On April 19, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced the appointments of SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s senior staff, who will be responsible for advising Gensler on matters before the SEC. Prashant Yerramalli, appointed as SEC’s Chief of Staff, will continue to serve the role, which he has held since January under Acting Chair Allison Herren

On April 22, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced the appointment of Alex Oh as Director of the Division of Enforcement. Earlier in her career, Oh was an Assistant US Attorney in the Criminal Division of the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she was a member of the Securities

On April 21, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued Regulatory Notice 21-16 (Notice) to remind member firms about requirements when using predispute arbitration agreements for customer accounts.
Continue Reading FINRA Reminds Members About Requirements When Using Predispute Arbitration Agreements for Customer Accounts

Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved amendments (the Amendments) to New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) rules that require listed companies to obtain shareholder approval of certain private placements and equity issuances to “related parties,” as well as requirements related to transactions between a listed company and certain related parties. In particular, the Amendments, which were initially proposed in December 2020 and subsequently modified, modified Sections 312.03, 312.04 and 314.00 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual. According to NYSE, the Amendments to Sections 312.03 and 312.04 are intended to more closely align shareholder approval requirements applicable to NYSE listed companies with comparable requirements for companies listed on Nasdaq or NYSE American and, in doing so, provide greater flexibility to NYSE-listed companies seeking to raise capital. The flexibility provided by such Amendments tracks, in various respects, the flexibility provided through temporary rules adopted by NYSE in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which are being terminated by the Amendments. The amendments to Section 314.00 clarify the role of the audit committee in approving related party transactions, and expand the scope of transactions to which related party transaction rules apply.
Continue Reading SEC Approves Amendments to NYSE Shareholder Approval Rules for Certain Equity Issuances and Requirements for Related Party Transactions

On April 12, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a proposed rule change with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Section 19(b)(3) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to extend its time to announce the implementation schedule for FINRA’s corporate bond new issue reference data service.

On January 15, the SEC approved

On April 13, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued answers to several Frequently Asked Questions to aid members with their reporting obligations under FINRA Rule 4521(d) (the Rule).

The Rule provides that each member carrying margin accounts for customers must submit, on a settlement date basis, as of the last business day of the month: 1) the total of all debit balances in securities margin accounts; and 2) the total of all free credit balances in all cash accounts and all securities margin accounts.
Continue Reading FINRA Publishes Answer to Frequently Asked Questions Under Rule 4521(d) on Margin Balance Reporting

On April 5, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to take two actions in the implementation of security-based swap regulation under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act).
Continue Reading SEC Issues Notice of Substituted Compliance Application and Proposed Substituted Compliance Order for United Kingdom and Reopens Comment Period for Notice and Proposed Substituted Compliance Order for France

On March 29, the Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Examinations (EXAMS) issued a risk alert to remind broker-dealers of their obligations related to anti-money laundering (AML) rules and regulations, as well as to provide the staff’s observations of compliance items related to those obligations. The risk alert is designed to assist broker-dealers with reviewing and enhancing their AML programs.
Continue Reading Compliance Issues Related to Suspicious Activity Monitoring and Reporting at Broker-Dealers

On April 6, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced further updates to its Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE) dissemination protocols for specified pool transactions, as described in Regulatory Notice 21-02 published on February 2.
Continue Reading FINRA Modifications to TRACE Dissemination Protocols for Specified Pool Transactions (MBS)