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Massachusetts Securities Division Lawsuit a Bullseye for Robinhood

April 5, 2022 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, Alyssa C. Scruggs

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On November 18, 2021, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a Notice “to call attention to an upward trend in environmental crimes and associated illicit financial activity.” This focus on environmental crimes is designed to help address FinCEN’s priorities previously announced on June 30, 2021.
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The Patentability of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

November 5, 2021 | Video | By Frank Gerratana

Frank Gerratana discusses the relationship between blockchain and cryptocurrency and the underlying intellectual property issues and opportunities for patent holders.
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Federal Jury Concludes Cryptocurrency Products NOT Securities

November 4, 2021 | Blog | By Sean T. Prosser, Edmund P. Daley

A Connecticut federal jury just answered one of the biggest questions on the minds of cryptocurrency investors, developers, and regulators – are cryptocurrencies securities? The jury concluded that Paycoin and several cryptocurrency mining-related assets are not securities.
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SPACS and Scams: FINRA Announces New Sweep Exams

July 26, 2021 | Blog | By Pete Michaels

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Mintz Members Adam Sisitsky, Nancy Adams, Jack Sylvia and Of Counsel, Kristen White discuss the rising risk of litigation and regulatory enforcement facing SPACs and the individuals that lead them. Topics will included the current SPAC litigation landscape, SPAC M&A–related litigation, including disclosure issues and breach of fiduciary duty in the de-SPAC process, D&O coverage challenges and risk mitigation and heightened SEC scrutiny.
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Call it a Comeback: The Likely Return of ESG Investing in ERISA Accounts

June 4, 2021 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, Alyssa C. Scruggs

Environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) investing has experienced quite the regulatory roller coaster in recent years.
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Today the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“FinCEN”) published in the Federal Register a notice framing and seeking comment on key questions about how it will implement the new law requiring domestic and foreign legal entities to report their beneficial ownership to the U.S. government.
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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently released its 2021 Examination Priorities. The SEC indicates it will focus on senior investors and those saving for retirement, with a specific focus on potential conflicts of interests faced by brokers and advisors in giving them financial advice.
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Substantial AML Reforms Enable Regulators to “Follow the Money”

January 21, 2021 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, Cory S. Flashner, Laura E. Martin

On January 1, 2021, Congress enacted the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (the “NDAA”), after overriding a presidential veto. Within the NDAA is the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (the “AMLA”), which introduces substantial reforms to U.S. anti-money laundering (“AML”) and counter-terrorism financing (“CFT”) laws.
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ESG Investing in Retirement Accounts: Down But Not Out

November 30, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, Alyssa C. Scruggs

Proponents of environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) investing may have good news on the horizon—in particular, good news that could resuscitate ESG investing in retirement accounts following the Department of Labor’s recent blow to the practice.
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In FINRA Regulatory Notice 20-38, FINRA has adopted Rule 3241 to limit registered persons from holding “positions of trust” for clients. The new rule requires that registered persons have written approval from the member firm to act as a trustee, executor, or hold power of attorney for a client account.
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In FINRA Regulatory Notice 20-37, FINRA set forth revised Sanction Guidelines that became effective October 20, 2020.
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On October 14, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“ CFPB”) announced a series of organizational changes affecting the Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending Division (SEFL), the result of an organizational review that began in February of this year.
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You Can’t Always Get What You Want: The End of ESG Investing in ERISA Accounts

October 26, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, Alyssa C. Scruggs

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With ESG, Things Aren’t Always As Green As They Seem

October 22, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, Alyssa C. Scruggs

Environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) investing has captured the attention (and dollars) of more institutional investors each year and continues to grow exponentially. However, how can an ESG investor be sure that the investments it is making truly align with the values those funds purport to prioritize?
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On October 2, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service released final regulations providing guidance for Section 529A “qualified ABLE programs” established by states under the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (the “ABLE Act”) to provide tax-favored savings and investment accounts for individuals with disabilities.  Building on proposed regulations issued in 2015 and 2019 and several prior IRS notices as to how the final regulations would resolve specific issues under the ABLE Act, the final regulations clearly seek to avoid, within statutory constraints, imposing major administrative burdens on ABLE programs. Nonetheless, several key provisions contain ambiguities or raise concerns.  As indicated by prior IRS guidance, the regulations provide a transition period of at least two years for ABLE programs operating in good faith to implement provisions applicable to such programs, and thus an opportunity for the IRS address such ambiguities and concerns through notices or other guidance prior to their full implementation.
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FinCen Issues Statement Regarding Publication of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs)

September 3, 2020 | Blog | By Eoin Beirne, Cory S. Flashner, Pete Michaels, Jason Burrell

On September 1, 2020, the Financial Crimes Network (“FinCEN”) issued a statement regarding various media outlets’ intent to publish Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”) and “other sensitive government documents”.
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