Form ADV is the uniform form used by investment advisers that manage at least $25 million in assets to register with both the SEC and state securities authorities. The Form ADV is divided into 3 parts. Part 1 is a fill-in-the blank form that contains information about the investment advisory business and how it operates. Part 2 is a brochure in narrative form that include plain English disclosures of the adviser’s business practices, fees, conflicts of interest, and disciplinary information. The last part is Part 3, which contains the relationship summary, which investment advisers are required to deliver to retail investors that discloses certain information about the firm.
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 Covid-19 Pandemic has affected everyone, forcing many to work from home and causing an increase in the use of virtual environments. With it comes a rise in cyber-attacks, as hackers take advantage of the confusion and peoples lack of preparation to break into company networks, and trick people into revealing sensitive information. This blog post will discuss some of the common areas of deficiencies for firm’s cybersecurity training programs, and a few tips for improving those programs to keep your firm and employees protected.
FINRA Rule 2232 requires firms to provide retail customers with mark-up disclosure (and other related disclosures) for trades in corporate and agency debt securities that firms offset on the same day with other principal trades in the same security. Disclosed mark-ups must be calculated from a security’s Prevailing Market Price (PMP), consistent with FINRA Rule 2121 and applicable FAQ guidance. On April 24, 2020 FINRA released a very valuable FAQ on Fixed Income Mark-up Disclosure with important updates related to disclosure requirements for broker dealers. Broker dealers and their employees are braving a whole new world with various work from home and virtual meeting and operations challenges. FINRA makes updates to the FAQ’s so it is important to check back often for the most up to date information.