FINRA targets firm culture, New York legislature makes major changes to campaign finance laws, and more in this edition of Fund Forum

4 min

This issue of Venable's Fund Forum provides a discussion on firm culture, guidance to funds, managers, and owners on changes to New York's campaign finance laws, comments and feedback on the present state of investing in Brazil, and further updates on the 421-a property tax exemption to investors and lenders interested in the NYC real estate market.

Defining Culture: Can Firm Culture Be Regulated?

Firm culture has long been a target of regulators of the financial services industry as the culprit in many scandals. In that regard, in its 2016 Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter, FINRA again identifies firm culture as the cause of systemic breakdowns in the financial services industry. FINRA follows up with its "culture survey" and its intended application of behavioral psychology to assessing firm culture. For more on FINRA's new approach to assessing firm culture, click here.

New York Imposes New Rules on Super PACs, Advocacy Groups, and Political Consultants

The New York legislature has passed major changes to New York’s campaign finance laws. Many of the changes are focused on "independent expenditures," which are communications by groups other than candidates and parties. Funds, managers, and owners should know that the new law imposes new disclosure requirements on "super PACs" in New York that will require additional disclosures of donors. The bill is waiting for the governor’s signature, and will be effective 30 days after he signs. Contributors involved in the 2016 state and local elections need to understand the changes before they give.

Value Investing in Brazil in 2016

Brazil is going through a rough patch. After successfully hosting (but losing) the World Cup in 2014, the country ended the year by reelecting for a second term President Dilma Rousseff of the Worker’s Party. Political dramas began to emerge from an investigation by the federal police into a massive public corruption scandal involving Brazilian captains of industry and senior politicians of the parties forming the ruling coalition. This article provides comments and feedback from an informal survey of our colleagues investing in or doing business in Brazil, on the present state of investing there.

NYC Development Bonus Update: The Jury's (Still) Out on 421-a Extension or Replacement

The NYS legislative session ended without an extension or replacement of the 421-a property tax exemption statute. Investors and lenders interested in the NYC real estate market should know about the latest developments driving the market. In this article, we explain what types of development are expected to continue and what alternative economic incentive programs will be looked at by multifamily developers in the absence of the 421-a property tax exemption.

Upcoming Event:

Who Is the New Twenty-first Century CCO? Current Issues in CCO Liability

Register for our presentation and networking event on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 5:30 pm PT.

What is keeping you up at night?

CCOs can answer this easily: the threat of personal liability if their company fails to comply with regulations. Several panels at the 2016 SIFMA C&L Society conference included discussions on CCO liability and the often impossible position in which CCOs can find themselves with regulators. For instance, how does compliance provide a "credible challenge" to management, and what kind of evidence will the OCC be looking for? What did the SEC mean by its position that CCOs have responsibility for the implementation of compliance programs under 206(4)-7? And those are just two of the agencies regulating financial services firms.


Don Andrews, Venable partner and former Bessemer Trust CCO

Michael R. Manley, Venable partner and a former investment adviser CCO and General Counsel

Jerry Baker, former Executive Director at SIFMA Compliance & Legal Society

Michelle Oroschakoff, Chief Risk Officer for LPL Financial and Chair of the Risk Oversight Committee

The panelists will lead an interactive discussion on the current role of the CCO and best practices for the way forward for them in this new environment.

Attendees of this program will learn:

  • The Current Regulatory and Political Landscape for CCOs
  • Twenty-first Century Challenges
  • Strategies for Survival in the New Century
  • Specific Areas of Focus, including Policies and Procedures and Outsourcing Challenges

Registration is open on our website.

For more information, please visit our Event Summary Page or call Venable at 646.277.8165.

Click here to read past issues of Venable's Fund Forum.