Alan Wolper

Alan focuses his practice exclusively on defending regulatory investigations and enforcement actions brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), and state securities commissioners against brokers, broker-dealers, and investment auditors. He was previously Director of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Atlanta District Office, where he oversaw nearly 600 member firms and thousands of branch offices. Alan also served as a member of the NASD's Department of Enforcement, where he had the primary responsibility for prosecuting hundreds of formal disciplinary actions.

Latest Articles

Reading Reg Notice 19-17 makes me think of the legal arguments that I’ve recently read regarding whether a president can be found guilty of obstructing justice if the actions in question were taken out in the open, for everyone to see. Here, FINRA’s proposed power grab is simply outrageous, but, you got to give them credit, it is certainly being done right out there for everyone to see. It doesn’t make it right, however, no…
I apologize for all the posts this week, but I am traveling and am in a different time zone, so I am awake at hours when, ordinarily, I would be asleep, giving me time to muse.  Anyway, given that, I will not test your willingness to indulge my random thoughts a third time in one week.  But…you ought to be aware of what FINRA did yesterday, when it published Reg Notice 19-17.  As I…
I have written before about the troubling lack of clarity regarding the tangible benefit of self-reporting rule violations to FINRA. While FINRA purports to provide some potential advantage for doing so, it is so awfully loosy-goosy that it remains a relatively uncommon occurrence. That’s why when a case comes down that provides some clear indication (1) that there is, in fact, a benefit of self-reporting, and (2) what that self-reporting must look like to actually…
Most of the time, the cases I write about were some other lawyer’s. In some respects, it’s easier to offer comments when it isn’t my case. I can, hopefully, be more objective, less pissed off (when the result is one I disagree with, of course), and content merely to mine the case for interesting lessons applicable to all my readers. This post, however, is entirely personal. It concerns a case that my colleague and partner,…
Way back in 2006, NASD issued Notice to Members 06-55, which tweaked the Sanction Guidelines to allow not just the size of the firm to be taken into consideration when determining the appropriate sanctions to be meted out, but, more importantly, how well, or how poorly, the firm is doing on its income statement. Specifically, the NTM resulted in a change to the Guidelines that explicitly permitted the consideration of “the amount of the…
I am hardly saying that SEC Regulation S-P is the sexiest of regulations. I mean, has any customer is history actually read one of those exciting statement stuffers that discloses in some dense font a BD’s privacy policy? Likely not, but, nevertheless, it remains that in this day and age, with hacking and phishing and cybersecurity a part of the everyday vernacular, Reg S-P is something that BDs cannot afford to be even slightly unfamiliar…
FINRA came out with a slightly weird Regulatory Notice last week. In a succinct document, barely over two pages, FINRA addressed something that may, or may not, actually be of concern to anyone. In short, Regulatory Notice 19-10 states FINRA’s position on what a broker-dealer is supposed to tell the customers of a registered representative who “departs” the firm…at least those customers who bother to ask. According to FINRA, the reason it has chosen to…
I have been busy the last month getting ready for a big arbitration, and attending the first week of what looks like is going to be a four- or five-week slog when all is said and done. So, I am just catching up on some recent developments, and mulling over what might be of interest to readers of this blog. I debated discussing the arbitration itself, and some of its more surreal moments, but I…
If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know that over my last few posts, I have been talking about an increasingly visible effort by FINRA to turn its regulatory eye from rogue brokers – who have been an irritant to FINRA and NASD for decades – to rogue firms (my term, not FINRA’s).  It started off with a the casual dropping of an odd phrase – “high-risk firms” – in an…
I told you two weeks ago in my blog post that this would happen. I told you that when Robert Cook announced the topics to be taken up at the February/March FINRA Board meeting in Boca Raton, he slipped and used the new phrase “high-risk firms.” Well, in yesterday’s announcement about what actually took place at that meeting, all mystery has been removed about FINRA’s intent. Indeed, it is now undisputable that FINRA is expanding…