Internal Control Failures Cost MetLife $10 million in SEC Settlement

MetLife, Inc. has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $10 million in order to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) that it violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws.

SEC Proposes Updated Definition of Accredited Investor, Qualified Institutional Buyer

Commissioner Lee Releases Statement Cautioning on Proposal’s Risks to Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) voted to propose amendments to its definition of an “accredited investor,” which, if approved, will allow more investors access to invest in private offering opportunities.

How to Avoid Legal Problems and Foster a Culture of Regulatory Compliance

You’re the CEO and are about to onboard a new advisor at your financial advisory firm. You want to make a lasting impression and set the proper tone.

Inside the SEC’s Proposed New Rules for Financial Advisor Advertising

Advisory firms are encountering more competition than ever when it comes to building their client base. Many firms would make an additional spend on marketing and advertising strategies (including use of solicitors and social media to attract younger clients) but often are concerned about SEC regulatory scrutiny and limitations imposed on registrants.

A Costly Failure to Follow Written Policies and Procedures

On November 22, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") ordered Channing Capital Management, LLC ("Channing"), a registered investment adviser located in Illinois, to pay a $50,000 civil penalty for failure to enforce its own written policies and procedures. This specific case underscores the importance of following the safeguards you put in place to protect all clients at all times.

California Governor Signs CCPA Amendments, Privacy Related Bills into Law

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed five bills that will directly amend the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Signed into law by then-Governor Jerry Brown on June 28, 2018, the CCPA was designed to notify consumers that they can learn about their personal data that is being collected and sold or distributed to third-parties or affiliates and be given the opportunity to opt-out. The effective date of the CCPA is January 1, 2020, and the enforcement date will be on July 1, 2020.

SEC Proposes Exemptions to Application Procedures

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has announced that it voted to establish an expedited review process for Investment Company Act applications that are substantially identical to recent precedent. Intended to make the application process more efficient by streamlining the process for routine applications and reduce the likelihood that applicants would need to file amendments to applications in response to staff comments.

SEC Requests Proposals to Innovate Markets for Thinly Traded Securities

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) is considering implementation of regulatory changes in order to improve secondary market structures for thinly traded securities. It has announced a request for exchanges, issuers, investors, or other market participants to submit proposals that will facilitate market structure innovations that would meaningfully enhance trading.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP pays $7.9 to Settle SEC Improper Professional Conduct, Auditor Independence Charges

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP has agreed to pay over $7.9 million to settle charges brought by The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC charges alleged that PwC, and its partner Brandon Sprankle, had engaged in improper professional conduct on 19 engagements on behalf of 15 audit SEC-registered issuers and violating auditor independence by performing non-audit services during an audit engagement.

HCR Advisors Settles SEC Charges on Failure to Supervise and Implement Compliance-Related Policies and Procedures

HCR Wealth Advisors agreed to a cease-and-desist order, a $220,000 penalty, and a $328,912 payment to its harmed clients in order to settle charges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC complaint alleged that HCR had failed to reasonably supervise and implement its own compliance-related policies and procedures in response to fraudulent actions by one of its former investment advisors. 

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