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Matt is a skilled advocate for clients subject to regulatory oversight, including financial services companies. He provides guidance by developing informed strategies for investigations, enforcement matters, compliance, and litigation.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) recently announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) aimed at keeping bad actors from exploiting the U.S. financial system and assets through investment advisers. Specifically, it would require certain investment advisers to apply Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), including implementing risk-based AML/CFT programs, reporting suspicious activity to FinCEN, and fulfilling recordkeeping requirements such as those relating to the transmittal of funds (i.e., comply with the Recordkeeping and Travel Rule). FinCEN is proposing to delegate its examination authority to the SEC.

As reported in more detail on our Regulatory Oversight blog, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Examinations recently released its 2024 Examination Priorities report. The report underscores the SEC’s intent to focus on risk areas impacting market participants, particularly those related to cryptocurrency and emerging technology.

On October 19, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dismissed its claims against Ripple Labs, Inc. (Ripple) executives Bradley Garlinghouse and Christian Larsen for allegedly aiding and abetting Ripple’s violations of the Securities Act with respect to its “institutional sales” of XRP. The Southern District of New York had deemed “institutional sales” to be unregistered securities in its July summary judgment decision, however, at that time the court reserved judgment as to the aiding and abetting claims against the executives. The matter was set for trial in 2024.

On September 8, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of Treasury (FinCEN) issued an alert warning financial institutions to be vigilant against a prominent virtual currency investment scam called “pig butchering.” U.S. law enforcement currently estimates victims in the United States have lost billions of dollars to these types of scams.

In the realm of financial crime prevention, the adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies has the potential to revolutionize Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance. AI offers powerful tools for detecting suspicious activities, identifying patterns, and streamlining compliance processes. However, as with any transformative technology, there are both benefits and risks associated with its use. Here, we summarize key uses and risks of AI in BSA/AML compliance, shedding light on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in this critical area of financial regulation.

Yesterday, Coinbase Financial Markets, Inc., a leading cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it has secured regulatory approval from the National Futures Association (NFA) to operate a futures commission merchant offering crypto futures on its platforms. The NFA is the self-regulatory organization for the U.S. derivatives industry, designated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). According to Coinbase, its application has been pending since 2021.

On August 9, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sent a letter to U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres requesting leave to file an interlocutory appeal in SEC v. Ripple Labs, Inc. as to the two adverse liability determinations in her July 13, 2023 order. That order granted partial summary judgment in Ripple Labs’ favor regarding the sale of its XRP token. As we previously discussed here, the court held in deciding cross motions for summary judgment that defendants’ “programmatic” offers and sales to XRP buyers over crypto asset trading platforms and Ripple’s “other distributions” in exchange for labor and services did not involve the offer or sale of securities under the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in SEC v. W.J. Howey Co.

On August 2, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) announced updates to certain sections and examination procedures in the FFIEC Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Examination Manual (Manual). The Manual instructs examiners on how to assess a bank’s anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) program and its compliance with other AML/CFT regulatory requirements. The FFIEC cautions that the updates should not be seen as new instructions or an increased focus on certain areas, but instead as offering further transparency into the examination process and supporting risk-focused examination work.

On June 1, House Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and

House Committee on Agriculture Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) released a discussion draft of legislation intended to fill gaps in digital asset regulation and provide a framework that will provide the crypto industry and consumers with some much-needed certainty. The proposal includes a