MSRB Regulatory Notice 2020-10 MSRB Provides Resources for Municipal Bond Investors about Potential Effects of COVID-19
Investors who hold municipal bonds may not be aware of the resources available to assist them in understanding how the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic may affect their holdings. As the regulatory organization that safeguards the municipal securities market, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s (MSRB) mission is to protect investors, issuers and the public interest. The MSRB fulfills this mission by establishing rules against fraud and manipulation, ensuring transparency about bond prices, features and risks through its free Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website, and providing objective educational resources. This notice is intended to highlight available MSRB resources for investors and to provide information on where to find COVID-19-related disclosures from issuers.
NASAA Notice of Request For Public Comments on Proposed Model Whistleblower Award and Protection Act
NASAA is seeking public comments on the attached proposed Model Whistleblower Award and Protection Act (the “Act”). The proposed Act draws upon the whistleblower award provisions contained in Section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the SEC’s related rules in Regulation 21F, Indiana Code § 23-19-7, and Utah Code § 61-1-101.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 20-15 FINRA Amends Rules Governing Its Membership Application Program to Incentivize Payment of Arbitration Awards
FINRA amended its Membership Application Program (MAP) rules to create further incentives for the timely payment of arbitration awards by preventing an individual from switching firms, or a firm from using asset transfers or similar transactions, to avoid payment of arbitration awards. The amendments will address situations where: (1) a FINRA member firm hires individuals with pending arbitration claims, where there are concerns about the payment of those claims should they go to award or result in a settlement, and the supervision of those individuals; and (2) a member firm with substantial arbitration claims seeks to avoid payment of the claims should they go to award or result in a settlement by shifting its assets, which are typically customer accounts, or its managers and owners, to another firm and closing down.These changes become effective on September 14, 2020
Securities and Exchange Release No. 33-10786 Amendments to Financial Disclosures about Acquired and Disposed Businesses
The SEC is adopting amendments to our rules and forms to improve their application, assist registrants in making more meaningful determinations of whether a subsidiary or an acquired or disposed business is significant, and to improve the disclosure requirements for financial statements relating to acquisitions and dispositions of businesses, including real estate operations and investment companies. The changes are intended to improve for investors the financial information about acquired or disposed businesses, facilitate more timely access to capital, and reduce the complexity and costs to prepare the disclosure.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 20-14 Sales Practice Obligations With Respect to Oil-Linked Exchange-Traded Products
This Notice reminds firms of their sales practice obligations in connection with oil-linked ETPs, including that recommendations to customers must be based on a full understanding of the terms, features, and risks of the product recommended; communications with the public must be fair and accurate; firms must have reasonably designed supervisory procedures in place to ensure that these obligations are met; and firms that offer oil-linked ETPs must train registered representatives who sell these products about the terms, features and risks of these products.
Securities and Exchange Release No. 34-88890 Amendments to the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit Trail
The SEC is adopting amendments to the national market system plan governing the consolidated audit trail. The amendments impose public transparency requirements on the self-regulatory organizations that are participants in the plan. Under the amendments, plan participants are required to publish and file with the SEC a complete implementation plan for the consolidated audit trail and quarterly progress reports. The amendments also establish financial accountability provisions.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 20-13 FINRA Reminds Firms to Beware of Fraud During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting most aspects of our society and daily lives, as well as the U.S. economy and markets. Events with such profound impact routinely create opportunities for financial fraud. Firms and their associated persons should be aware of and take appropriate measures to address the increased risks and challenges presented during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to new scams focusing on COVID-19, previous scams may also find new life as fraudsters adapt to and exploit recent events and related vulnerabilities, especially those related to the remote working environment.
FINRA warns member firms of a widespread, ongoing phishing campaign that involves fraudulent emails purporting to be from FINRA officers, including Bill Wollman and Josh Drobnyk (see Attachment A). These emails have a source domain name “@broker-finra.org” and request immediate attention to an attachment relating to your firm. In at least in some cases, the emails do not actually include the attachment, in which case they may be attempting to gain the recipient’s trust so that a follow-up email can be sent with an infected attachment or link, or a request for confidential firm information. In other cases, what appears to be an attached PDF file may direct the user to a website which prompts the user to enter their Microsoft Office or SharePoint password. FINRA recommends that anyone who entered their password change it immediately and notify the appropriate individuals in their firm of the incident. The domain of “broker-finra.org” is not connected to FINRA and firms should delete all emails originating from this domain name. In addition, FINRA has requested that the Internet domain registrar suspend services for “broker-finra.org”.
In order to assist member organizations’ efforts to manage their risk, the Exchange proposes to amend its rules to add new Rule 7.19 (Pre-Trade Risk Controls) to establish a set of pre-trade risk controls by which Entering Firms and their designated Clearing Firms may set credit limits and other pre-trade risk controls for an Entering Firm’s trading on the Exchange and authorize the Exchange to take action if those credit limits or other pre-trade risk controls are exceeded. Proposed Rule 7.19(a) would set forth the definitions that would be used for purposes of the Rule.
SR-NYSE-2020-03 New Exchange Rule 46B to Permit the Appointment of Regulatory Trading Officials and Amend Exchange Rule 47 to Permit Regulatory Trading Officials to Review Whether a Bid or Offer is Eligible for Inclusion in the Closing Auction
The Exchange proposes a new Rule 46B to permit the appointment of Regulatory Trading Officials and corresponding amendments to Rule 47 to permit Regulatory Trading Officials to review whether a bid or offer is eligible for inclusion in the Closing Auction. This Amendment No. 1 to SR-NYSE-2020-03 replaces SR-NYSE-2020-03 as originally filed and supersedes such filing in its entirety.
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