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Individuals Charged in Relation to Insider Trading in Singapore

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released a press release stating that three individuals were charged for illegally communicating non-public and material information and using such information to buy shares in a company. The investigation was jointly conducted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore Police Force.

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Proposed Rule 10b5-1 Changes Signal Increased MNPI Scrutiny

Firms should be prepared for increased regulatory scrutiny around material nonpublic information (MNPI) and insider trading under the administration of SEC Chair Gary Gensler. In a recent speech at the CFO Network Summit, Gensler noted that 10b5-1 trading plans have led to “real cracks” in the SEC’s insider trading regime. The SEC’s Annual Agenda for 2021 includes a proposed amendment to address concerns about the use of the affirmative defense provisions of Rule 10b5-1. 

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Key Factors Shaping Market Abuse Regulations

During 2020, many factors have shaped the regulations and enforcement actions to maintain market integrity and place the interests of clients ahead of firms and individuals. In addition to the challenges faced by compliance and risk departments, the number of people trading worldwide has risen, pressuring regulators and compliance departments to quickly act to monitor conflicts of interest and prevent individuals from taking market advantage.

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MNPI Remains a High Risk Area for Compliance

Failing to adequately manage Material Non-Public Information (MNPI) remains a high risk area for compliance, as evidenced by recent actions in the U.S. and the U.K. A private equity firm paid $1 million to settle SEC charges for failing to implement effective Insider Trading compliance policies. The FCA published a Decision Notice fining a former CEO £658,900 for market abuse and banning him from future roles linked to regulated activity.

To avoid hefty fines and actions, firms must have comprehensive and actionable policies and procedures around the management of MNPI and insider lists to minimize risk.

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Thoughts on the 2020 FINRA Small Firms Conference

I really enjoyed the opportunity to be an exhibitor at this year’s FINRA Small Firm Virtual ConferenceAlthough the format might have been different this year, the sessions were still filled with the same focus on effective compliance practices for smaller firms.

One of the key themes I heard at the event throughout the sessions was the need for consistency in policies and procedures, and for complete and consistent documentation.

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