5 Common Compliance Mistakes

When I was a regulator, we would meet each week to discuss the cases being considered for Enforcement referrals. It was surprising how often the same types of cases would come before us. These were not always headline grabbing, but they were avoidable items that came up over and over again. I thought it might… READ MORE

Effective Remote Testing

Remote work is the current normal.  Since March, Oyster has led conversions for clients without ever being onsite, started new businesses with client’s we’ve never met in person, and completed virtual exams.  For years, some or all our testing has been conducted remotely depending on the client’s needs.  For the last four months, all of… READ MORE

Lessons from Regulatory Notice 20-16: Transition to Remote Work and Remote Supervision

FINRA recently released a regulatory notice to help firms understand how their peers are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.  In this Regulatory Notice (Notice), the FINRA staff shared certain observations based on discussions with member firms about steps taken to transition personnel to a remote work environment.  The observations were not offered as recommended practices… READ MORE

Remote Supervision in the Pandemic World

The SEC and FINRA have long held that broker-dealers and investment advisers are required to supervise their employees’ conduct in order to prevent and detect violations of the securities laws.  Moreover, the regulators have emphasized that remote or offsite offices and employees require particularly vigilant supervision. Regulators expect both offsite and onsite monitoring of offices… READ MORE

NASAA & FINRA Reports Point to Regulatory Expectations for Heightened Supervision

FINRA’s 2019 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter was released last week. While the letter’s second paragraph lists areas of focus which are detailed throughout the report, the third paragraph includes a brief statement about how FINRA will focus on risk related to associated persons with a “problematic regulatory history”.  Where there was not a… READ MORE

FINRA Notice 19-04 – 529 Share Class Self-Report Initiative

On January 28th, 2019 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released Regulatory Notice 19-04, calling attention to FINRA concerns that firms may have failed to reasonably supervise share class selection in 529 plans.  Specifically,  customers may have  purchased an “inappropriate” share class. FINRA encourages firms to review their controls and determine if any clients were… READ MORE

Municipal Advisors Warned About Compliance Obligations

On November 7, 2017 the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a risk alert announcing it had conducted 110 exams of municipal advisors.  The examinations evaluated compliance with regulatory obligations including registration, statutory fiduciary standard of care, fair dealing, record keeping, and supervision. The staff observed that municipal advisors were “generally unfamiliar… READ MORE