Financial Regulatory and Compliance Group

Greenberg Traurig’s Financial Regulatory and Compliance Group brings together attorneys from various offices and practice areas to assist financial services firms of all types and sizes as well as vendors to those firms as they face regulatory, legislative, supervision, examination, licensing, compliance, and governance matters.

The breadth and depth of our experience, coupled with our regional and international diversity, positions us to collaborate across practices and geographies to deliver the quality service and value that financial services clients require in today’s world.

Greenberg Traurig’s Financial Services Observer monitors and reports on news, legal developments, litigation, and legislative actions affecting the financial services industry. Written by members of Greenberg Traurig’s Financial Regulatory and Compliance Group, this blog is designed to help in-house counsel and industry executives stay abreast of major developments affecting their industry. We hope this blog helps financial institutions and their legal and compliance teams navigate the evolving landscape of the financial services industry.

Bank Regulation and Compliance

Our global team of attorneys provides clients with strategic planning, analysis, and interpretation of legislation, amendments, and administrative rules governing the financial services industry. We counsel regulated financial institutions (and their officers and directors) in connection with critical examination reports and enforcement actions relating to capital, asset quality, management, compliance, and other issues.

We regularly advise clients in connection with federal and state banking laws and regulations, such as:

  • The Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and related regulations, including Volcker Rule implementation
  • Bank Holding Company Act and Regulation Y
  • Bank Secrecy Act, including USA PATRIOT Act amendments
  • Bank Control Act and Bank Merger Act
  • National Bank Act
  • Federal Reserve Act, including Sections 23A and 23B and Regulation O
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Act (including FIRREA and FDICIA)
  • International Banking Act, Foreign Bank Supervision Enhancement Act, and Regulation K
  • Gramm Leach Bliley Act
  • Community Reinvestment Act

With offices in government hubs, we consult regularly with staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Reserve, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory (FINRA), the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and state financial institution and securities agencies to efficiently provide our clients with practical solutions to their legal and regulatory issues.

Broker-Dealer Regulation and Compliance

Greenberg Traurig counsels broker-dealers, investment advisers, municipal securities dealers, and municipal advisors in a wide range of regulatory and compliance matters, including Dodd-Frank and JOBS Act issues and Exchange Act issues, Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), and pay-to-play business restrictions just to name a few. We also conduct internal investigations and full-scale compliance reviews. We work closely with our broker-dealer clients to develop and update their compliance programs, as well as their anti-money laundering and internal control policies and procedures.

We also work closely with the firm’s financial services and securities litigation and white collar teams to help our clients avoid unwarranted regulatory scrutiny and enforcement, and to defend when investigations or actions are brought by the SEC, the Department of Justice, the states’ Attorneys General, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), FINRA, New York Stock Exchange, and other regulators and litigants involving:

  • Accounting fraud and earnings management
  • Analysts’ conflicts of interest
  • D&O bar proceedings
  • Delisting proceedings
  • Insider trading
  • Individual enforcement actions
  • Market timing and late day trading
  • Market manipulation
  • Criminal proceedings
  • New SRO membership applications and continuing membership applications

Consumer Finance Regulation Compliance and Enforcement

Greenberg Traurig’s Consumer Finance Regulation, Compliance and Enforcement team brings together attorneys from various offices and practice areas to assist financial services firms of all types and sizes as well as vendors to those firms as they face regulatory, legislative, supervision, examination, licensing and compliance matters.

Our regional and practice diversity enables us to collaborate across practices and geographies to deliver clients the service and value that they require in today’s world.

Our consumer finance team has wide-ranging experience representing financial service providers on complex matters, including:

  • Federal and state regulation of consumer credit and other financial services
  • Advising on the scope of prohibition against unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices
  • CFPB and state supervisory examinations
  • Civil investigative demands
  • Compliance management reviews and audits
  • Defense in CFPB and state enforcement actions
  • Defense of consumer class action and individual litigation
  • Electronic lending
  • Interpretation and application of Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act and the federal consumer financial laws
  • Participation in CFPB rulemakings
  • Privacy and information security
  • Product development, implementation, and maintenance
  • Understanding the legal status, organizational structure, and operational authorities of the CFPB, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and other governmental agencies

We represent financial service providers such as:

  • Residential mortgage lending and servicing
  • Small-dollar/short-term lending
  • Automotive, boat, and manufactured housing indirect lending
  • Credit, debit, and prepaid card issuance, and payment system processing and operations
  • Military lending

Our team consists of veteran consumer finance attorneys with decades of combined experience helping clients to navigate a dynamic and complex regulatory landscape as well as a former senior CFPB attorney. We closely monitor the CFPB's activities in carrying out Dodd Frank’s mandate to implement and enforce federal consumer financial law. The CFPB’s expansive rulemaking agenda and rapidly evolving enforcement priorities have an almost daily impact on clients across multiple industries. Our team not only advises clients on compliance with existing regulations and responding to enforcement actions, but also assists clients in identifying important rulemaking initiatives and emerging enforcement trends.

