Articles Tagged with CFTC

One of the most significant provisions of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act is its elimination of the general solicitation ban currently contained in Rule 502 for Rule 506 offerings sold only to “accredited investors.” As a result, hedge funds will be able to advertise to investors through the internet, mass mailings, and other media. Previously hedge funds have been banned from soliciting or advertising their private offerings to the general public. This prohibition has created confusion among hedge fund managers because of uncertainty about the meaning of “general solicitation.”

The JOBS Act requires the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to eliminate the ban on general solicitation and advertising as long as all purchasers are either “accredited investors” or “qualified institutional investors.” An “accredited investor” includes an individual whose net worth is at least $1 million, excluding the value of his/her primary residence or who meets certain income criteria. We have previously discussed the definition of “accredited investor” in Financial Advisers Should Note More Restrictive Accredited Investor Definition. A “qualified institutional investor” includes companies that manage a minimum at $100 million in assets. Under the JOBS Act, the SEC must adopt rules to eliminate the ban on advertising for an offering by a private issuer within 90 days.
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The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) showed this week that it may be increasing scrutiny of firms in connection with customer funds. This may be a result of the MF Global collapse last fall, in which the firm had misplaced more than $1 billion in customer funds. Since then, the CFTC has adopted stricter rules designed to better ensure the segregation of client funds from firm money.

On March 13, the CFTC brought numerous enforcement actions against firms to show that it plans to monitor firms’ treatment of customer funds more closely. These actions come during the same week in which the Futures Industry Association conference in Boca Raton was held. A former chief trial attorney for the CFTC, Allison Lurton, stated it has used trade conferences in the past as a means to drive home a point, so it may be no coincidence that the CFTC waited until the week of the conference to bring disciplinary actions. She stated, “They want to make sure that they’re sending the message to the market that they’re still on the beat and serious about protecting customer funds.”
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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a joint proposed rule and guidelines to help protect investors from identity theft enacted by Title X of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This proposal currently does not apply to registered investment advisers. The SEC has recognized that registered investment advisers are unlikely to hold transaction accounts and thus would not qualify as a “financial institution.” The SEC is requesting comments on the proposed rule asking whether the rule should “omit investment advisers or any other SEC-registered entity from the list of entities covered by the proposed rule?” When the proposal is published in the federal register there will be a 60-day comment period.

Section 1088 of the Dodd-Frank Act transferred authority over parts of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to the SEC and the CFTC. The provisions amended section 615(e) by adding the CFTC and SEC to a list of federal agencies required to create identity theft regulations. The purpose of an identity prevention program is to detect, prevent and mitigate identity theft.
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The Obama administration released a proposed budget last week that will boost the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) budget for the next fiscal year. The SEC claims the need for an increased budget stems from the mandatory creation of 100 rules which is required by the Dodd-Frank Act and the need to hire new examiners to regulate the market more efficiently. The proposed budget would increase the SEC’s funding by 18.5 percent from $1.32 billion to $1.57 billion.

Prior to the release of the Obama administration budget, the SEC submitted a budget request which stated that the new budget would allow for 222 new examiners. That request estimated that in 2013 it will be responsible for examining 10,000 advisers with $44 trillion in assets under management. Currently, it only has 10 examiners per $1 trillion in assets under management, a decrease since 2005 when it had 19 examiners for every $1 trillion in assets under management. The SEC is capable of reviewing only eight percent of registered advisers each year. Investment advisers have also shown a preference to be regulated by the SEC as opposed to FINRA or another self regulatory authority (SRO), as we discussed in a previous blog, BCG Report Claims FINRA Cost Will Exceed SEC Cost as RIA SRO.
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