On October 1, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed an amendment to Regulation NMS that would rescind a rule exception that allows a national market system plan (NMS Plan) amendment to be effective upon filing if it establishes or changes a fee or other charge (Proposal).
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On October 8, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced the availability of new resources to assist member forms to comply with the Securities Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) and Form CRS by the June 30, 2020 compliance deadline. Reg BI establishes a “best interest” standard of conduct for broker-dealers and associated persons when making recommendations to a retail customer in connection with a securities transaction or investment strategy involving securities. In addition to the Reg BI requirements, the SEC also adopted a new rule to require broker-dealers and investment advisers to provide retail investors with a brief relationship summary known as the Form CRS.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed to amend Rule 15c2-11, which governs the publication and submission of quotations by a broker-dealer in the over-the-counter (OTC) market. The proposed amendments would prohibit a broker-dealer from publishing quotes in a security not listed on a national securities exchange unless documents and information about the issuer are current and publicly available.


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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has amended its Rule 2210 (Communications with the Public) and Rule 2241 (Research Analysts and Research Reports) to conform to the requirements of the Fair Access to Investment Research Act of 2017 (FAIR Act) and subsequent rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). As background, the FAIR Act and related SEC rules establish a safe harbor under which unaffiliated broker-dealers may publish and distribute research reports on “covered investment funds” without the publication or distribution being deemed an offer of securities. For these purposes, the term “covered investment funds” generally includes registered investment companies, business development companies, and certain commodity- and currency-based trusts and funds.

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On September 26, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a new rule to allow all issuers, not just emerging growth companies, to utilize “test-the-waters” communications in connection with an initial public offering or other securities offering.

The rule implements the proposal put forth by the SEC in February 2019, discussed in the March 1, 2019 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest.
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The Council of Institutional Investors (CII), an investor advocacy association primarily for pension funds and local governments, has put forth a proposal to amend the Delaware General Corporation Law to limit the ability of publicly-traded Delaware corporations to maintain multi-class common stock voting structures (i.e., high-vote/low-vote stock structures).
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On September 19, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a package of new final rules and rule amendments dealing with recordkeeping and reporting requirements for security-based swap dealers (SBS dealers). In general, the SEC is requiring SBS dealers to create and maintain records with respect to security based-swaps in a manner consistent with current recordkeeping and record retention rules that apply to broker-dealers. The SEC is, however, providing alternate compliance mechanisms that will allow an SBS dealer that also is a swap dealer but is not a broker-dealer to comply with Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) rules instead and will allow a non-US SBS dealer to request permission to comply with its home country rules.
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On September 17, the directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) approved a joint notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) with respect to the prudential regulator margin rules for non-cleared swaps. The joint form of the NPR indicates that the other prudential swap regulators (the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Farm Credit Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency) will all be approving the same NPR in the near future.
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