Litigation and Arbitration
We bring extensive experience in securities industry arbitration, mediation and litigation, having represented broker-dealers, funds, other institutions and investment professionals in the arbitration forums of FINRA, NYSE, NFA, and AAA, and state and federal courts.
Since industry participants may face enforcement actions by government agencies and self-regulatory bodies, we also defend clients in all aspects of the enforcement process (including SRO, SEC and state agency investigations, actions and appeals, both administrative and in state and federal court). While most regulatory actions can be resolved without criminal consequences, some violations are investigated as criminal offenses. At Portale Randazzo, we defend clients in all stages of potential criminal litigation from preliminary & grand jury investigations through indictment to verdict. In our experience, having an experience attorney from the jump can prevent unwarranted arrest and prosecution at the hands of overzealous prosecutors.
Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement Defense
Concurrent regulation by multiple government agencies, and SROs creates complex and sometimes inconsistent requirements. We advise broker-dealers, exchanges, contract markets, ECNs, futures commission merchants, issuers, underwriters, investment advisors, hedge funds, portfolio managers, commodity pool operators and advisors, floor traders and exchange members in a wide range of matters, including but not limited to:
- Registration and qualification matters
- Financial responsibility, books and records and back office requirements
- Front office and sales practice regulations
- Marketing and advertising initiatives
- Disclosure obligations
- Clearance, prime broker and settlement issues
- Preparation of Supervisory Procedures
- Adherence to new regulatory enactments
Compliance Program Maintenance, Training and Audits
Our attorneys can help organizations stay up-to-date on changing regulations and inform staff on new practices and protocols to be implemented, helping to earn them good standing with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the New York State Attorney General, and other federal and state regulatory authorities.
We conduct Mock Regulatory Audits so our clients can identify and correct potential complications in these and other areas. Such self-correction generally is the "best defense" against a later regulatory enforcement action.
We help ensure compliance standards and protocols are implemented and followed in full satisfaction of any plea bargain or settlement agreement with authorities.
We create, build and improve upon effective compliance programs. Corporate compliance today is much more than complying with the law. It’s about the ability to show system and process reasonably designed to prevent wrong doing. The most effective compliance programs continue to evolve to keep up with an ever-changing landscape of risks. Our attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced in effective compliance processes and the promotion of organizational integrity.
Examples of Compliance Services:
- Assisting in the planning and conducting of risk assessments
- Assisting in the development and implementation of a code of conduct tailored to the risk profile
- Assisting in the establishment of effective policies, procedures, and protocols
- Reviewing, revising and strengthening existing codes of conduct and policies and procedures
Training and Education
- Live training of staff, management, and senior leadership (including boards of directors) with specialized training utilizing real-world examples
- Preparing webinars and written Q and A’s regarding compliance issues
- Assisting organizations stay up-to-date on changing regulations and informing staff of new practices and protocols to be implemented
Investigation of Misconduct
- Conducting independent, objective internal investigations
- Counseling on the utilization of interim and corrective measures when necessary
Representation in Cases of Alleged Misconduct
- Representing companies facing allegations of misconduct and discipline by a regulator or law enforcement agencies
- Negotiating settlement agreements to avoid litigation or regulatory penalties
- Helping to ensure a company receives credit by regulators for its effective compliance program
- Engaging our communications professionals, as needed, to assist with media inquiries
- We can assist in developing the appropriate strategy to combat wrongdoing while maximizing potential monetary renumerations from the whistleblower.
- We help mitigate risk and assure safety if there are criminal elements or fear of retribution.
Securities and Regulatory Litigation
We counsel and defend individuals and entities in connection with inquiries, investigations, and civil and criminal enforcement actions initiated by various government regulatory agencies and self-regulatory organizations. We defend clients before the SEC, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and other federal and state securities and financial regulators. Our lawyers have represented clients in regulatory enforcement matters involving potential violations of both U.S. and E.U. statutes or regulations conducted individually, and/or jointly, by the SEC, U.S. Department of Justice, and non-U.S. financial regulators. We are well versed in the language, regulations, rules, policies, and processes of these organizations and offer clients the experience, insights, and judgment needed to secure successful outcomes.
We handle a full range of investigative and enforcement matters including:
- Variable products
- Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (CMOs);
- Private placement offerings;
- Deficiency and examination letters;
- Financial reporting and accounting;
- Market timing and late trading investigations;
- Sales practice issues (including churning and unauthorized trading);
- Insider trading;
- Books and records;
- Failure to supervise;
- Gifts and gratuities;
- Non-cash compensation;
- 529 Plans;
- Selling away;
- Directed brokerage/revenue sharing;
- Non-cash compensation;
- Municipal securities;
- Unregistered offerings; and
- Market manipulation.
If a matter has some merit, we can negotiate a reasonable settlement. However, if our clients' interests so require, we can effectively and aggressively represent their interests at hearing.
NY Attorney General
When necessary, we have employed industry experts to examine issues to ensure that a balanced public narrative is in place, rather than the one-sided version from a government regulator. We are well-connected to the same key media outlets that the Office of the New York State Attorney General uses to tell its story so we can present the client’s position on the issue to the same media in the same news cycle. Our attorneys work effectively with businesses if a company finds itself at the epicenter of an Attorney General investigation to provide full and thoughtful advice to help the client during what may be an otherwise tense decision-making environment.