Our attorneys are committed to assisting clients and businesses of all types and sizes with the services they require. Our clients in the consumer finance sector who are affected by CFPB include:

  • Large banks and their affiliates
  • Mortgage lenders and servicers
  • Direct and indirect consumer lenders
  • Electronic payment and money services businesses
  • Prepaid card issuers
  • Private student lenders
  • Debt collectors
  • Vendors that act as "service providers" to covered entities offering consumer financial products or services

Financial Institution Formation, M&A and Divestment

Our team is experienced in the formation and licensing of financial institutions of all types, as well as their expansion, merger, acquisition, and divestment before the OCC, the Federal Reserve, FDIC, SEC, FINRA, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), National Futures Association (NFA), and key state supervisory authorities.

Futures and Derivatives Regulatory and Compliance

Our team assists its futures and derivatives clients in navigating the complex statutory and regulatory web that governs their business. We represent futures commission merchants, forex firms, proprietary trading firms, exchanges, and introducing brokers in connection with all aspects of their business, from formation and offering, to ongoing regulatory and compliance advice, to assistance with regulatory investigations, enforcement actions, and litigation.

Investment Adviser and Asset Manager Compliance

Our team represents private investment funds on formation and offering matters for domestic and offshore funds, mergers and acquisitions, securities regulation, SEC and state investment adviser registration and exemptions, the development and implementation of Advisers Act compliance programs and procedures, ongoing compliance matters, mock audits, and regulatory examinations.

Mortgage Lending and Servicing Regulation

We work with mortgage lenders and servicers to ensure compliance with the relevant federal and state laws impacting residential and commercial mortgage finance, securitization, and servicing. We advise clients in the mortgage industry on regulation, examination, compliance, and supervision matters regarding various federal and state laws.

Unclaimed Property

Greenberg Traurig’s Unclaimed Property and Escheat Practice Group offers clients a multidisciplinary approach to unclaimed property/escheat matters. We regularly advise banks, broker-dealers, funds, and other companies in the financial services industry in connection with regulatory inquiries or audits inquiries concerning unclaimed or abandoned property. We have also assisted such clients in refining their processes, procedures, and reporting requirements relative to unclaimed property; in negotiating settlements; and in recovering unclaimed property that belongs to the financial institution.

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Diversity

At Greenberg Traurig, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The individual attorneys at Greenberg Traurig are committed to nurturing diversity throughout the firm and creating an environment where differences are embraced and utilized creatively.

For us, diversity is about taking action - opening doors for lawyers.

That commitment is reflected by the fact that overall, 40 percent of Greenberg Traurig's attorneys worldwide are women or minorities as defined by the American Bar Association. As of Dec. 31, 2014, our U.S. employees, including attorneys and staff, who met the definition of minority persons reflected a total of 29 percent of our employment base. Approximately 32 percent of our U.S. attorneys and 52 percent of our U.S. employees are women.

Greenberg Traurig's commitment to diversity and inclusion goes beyond any single committee. Committees cannot nurture; they cannot mentor; they cannot create an environment where differences are embraced and utilized creatively. Committees do not lead. Our diverse attorneys however, can and do.


* We welcome and reflect the communities we represent better than any other major law firm in our markets.

* We do not simply rely on a "committee" to achieve this.

* We do so through a commitment to providing a fair opportunity for each of us to reach our full potential.

* We have the personal dedication of many at Greenberg Traurig who identify and bring into our firm this very special diversity.

* The Minority Law Journal 2014 Diversity Scorecard has recognized us as follows:
o No. 1 Ranking, African American Partners
o No. 1 Ranking, Hispanic American Non-Partners
o No. 2 Ranking, Hispanic American Partners


* The National Law Journal has previously recognized our attorneys as among:
o No. 2 Ranking, Female Partner Numbers, Female Scorecard (2013)
o "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America" (Three) (2008)
o "The 50 Most Influential Women Attorneys" (Two) (2007)
o "The 100 Most Influential Attorneys in America"
(Two diverse attorneys; three total) (2006)


Diversity in Action: Fostering Diversity in the Profession and Preserving the Pipeline

Greenberg Traurig's Diversity Leadership Community has initiatives that focus on fostering an environment within the firm that supports and encourages diversity and inclusion, and increasing diversity in the profession by increasing access to a legal education for minority students. Helping today's law students and lawyers become tomorrow's business and legal leaders means a larger, more diverse marketplace and a greater pool of talented professionals. And that means more business opportunities for everyone - our firm, our colleagues and, most importantly, our clients.
 
