Many law firms claim to practice in 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 issuers of private offerings, not any ongoing representation of members in the securities industry. At Stafford Law Firm, LLC, we dedicate our practice to providing exclusive, experienced representation in the area of securities law. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us at 913-648-9225.
Securities Industry Practice Areas
We know that our clients 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. A SEC enforcement action can ruin someone’s reputation, which is their single most important professional asset. In addition to reputational damage, an enforcement action can result in heavy fines, sometimes in the millions of dollars. It is essential to protect yourself with the help of knowledgeable legal counsel.
We may handle all your compliance needs or address specific issues. Either way, ignorance is not a defense, and we will help you understand your compliance obligations. Our clients know their compliance obligations and recognize problems. When they have problems beyond their knowledge, they call us for assistance.
Securities Regulatory Practice
Securities regulations are so complex that many astute people in the securities industry may violate them without even realizing it. Regulatory requirements are fluid by nature in addressing current trends and perceived abuses. Keeping track of regulatory changes is difficult and time-consuming. It is hard to predict what course of action regulatory entities will take at any point in time. That is why it is important to have a knowledgeable ally and advisor in your corner to ensure that you are 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 in a reasoned and efficient manner.
Our goal is to avoid regulatory actions through current and anticipatory knowledge of regulatory concerns, placed in a compliance program and used by our clients in providing services. We educate our clients, so they understand the importance of their policies and procedures.
Our knowledge spans across federal and state securities laws and regulations, and self-regulatory organization requirements. We maintain a 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 have assisted many clients in becoming registered as investment advisors, broker-dealers, municipal advisors and commodity trading advisors. We have also assisted many registered representatives in becoming registered in any state because of their 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 and operations.
We work with you to file a complete registration package within a set time-frame, so you may plan your business operations. After you become registered, our goals are to make you aware of your regulatory obligations going forward and to provide reference materials in easily understood compliance manuals you may review as the need arises.
We wrote the book on compliance, literally, in the form of the published Investment Manager Model Compliance Manual©. It started with assisting investment advisors 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 a current and in-depth knowledge of requirements imposed by the SEC, FINRA, MSRB, CFTC, FMA, state securities agencies and other entities governing your conduct.
Our involvement with your compliance program depends on your needs and desires. You may only require answers to a discrete question, or you may need our full involvement to revamp or to 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.
Sample Compliance Work
- 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
- Annual reviews
- Compliance program review
- Insider trading reviews
- Books and record requirements
- Education and compliance training
- Recognizing, addressing and resolving conflicts of interest
- Soft dollar or soft commission compliance
- ERISA requirements
- 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 seeks to avoid past financial crises and to protect investors, oftentimes too rigorously for many industry members and for a realistic rendering of services.
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 services to fit your needs, efficiently and expeditiously.
Securities Regulatory Actions
Ignorance is no defense against a regulatory action. When working with our clients, we inform them about their regulatory requirements, so they understand them and are better able to meet their compliance obligations. We keep them current of ongoing regulatory issues relevant to their operations, so they may avoid regulatory inquiries.
In today’s environment, regulatory actions have become too frequent and occur despite anyone’s intentions. If you become subject to a regulatory inquiry, we will defend you against the action, and work with you to minimize the impact of the investigation and its outcomes.
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 the recipient of the inquiry or letter. Chances for a better outcome result with knowledgeable and experienced advice. Even as early as receipt of an inquiry or letter, or in an examination, our goal is to minimize adverse outcomes resulting from that letter, inquiry or examination.
Sample Enforcement Work
- Assisting with examinations by regulatory entities
- Responding to document requests
- Reviewing, advising on and responding to deficiency letters
- Addressing deficiencies cited from an examination by a regulatory entity
- Developing remedial actions required from deficiency letters
- Preparing responsive narratives of your activities to avoid further regulatory action
- Working with regulators to address current and potential concerns
- Managing responses to alleged violations of federal and state securities laws
- Responding to subpoenas by the Securities and Exchange Commission
- Working on the following sample subject areas of inquiry by regulatory entities:
- Performance advertising
- Market timing
- Late trading
- Mutual fund expense accounting and allocation
- Reports to mutual fund boards
- Counter-party duties
- Soft dollars
- Deceptive and manipulative conduct
- Mutual fund governance
- Insurance sales
- Failure to register
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.
Ad Hoc Advice
Most of our clients call us as issues arise because they know we have an answer for them. We know the regulatory scheme and maintain a current knowledge. 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 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.
Contact Us For Help With Securities 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 913-648-9225 or contact us online. From our law offices in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, we provide securities law representation to clients across the nation.