August 29, 2015
There are growing indications this morning that Charles Schwab is experiencing a widespread outage and customers cannot log in to their accounts either through manual entry of the ID/Password combination or the recently added fingerprint for cellphones. Attempts to log on are responded to with a message indicating:
This system is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later. For urgent trade-related matters, please call us at 800-435-4000.
Callers to that number are experiencing significant delays. It is unclear as of now whether this outage is a software glitch or caused by a hack. READ
Don't look. Don't stare. Pulhease . . . don't even turn around. I'm afraid that if we call too much attention to what's going on at the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), that we might inadvertently stop the positive change in its tracks. As reported in "SEC Under Siege! Dramatic Inspector General Report Shakes ALJ System" (BrokeAndBroker.com Blog, August 10, 2015) the SEC's Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") system has come under scrutiny by the SEC's Office of the Inspector General. More noticeably, emboldened SEC Commissioners seem to be taking their roles a tad more seriously than has been the case in the past -- what we're seeing is the possible retirement of the rubber stamp and the resort to magnifying glasses, erasers, and remands. Consider this recent case. READ
Last year, Michael Lewis published "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt" and literally set Wall Street on edge with his thesis that high-frequency trading ("HFT") was ruining the markets by providing unfair advantages to its practitioners at the expense of investors who were relying upon the relatively snail-paced movement of non-HFT data. Lewis's book prompted a number of lawsuits against stock exchanges and dark pools where HFT was purportedly harming investors.
One highly publicized lawsuit became a multidistrict litigation ("MDL") that wound up before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ("SDNY"). The defendants in the MDL were Barclays PLC, Barclays Capital, Inc, BATS Global Markets, Inc., Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc., Direct Edge ECN,LLC, NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc, New York Stock Exchange, LLC, and NYSE Arca.
On August 26, 2015, Judge Jesse Furman published his 51-page Opinion and Order in In Re: Barclays Liquidity Cross and High Frequency Trading Litigation (Opinion and Order, SDNY, 14-md-02589, August 25, 2015). The BrokeAndBroker.com Blog presents this important ruling in FULL-TEXT.
The Securities and Exchange Commission's ("SEC's") Whistleblower program has yielded three Final Orders so far in August. Notwithstanding that flurry during this summer month,BrokeAndBroker.com Blog still notes that the federal securities regulator just doesn't seem to be all that interested in timely moving the docket of whistleblower claims through its ponderous approval process. On top of that, senior SEC officials persist in defending the program as effective and efficient despite evidence to the contrary. You be the judge. READ
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August 24, 2015 Stock Market
Talk to enough Wall Street lawyers and you'll learn that certain regulatory issues seem to cycle in and out of fashion. Industry regulators publish annual notices setting forth their enforcement priorities and agendas for a given year, so, sometimes there is a task force in operation or an agenda targeting specific problem areas. For whatever reason, in 2015, I have noticed an increase in calls from potential clients who have problems with their alleged non-disclosure of both an outside business activity coupled with a private securities transaction. Consider this recent FINRA settlement. READ