In this way, our approach to diversity and inclusion mandates a high-level of personal responsibility with regard to the recruitment and retention of diverse attorneys. Attorneys in recruiting, hiring and supervisory roles are continuously made aware of the progress of our efforts. Our personal approach to diversity and inclusion means that Greenberg Traurig lawyers are active at their alma maters and at law schools local to their offices, participating in such programs as career panels; "Meet the Employer" days; and mock interviews, among others.

It has been, and continues to be, our goal to create a well-balanced workforce that contains a significant presence of minorities and women.

Greenberg Traurig creates and supports partner programs with women, minority, gay/lesbian or disability-focused bar associations. We attend and sponsor events at these organizations regularly throughout the United States. The firm works closely with national and local minority bars to address the fostering of diversity and inclusion in the profession on many levels. We support the work of several organizations, including MCCA, NAPABA, NASABA, NBA, NLGBTBA, HRC, HNBA and others.

Additionally, we provide funding through the Holly Skolnick Greenberg Traurig Fellowship Foundation for lawyers and law students to work with public interest groups. Through the Foundation, Greenberg Traurig serves as the largest sponsor of Equal Justice Works Fellowships in the United States and has invested approximately $8 million to support, in whole or in part, almost 127 Equal Justice Works Fellows since 1999.

We invite clients to join us as we work towards:

* Cultivating strategic partnerships with clients and potential clients to leverage our diversity platform to create and deepen relationships and cultivate business opportunities.

* Encouraging our lawyers to facilitate opportunities for our diverse and women lawyers to develop relationships with clients before and after new matters are received.

* Broadening the pipeline of diverse attorneys by expanding relationships with minority bar associations and other legal diversity organizations through our combined support of these networks.

* Focusing on strengthening mentoring programs for female and diverse attorneys at every level.

* Instituting a program that provides a variety of mentoring, rainmaking and training opportunities that can be accessed by a wide range of diverse attorneys across a variety of underserved communities.

* Engaging our Affinity Groups and their allies as a forum for professional development and business development opportunities, as well as for recruiting and retention assistance and as a social exchange to promote inclusion.

Diversity in Action: Employee Resource Networks

Greenberg Traurig's Employee Resource Networks (Affinity Groups) have the goal of addressing the needs of our attorneys and professionals who are diverse. We support Affinity Groups for our attorneys who are African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, LGBT and women, and we continue to gauge opportunities to expand those groups as our needs and demographics dictate.

The firm's Affinity Groups are as follows:

* African American Affinity Group

* Asian Pacific American Affinity Group

* Hispanic American Affinity Group

* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Affinity Group

* South Asian American Affinity Group

* Women's Initiative

Our goals include:

* Mentoring of junior attorneys within the specific group;

* Recruitment and retention of diverse attorneys;

* Active participation in organizations addressing specific groups; and

* Serving as a forum for group members to discuss and explore issues and opportunities that will add value to client relationships.

Women's Initiative

As an example of our approach, Greenberg Traurig's firm-wide Women's Initiative focuses on retaining and supporting women attorneys through professional development and work/life balance initiatives, as well as through business development training programs and networking opportunities.

We work with like-minded organizations to address these issues on a broader scale in a variety of industries and communities.

Our program targets:

* Attracting and retaining talented women attorneys.

* Supporting business development for women attorneys.

* Serving as industry leaders.

* Impacting the community through leadership and service.

* Maintaining a culture that benefits women attorneys.

Diversity in Action: Suppliers

Greenberg Traurig is committed to the development of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and Small Business Enterprises (DBE & SBE) suppliers.

As such:

* All business concerns, large and small, majority- or minority-owned, are afforded an equal opportunity to compete.

* A national director of procurement within the firm supports this practice.

* We are committed to diversity with respect to our vendors and suppliers.

* We are amenable to using diverse vendors and suppliers recommended by clients.

Diversity from the Top Down

Cesar L. Alvarez, Co-Chair of Greenberg Traurig, leads our diversity efforts. This is a matter of personal responsibility for him, having entered the U.S. as an immigrant with humble beginnings.

He has previously been honored as follows:

* "Lifetime Achievement Award," Hispanic National Bar Foundation

* "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America," The National Law Journal

* "50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America," The National Law Journal

* "Top Most Powerful Hispanics," The Black Book of Poder

* "25 Best Latinos in Business," Hispanic Magazine, The Power Issue

* "President's Award of Merit for Diversity Efforts," The Florida Bar

* "Spirit of Excellence Award," ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession

* "Lifetime Achievement Award," Chambers USA Awards for Excellence

* "CEO of the Year" award, Multicultural Law Magazine

* "Attorney of the Year Award," Hispanic National Bar Association

 

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