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  • NASAA: Protecting Main Street Investors - 16 October 2014
  • With its membership consisting of 67 administrators from United States territories, districts and states, as well as from the provinces of Canada and Mexico, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) has as its main aim the protection of consumers who purchase investment advice and/or securities. To this end, the NASAA has jurisdiction over a wide range of intermediaries and issuers offering securities to members of the public. The Association also facilitates information sharing and multi-state enforcement actions for the state securities agencies it represents, and arranges training and education programs and seminars for securities agency staff at state, district and provincial level. The Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam, referred to as 'Series 63', required as a qualification for securities agents in most states, was formulated by the NASAA and is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

  • Wall Street Bonuses Cause a Stir - 13 March 2014
  • Figures released Wednesday by New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, revealed that bankers on Wall Street enjoyed an average increase of 15 percent on their annual bonuses for 2013. While this works out to an average bonus of $164,530 it should be noted that the bonus pool of $26.7 billion in 2013 includes all staff members, from the most junior to the most senior, and was reportedly padded out by compensation that had been deferred from previous years. Nonetheless, news of Wall Street banker bonuses climbing 15 percent while, for example, profits from NYSE broker-dealer operations fell 30 percent in 2013, lends credence to the call for regulators to tighten up on banks.

  • Volcker Rule Set to Take Effect in April 2014 - 12 December 2013
  • Described by President Barack Obama as "a rule that makes sure big banks can't make risky bets with their customer's deposits", the Volcker Rule forms part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and is named for the man who proposed it – former United States Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. A number of exceptions to the Volcker Rule are included in the Dodd-Frank law, but its main aim is to prevent the type of speculative activity which played a major role in the 2007-2010 financial crisis. The Volcker Rule was originally scheduled to come into effect with the Dodd-Frank law on July 21, 2012, but was delayed for various reasons, and is now scheduled to come into effect on April 1, 2014.

  • Timothy Massad Nominated as CFTC Chairman - 14 November 2013
  • President Barack Obama's nomination of Timothy Massad to replace Gary Gensler as the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) came as no surprise. Massad played a significant role in the bank bailout program brought about by the 2008 financial crisis and should the Senate confirm his nomination, Massad will head the agency charged with implementing the Dodd-Frank Act aimed at regulating trading of complex derivatives on Wall Street. This lucrative, and often volatile, market has been accused of being one of the root causes in the destabilization of the US economy and the CFTC has the task of ensuring this particular piece of history is not repeated.

  • Financial Crisis Accountability on the Cards - 22 August 2013
  • The recently released results of the review of the 2008 financial crisis by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has revealed that federal and state insurance regulators helped to minimize the economic turmoil and maintain general stability in the market. The GAO found that, with a few exceptions, the effects of the 2008 financial crisis on policyholders and insurers were limited. A coalition of state regulators under the banner of the National Association of Insurance Commissions took action during the crisis by insisting on detailed reports from insurers, as well as altering reporting rules and criteria for determining the risk factor of securities.

  • Pre-Dispute Mandatory Arbitration Challenged - 18 April 2013
  • On Wednesday April 17 up to seventeen members of the North American Securities Administrators Association Inc. (NASAA) met with lawmakers in Washington to garner support for ending, or at the very least restricting, the use of pre-dispute mandatory arbitration clauses in client contracts with investment brokers. With these clauses generally being presented as standard procedure, investors may not be aware that they are, in effect, losing their right to use the judicial system in any dispute arising out of agreements entered into with brokers. In other words, they cannot sue a broker who violates the terms of the agreement or neglects to act in the best interests of a client, the investor. Critics of mandatory arbitration clauses note that investors should be given the choice of omitting the clause from an agreement, thereby giving themselves a greater measure of protection should the client/broker relationship go sour.

  • Walter to Replace Schapiro as SEC Chairperson - 28 November 2012
  • As Mary Schapiro prepares to leave her position as the 19th Chairperson of the SEC – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission – on December 14, her performance in terms of successes and failures is being analyzed in the online and offline press, with much speculation regarding the road forward under her replacement, Elisse Walter. While the two women have often worked cooperatively alongside one another during their Washington-based careers, analysts have noted that they have differing views on some key issues.

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