On October 28, 2020, FINRA filed a proposed rule change to amend Rules 5122 (Private Placements of Securities Issued by Members) and 5123 (Private Placements of Securities) that would require members to file retail communications concerning Private Placement offerings. Previously, Rules 5122 and 5123 required all offering documents to be filed with FINRA. However, they weren’t specific enough to include all documents that should have been considered offering documents, such as retail communications.
In May of this year, the SEC fined Bloomberg Tradebook LLC for $5 million, censured the firm, and issued a cease and desist order for misleading customers about how their orders were routed. Specifically, the SEC found that the Firm made material misrepresentations in regard to order routing. They omitted material facts about how they handled certain customer trade orders.
COVID-19 has bought a “new normal”. From stay-at-home orders and teleworking requirements to market volatility, consumer worry, and delayed public disclosure, the face of the industry will be forever changed. In light of this, Registered Investment Advisor compliance departments should consider reviewing the landscape of the Code of Ethics requirements.
Last month, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a Risk Alert regarding examinations that will focus on broker-dealers’ compliance with Regulation Best Interest. The SEC wanted to make clear that the Regulation Best Interest compliance date of June 30, 2020 will not be extended. The OCIE will begin examinations with the program and will continue to add this element as part of exams for one year after the implementation date.
The June 30th compliance deadline for Regulation Best Interest and Form CRS is quickly approaching. It presents new compliance requirements for broker-dealers and investment advisers engaging in a retail business.
Your firm is beginning to get in the groove since the shelter-in-place orders have been implemented. In the past, you have worked from home on certain days, but the transition to full-time teleworking, homeschooling, and pet sitting has been a challenging reality. Then surprise! You get a call from your regulatory coordinator that FINRA or the SEC has decided to conduct a regulatory exam of your firm starting now.