SEC Division of Trading and Markets

On December 22, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved the New York Stock Exchange’s proposed new direct listing rules to allow companies engaging in a direct listing to raise capital directly through a primary sale of shares, in addition to, or instead of, only facilitating sales of shares by existing shareholders, as previously permitted.
Continue Reading SEC Again Approves NYSE’s Direct Listing Rules

On October 22, the staff of the Division of Trading and Markets of the Securities and Exchange Commission (DTM) issued a no-action letter (the No-Action Letter) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) providing time-limited relief for broker-dealers operating fully paid lending programs (FPL Programs) in which they borrow fully paid and excess margin securities from their customers without complying with the requirement that the broker-dealer physically deliver collateral supporting the loan to the customer making the loan. Paragraph (b)(3) of SEC Rule 15c3-3 (the customer protection rule) requires that a broker-dealer that borrows fully paid or excess margin securities from a customer enter an agreement with such customer that requires the broker-dealer to:
Continue Reading SEC Staff Issues No-Action Relief Addressing Customer Protection Rule Violations Despite the Objection of Two Commissioners

On June 22, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton and Brett Redfearn, the Director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets, spoke together on an SEC-sponsored virtual forum about modernizing the US Equity Market Structure. Chairman Clayton identified the market for thinly traded securities, retail fraud and National Market System (NMS) market data and access as three current targets for SEC initiatives.
Continue Reading SEC Chairman Speaks on Modernizing US Equity Market Structure

On April 22, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Trading and Markets (Division) published answers to two Frequently Asked Questions concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, as it relates to the broker-dealer financial responsibility rules.
Continue Reading SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets Publishes FAQs Regarding Broker-Dealer Financial Responsibility Rules in Response to COVID-19

On March 24, the Securities and Exchange Commission, on behalf of the staffs of the Division of Corporation Finance, the Division of Investment Management and the Division of Trading and Markets issued an announcement with respect to the authentication document retention requirements of Rule 302(b) of Regulation S-T in light of health, transportation and other logistical issues raised by the spread of COVID-19. Rule 302(b) requires that each signatory manually sign a signature page or other document authenticating his or her signature that appears in typed form within the electronic filing with the SEC.
Continue Reading SEC Staff Issues Statement Regarding Authentication Documentation Retention Requirements in Light of COVID-19 Concerns

On March 19, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) released Regulatory Notice 19-08 to provide guidance to members for reporting lease assets and liabilities on their FOCUS reports. FINRA’s notice follows an October 2018 No-Action Letter (the No-Action Letter) in which the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets (the Staff) addressed the treatment of operating leases under Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c3-1 in connection with the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s Accounting Standards Update for Leases.
Continue Reading FINRA Issues Guidance on FOCUS Reporting for Operating Leases

On May 22, Brett Redfearn, the Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets spoke at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Annual Conference regarding the newly proposed Regulation Best Interest. (For a more complete discussion of Regulation Best Interest, please refer to Katten’s “SEC Proposes Fiduciary Rule for Broker-Dealers” advisory, available here.) Director Redfearn noted that he views Regulation Best Interest as a “significant change from the status quo for broker-dealers that provide advice” that builds upon current regulations. He further noted that Regulation Best Interest tries to achieve two goals: (1) enhancing the quality of broker-dealer recommendations to retail customers; and (2) preserving the “pay as you go” model as a viable choice for investors seeking recommendations about securities.
Continue Reading SEC Division of Trading and Markets Director Gives Remarks Regarding Regulation Best Interest