On 25 August 2023, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reversed a Massachusetts Superior Court ruling and denied Robinhood Financial LLC’s attempt to block the implementation of Massachusetts’s unique fiduciary duty rule, adopted in February 2020 within weeks of the final adoption of the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest, which imposes the duties of care and loyalty on broker-dealers (Fiduciary Rule). A summary of the Fiduciary Rule is available here. Robinhood’s action to overturn the Rule was brought after the Commonwealth of Massachusetts brought an administrative action accusing Robinhood of violating Fiduciary Rule with its video game-like design and marketing tactics.Read More
On July 26, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed new rules (“Proposal”) intended to address certain conflicts of interests associated with the use of “Covered Technology” (defined below) by broker-dealers and investment advisers (“firms”) in investor interactions. If adopted as proposed, firms will be required to (i) identify conflicts of interests when using Covered Technology in interactions with investors, and (ii) adopt policies and procedures to eliminate or neutralize those conflicts of interests.Read More
On 29 March 2023, the federal exemption from securities broker registration for qualifying mergers and acquisitions brokers (M&A brokers) became effective. That exemption was signed into law on 29 December 2022 as a policy rider to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (H.R. 2617) (the M&A Brokers Exemption) and was described in our previous blog post and client alert.
The M&A Brokers Exemption can now be found in subsection (13) “Registration Exemption for Merger and Acquisition Brokers” of Section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.Read More
On December 23, 2022, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2617, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023,” following Senate passage on December 22. President Biden is expected to sign the legislation before December 30. Among the routine federal funding provisions, the bill includes a holiday surprise “policy rider” on qualifying mergers and acquisitions brokers (“M&A brokers”) in Division AA, Title V, Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales and Brokerage Simplification (“Title V”), effective 90 days after enactment. (H.R. 2617, 117th Cong. Div. AA, Title V, § 501 (2022)).Read More
On December 14, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed Regulation Best Execution (“Regulation Best Ex”) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Regulation Best Ex would generally impose requirements on broker-dealers to use reasonable diligence to ascertain the best market for a security transaction and buy or sell in such market so that the resultant price to the customer is as favorable as possible under prevailing market conditions, subject to certain exemptions. For over half-of-a-century most broker-dealers have been subject to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s best execution rule 5310, but if Regulation Best Ex is adopted, the SEC would begin to regulate best execution directly.Read More