This is a summary of the key findings of the SEC's charges regarding electronic communications.

Electronic and Technology Takeaways from SEC’s Billion Dollar Penalties

On September 22, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against 15 wall street broker-dealers and one affiliated investment adviser for widespread and longstanding failures by the firms and their employees to maintain and preserve electronic communications during January 2018 through September 2021 review period. You can read the commissions summary and links for all 15 orders here. Below are some of the key finding and takeaways.  Attestations Alone Don’t Protect the Firm   What’s key about these charges is that many of the Firm’s had procedures, training and even attestations in place for all Associated Persons to document and Read more about Electronic and Technology Takeaways from SEC’s Billion Dollar Penalties[…]

Key Steps for Starting a Broker-Dealer

Key Steps for Starting a Broker-Dealer

Individuals and companies desire to start a broker-dealer for many reasons including to facilitate sales, create an entry point for foreign financial institutions, or be a part of a larger financial plan. Some of the benefits to starting a broker-dealer (vs. purchasing an existing one) include saving money on due diligence, having no prior regulatory or financial issues, and the ability to customize it to fit your desired products and business lines. If you are looking for more pros and cons to starting vs. Buying a broker-dealer, read one of our recent posts on the topic “here”. If you decide Read more about Key Steps for Starting a Broker-Dealer[…]

Notice to Members 06-23 & Your Firm’s Annual FINOP Review

Back in the early 2000’s, FINRA (then known as the NASD) came out with Notice to Members 06-23 (“Notice”). This Notice goes into detail about the responsibilities of the FINOP. Whether your FINOP is employed full-time in-house or is outsourced, the Notice applies. There are further considerations for the FINOP if the role is outsourced.

Merrill Mutual Fund Enforcement Lessons Learned

Merrill Mutual Fund Enforcement Lessons Learned

FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) announced on June 2, 2022 that it ordered Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., to pay 15.2 million in restitution and interest to thousands of customers who purchased Class C mutual fund shares when Class A shares were available at a substantially lower cost. FINRA news releases are useful tools to look for trends in violations and other sanctions. These trends can assist you in identifying weak areas in your Firm’s compliance programs or surveillance. Below is a summary of the Merrill order, as well as key takeaways. Click here for the corresponding news Read more about Merrill Mutual Fund Enforcement Lessons Learned[…]

Crowdfunding Enforcement Lessons Learned

Crowdfunding Enforcement Lessons Learned

FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) announced on May 4, 2022, that it fined two FINRA registered funding portals, a combined $1.75 million for failing to comply with securities laws and rules designed to protect investors in the crowdfunding space. These news releases are useful tools to look for trends in enforcement, violations, and other sanctions. These trends can assist you in identifying weak areas in your Firm’s compliance programs or surveillance. Below is a summary of the Wefunder and StartEngine matters, as well as key takeaways. Click here for the corresponding news release. Summary of Findings from Wefunder Enforcement: From Read more about Crowdfunding Enforcement Lessons Learned[…]

Customer Complaints (FINRA Rule 4513)

Customer Complaints (FINRA Rule 4513)

FINRA Rule 4513 defines a “customer complaint” as any grievance by a customer or any person authorized to act on behalf of the customer involving the activities of the member or a person associated with the member in connection with the solicitation or execution of any transaction or the disposition of securities or funds of that customer. Customer complaints that are made in person or over the phone are not within the scope of this rule, however, it is still prudent for members to address these complaints so that they do not escalate further. If a complaint is resolved to Read more about Customer Complaints (FINRA Rule 4513)[…]