On July 13, 2017, FINRA held a Blockchain Symposium to assess the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the financial industry, including the maintenance of shareholder and corporate records. DLT is commonly referred to as blockchain. The symposium included participation by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Federal Reserve Board and the SEC.
FINRA also published a report earlier in the year discussing the implications of DLT for the securities industry. Delaware, Nevada and Arizona have already passed statutes allowing for the use of DLT for corporate and shareholder records. This is the first in many blogs that will discuss DLT as this exciting new era of technology continues to unfold and impact the securities markets. In this blog I will discuss FINRA’s report published in January 2017 and in the next in the series, I will summarize the recent SEC investigative report on initial coin offerings and conclusion
On June 18, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a policy change related to its settlement of certain civil matters. In particular, the SEC has stated that it will now require that the settling party admit wrongdoing as part of a settlement. Previously the standard language for all settlements has been that the defendants “neither admit nor deny wrongdoing.” Defendants, of course, cannot be required to make such an admission or settle a case, but the alternative is fighting it out in court, an expensive and risky process.
The change in policy began with a related change in which the SEC changed its policy to require admissions of wrongdoing to settle cases where the defendant had already admitted such wrongdoing in related criminal cases. Mary Jo White has now announced that, even in cases where there is no parallel criminal case, the SEC will now require individuals and companies to admit liability in “cases where… it’s very important to