• Parties will receive a random list of10 national mediators along withtheir Mediator Disclosures for theirconsideration and ranking;
• The mediator payment for his/her
service is $100 an hour split by the
• FINRA waives mediation filing fees
and administrative fees (FINRA
receives no revenue).
FINRA Dispute Resolution Services alsooffers virtual hearing services (via Zoomand teleconference) to parties in all casesby joint agreement of parties and mediator.
FINRA TASK FORCE CATCHES SCAMS
FINRA’s National Fraud and FinancialCrimes Detection Programs, part of thebroker-dealer regulator’s newly established COVID- 19 Fraud Task Force,has referred more than 50 potentiallyfraudulent COVID- 19 scams by publiccompanies to the SEC.
The referrals have provided direct
assistance to the SEC in suspending trad-
ing in the shares of more than 20 public
companies, FINRA said in early May.
On March 23, FINRA hired GregRuppert, the former head of CharlesSchwab’s Financial Crimes RiskManagement group, to head the NCFC,which provides surveillance, investigations and examinations of potential fraudassociated with the coronavirus pandemic.
Ruppert — who also was a specialagent with the FBI for 17 years, investigating complex financial schemes, terroristfinancing and cyber threats — has assembled a task force of 15 FINRA groups tomonitor COVID- 19 related frauds.
Members of the task force collaboratedaily and share regulatory intelligencewith the SEC’s COVID- 19 Fraud andInsider Trading task forces as well aswith the FBI and the North AmericanSecurities Administrators Association.
The NCFC’s Insider Trading and Fraud
Surveillance teams recently identified sus-
pected COVID- 19 fraud activity at select
firms. “This regulatory intelligence was
shared with NCFC’s AML and Cause Exam
teams as well as with FINRA’s Enforcement
Department which, collectively, reviewed
the information and opened exams and
investigations,” FINRA said in the blog.
FINRA also warned broker-dealers inearly May of phishing emails that purport to be from the self-regulator.
In Regulatory Notice 20-12, FINRAstates that the scam is “a widespread,ongoing phishing campaign that involvesfraudulent emails” that claim to be fromFINRA officers, including Bill Wollmanand Josh Drobnyk.
The emails have a source domainname “@ broker-finra.org” and requestimmediate attention to an attachmentrelating to a broker-dealer firm.
The domain of broker-finra.org is notconnected to FINRA and firms shoulddelete all emails originating from thisdomain name, FINRA states. finra.org.
Washington Bureau Chief Melanie Waddell canbe reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s in the Next Stimulus Package?
Two lawmakers see more required minimum distribution reliefbeing included in the next coronavirus stimulus package.
Rep. Tom Reed, R-N. Y., a member of the House Ways andMeans Committee and the ranking Republican member on theSocial Security Subcommittee, said during an early May Zoommeeting held by the American Council for Capital Formationthat he sees a “huge amount of appetite” among lawmakers toinclude more required minimum distribution relief in the Phase
4 stimulus package, which is being dubbed CARES Act 2.
The Problem Solvers Caucus, which Reed co-chairs, will be“taking the lead” on the RMD debate, Reed said. The bipartisanProblem Solvers Caucus is now up to 50 members, Reed said.
“We are going to engage in our virtual Congress projectwhere we actually can show you can use technology todebate some of these issues and be transparent with theAmerican people,” Reed said.
“When you talk about minimum distributions and othertype of protections for folks going through this [pandemic],and we see unemployment of 20% to 30% for the foreseeable short term, at least, that is a serious concern for peoplewhen it comes to their checking accounts and their ability tosurvive,” Reed said.
“I see a huge amount of appetite, if you would, by elected offi-
cials to recognize: ‘Yeah, the economy will come back online, but
it’s going to come back online in phases; it’s also going to need
cash flow reestablishment, it’s going to need liquidity because
you’ve had all these disruptions through the entire system.’”
A Phase 4 stimulus package “may be Phase 4, 5 and 6
coupled together,” Reed continued, plus “you’re going to need
some stimulus activity in order to stimulate the economy fis-
cally,” namely via an infrastructure bill, which he said “is also
on the table in a strong way.”
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., signaled during a separate Zoom
webcast held by the American Council for Capital Formation
in early May, that RMD relief could likely come in the next
stimulus bill to help address the massive withdrawals from
retirement accounts taking place now.
“In response to the coronavirus, there were provisions put intothe CARES Act that deals with pension issues,” Cardin said. “Weare suggesting that perhaps we should be doing more, and that is,ease up on the required minimum distributions … people can keepmore money in their retirement,” he said. “That should be something we may be able to get done in a stimulus bill in the nextcouple weeks; it’s something we should take a look at.” —MW