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SEC

Coinbase Proposes a New Regulator to Oversee Digital Assets After Feud with SEC

In October 2021, the cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase released a proposal for a regulatory framework that would designate a single regulator for the digital asset markets.  This proposal comes less than a month after Coinbase’s CEO had a public meltdown on Twitter after the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) sent the firm a Wells Notice, a warning of potential litigation, about their planned cryptocurrency lending platform allegedly violating securities regulations.  As the digital asset market grows and the financial institutions involved become more influential, regulators continue to struggle with jurisdictional and definitional questions around the new products.

The Rule 10b5-1 Plan: How Executives Unload Stock Without Fear of Insider Trading Accusations

Many of the most valuable companies in the world today began as small start-ups owned by a few visionary entrepreneurs. As those companies become increasingly valuable, so does the stock held by those founders. It is no secret that much of the wealth amassed by the richest people on the planet is tied up in the stock of their companies. When CEOs and other executives sell a large portion of their incredibly valuable stock, how do they avoid accusations of insider trading? The answer: they implement a Rule 10b5-1 plan.

FINRA Targets High-Risk Brokerage Firms With New Rule

For several years, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has sought to increase oversight of brokers who have a history of misconduct as well as the firms that hire these brokers. In an effort to disincentivize the recruitment of high-risk brokers, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently approved FINRA’s proposed Rule 4111, which subjects “restricted firms” to additional capital obligations and hiring restrictions. Specifically, FINRA Rule 4111 targets brokerage firms that have exceeded thresholds of risk-related or investor-harming disclosures compared to similarly sized peers. The new rule, which will go into effect in 2022, is designed to provide FINRA with greater authority to proactively address the risks posed to investors by rogue brokerage firms.

The SPAC Faces Its First Regulatory Obstacle

As Coronavirus (Covid-19) has slowed the global economy, business owners have been forced to adapt to volatile market conditions and use creativity to raise capital. Investors and financial industry professionals have turned their attention to Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), which have already raised nearly $100 billion in 2021 compared to $83.4 billion during the previous year. A SPAC is a publicly-traded shell company formed by industry professionals such as institutional investors, private equity firms, and hedge funds. Then, SPAC sponsors will seek to complete a merger or acquisition with another private company, which enables the private company to become publicly traded and bypass the initial public offering (IPO) stage. SPACs usually are allowed two years from the IPO date to formalize an acquisition or return the funds to investors.

Lawmakers and Regulators Call for Action After Archegos Meltdown

Last week, the finance industry watched one of the biggest implosions of an investment firm since the 2008 financial crisis. Archegos Capital Management rocked the industry when it was forced to liquidate huge positions in blue-chip companies after some risky investment strategies went south. The financial instruments used in this risky investment strategy are called total return swaps. The Archegos meltdown has lead lawmakers and regulators to call for increased scrutiny of the swaps.

An Update on the Gamestop Frenzy: Calls for Regulation and a Congressional Hearing

Cora Leeuwenburg Associate Editor Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, JD 2022   The controversy surrounding the unprecedented movement by retail investors and Gamestop has not died down in the last month following the stock’s meteoric rise in price and dramatic fall. The wildly volatile stock has lost hedge funds millions and resulted in …
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Securities and Exchange Commission Issues Statement Regarding Climate Change Disclosures

One of President Joe Biden’s promises to America if elected President of the United States was to be more proactive to fix the increasing issue of climate change. Previously, during his tenure as Vice President, in 2010 disclosures were mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that ordered publicly traded companies disclose their climate change related data in their filings to help investors make more informed decisions. More than ten years later, and only a month after President Biden’s inauguration, the SEC released a statement regarding their intentions to revise these disclosure requirements and bring a greater focus to investment decision regarding climate change issues.

Robinhood Fined $65 Million for Misleading Customers

On December 17, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) charged Robinhood Financial, LLC (“Robinhood”) with material misrepresentation and misleading its users about its revenue sources, specifically Robinhood’s receipt of payments from certain principal trading firms for routing its customer orders to them. The SEC charges against Robinhood also relate to certain statements about the execution quality Robinhood achieved for its customers’ orders and Robinhood’s failure to satisfy its duty of best execution. Robinhood agreed to pay $65 million to settle the charges.

One of Wall Street’s Hottest Trends: The SPAC

SPACs have been around for decades and often existed as last resorts for small companies that would have otherwise had trouble raising money on the open market. But they’ve recently become more prevalent because of the extreme market volatility caused, in part, by the global pandemic.

While many companies chose to postpone their IPOs due to the pandemic, others chose the alternate route to an IPO by merging with a SPAC. A SPAC merger allows a company to go public and get a capital influx more quickly than it would have with a conventional IPO.

How a Failing Video Game Store Exposed the Fragility of the Market

Failing video game company, Gamestop has broken the internet this week, but not for anything that they intended to do. Their stock has been the center of controversy after a group of internet investors banded together to outsmart hedge funds at their own game. By causing a hedge fund to short squeeze their investment in Gamestop offerings, they have brought to light the possible need for regulation in the market.