On August 1, 2019, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Division of Market Oversight (DMO) issued a letter extending prior no-action relief, which suspended the need for certain persons otherwise required to aggregate positions to proactively file formal written notice for position limits purposes. The prior relief, CFTC No Action Letter 17-37, was set to expire on August 12, 2019.
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On July 8, in response to questions raised by market participants regarding the application of federal securities laws and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rules to the custody of digital asset securities and transactions, the staffs of the Division of Trading and Markets (the Division) and FINRA issued a joint statement. The joint statement seeks to articulate and clarify various considerations pertinent to many of the questions raised, particularly with respect to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Customer Protection Rule applicable to SEC-registered broker-dealers.
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On July 9, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued Regulatory Notice 19-22 (the Notice) requesting comment on a proposal to publish alternative trading system (ATS) volume data for corporate bonds and agency debt securities, in a format similar to that currently published for equity securities. The published data would include both the total number of transactions and aggregate dollar volume traded for transactions in a particular corporate bond or agency debt security executed within the ATS and reported to FINRA during the aggregation period. The ATS data would be aggregated on a monthly basis and published with a three-month delay. FINRA would not charge for the aggregated ATS fixed income data, which would be published on FINRA’s website.
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On July 11, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued Regulatory Notice 19-23 (the Notice) to restate and supplement prior guidance regarding the circumstances by which a firm or individual may influence the outcome of an investigation by exhibiting extraordinary cooperation. The Notice incorporates FINRA’s prior guidance and further clarifies how FINRA defines “extraordinary cooperation” and whether a potential respondent’s cooperation rises to such a level, as distinct from the level of cooperation expected of all member firms and their associated persons.
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On June 12, the National Futures Association (NFA) amended several of its rules and interpretive notices to incorporate expressly supervision requirements for NFA members’ swaps activities. NFA Compliance Rule 2-9(a), as amended, will apply specifically to futures commission merchant (FCM), introducing brokers (IB), commodity pool operator (CPO) and commodity trading advisor (CTA) members. New

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. The Initiative aims to facilitate efficiency and effectiveness of compliance programs.
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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 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 trading advisors, commodity pool operators, introducing brokers, major swap participants and swap dealers (each, a “covered person”) to provide annual privacy notices to their respective customers. (The obligation to provide an initial privacy notice is unchanged).
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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, on an accelerated basis.
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