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The Evergrande Crisis Shows the Need for Greater Regulatory Oversight of the OTC Markets

Posted  09/23/21
market trading graph with large dip
The potential imminent collapse of China’s largest property builder, Evergrande, is shining a light on just how expensive homes in China’s big cities have become—and how much of a risk of a bubble there is, with potentially catastrophic effects on the global markets.  A potential collapse would not just affect Chinese investors, although they may bear the brunt.  Evergrande is traded over-the-counter in the...

SEC Awards $114 Million to Two Whistleblowers, Including an Apparent Outsider, Passing the $1 Billion Mark with a Bang

Posted  09/16/21
Boom comics
The SEC announced $114 million in whistleblower awards to two unnamed individuals whose information substantially contributed to an SEC enforcement action and two related actions by other enforcement agencies.  With this award, the SEC can say it has issued more than $1 billion in awards to whistleblowers – truly, a milestone worth celebrating. As is typical with SEC press releases about whistleblower awards,...

SEC Whistleblower Program Summer Roundup - Nearing the Billion Dollar Mark

Posted  09/9/21
SEC-building
For the SEC Whistleblower Program, it was business as usual this summer.  With total awards of more than $50 million to 25 whistleblowers, the agency moved ever closer to the billion dollar mark.  Here is how it played out for the SEC program over the not so lazy days of summer:
  • June 2 – $23 million (2 whistleblowers)
  • June 14 – $3 million (2 whistleblowers)
  • June 21 – $5.3 million (4...

What the SEC can learn from its German peer BaFin

Posted  08/13/21
Building of Wirecard in Germany
The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, otherwise known as BaFin, is Germany’s version of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a supervisory body working to ensure the functioning, stability and integrity of the German financial system. BaFin was created following a 2002 merger between Germany’s Federal Banking Supervisory Office (BAKred), the Federal Securities Supervisory Office (BAWe), and...

SEC Chairman Views Cryptocurrency Markets as the “Wild West” and Calls for More Investor Protection

Posted  08/13/21
Cryptocurrency and US Hundred Dollar Bills Scattered Around
During a recent speech discussing the intersection of national security with cryptocurrencies at the Aspen Security Forum, Gary Gensler, the new Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), made clear the SEC will use its broad powers to continue protecting investors from the volatility associated with cryptocurrency markets which he characterized as the “Wild West.”  He also urged Congress to grant...

Federal Court Confirms That Outsiders Can Be SEC Whistleblower Too

Posted  07/30/21
SEC-building
What does it mean to be a “whistleblower”?  Often, people think of corporate or government employees with access to secret information that’s not visible from the outside.  A classic example is Daniel Ellsberg.  Working as a military analyst for the RAND Corporation, Ellsberg accessed and leaked an explosive Top Secret study of U.S. activities in the Vietnam War. But the U.S. whistleblower award programs...

In Defense of Whistleblowers: Poppy Alexander Appears on Law & Disorder Podcast

Posted  07/13/21
Constantine Cannon whistleblower attorney Poppy Alexander was interviewed as a featured guest on the Law & Disorder podcast.  In an interview with Heidi Boghosian, Poppy discussed the False Claims Act, including its rewards and protections for whistleblowers.  The FCA allows private persons, known as relators, to bring what are called qui tam lawsuits on the government’s behalf, and claim a share of any recovery...

SEC Cracks Down Again on Companies Chilling Whistleblowers from Reporting Wrongdoing

Posted  07/2/21
red tape over person mouth
A company’s restrictive compliance manual and training materials ran afoul of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s Rule 21F-17(a), prohibiting actions restricting, impeding, or discouraging whistleblowers from directly reporting wrongdoing to the Commission.  In its settlement against New York broker-dealer Guggenheim Securities, LLC (Guggenheim), the SEC not only censured Guggenheim but also hit it...

Flood of SEC Whistleblower Awards Continues

Posted  06/17/21
Securities and Exchange Commission logo with a stack of coins and cash on top
It has been less than two months since SEC Whistleblower Chief Jane Norberg left the agency for private practice.  As we previously wrote, her five years running the agency's Whistleblower Program were groundbreaking in the number and amount of awards the SEC made and in the agency's efforts to champion the critical role whistleblowers play within the SEC enforcement regime. As we also wrote at the time, the SEC...

Catch of the Week: SEC Cracks Down Again on Cybersecurity Disclosures

Posted  06/17/21
hacker in hoodie typing code in program using laptop in dark studio
This week’s Catch of the Week goes to the Securities and Exchange Commission for its latest settlement involving cybersecurity risks.  The SEC charged First American Financial Corporation, an insurance company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, with failing to adequately control for cybersecurity risks.  According to the SEC’s Order, a journalist alerted First American that it had a major vulnerability in...
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