Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest

Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest

Leonard Licht

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FINRA Launches Initiative to Simplify Firms’ Digital Experience With FINRA, Facilitating More Efficient and Effective Compliance Programs

Posted in Broker-Dealer
On May 14, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it is launching an initiative designed to transform the digital platform used by firms to engage with FINRA across a variety of programs. The Digital Experience Transformation (the “Initiative”) is an effort to integrate and simplify the digital interactions between brokerage firms and FINRA.… Continue Reading

CFTC Division of Enforcement Issues Public Enforcement Manual

Posted in CFTC
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… Continue Reading

CFTC Approves Final Rule Providing Exception to Annual Privacy Notice Requirements

Posted in CFTC, Derivatives
On April 19, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved a final rule revising CFTC Regulation 160.5. The amended rule implements the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act’s (FAST Act) December 2015 statutory amendment to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB Act) by providing an exception to the requirement that certain futures commission merchants, retail foreign exchange dealers, commodity… Continue Reading

Nasdaq Proposes Rule Change to SEC to Assume Operational Responsibility for Certain Investigation and Enforcement Functions Currently Performed by FINRA

Posted in Broker-Dealer
On April 3, the Securities and Exchange Commission published a notice to solicit comments on Amendment No. 2 to a proposed rule change filed by the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The SEC also approved the proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment No. 2,… Continue Reading

SEC Releases Framework for “Investment Contract” Analysis of Digital Assets

Posted in Broker-Dealer, Digital Assets and Virtual Currencies
Recognizing the need for guidance as to the application of US federal securities law for those considering an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), or otherwise engaging in the offer, sale or distribution of a digital asset, the Securities and Exchange Commission released its Framework for “Investment Contract” Analysis of Digital Assets. The Framework represents the views… Continue Reading

SEC Issues TurnKey Jet, Inc. No-Action Letter

Posted in Broker-Dealer, Digital Assets and Virtual Currencies
On April 3, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporate Finance (the “Division”) responded to TurnKey Jet, Inc.’s (TKJ) letter dated April 2, requesting confirmation that the Division would not recommend enforcement action to the SEC in connection with its offer and sale of tokens without registration under the Securities Act of 1933 and… Continue Reading

CFTC Passes Provision to Provide Greater Brexit-Related Market Certainty by Unanimous Vote

Posted in Brexit, CFTC, Derivatives
On May 25, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission adopted an interim final rule designed to provide greater certainty to the global marketplace in the event of a “no-deal Brexit.” In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a negotiated withdrawal agreement, affected swap dealers and major swap participants may be required to transfer… Continue Reading

CFTC Adopts Final Rule to Help Small Businesses and Job Creators in the US

Posted in CFTC, Derivatives
On March 25, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission adopted an amendment to the definition of a swap dealer found in CFTC Rule 1.3 to allow certain insured depository institutions (IDIs) to provide risk mitigating swaps to customers in connection with the origination of loans without counting the swaps towards their de minimis threshold. Under CFTC… Continue Reading

CFTC Staff Issues Research Report on Impact of Automated Orders in Commodity Futures Markets

Posted in CFTC
On March 27, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Market Intelligence Branch in the Division of Market Oversight (DMO) issued a report analyzing the entering of manual and automatic orders in commodity futures markets in the United States to determine how technological change is affecting futures trading. DMO staff used internal CFTC transactional data for 30… Continue Reading

CFTC Unanimously Approves Rule Amendments to Ease Regulatory Burdens

Posted in CFTC, Derivatives
On March 28, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced that it has unanimously approved two final rule amendments designed to ease registrants’ regulatory burdens. Both final rule proposals originated from the CFTC’s Project KISS Initiative, which is intended to simplify and reduce burdens by revisiting our rules based on staff implementation experience and public comment.… Continue Reading

FINRA Files Proposed Rule Change to CAB Rules Governing Qualification, Registration and Continuing Education of Associated Persons of CABs

