Amit Shah

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This week, the CFTC approved a NFA Interpretative Notice that prohibits a Member from accepting credit card payments from customers to fund retail forex accounts.  The NFA recently reviewed how customers fund their retail forex accounts and found that customers overwhelmingly funded their trading accounts using a credit card.  The NFA noted that credit cards permit easy access to borrowed funds and the highly volatile nature of the forex and futures markets create a significant…
The Dodd-Frank Act directed the SEC to study whether broker-dealers should be held to a fiduciary duty standard rather than the lower “suitability” standard.  Advocates for the fiduciary standard claim that customers are often under the misconception that they are dealing with a professional obligated to put their interests first.  Many broker-dealers have argued that the creation of the new standard would increase compliance and liability costs and could end up hurting lower and middle…
In the wake of several high profile failures of futures market participants, the NFA and others recently completed a study of how customer asset protection insurance (“CAPI”) would work in the futures industry.  The CAPI program would provide additional customer asset protection and limit the risk of loss to customers.  The study found that insurers were not in favor of individual futures customers or FCMs on behalf of their customers purchasing CAPI directly from primary…
SEC Chairman Mary Jo White recently stated at a Senate Banking Committee hearing that the SEC was examining whether the insider trading rules should be expanded to include the commodities markets.  White’s statements were made in response to questioning about the role of several large banks in the commodities market.  Insider trading is enforced in the equities market by the antifraud provisions but those provisions do not apply to the commodities market.  White’s comments were…
By:  Alaap Shah Most health care companies are aware of their central repositories of electronic protected health information (“e-PHI”).  Unfortunately, e-PHI often leaks out of central repositories and exists in a variety of “hidden” places.  This data leakage can create real headaches for health care companies, and can lead to violations of privacy and security laws. Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) enforced against a health plan
Much to the disappointment of brokers, the SEC recently approved a proposed rule that allows FINRA to publicly release copies of any disciplinary complaint or decision it issues, including the names of the parties involved.  Prior to approval of the rule, complaints appeared in summary format on FINRA’s BrokerCheck web portal.  Now, unredacted complaints will be available to the public. In announcing the rule, the SEC stated that the rule promotes transparency and greater access to…
For decades, the SEC allowed defendants to enter into a settlement agreements where they neither admitted nor denied any alleged wrongdoing.  However, in response to political pressure from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), who asked the SEC whether the SEC’s neither-admit-nor-deny settlement policy should be changed to better make use of the SEC’s leverage in the settlement process, the SEC announced that it would be modifying the policy.  Last year, the SEC revised its policy to…
This has been the week of scandals.  With political forces, lobbyist and lots of deep pockets, our government is a breeding ground for scandals.  The SEC has certainly not been immune.  A few years ago, the SEC made headlines because several of its employees were watching pornography during working hours.  Recently, the former chief inspector in the Inspector General’s office filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging he was terminated because he raised concerns over two senior…
There are many reasons a healthcare entity dealing with protected health information (“PHI”) should conduct a risk analysis.  First and foremost, if conducted properly, a risk analysis should identify PHI-containing systems, assess vulnerabilities of those systems, evaluate and prioritize risks to those systems, and assist in developing mitigation strategies to safeguard the systems.  These on-going efforts can help ensure adequate protection of patients’ health information. Second, conducting a risk analysis has been required by HIPAA…
I do not envy any attorney who attempts plead a Section 10b-5 claim.  Courts throughout the country have made pleading scienter extremely difficult, and the benefit of any doubt favors the defendants.  Under the PSLRA, a plaintiff must plead a strong interference of scienter by alleging sufficient facts to show that the defendant had both motive and opportunity to commit fraud and/or facts sufficient to show that there is strong circumstantial evidence of intentional or…