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DFS Issues Online Lending Report

Posted on July 13, 2018 at 10:20 AM

NY's Department of Financial Services (DFS) released a report on online lenders. The report is the result of a bill signed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on June 1, 2017, requiring DFS to study online lending in New York State and submit a report of its findings. The bill requires that the report include, among other things, an analysis of online lenders operating in New York, including their methods of operations, lending practices, including interest rates and costs charged, the risks and ben...

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DOJ Enforcement Actions - Week of July 9th

Posted on July 11, 2018 at 8:25 AM

Recent Department of Justice enforcement actions:

Cypriot National Sentenced to Prison for Money Laundering
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Pennsylvania Man Indicted for Trafficking Turtles
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Electrical Engineer Found Guilty for Intending to Convert Trade Secrets from Defense Contractor
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

District Court Orders Minnesota Dairy Farm and Owners to Stop Distributing Adulterated Meat in Interstate Commerce
Monday, July 9, 201...

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Supreme Court Widens Reach of Sales Tax for Online Retailers

Posted on June 25, 2018 at 8:30 AM

The ever-expanding online shopping in recent years, drawn by the promise of low prices, wide selection and buy-from-home convenience. It doesn't hurt in having another edge: Many of those sales were, in effect, tax-free.

The Supreme Court moved to close that loophole, ruling that internet retailers can be required to collect sales taxes even in states where they have no physical presence. The decision, in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc., was a victory for brick-and-mortar businesses who be...

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House Passes Financial Regulatory Reform Bill

Posted on May 23, 2018 at 7:55 AM

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act passed on a bipartisan basis in the House and was previously passed by the Senate. Now that identical legislation has passed both houses of Congress, the bill will go to President Trump for his signature, which is expected in the coming days. Once effective, the new law will provide modest regulatory relief to regional and community banks, and some of the more onerous requirements imposed by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform ...

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Workers' Rights Dealt a Blow

Posted on May 21, 2018 at 5:10 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court sharply restricted the rights of American workers to join with others in challenging their company for allegedly violating federal laws on wages, hours or civil rights. The court's opinion was delivered in the Epic Systems vs. Lewis where the majority said Congress had decreed that arbitration clauses must be enforced.

The 5-4 vote sided with the Trump administration lawyers on two key issues.

  • First, workers do not have a right to go to court to sue ove...
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FINRA Issues Investor Alert - Volatility Investing Not for the Faint of Heart

Posted on May 6, 2018 at 3:20 PM

FINRA issued an Investor Alert advising investors of basics regarding volatility-linked investment products. These include:

  • Make sure you fully understand the investment and only invest what you can afford to lose.
  • Virtually all volatility-linked ETPs are complex, so read the prospectus—the whole thing—and read the information about risks twice.
  • If you buy securities on margin, keep the following in mind:
  1. You can lose more funds than you...
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SEC Launches Additional Investor Protection Search Tool

Posted on May 4, 2018 at 8:45 AM

SEC launched an additional online search feature that enables investors to research whether the person trying to sell them investments has a judgment or order entered against them in an enforcement action. The new tool is intended to assist the public in making informed investment decisions and avoiding financial fraud.The SEC Action Lookup for Individuals – or SALI– will help identify registered and unregistered individuals who have been parties to past SEC enforcement actions an...

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SEC Proposes to Enhance Protections and Preserve Choice for Retail Investors in Their Relationships With Investment Professionals

Posted on April 19, 2018 at 8:55 AM

The SEC proposed a package of rulemakings and interpretations designed to enhance the quality and transparency of investors’ relationships with investment advisers and broker-dealers while preserving access to a variety of types of advice relationships and investment products. The proposed Regulation Best Interest, a broker-dealer would be required to:

  • act in the best interest of a retail customer when making a recommendation of any securities transaction or investment strate...
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SEC Unveils Public Service Announcement to Promote Background Checks on Investor.gov

Posted on April 16, 2018 at 5:05 PM

The SEC unveiled a public service announcement (PSA) to encourage investors to check the background of their investment professional by using the free search tool on Investor.gov before investing. Investor.gov, the SEC’s website dedicated to individual investors, provides investors with tools and resources to help them invest wisely and avoid fraud. SEC Jay Clayton stated that “Investor education is an important line of defense against fraud and is critical to our efforts to both...

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FINRA Target Exam Letter - VIX-Linked Product Review

Posted on April 10, 2018 at 1:50 PM

FINRA is conducting a review with respect to products linked to the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index (VIX). The review will focus on the supervisory processes followed by the firm to identify and mitigate sales practice risks associated with recommendations to non-institutional purchasers of VIX-linked products (VIX-linked Products) including, but not limited to, 

  • unsuitable recommendations,
  • misrepresentations, and 
  • appropriateness of...
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