penny stocks

Broker-dealer firms have another warning from the SEC to do better with AML compliance and suspicious activity reporting, and particularly to do better with customers’ trading in penny stocks and acting on known red flags with that type of transaction. The message came from the SEC’s Division of Examinations, which published its latest risk alert…

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enforcement

Compliance officers, clear your schedule and retreat to your reading nook! We have an important speech to consider on the future of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Commissioner Caroline Crenshaw, a Democratic appointee who joined the SEC only seven months ago, spoke Tuesday at the spring meeting of the Council of Institutional Investors…

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climate

More news this week about the Securities and Exchange Commission’s approach to climate change: the Enforcement Division has created a new task force to examine corporate disclosures about climate and ESG issues; and the two Republican commissioners on the SEC published a warning shot against the agency’s new climate change enthusiasm. Let’s start with the…

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examination

The Securities & Exchange Commission has released its list of 2021 examination priorities for broker-dealers and investment advisers, with a heap of attention paid to business continuity, climate change disruptions, and how the pandemic has amplified risks to cybersecurity and supervision. The SEC’s Division of Examinations (previously known as the Office of Compliance Inspections &…

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goodwill

Today I want to circle back to that lawsuit the SEC filed last week against Sequential Brands for failing to impair its goodwill assets in a timely manner. It’s a glimpse of poor internal control that raises an intriguing question: How many other companies might be in a similarly precarious position?  After all, goodwill has…

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goodwill

You don’t see this too often: the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a fashion retailer with failing to impair goodwill in a timely manner, citing weak internal controls over how management determined goodwill and an attempt to mislead the company’s auditors. The company in question is Squential Brands, which sells clothing brands such as…

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insider

Two top officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission warned this week that companies should pay more heed to the policies they use to govern senior executives’ stock sales, to prevent even the appearance of impropriety when an executive is selling shares.  The comments came from Bill Hinman, director of the Division of Corporation Finance,…

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wells fargo

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged two former top executives at Wells Fargo with misleading investors about the bank’s financial performance — the latest chapter in the endless saga of regulators trying to hold Wells Fargo folks accountable for the bank’s disastrously bad behavior.  The SEC charged John Stumpf, who had been CEO of…

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internal control

For years regulators have talked about the importance of data analytics in enforcement actions. Now the SEC has demonstrated that point with two enforcement actions for poor internal control and earnings manipulation, driven by the agency’s in-house analytics team. So we can’t say nobody warned us.  The enforcement actions were announced Monday, against a carpet…

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ENI

You all may have been at a Zoom virtual happy hour on Friday afternoon, but not the folks at the SEC Division of Enforcement! They quietly settled an FCPA case with Italian energy firm ENI that nicked the company for $24.5 million. In some ways the case is ho-hum. In the late 2000s an ENI…

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