CBOE Exchange, Inc. (CBOE) recently filed a proposal to amend its Rule 6.49A to amend provisions related to permissible off-floor position transfers. Generally, CBOE Rule 6.49A(a) specifies limited circumstances in which CBOE Trading Permit Holders (TPHs) may transfer their positions off the floor. CBOE proposes to add four events where an off-floor transfer would be permitted to occur.
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On May 8, the Division of Enforcement (the “Division”) of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued its first public enforcement manual (the “Enforcement Manual”). The Enforcement Manual explains the roles of the CFTC and Division generally, and outlines certain general policies and procedures that guide the Division in its investigation and prosecution of violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC Regulations.
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On April 12, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) published a regulatory notice (the “Notice”) requesting comment on a proposed pilot program to study proposed changes regarding corporate bond block trade dissemination based upon recommendations by the Fixed Income Market Structure Advisory Committee (FIMSAC) of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The changes are aimed at improving corporate bond block trade dissemination—mainly, by increasing block liquidity without imposing significant costs on market participants. Currently, FINRA’s Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE) provides information to the marketplace regarding corporate bonds and other debt securities. It is intended that the pilot program will study FIMSAC’s recommendations to determine whether such recommendations can enhance current TRACE protocols.
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The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a proposed rule change to amend Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rule 4512 (Customer Account Information) (the “Amended Rule”). For discretionary accounts, member firms are currently required to maintain a record of the dated, manual signature of each named, natural person authorized to exercise discretion in such accounts. The Amended Rule will allow for the use of electronic signatures in connection with discretionary accounts.
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The US Securities and Exchange Commission has begun looking into whether the current multi-tiered pricing system used by stock exchanges favors large brokers and traders at the expense of small ones. In an effort to increase the volume of trading on an exchange, certain exchange operators (including New York Stock Exchange-owner Intercontinental Exchange Inc., Nasdaq Inc. and CBOE Global Markets) provide large brokers, banks and traders with rebates based on the amount of business they bring to the stock exchanges.
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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has extended the deadline for member firms to self-report violations under the 529 Plan Share Class Initiative to April 30. The extension will allow firms to have more time to review their supervisory systems and procedures with respect to their 529 plan transactions.

A more detailed discussion of the Plan

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Office of the Chief Economist has released a working paper (Study), maintaining that institutional orders routed by brokers that send a high percentage of such orders through affiliated alternative trading systems (ATSs) tend to receive lower order fill rates and higher execution costs. The Study examined order-handling information over the life of 330 million orders, routed by 43 active institutional brokers for a sample of 273 stocks during October 2016.

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This month, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued a report summarizing various findings from recent examinations of its member firms (Report). In particular, the Report sets forth selected observations from recent examinations that FINRA considers worth highlighting because of their potential significance, frequency and impact on investors and the markets. The Report also describes compliance and supervisory practices that FINRA has observed to be effective in certain circumstances.
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On November 5, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission held an open meeting to consider the following matters relating to swaps and swap execution facilities:

  • Final Rule: Amending the De Minimis Exception to the Swap Dealer Definition
  • Proposed Rule: Amendments to Regulations on Swap Execution Facilities and Trade Execution Requirement
  • Request for Comment Regarding the Practice of “Post-Trade Name Give-Up” on Swap Execution Facilities


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On September 24, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued a Regulatory Notice (Notice) reminding firms of their applicable obligations when publishing a quote in an OTC security, in addition to filing a Form 211. Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (SEA) Rule 15c2-11 prevents a broker-dealer from initiating quotations in an OTC security unless such broker-dealer has reviewed and verified that certain information about the issuer is accurate and from a reliable source. FINRA Rule 6432 requires a firm to file a Form 211 with FINRA to show compliance with SEA Rule 15c2-11.
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