FINRA Cracks Down on Cryptos, Securities-Backed Lines of Credit
January 8, 2018 | Wealth Managment
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s annual regulatory and examination priorities letter, released on Monday, points to some old, perennial issues firms should pay close attention to, including high-risk brokers, fraud and cybersecurity. But the regulator also flagged some areas of focus for 2018, including cryptocurrencies, securities-backed lines of credit and business continuity planning.
Cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings have gained significant media attention and popularity in recent months, and FINRA said it will also pay close attention to new developments in the space, including the role firms and brokers may play in transacting such assets.
“As with any new asset class, for lack of a better word, especially one that tends to rise in value without really any basis, it makes sense for FINRA just to shoot a warning shot across the bow of firms to say, ‘Look, to the extent you’re going to be involved in any of this sort of stuff, pay attention, make sure you understand what it is you’re involved in, make sure you understand what your customer’s objectives [are] when they’re getting involved in these things, and understand that we’ll be looking at it,’” said Mark Knoll, an attorney with Bressler, Amery & Ross’s securities law practice group.