LATEST REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS IMPACTING
THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY
The SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance recently posted new compliance and disclosure interpretations concluding that any registered broker-dealer acting as an authorized participant (AP) for any ActiveShares exchange-traded fund (ETF) may rely on the Commission’s disaggregation guidance to separately report ownership of securities acquired in a confidential brokerage account (Confidential Account) with a nonaffiliated brokerage firm (AP Representative), for the benefit of the AP.
On December 14, 2022, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a fundamental restructuring of the US equity markets in the form of two rule amendments and one new rule proposal (the Equity Market Proposals). In addition, the SEC proposed new Regulation Best Execution (Proposed Regulation Best Ex) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act). The comment period for each rule proposal will remain open until the later of March 31, 2023, or 60 days after the applicable proposing release is published in the Federal Register.
Just shy of a month since FTX declared bankruptcy, the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Division of Corporation Finance (Division or staff) published informal guidance on how public companies could be asked to address the possible impact of financial distress in the cryptoasset market. The guidance includes a “sample” crypto-specific comment letter focused on disclosure that public companies should consider providing in filings made under the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act) and Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act), as applicable.

FINRA recently filed a proposed rule change with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on November 12, 2021 that would seek to once again delay the effective date of changes to FINRA Rule 4210 that were previously implemented on December 15, 2016. The amendments were supposed to become effective on January 26, 2022 and the proposed changes would move the effective date to April 26, 2022.

FINRA filed a proposed rule change with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on August 26, 2021 to delay the effective date of changes to FINRA Rule 4210 that were previously implemented on December 15, 2016.
An August 31 memorandum issued by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), an arm of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within the Executive Branch, could dramatically change the way agencies handle civil and administrative enforcement proceedings. The memorandum directs covered agencies to provide greater due process to individuals and companies under investigation and reemphasizes the principle that the burden of proof of a violation rests solely with the government. The memorandum was issued to implement the directives contained in Section 6 of Executive Order 13924, Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery (issued May 19, 2020). In relevant part, the executive order directed agency heads to revise agency procedures and practices in light of “the principles of fairness in administrative enforcement and adjudication.”
The virtual currency Bitcoin has been a hot topic in FinReg for some time, but in recent weeks mainstream interest in Bitcoin has grown in light of the approaching “halving” or “halvening.” So what is the “halvening” and why does it matter from a regulatory perspective?
Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic continue to monitor and address cryptoasset and distributed ledger technology activities. We recently posted on the guidance issued by the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network on cryptocurrencies and in another post touched upon differences in the regulatory treatment of cryptoassets across jurisdictions. Today we report on two new developments relating to the treatment of cryptoassets by UK and US regulators.
In its continued efforts to learn what broker-dealers and their employees are doing in the digital asset space, FINRA has effectively reissued a regulatory notice requesting that broker-dealers keep FINRA apprised of their digital asset activities.
On July 8, the staffs of the Division of Trading and Markets (TM) of the US Securities and Exchange Commission and of the Office of General Counsel of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. issued a joint statement on broker-dealer custody of digital assets that are also securities (Joint Statement).