Our global investment management team counsels most of the largest financial institutions on all key issues affecting them, with a particular focus on how they do business and are regulated and how this affects their day-to-day dealings with clients and the financial markets. As part of our work, we advise clients on key regulatory issues, innovation, and development of new products and services and on litigation and enforcement trends. In tandem with our litigation practice, we counsel and represent financial institutions in enforcement defense matters involving the principal US financial regulators, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the National Futures Association (NFA), and other regulatory entities.
Our clients include banks, broker-dealers, investment advisers, financial markets, commodity trading advisors, and commodity pool operators, as well as the principal industry associations for these types of financial institutions, such as the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association, the Investment Company Institute, the Money Management Institute, the Futures Industry Association, the Managed Futures Association, and the Bank Insurance & Securities Association.
The interdisciplinary approach we take to counselling clients combines the knowledge of lawyers familiar with the federal securities laws, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code, commodities regulation, federal and state banking and insurance laws, state securities laws, and non-US securities laws.
Our experience enables us to collaborate with our clients to develop sophisticated and pragmatic solutions to the marketplace and regulatory issues that they confront. We are also able to draw on the experience of our lawyers’ past positions with the assorted regulatory agencies, including the SEC, OCC, CFTC, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, FINRA, and NFA.
Our lawyers advise on the anti-money laundering (AML) rules and regulations, with a focus on issues involving the US Bank Secrecy Act, the US PATRIOT Act, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) regulations. We are particularly well versed in counseling financial institutions in applying and complying with AML laws and regulations. We assist clients with reviewing, drafting, and implementing AML compliance policies and protocols, and we provide training to employees at all levels. Because every company is different, we tailor these programs for clients’ specific business needs.
We have experience with financial institutions’ trade-based money-laundering matters, and their link to multiple OFAC embargo and country sanctions regulations. We also counsel clients on the aspects of sanctioned persons screening, including Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) and blocked parties.
As required by agencies or under the applicable AML regime, we assist clients with filing registrations, reports, and other related documentation with relevant US government agencies. We also assist with establishing and strengthening AML compliance programs and developing systems for maintaining required records. We provide ongoing training to employees about applicable AML regimes, and when necessary, periodically test AML procedures programs.
In today’s highly regulated environment, we advise US and global financial services organizations on major bank and financial regulatory issues affecting their operations. We support the activities of diversified financial services firms in their bank, securities, asset management, and insurance activities, as well as their core internal operations and governance activities. Our work complements the firm’s strengths in securities, asset management and fiduciary, insurance, retirement and employee benefits, and financial services litigation.
We counsel banking and financial services organizations on regulatory application, interpretive, supervisory, examination, compliance, and enforcement issues. Many of our lawyers have experience working at federal regulatory agencies and in senior in-house positions, which allows us to counsel clients on key legislative and regulatory developments. We advise on the requirements and impact of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as the multitude of regulatory activities taking place as a result of Dodd-Frank and other US and global regulatory developments.
Morgan Lewis regularly deals with major bank and financial regulatory agencies. These include, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority and, in the United States, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and other key federal and state financial regulatory agencies.
We routinely work with clients on:
Our investment management lawyers routinely counsel financial market participants on broker-dealer regulation and securities trading. We have experience in market structure, trading, and other regulatory issues, including the regulation of national securities exchanges, electronic communications networks (ECNs), and alternative trading systems (ATSs). Clients turn to us for advice on compliance issues, such as those relating to fixed-income securities and capital markets activities.
Morgan Lewis advises bank and trust company trustees, bank and nonbank investment managers, and other US retirement service providers on new product development. We counsel these clients on establishing and operating collective investment trusts (CITs), Revenue Ruling 81-100 group trusts, and other retirement investment products. We also advise on matters involving bank regulations, ERISA, the SEC, tax, and operational compliance.
We regularly counsel leading financial services firms on fund structures, including collective investment funds and group trusts. Our lawyers draft documentation for these vehicles, paying special attention to legal compliance and risk management, business objectives, market practices, and distribution channels. Our team makes the necessary government filings to establish and maintain these vehicles. In particular, we understand the complicated framework governing bank collective funds, including issues that arise when these funds are advised by affiliated or third-party investment managers.
Working with clients in all facets of the energy, financial services, and derivatives markets, Morgan Lewis lawyers offer transactional, advisory, enforcement, and litigation services in connection with the structuring, offering, and trading of futures, foreign exchange (FX), energy, and derivative products in the United States and abroad. Our work in the energy regulation, investment management, securities enforcement, and securities litigation areas enables us to collaborate with clients and develop sophisticated and pragmatic solutions to marketplace and regulatory issues.
Many of our lawyers have held positions with US regulatory agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), FINRA, CFTC, and SEC. This background enables us to provide valuable insights into regulatory policies and priorities.
Our team works closely with the firm’s derivatives lawyers on transactions involving over-the-counter (OTC) options, swaps, structured notes, and similar instruments. We collaborate with our energy practitioners on enforcement and trading issues involving energy products, including pollution and other emission credits. The principal matters our lawyers handle are:
Our lawyers work in the following areas:
At the core of the investment management industry are investment advisers, who manage mutual funds, pension plans, insurance company separate accounts, institutional separate accounts, and high-net-worth and other private accounts. We represent hundreds of investment advisers, foreign and domestic, of all sizes and types, before the SEC and US state regulators. For these clients, we regularly:
Clients turn to our investment management team for guidance on compliance matters. We help investment company complexes, investment advisers, and broker-dealers develop codes of ethics, insider-trading restrictions, and other compliance policies and procedures. We conduct or help clients conduct self-examinations and internal compliance audits.
Many of our registered investment company and registered investment adviser clients seek our guidance on developing and reviewing their compliance programs. Our approach is tailored to each client’s needs, resources, and staffing. Some of these engagements are multiyear projects for large mutual fund organizations, involving a team of more than 25 lawyers working in secure electronic workrooms to manage workflow. Other engagements are more targeted, spanning a few days or weeks and involving only a handful of lawyers.
The work of our securities industry team spans almost every area of US federal and state securities law. It leverages the skills and knowledge of more than 150 lawyers in our US offices alone, including more than 20 who joined Morgan Lewis following distinguished careers at the SEC. This team of regulatory lawyers and litigators represents leading investment banking and brokerage firms, investment advisers, and mutual fund organizations.
Our lawyers offer a diverse mix of sophisticated Wall Street savvy and veteran regulatory know-how, and our practice has grown steadily to become one of the most substantial in the United States. We draw on the strength and diversity of the firm’s lawyers to assist clients in related areas, such as tax, labor and employment law, employee benefits and ERISA, antitrust, intellectual property, and technology.
Our brokerage clients include many of the most familiar full-service, discount, regional, and online broker-dealers in the United States. In investment management, we advise clients with assets under management that exceed $1 trillion. In broker-dealer and securities markets matters, our lawyers advise on market structure, trading, and other regulatory issues, including the regulation of national securities exchanges, electronic communications networks (ECNs), and alternative trading systems; and compliance issues, such as those relating to fixed-income securities.
We appear before the SEC, FINRA, and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and our litigators have experience with the challenges associated with dispute resolution in securities law matters. We represent clients in stockholder and investor suits; securities-related class actions; SEC and self-regulatory organization investigations and enforcement actions; private proceedings; broker-dealer claims; and actions involving allegations of fraud, tender offers, and proxy contests.
Derivatives litigation is an area of special emphasis—and our lawyers have experience with high-profile cases.