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Fund Forum

This issue of Venable's Fund Forum includes the following items:

  • SEC OCIE Reveals 2018 Examination Priorities Letter
  • FINRA 2018 Priorities Letter
  • Texas-Sized Initial Coin Offering Faces Multiple Allegations in SEC Lawsuit
  • SEC Issues Permanent No-Action Assurance to Futures Commission Merchant
  • Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against BitConnect
  • Former Prosecutor Kan Nawaday Joins Venable's New York Office
  • Venable Team at SIFMA C&L Conference in Orlando
checklist and pink highlighter

SEC OCIE Reveals Examination Priorities Letter

The SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) recently announced its 2018 examination priorities. This year, the OCIE examination priorities are largely focused on (1) matters of importance to retail investors, including seniors and those saving for retirement, (2) compliance and risks in critical market infrastructure, (3) FINRA and MSRB, (4) cybersecurity, and (5) anti-money laundering.

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checklist and red marker

FINRA 2018 Priorities Letter

In January, FINRA released its annual Regulatory and Examinations Priorities Letter. As with prior editions, the letter explains the areas of risk and concern that will guide FINRA's examination and regulatory programs for the coming year. The letter gives firms notice of upcoming and ongoing FINRA initiatives and helps firms evaluate how to strengthen their compliance, supervision, and risk management internal controls. In 2018, FINRA's priorities will include a focus on six specific areas: (I) Fraud; (II) High-risk Firms and Brokers; (III) Operational and Financial Risks; (IV) Sales Practice Risks; (V) Market Integrity; and (VI) New Rules.

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wallet, cash, and ethereum coin

Texas-Sized Initial Coin Offering Faces Multiple Allegations in SEC Lawsuit

As they say, everything's bigger in Texas, including initial coin offerings. A Texas federal court recently unsealed a complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against a Texas-based company (the Company) that presents itself as the "world's first decentralized bank" and claims to have provided "the largest ICO to date." Among other things, the Company is accused of engaging in the offering of securities without properly registering with the SEC and defrauding investors in the process.

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stock exchange

SEC Issues Permanent No-Action Assurance to Futures Commission Merchant

On December 19, 2017, the SEC issued a permanent no-action assurance letter in connection with placing assets in the custody of a futures commission merchant (FCM) registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. This no-action relief from the SEC's Division of Investment Management involves the placement and maintenance of cash and/or certain securities by a registered investment company or its custodian in the custody of a FCM or related clearing member for the purposes of meeting certain margin requirements for swaps that are cleared by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

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Bitcoin in hand

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Failed Cryptocurrency Exchange BitConnect

Within a week of shutting down its operations pursuant to cease-and-desist letters from securities regulators, BitConnect, a cryptocurrency lending and exchange platform, also received service of a class action lawsuit filed by some of its investors. The lawsuit also included its U.S.-based directors and promoters. The plaintiffs are represented by the same law firm that filed the recent class action lawsuits against the promotors of the initial coin offerings by Tezos and Giga Watt.

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ANNOUNCEMENT

Former Prosecutor from U.S. Attorney's Office with Investigations and White Collar Defense Experience Joins Venable's New York Office

We're pleased to announce that Kan Nawaday, a former prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, has joined the firm's New York office. Mr. Nawaday focuses his practice on representing corporations and individuals in government and regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, as well as in internal investigations, white collar criminal defense, and complex business litigation matters.

VENABLE AT SIFMA

SIFMA C&L 2018 Annual Seminar

If you are attending SIFMA's annual conference in Orlando, we hope to see you there! Be sure to look out for and connect with Venable's Michael Manley, George Kostolampros, and Jeffrey Stoltzfoos, who will be in attendance. Meet our Financial Services Team.

Register

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