Financial Regulatory Forum

Interview: After SAC, corporate monitor says what makes effective compliance programs

By Emmanuel Olaoye, Compliance Complete

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Last Monday’s announcement that the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors will pay $1.8 billion and hire a compliance monitor to settle insider trading charges highlighted the importance of outside compliance monitors in modern financial services enforcement.

SAC pled guilty on Friday to criminal fraud charges as part of a $1.8 billion deal with the Department of Justice to resolve a decade-long investigation into insider trading at the firm.  (more…)

Gupta insider case puts focus on monitoring board members, financial-crisis challenges

Rajat GuptaBy Julie DiMauro and Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, June 18 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The insider-trading conviction of Rajat Gupta, a former McKinsey group chairman and a-list board member, had federal prosecutors and securities regulators glowing. But companies face stiff challenges protecting their boards from breaches confidentiality by directors and the reputational and other damages that ensue, consultants and lawyers said.

The conviction also draws a contrast with the relative lack of high-level prosecutions stemming from the 2008 financial crisis, which analysts said was rooted in practices harder to establish a case on.  (more…)

Convicted inside trader Bauer warns others to “think harder” before breaking the law

By Emmanuel Olaoye

NEW YORK, (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - A former registered representative who was convicted last year of participating in a $37 million insider-trading scheme on Tuesday warned would-be securities law violators to think twice before breaking the law.

Garrett Bauer, a 44-year-old day trader, pled guilty in December to participating in the scheme, which lasted more than 15 years, as part of a three-man ring that included lawyer Matthew Kluger and middleman Kenneth Robinson. (more…)

Compensatory penalties, hedge-fund insider cases mark SEC enforcement trends

By Nick Paraskeva

NEW YORK, March 14 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission wants more power to fine firms and individuals for fraud and market abuses, in the face of tougher public scrutiny and judicial opposition to recent settlements. While the agency has been imposing stiffer penalties, the amount remains constrained by the agency’s current authority, said George Canellos SEC New York Regional Office Director.

Canellos was speaking as part of a panel last week on trends in financial enforcement and securities litigation after Dodd-Frank. The panel was organized by NYU Stern Business School and NERA Economic Consulting. (more…)

Funds auditing expert network relationships, asking for guidance

By Rachel Wolcott

NEW YORK, Feb. 3 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Fund managers and investment firms are auditing their expert network relationships to ensure they do not breach insider trading rules. While many are reinforcing their rules and policies around these relationships, the fund industry has sought additional guidance from the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and its international counterparts.

The Galleon Case in 2010 started the industry’s self-examination of expert networks’ role in insider trading, and last week the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) reinvigorated the issue with a £7.2 million fine given to David Einhorn and his Greenlight Capital fund.  (more…)

UK insider trading fine against Einhorn a non-starter in U.S., experts say

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, Jan. 27 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The circumstances that led to UK trading-abuse penalties against U.S. fund manager Greenlight Capital and its portfolio manager David Einhorn probably would not have led to a similar case in the United States, securities lawyers told Thomson Reuters.

The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) this week fined Greenlight Capital, a U.S. fund manager, and David Einhorn, its portfolio manager, for selling shares after receiving a tip that the issuer was planning an offering that would dilute the fund’s position.  (more…)

Einhorn/Greenlight Capital fine highlights duty for investors to seek absolute clarity over inside information

By Martin Coyle and Alex Robson

LONDON/NEW YORK, (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A decision by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) to fine hedge fund manager David Einhorn and his Greenlight Capital fund 7.3 million pounds ($11.5 million) has highlighted the need for professional investors to ascertain clearly what constitutes inside information, securities lawyers said. The FSA said that it fined Einhorn 3.64 million pounds and Greenlight Capital 3.65 million pounds for using inside information that he obtained from a broker before selling shares in a UK public company in 2009. Einhorn’s is the biggest scalp by far of the FSA’s renewed determination to punish market manipulation as part of its “credible deterrence” policy.

The regulator said that Einhorn learned from a telephone conversation with the broker that British pub company Punch Taverns was on the verge of a significant equity fundraising, prompting the New York-based financier to sell down his holdings before an anticipated fall in the shares. (more…)

Taking on trading desk risk: the lessons of UBS and MF Global

Traders work at their desks in front of the DAX indexBy Rachel Wolcott

LONDON/NEW YORK, Nov. 22 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – When the young UBS trader Kweku Adoboli turned himself in after allegedly having lost $2.3 billion on the Swiss bank’s delta one desk, many asked how such a huge loss could have happened without anyone knowing. The short answer was, in part, that Adoboli’s back-office experience gave him inside knowledge which permitted him to game UBS’ control systems and hide the fraud. The same excuse was trotted out to explain Jérôme Kerviel’s $6.8 billion loss at Société Générale in 2008, but it must surely take more than a stint in the bank office to fool banks’ risk controls systems.

Giorgio Questa, visiting professor in the faculty of finance at Cass Business School in London, said: “Banks have not understood that they will have accidents if they don’t come to terms with risk controls. It’s a question of incompetence. It’s completely clear [in the UBS case] that people weren’t doing their jobs.” (more…)

Exchange traded funds’ growth raises multiple regulatory issues

By  Patrick Conroy, James Overdahl, Robert Patton and Raymund Wong; NERA Consulting, Thomson Reuters Accelus contributing authors. The views expressed are their own.

NEW YORK, Oct. 19 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Exchange-traded fund (ETF) strategies continue to increase in scope, involving active management and more sophisticated financial instruments. The increasing flexibility and versatility of ETFs have been accompanied by claims by regulators and others of destabilizing effects on markets and potential for abuse by market professionals. Moreover, the suitability of ETFs for retail investors and even institutions has become a source of greater concern. Furthermore, the size of the ETF market has more than tripled by number of ETFs, and more than doubled by net dollar value of assets, over the past four years, as you can see from this chart. (more…)

U.S. SEC warns brokers over market access, sub-accounts in debut “risk alert”


By Stuart Gittleman and Brett Wolf

NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an unexpected warning to broker-dealers to supervise trading by customers with direct market access, especially customers that trade using master- and sub-accounts.

The notice came in the first in a continuing series of risk alerts the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) staff expects to issue. The staff did not say whether OCIE found related deficiencies, or at what level, in recent exams, or in reviewing the findings of recent exams by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  (more…)

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