Posted in Broker-Dealer
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission a proposed rule change to amend the Capital Acquisition Broker (CAB) Rules governing the qualification, registration and continuing education of associated persons of CABs (CAB Rules 119-125). The proposed rule change reflects new consolidated FINRA qualification and registration rules and changes… Continue Reading

FINRA Requests Comment on Its Rule on Business Continuity Plans and Emergency Contact Information

Posted in Broker-Dealer
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently released a regulatory notice requesting comment on the effectiveness and efficiency of Rule 4370 (Business Continuity Plans and Emergency Contact Information). The comment period expires April 26. Rule 4370 requires a member firm to create, maintain, annually review and update upon any material change a written business continuity… Continue Reading

Report from FINRA Board of Governors Meeting: Board Approves Rule Proposals, Engages with Boca Raton-Area Firms

Posted in Broker-Dealer
The Board of Governors of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) met on February 28 and March 1 in Boca Raton, Florida, where it discussed the organization’s finances, reviewed several significant technology and other capital initiatives, and considered certain rulemaking items.… Continue Reading

FINRA Working Paper Concludes High Broker-Affiliated ATS Order Routing is Associated with Lower Fill Rates, Higher Transaction Costs

Posted in Broker-Dealer
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… Continue Reading

Sen. Chuck Grassley Leads Effort to Improve Transparency of Third-Party Financing in Civil Litigation

Posted in Litigation, Private Investment Funds
On February 13, US Senators Chuck Grassley, Thom Tillis, John Cornyn and Ben Sasse, all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation requiring disclosure of third-party litigation financing agreements to the court and named parties to (1) any class action lawsuit filed in federal court, and (2) any claim that is aggregated into a… Continue Reading

CFTC Divisions Announce 2019 Examination Policies

Posted in CFTC, Derivatives
On February 12, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced 2019 Examination Priorities (the “Examination Priorities”) for registrants of the Division of Market Oversight (DMO), Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO), and Division of Clearing & Risk (DCR). This marks the first time that the agency has published Examination Priorities for its divisions.… Continue Reading

CFTC Requests Public Comment on a Rule Amendment Certification Filing by ICE Futures U.S.

Posted in CFTC
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is requesting public comment on a rule amendment certification filing by ICE Futures U.S., Inc. (IFUS). As described in the certification, the proposed amendment to IFUS Rule 4.26 would allow for the implementation of Passive Order Protection (POP) Functionality, which is intended to reduce latency advantages between traders engaged in… Continue Reading

SEC and New Jersey US Attorney’s Office Bring Parallel Charges in EDGAR Hacking Scheme

Posted in Broker-Dealer
On January 15, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against nine defendants, alleging their participation in a previously disclosed scheme to hack into the SEC’s EDGAR system and extract nonpublic information to use for illegal trading. The SEC charged a Ukrainian hacker, six individual traders in California, Ukraine and Russia, and two entities. In… Continue Reading

FINRA Issues Regulatory Notice Regarding Updates to Supplemental Statement of Income

Posted in Broker-Dealer
On January 8, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued a Notice advising its members of updates to the Supplemental Statement of Income (SSOI). The updates are designed to conform with amendments adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission that simplify and update certain FOCUS reporting requirements applicable to broker-dealers. Pursuant to FINRA Rule 4524, the… Continue Reading

FINRA Issues Notice Related to Reporting Requirements for Auction Transactions

Posted in Broker-Dealer
On January 9, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued a Notice to remind its members that they should not report auction transactions in US Treasury securities—including auction awards to either direct or indirect bidders—to the Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE), as these transactions are excluded from the TRACE reporting requirements under FINRA Rule 6730(e)(8).… Continue Reading

FINRA Issues Report on Examination Findings

Posted in Broker-Dealer
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… Continue Reading

CFTC Takes Action on Rules Relating to Swaps and Swap Execution Facilities

Posted in CFTC
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… Continue Reading