory hot topic in the securities industry currently?