Financial Regulatory Forum

“Big data” tools will improve regulatory oversight, FINRA’s di Florio says

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Feb. 25 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is developing a suite of “big data” information sources and analytics to improve regulatory oversight of securities firms, according to Carlo di Florio, FINRA’s chief risk officer and head of strategy.

Leveraging technology and analytics can make for a “unique moment in regulation [that lets regulators] see things they couldn’t have seen or understood as well before,” di Florio said at an event this week hosted by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association compliance and legal society. (more…)

FINRA exam priorities for 2014 incorporate enterprise wide, risk-based approach

By Nick Paraskeva, for Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Jan.7 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Broker dealers have been put on notice of regulatory priority areas where they will be examined in 2014. The topics seen as posing greatest risk to investors and markets were issued in a letter by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on the first day of the year. They include new areas such as seeing patterns of suspicious activity by representatives, including questioning firms why they hired the persons.

“We encourage firms to use this guidance along with their own analysis to enhance their programs as we will be examining for strong controls and robust compliance efforts in these areas” stated Susan Axelrod, FINRA Executive Vice President, Regulatory Operations, on release of the letter to member firms. (more…)

Groups urge Congress to let SEC charge fees for adviser exams

By Emmanuel Olaoye, Compliance Complete

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - A coalition of groups representing investment advisers and state regulators has asked Congress to support a bill that would let the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to charge investment advisers an annual “user fee” for its exams.

In a letter sent to Congress last week, the coalition said the user fees collected by the SEC would fund the agency’s examinations of registered investment advisers.  (more…)

COLUMN: When cheating lands brokers on the street

By Suzanne Barlyn, Reuters

NEW YORK, July 5 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - One would think that aspiring financial professionals would have learned not to cheat on tests long before setting their sights on Wall Street, but not everyone got that memo.

Every year, some would-be brokers kill their careers by cheating on licensing exams, according to a review of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s disciplinary database. There aren’t very many of them – a handful every year that are not a significant percentage of the 185,000 licensing tests administered by FINRA annually. But their flameouts are colorful.  (more…)

SEC’s Walter says she is open to alternatives to overseeing investment advisers

By Emmanuel Olaoye, Compliance Complete

WASHINGTON, Apr.19 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - There are several ways to ensure adequate examinations investment advisers: by charging investment advisers user fees, getting a bigger budget from Congress or through a self-regulated organization that oversaw investment advisers, SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter said. The important thing is to get on with it.  (more…)

Compliance is today’s slogan for upcoming law graduates, conference speakers say

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Feb.13 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - ”I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? Plastics,” a business executive told a young Dustin Hoffman in the 1967 movie The Graduate.

Today’s one word of advice to a young lawyer could easily be “compliance,” Brooklyn Law School Dean Nick Allard said Friday in opening a symposium on “The growth and importance of compliance in financial firms: meaning and implications.” (more…)

AML again a top priority for broker-dealer exams, FINRA says

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

(Additional reporting by Suzanne Barlyn of Reuters)

NEW YORK, Jan. 17 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Anti-money laundering compliance will again be a focus of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority examinations this year, particularly at broker-dealers with higher-risk business models due to their clients, products and service mix, or locations.

HSBC’s $1.9 billion fine last month highlighted, among other things, the potential AML risks associated with foreign affiliates and the business they transact through their U.S. financial institution affiliates, FINRA said in its 2013 annual regulatory and examination priorities letter(more…)

U.S. brokerage regulator warns of ‘unpleasant surprises’ on ETNs

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, July 11 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the U.S. brokerage regulator, warned investors Tuesday in an alert of the features and risks of exchange-traded notes.

The alert, Exchange-traded notes: avoid unpleasant surprises, listed the risks of certain ETNs and urged investors to carefully investigate before investing in them.  (more…)

Exclusive jurisdiction clauses fall in the face of FINRA proceedings

By Christopher Elias (UK)

LONDON, July 5 (Business Law Currents) – The English courts recently decided that an exclusive jurisdiction clause between Citigroup’s English subsidiary and two corporate vehicles of family trusts belonging to a Saudi Arabian family did not prohibit the Saudi investors from bringing FINRA arbitration proceedings against Citigroup’s U.S. arm.

In Citigroup Global Markets Ltd v Amatra Leveraged Feeder Holdings Ltd, the court was tasked with deciding whether FINRA’s regulatory regime or an English exclusive jurisdiction clause should prevail. The court concluded that Citigroup’s U.S. subsidiary should not be prevented from facing proceedings in the U.S. as the benefit of the exclusive jurisdiction clause applied solely to Citigroup’s English subsidiary. (more…)

U.S. securities regulators focus rulemaking, exams on retirement products

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, July 5 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will return its rulemaking and examination focus to retail sales of retirement products, a Division of Investment Management official told the Insured Retirement Institute, an industry group.

“[T]o better understand the impact of our regulations on market participants, we are working to staff a new examination function within the division, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act,” associate division director Susan Nash said at the IRI government, legal and regulatory conference last week. (more…)

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