On Sept. 30 FINRA filed with the SEC a proposed rule change, published in the Federal Register on Oct. 6, to amend FINRA Rule 0150 to apply 2121 (Fair Prices and Commissions) and its Supplementary Material .01 (Mark-Up Policy) and .02 (Additional Mark-Up Policy for Transactions in Debt Securities, Except Municipal Securities) to exempted securities that are government securities. Comments are due by Oct. 27.
On Oct. 2 FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 15-35 announcing that the SEC had approved amendments to FINRA rules that lower the evidentiary standard to impose a temporary cease and desist order (TCDO); create a new expedited proceeding for repeated failures to comply with a TCDO or a permanent cease and desist order (PCDO); harmonize the provisions governing how documents are served in temporary cease and desist and expedited proceedings; clarify FINRA’s authority to impose a PCDO; and ease FINRA’s administrative burden in temporary cease and desist proceedings. The amendments become effective on Nov. 2, 2015.
On Oct. 6 FINRA announced that it had filed with the SEC a proposed rule change to merge its dispute resolution subsidiary, FINRA Dispute Resolution, Inc. (FINRA Dispute Resolution) into and with its regulatory subsidiary, FINRA Regulation, Inc. (FINRA Regulation). FINRA is pursuing this merger to align its corporate structure with its operational realities and reduce administrative duplication associated with maintaining distinct corporate entities. The SEC will seek public comment on the proposal for 21 days after publication in the Federal Register.
On Sept. 30 FINRA announced in Regulatory Notice 15-34 that the SEC approved the adoption of FINRA Rule 2272 (Sales and Offers of Sales of Securities on Military Installations) to govern sales and offers of sales of securities by firms on the premises of any military installation to members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their dependents. The rule becomes effective March 30, 2016.
On Oct. 7 the CFPB announced that it is considering proposing rules that would ban consumer financial companies from using arbitration clauses to block consumers from suing in groups to obtain relief. The CFPB provided an outline of the proposals under consideration, a list of questions on which it is seeking input from small business representatives providing feedback to the Small Business Review Panel and a March 2015 report on arbitration prepared by the CFPB pursuant to a mandate under the Dodd-Frank Act.
On Oct. 2 the FDIC issued a Financial Institutions Letter providing guidance on its initial supervisory expectations in connection with its examinations for compliance with the TILA–RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID Rule) effective Oct. 3, 2015. According to the FDIC, its examiners will use interagency examination procedures to evaluate for compliance with the TRID Rule. During initial examinations, examiners will take into account the scope and scale of changes necessary to achieve effective compliance. Examiners will expect that good faith efforts have been made to timely comply. The FDIC’s TRID Rule approach will be similar to its approach to initial examinations for compliance with the ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage rules.
Enforcement & Litigation
On Oct. 6 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) invalidated the 2000/520 European Commission Decision that established US-EU Safe Harbor. The decision has an immediate effect on any organizations that relied on Safe Harbor protections, leaving them exposed to claims that their data transfers are unlawful. Goodwin Procter’s Privacy & Cyber Security practice shares in its client alert mechanisms that companies can use to combat disruptions that Safe Harbor’s invalidation may cause. The firm will be holding an informational webinar to provide more insights into the decision and its practical impacts on companies on Friday, Oct. 9, at 2 p.m. EDT.
Goodwin Procter’s Privacy & Cyber Security practice issued a client alert on the California Attorney General’s recent settlement with website operator Houzz which includes, for the first time, a requirement to hire a privacy officer. This step coincides with an increase in privacy-related enforcement from the California Attorney General, who has far-reaching authority over companies doing business online.