Reed Smith

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Message From FINRA Enforcement Chief: “Talk to Me”

This post was written by Amy. J. Greer and C. Neil Gray. Earlier this week, J. Bradley Bennett, Executive Vice-President, Enforcement for FINRA, spoke at a gathering hosted by SIFMA’s Compliance & Legal Society.  Bennett’s remarks purported to bust common myths about the FINRA Enforcement program he leads—myths like FINRA picks on larger firms and … Continue Reading

Help Not Wanted: Delinquent Taxpayers and Felony Convicts Still Not Sought as Contracting Partners to the U.S. Government

This post was written by Joelle E.K. Laszlo. The pool of potential competitors for federal contracts may have just gotten a little bit smaller. On February 21, 2014, the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics issued a memorandum to all Department of Defense (“DOD”) contracting agencies and officers instructing that, effective immediately and … Continue Reading

Foreign Investment in the United States: Pork, National Security, and the CFIUS Tie that Binds

This post was written by Bethany Brown, Michael J. Lowell, and Leigh T. Hansson. What does pork have to do with national security? Companies contemplating cross-border investment in the United States should be asking themselves this question in the aftermath of recent action by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”). Last … Continue Reading

The SEC Brings Charges Against ‘Gatekeeper’ Accountants

This post was written by James A. Rolfes. In a “crackdown” on the “gatekeepers” who put investors at risk when they fail to uncover financial statement fraud and misstatements, the Securities and Exchange Commission this week highlighted the work of “Operation Broken Gate” when it announced the filing of several proceedings against certified public accountants … Continue Reading

SEC Order Emphasizes Need to Follow Disclosed Valuation Method when Valuing Private Equity Fund

This post was written by James A. Rolfes. Expressing its concern that “the current difficult fundraising environment … can incentivize private equity managers to artificially inflate valuations,” the Securities and Exchange Commission emphasized the need for private equity firms to “implement policies and procedures to ensure that investors receive performance data derived from the disclosed … Continue Reading

FAR Councils to Inverted Domestic Corporations: Don’t Call Us, We Won’t Call You

This post was written by Joelle E.K. Laszlo. In a move that should surprise no one, the Councils responsible for the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) have adopted a final rule prohibiting the award of a government contract using 2012 appropriated funds to an inverted domestic corporation or a subsidiary of one. First published in May … Continue Reading

After Kingdomware, an FSS Contract May Be a Key to the VA’s Procurement Castle

This post was written by Joelle E.K. Laszlo and Gunjan Talati. Two bid protest decisions issued late last year have upheld the Department of Veterans Affairs’ practice of purchasing from Federal Supply Schedule contractors without the need to consider setting aside such purchases for veteran-owned small businesses, or service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. As a result, … Continue Reading

Defense Contractors Are Now Subject to Notice Requirements for Hacked Systems

This post was written by Gunjan Talati and Timothy Nagle. The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) became the law of the land in early January. This NDAA contains a notice requirement that follows the government trend of the past few years of being required to tattle on yourself. Specifically, the NDAA directs the Department … Continue Reading

11th Circuit Takes Direct Aim at SEC ‘Obey-the-Law’ Injunctions and Reminds Us All That Even the Very Broad Anti-Fraud Provisions Have Their Limits

This post was written by Amy J. Greer. In a recent appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, there is little doubt that the SEC thought its case was something of an easy win. The story is not pretty. Richard L. Goble, the remaining defendant in the matter – everyone … Continue Reading

FCA to take on competition objective

This post was written by Marjorie C. Holmes and Brett Hillis. There is a financial Services Bill currently going through Parliament, which introduces a competition objective for the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to implement as part of its general duties: The matters to which the FCA may have regard in considering the effectiveness of … Continue Reading

SEC Warning: Phony Email Hoax

This post was written by Amy J. Greer. The SEC sent out a warning yesterday that a phony message referencing the Agency’s Whistleblower Office is being used in connection with a potential computer hack or dissemination of malicious software. According to the SEC Alert, sent through the Agency’s push technology, it has received numerous calls … Continue Reading

SFO tells whistleblowers: “It’s good to talk”

This post was written by Simon Hart. The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has stepped up its attempts to persuade employees and professional advisors to blow the whistle on fraudulent or corrupt practices within the organisations they serve. The SFO has announced a new “SFO Confidential” service that allows whistleblowers to report concerns either by … Continue Reading

Preparations for the UK Bribery Act 2010

This post was written by Simon D. Hart. With the coming into force of the UK’s Bribery Act 2010 today, companies will be reviewing and revising a wide range of documents, policies and procedures across their organisation. Whilst in-house Counsel will almost certainly have been at the forefront of any internal review to ensure the company’s … Continue Reading

European Commission announces new initiatives to tackle corruption

This post was written by George Hoare. On 6 June 2011, the European Commission (EC) outlined measures to tackle the problem of corruption within the European Union (EU). According to figures quoted in the press release, four out of five EU citizens regard corruption as a major problem in their Member State, with corruption estimated … Continue Reading

UK’s Serious Fraud Office survives – but for how long?

This post was written by Simon D. Hart. After months of speculation, and rumoured turf wars within the UK government, it has today been confirmed that the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) will not be broken up and will remain independent of the new National Crime Agency (“NCA”). The SFO will retain both its investigative … Continue Reading

Expanded Scrutiny of Financial Institutions and Mortgage Lenders Through Expansive Use of the False Claims Act

This post was written by Wendy Schwartz and Andrew Bernasconi. The Justice Department has once again taken aggressive action against financial institutions and mortgage lenders – this time through a False Claims Act action that seeks more than 1.1 billion dollars in damages. On Tuesday, the government filed a complaint against mortgage lender MortgageIT and … Continue Reading

When Ambiguity Can Mean Criminal Indictment: the FCPA and the Case of Establishing the Elements

This post was written by Anne E. Borkovic. As everyone can cite, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) in part prohibits offering or providing anything of value to a foreign official to obtain or retain business. But what does that mean in practice? Two federal courts are grappling with defining “foreign official” and, in turn, … Continue Reading