Many law firms claim to practice securities law. While it may be technically true, they may only handle a couple of cases a year, or they simply represent publicly traded companies and transactional work, not an ongoing representation of members in the securities industry. At Stafford Law Firm LLC, we dedicate our practice to providing exclusive, experienced representation to members of the securities industry. Based in the Kansas City area, we serve clients nationwide. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us today.
We know that our clients in the securities industry have clients of their own who rely on them. Our clients provide advice to their clients and are trusted with the ultimate responsibility of investing their clients' money. For them, compliance is imperative. An enforcement action can ruin someone's reputation, which is their single most important professional asset. In addition to reputation damage, an enforcement action can result in heavy monetary penalties, oftentimes in the millions of dollars. It is essential to protect yourself with knowledgeable legal counsel.
We can handle all your compliance needs or address specific issues. Either way, ignorance is not a defense, and we will help you better understand your compliance obligations. Oftentimes, our clients understand their compliance obligations and recognize problems, but call us for assistance when they have questions beyond their knowledge.
Securities regulations are so complex even astute people in the securities industry violate them without even realizing it. Regulatory requirements are fluid by nature, addressing current trends and current abuses. Keeping track of regulatory changes is difficult and time-consuming. It is hard to predict what course of action regulatory entities take at any point in time. That is why it is important to have an experienced advisor in your corner to keep you up-to-date in complying with your regulatory obligations.
We advise clients on the entire gambit of regulatory requirements, commencing from an initial determination on registration through their daily operational requirements. Our understanding of the industry results in a knowledgeable and unique approach that meets our clients' needs efficiently and thoroughly. Our goals center on the delivery of quality to our clients.
We may fashion a new compliance program, remodel a current program, or target areas of concern. We educate our clients, so they understand the importance of regulatory requirements and avoid issues, whether from regulators or complaints from their clients.
For our clients, we work to avoid regulatory actions. Whether through our knowledge of current or developing regulatory priorities, we advise our clients on how to minimize their exposure.
Our knowledge spans across federal and state securities laws and regulations, and self-regulatory organization requirements. We maintain current and in-depth knowledge of requirements imposed by the SEC, FINRA, MSRB, CFTC, FMA, state securities agencies, and other agencies governing your conduct.
We assist many clients in becoming registered investment advisors, broker-dealers, municipal advisors, and commodity trading advisors. We also assist registered representatives in becoming registered in any state when difficulties arrive because of disclosures and disciplinary actions that hinder registration.
Becoming registered is not as simple as completing a form and filing it with the regulators. An incomplete and incorrect filing package can delay your registration, cause red flags on your application, and impede your business operations.
We work with you to file a complete registration package within a set time-frame, that allows you to plan your business operations. After you become registered, we make you aware of your regulatory obligations going forward and may provide reference materials in easily understood compliance manuals for your review.
We wrote the book on compliance, literally, in the form of the published Investment Manager Model Compliance Manual©. It started with assisting investment advisors to adhere to the CFA® Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, and we have varied it to our clients' provision of services, whether simple or more complex.
Our knowledge spans across federal and state securities laws and regulations, and self-regulatory organization's requirements. We maintain current and in-depth knowledge of requirements imposed by the SEC, FINRA, MSRB, CFTC, DOJ, FMA, state securities agencies, and other entities governing your conduct.
Our involvement with your compliance program depends on you and your needs and desires. You may only require answers to a discrete question, or you may need our full involvement to revamp or form an effective compliance program. We know the regulatory scheme and may get to work for you without having to take the time to research what an attorney practicing in this area should know.
Investment agreements complying with regulatory requirements and simple enough for clients to read and understand
Compliance manuals setting forth your policies and procedures, and regulatory requirements for your reference
Code of ethics
Compliance program review
Insider trading reviews
Books and record requirements
Execution and trading
Education and compliance training
Conflicts of interest
Soft dollar or soft commission compliance
Documenting adherence to the CFA® Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
Designated subject matter review in areas of concern, such as trading, valuation, investment allocation, conflicts, and disclosures
Developing an effective and current compliance program is always easier than defending a regulatory action resulting from a defective compliance program. The current regulatory environment vigorously prosecutes offenders, as examples to others and to avoid past financial crises. In protecting investors, regulatory agencies proceed oftentimes too rigorously for many industry members and without realistic understanding of the services being rendered.
We work alongside chief compliance officers in their daily compliance needs or respond to discrete questions on an as-needed basis. For our securities industry clients, our experience allows us to tailor our services to fit their needs, efficiently and expeditiously.
Ignorance is no defense against a regulatory action. In today's environment, regulatory actions are too frequent and occur despite anyone's intentions, oftentimes despite someone's actual wrongdoing. And enforcement actions originate from a variety of sources, for example, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, FINRA, state securities and insurance agencies, the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission, and the Department of Justice.If you become subject to a regulatory inquiry, we will defend you and work to minimize the impact of the investigation and its outcome.
When working with our clients, we inform them about their regulatory requirements, so they understand them and are better able to meet their legal obligations. We keep them current on ongoing regulatory issues relevant to their operations, so they may avoid inquiries.
The earlier our involvement, the better chance for a satisfactory outcome. Oftentimes, an inquiry or a letter is the start of an enforcement action, unbeknownst to its recipient. Chances for a better outcome result with knowledgeable and experienced advice. Even as early as the receipt of an inquiry or letter, or in an examination, our goal is to minimize adverse outcomes resulting from that letter, inquiry, examination, investigation or subpoena.
Examinations by regulatory entities
Deficiency letters from an examination
Remedial actions to address deficiencies
Preparing narratives that that explain your activities and avoid disciplinary action
Working with regulators to address concerns
Managing responses to alleged violations of federal and state securities laws
Subpoenas by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies
The following sample subject areas of inquiry:
Mutual fund expense accounting and allocation
Deceptive and manipulative conduct
Mutual fund governance
Failure to register
Failure to supervise
Sales of unregistered securities
Excessive fees and changes
Material misrepresentations and omissions
In any given regulatory environment, the subject matter of an investigation depends on current concerns, whether politically driven, arising from a client complaint, or the result of market disruptions. We have the knowledge to respond as issues develop based on our years of working in the industry, and our knowledge of how services are delivered within the securities industry.
Most of our clients call us as issues arise because they know we have an answer for them. We know the regulatory requirements and maintain that current knowledge to answer questions. For our clients, it is a reassuring call either to avoid a potential problem or to resolve a current problem they face.
Our advice to our clients spans the breadth of securities law. For example, recent advice includes disclosure obligations, protecting client information, unauthorized access to customer funds, advertising, customer complaints, custodial issues, trading practices, valuations, restricted securities, supervision, and registration issues. Even though your issue may not be listed, we understand the regulatory scheme you face and will get your answer.
Having advised members of the industry for many years, we draw on that background to be familiar with the issues. We then maintain our current knowledge to address emerging issues.
If you are facing a securities issue, you need assistance from a diligent and experienced law firm that monitors the rapid changes taking place in the industry. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us or contact us online. From our law offices in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, we provide securities law representation to clients across the nation.