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      Q&A 

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      Full video transcript available below:

      Okay guys, so we have a couple questions that are coming in. The first one is, "There are a number of different theories regarding implementation of the DOL Fiduciary Rule, with the Choice Act passing in the House, is a complete repeal likely?"

       

      Thanks Joe. We think the answer to that is effectively no. That the Choice Act passing and full repeal of the DOL Rule through the Choice Act, we think is an unlikely end outcome for the DOL Rule. With that said, we do believe that there is a certain amount of industry momentum and of governmental momentum towards looking to the SEC to take action on a harmonized Retail Standard of Care and on us getting the SEC to move forward with respect to a harmonized Retail Standard of Care and then ensuring that that standard of care and that that activity is itself harmonized with the Employment Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA and the DOL's rules.

      In that respect, there is a certain amount of pressure, there will be a certain amount of pressure for the DOL Rule to move towards the direction that in which the SEC moves, but at this time, the SEC is sitting back and seeing where the Choice Act goes and then it will have to move on Retail Standard of Care. 

      Okay, thanks for that. We've another question here, "One recurring theme is cyber security. What are the main principles that SEC regulators are focusing on?"

      Hi, this is Jennifer Morton. I think we touched upon some of these key principles a little bit, a few minutes ago, but really, it's training, it's making sure that employees know the risks involved in terms of using technology at their firms. The training may be varied, there are different methods of reinforcing what the internal policies and procedures are with respect to using online platforms or electronic communications. This could be through online or in person meetings, or through internal blogs at the company or at the firm.

      There's also compliance group training. It's not only just the employees, but it's also people that are part of the compliance team itself knowing not only what the scope of, what the parameters are that are consistent with the policies and procedures but also being able to disseminate that framework to the employees as well. Training of the compliance people is of paramount importance as well. 

      Again, access management, on-boarding and off-boarding employees as they come and go from the firm. Making sure that they're cleanly cut off, that came up a lot this month. Where employees even knew they were terminated, they'd still get access to the firm's systems, which would obviously lead to potential security breaches.

      Multi-factor authentication for signing on to access and then just policies and procedures for access rights. Another thing too is come up ... which are branch offices of investment banks, there have been a series of issues with branch office locations having cyber security attacks. There's been a large emphasis from FINRA on having branch offices really hone in on their cyber security, to prevent such attacks. Those are kind of the high level focus points that the SEC's working on.

      Okay, I have one more question here, "What's the future of broken windows approach?"

      That's a great question. At this point, the SEC is just settling in with two, with new co-directors of enforcement. One of whom is a long time enforcement attorney at the SEC and one of whom comes from the outside. The speculation is, at least on our side, because we're here to speculate, so we'll do the speculating, the speculation is that there will be a significant move towards enforcement priorities and certainly away from the language of the broken windows approach.

      With that said, the day to day implementation of a broken windows approach to regulation of broker-dealers will not be in the hands of enforcement nearly as much as it will be in the hands of examination. In that respect, we expect both OC at the SEC and FINRA's examinations teams to continue to be very detail oriented in their day to day exams and ordinary course exams of broker-dealers.

      From a examination prospective, we think broker-dealers will continue to have to answer questions at the broken windows level and continue to have to make changes on the fly at the broken windows level. With respect to enforcement, we are certainly hopeful that continued detail oriented examinations while helpful for the industry, will not necessarily lead to enforcement in the kinds of numbers and for the kinds of items we've seen in the past, but that the enforcement divisions will be judicious in what they take that smaller stuff from the exam teams.

       

      This webinar was co-hosted with Shearman and Sterling LLP

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