SEC and MSRB to Hold Webinar on Series 50 Exam for Municipal Advisors

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) today announced a joint educational webinar to assist municipal advisors with understanding their professional qualification requirements. The live webinar, scheduled for Thursday, June 15, 2017, from 3-4 p.m. ET, will provide information on signing up for the MSRB's Municipal Advisor Representative Qualification Examination (Series 50 exam), preparing to take the Series 50 exam, and fulfilling municipal advisor firms' SEC registration obligations. "Providing and maintaining accurate and up-to-date information on municipal advisor firms' initial registration forms and subsequent amendments is essential to ensuring the effectiveness of the municipal advisor registration system," said Jess... Read More

SEC Charges Fake Filer With Manipulating Fitbit Stock

The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed fraud charges against a Virginia-based mechanical engineer accused of scheming to manipulate the price of Fitbit stock by making a phony regulatory filing.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Robert W. Murray purchased Fitbit call options just minutes before a fake tender offer that he orchestrated was filed on the SEC’s EDGAR system purporting that a company named ABM Capital LTD sought to acquire Fitbit’s outstanding shares at a substantial premium.  Fitbit’s stock price temporarily spiked when the tender offer became publicly available on Nov. 10, 2016, and Murray sold all of his options for a profit of approximately $3,100. 

The SEC alleges that Murray created an email account under the name of someone he found on t... Read More

David Peavler, Associate Director of Enforcement in Fort Worth Office, to Leave SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that David L. Peavler, Associate Director of Enforcement in the Fort Worth Regional Office, is leaving the agency this month after more than 15 years of service.

Mr. Peavler joined the SEC staff as a Staff Attorney and went on to serve as a Branch Chief and then an Assistant Director before being named Associate Director in November 2011.  Mr. Peavler has supervised a staff of more than 60 attorneys and other professionals responsible for investigating potential violations of the federal securities laws by a wide range of market participants.

Mr. Peavler received the SEC’s Irving Pollack Award last year in recognition of his “fairness and compassion in dealings with the public and staff, scholarship and profession... Read More

SEC Names Robert B. Stebbins as General Counsel

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Robert B. Stebbins has been named General Counsel of the agency.

The General Counsel is the chief legal officer of the agency, providing a variety of legal services to the Commission and staff.

"Bob is an exceptional attorney and counselor, and I know his depth of knowledge and experience managing a wide range of securities-related issues will benefit the SEC," said Chairman Jay Clayton. "I thank Bob for his commitment to serving his country and our agency, and I look forward to his steadfast guidance as the Commission's chief legal officer."

"I have always had a great deal of respect for the SEC's staff and their commitment to the agency’s core mission, and I am proud to be part of the team," said Mr... Read More

SEC Names Jaime Klima Chief Counsel

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Jaime Klima has been named Chief Counsel to Chairman Jay Clayton. 

As Chief Counsel, Ms. Klima will be senior legal and policy adviser, and will coordinate the rulemaking agenda of the Commission.  She will also serve as the Chairman's representative on the Deputies Committee of the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

"I am thrilled that Jaime has agreed to serve the Commission in this key role," said Chairman Jay Clayton. "I am pleased that Jaime's legal acumen and experience will continue to benefit the SEC and its team of committed professionals."

Most recently, Ms. Klima served as SEC co-chief of staff under then-Acting Chairman Michael S. Piwowar, advising on all issues of agency management an... Read More

SEC Names Sean Memon Deputy Chief of Staff

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Sean Memon has been named the agency's deputy chief of staff.

"Sean has proven to have extensive knowledge of financial regulation and coordination across our various markets. I commend his willingness to share his expertise here at the SEC as we further the agency's important mission," said Chairman Jay Clayton.

Mr. Memon arrived at the SEC with experience providing advice to public and private companies in both legal and financial roles. Immediately prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Memon practiced law at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in Washington, D.C., where he advised clients in regulatory and transactional matters, including with respect to capital raisings, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures. Mr. Memon... Read More

SEC Charges Former Head Traders at Nomura With Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a pair of former head traders who ran the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) desk at Nomura Securities International Inc. with deliberately lying to customers in order to inflate the profits of the CMBS desk and line their own pockets as a result.

The SEC alleges that James Im and Kee Chan each misrepresented price information while acting as intermediaries on trades with Nomura’s customers who sought to buy and sell CMBS on the secondary market.  In certain instances, Im and Chan allegedly pretended they were still negotiating bond purchases with a third-party seller at higher prices when Nomura had already acquired the bonds at a lower price.

The SEC alleges that in one instance, Im bragged about his pur... Read More

SEC Names Lucas Moskowitz Chief of Staff

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Lucas Moskowitz has been named the agency’s chief of staff. 

“Lucas’s diverse background in both the public and private sectors has given him valuable experience in all three areas of the SEC’s core mission, and I am delighted to have him on board,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “As we have walked the floors of the Commission’s headquarters in Washington, the reception Lucas has received has made it clear that he will be a valuable addition to the dedicated and professional staff here at the SEC.”

Mr. Moskowitz served as Chief Investigative Counsel of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, where he led the Committee’s investigative and oversight activities in connection with a wide... Read More

Law Firm Partner and Neighbor Charged in $1 Million Insider Trading Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former partner at an international law firm and his neighbor with making more than $1 million in illicit profits by insider trading around corporate announcements.

The SEC alleges that Walter C. Little accessed confidential documents on his law firm’s internal computer network related to at least 11 impending announcements involving law firm clients, none of which he personally advised or billed for services.  Little then allegedly traded in advance of each announcement and often tipped his neighbor Andrew M. Berke with material nonpublic information so he could similarly trade in company stocks before the announcements were made publicly.  According to the SEC’s complaint, the insider trading occurred from February 2015 ... Read More

SEC Charges CEO With Failing to Disclose Perks to Shareholders

Public companies must properly disclose perks, benefits, and other forms of compensation paid to CEOs and certain other highly compensated executive officers.  The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that the former CEO of a marketing company has agreed to pay $5.5 million to settle charges that his perks were not properly disclosed to shareholders. According to the SEC’s order, shareholders were informed in annual filings that Miles S. Nadal received an annual perquisite allowance of $500,000 in addition to other benefits as the chairman and CEO of MDC Partners.  But the SEC’s investigation found that without disclosing information to investors as required, MDC Partners paid for Nadal’s personal use of private airplanes as well as charitable donations in his name, yac... Read More

Barclays to Pay $97 Million for Overcharging Clients

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an enforcement action requiring Barclays Capital to refund advisory fees or mutual fund sales charges to clients who were overcharged.

In a settlement of more than $97 million, Barclays agreed to settle three sets of violations that resulted in clients being overbilled by nearly $50 million.  The SEC’s order finds that two Barclays advisory programs charged fees to more than 2,000 clients for due diligence and monitoring of certain third-party investment managers and investment strategies when in fact these services weren’t being performed as represented.  Barclays also collected excess mutual fund sales charges or fees from 63 brokerage clients by recommending more expensive share classes when less expensive share classe... Read More

William Hinman Named Director of Division of Corporation Finance

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that William H. Hinman will be named the new director of the agency’s Division of Corporation Finance.

Mr. Hinman recently retired as a partner in the Silicon Valley office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where he was a recognized leader in advising public and private companies in corporate finance matters.  He has advised a wide range of issuers and underwriters in capital-raising transactions and corporate acquisitions, including in the technology, e-commerce, health care, and biopharmaceutical areas. 

Mr. Hinman also is respected for his advice to public companies and their boards on public reporting, governance, and other corporate matters, and he has significant experience regarding derivatives, novel secu... Read More