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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…
My partner, Ken Berg, writes about his recent meeting with the NCLA, a group that anyone who has an administrative practice should be familiar with.  –  Alan I had the privilege of being invited to attend in Washington, D.C., on February 28, 2019, the inaugural panel discussion hosted by a relatively new nonprofit civil rights organization, the New Civil Liberties Alliance (“NCLA”). What distinguishes NCLA from most civil rights organizations is that it represents business…
Yesterday, FINRA sent a seemingly innocuous memo to member firms giving a brief outline of the subjects that its Board will take up at its meeting this week in sunny Boca Raton, Florida. (Wait, the Board isn’t meeting in Washington, as it normally does, but, rather, in south Florida? Oh, right, it’s February. Much better chance of securing full attendance.) Buried in the brief message from President and CEO Robert Cook was this sentence: “The…
Yesterday, two of my colleagues here at Ulmer, Fran Goins and Michael Hoenig, published an article in @BLaw Insight in response to a recent report by FINRA outlining the best practices for BDs to deal with cyber threats.  Since this is undoubtedly a subject of considerable interest to many of you, I wanted to share it right away.  Click here to link to their excellent article.  – Alan…
I have been waiting for a while to write about this issue, since it arose in an Enforcement case I handled for a client, and I wanted the matter to run its full course at FINRA before I started throwing stones. Sadly, there are so many things I could complain about here. The fact that the entire case derived from my client’s supposed failure to abide by interim restrictions that FINRA imposed in connection with…
Does FINRA have jurisdiction over me? This is a question that I regularly field at the outset of regulatory engagements. My answer differs depending on a number of factors, including the nature of a person’s role and duties at a firm, his or her registration status, when the alleged misconduct occurred, whether he or she is still associated with a firm, and when the association ended. This post outlines some of the basics on FINRA’s…
The securities industry’s concern over the aging of the U.S. population, specifically, aging investors, has, apparently, reached a fever pitch. Yesterday in New York, SIFMA hosted its “Senior Investor Protection Conference – One Year Later: FINRA Rules 2165 and 4512,” and, for a securities conference, it received pretty extensive news coverage. I saw at least two articles published today that discussed what transpired, and both stressed the same underlying points: first, abuse of elders is…
About a year ago, the SEC offered investment advisors the unique opportunity to report themselves to the SEC if they sold mutual funds to their clients that offered a lower priced share class than the class actually selected by the advisor, but failed adequately to disclose the conflict of interest that created.  For those advisors willing to self-report under the Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative – and pay their customers whatever excess fees they paid…
In what has become an annual, but hardly exciting – I mean, it’s not like anxiously awaiting the day that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training – tradition, with the turning of the calendar to the new year, FINRA has once again released a letter announcing what it deems to be its priorities for the upcoming examination season. FINRA claims to have tried something new this year, “by focusing primarily on those topics that…
It is not a wise career move for a registered rep to leave his broker-dealer – thereby abandoning his customers, and affording competitors the opportunity to make his customers their own – and then to begin the long, expensive, and uncertain process of forming a FINRA-registered broker-dealer. Common sense, principles of fundamental fairness, and good old-fashioned capitalism warrant that a rep, while registered with another broker-dealer, be able to form his own broker-dealer (or RIA…