Landmark legislation has changed the operating landscape of business worldwide. Faced with new disclosure requirements along with enhanced regulatory authority, examination practices and whistleblower provisions, companies and individuals need seasoned counsel on their side now more than ever. We help our clients navigate complex regulatory, compliance, and enforcement matters while minimizing exposure with the government and in the press.
With a global team of more than 100 enforcement attorneys, including former SEC attorneys and federal prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and many U.S. Attorney’s Offices, we understand the complexities of both the financial products of today’s markets and interfacing with the government. Our enforcement and regulatory attorneys have extensive experience handling the most significant securities and futures enforcement initiatives.
We have represented clients before every SEC office, the DOJ, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the CME, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the National Futures Association (NFA) and many other self-regulatory organizations. We frequently handle matters involving:
- Auditor matters
- Broker-dealer misconduct
- Complex trading practices, including proprietary futures and derivative products
- Financial reporting, complex accounting and disclosure issues
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) matters
- Insider trading and expert networks
- Investment advisory fraud
- LIBOR manipulation
- Market manipulation
- Performance reporting and adviser advertising
- Residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), swaps, auction rate securities (ARS), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and other complex instruments
- Stock option grant practices and allegations of back dating
- Subprime, commodity-backed mortgage and credit, and commodity default swap exposure
- Whistleblower matters
With leading practices in private equity, investment management and hedge funds, Ropes & Gray’s securities and futures enforcement attorneys represent high-profile financial institutions and individuals in the most complex and extensive enforcement and regulatory matters in the country and globally. Recent highlights include representation of:
- Several of the largest private equity firms in the U.S. in significant SEC enforcement inquiries – more than any other peer firm. Ropes & Gray has also represented private equity clients in more SEC examinations, which can lead to enforcement inquiries, than any other law firm.
- A global clothing retailer in negotiating the first nonprosecution agreement with the SEC since the announcement of a new cooperation initiative in 2010. We represented the audit committee of the retailer in connection with a massive internal investigation into accounting fraud issues that resulted in a five-year restatement of financials, the resignation of the company’s president, and an extensive self-report of issues to the staff of the SEC and U.S. Attorney’s office.
- One of the world’s largest institutional money managers in investigations by the SEC and Massachusetts regulators focusing on alleged material omissions of information provided to investors regarding the funds’ exposure to the subprime mortgage market, selective disclosure to key client groups, and the use of leverage and derivative funds. The eventual settlement with the SEC and the state regulators was completed on a neither admit nor deny basis, and we were able to convince the SEC staff to drop its demand for a scienter-based claim and settle for a negligence-based charge.
- A formerly multi-billion dollar hedge fund and its founder in connection with the largest west coast-based insider trading investigation to date. This case, which began as part of the SDNY’s multi-year, high-profile investigation into hedge fund research and trading, arose out of the actions of a former analyst who pled guilty and was sentenced to five years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit securities fraud. His alleged co-conspirator in the scheme was also convicted of two counts of securities fraud and conspiracy after a jury trial. We secured a negligence-based settlement with the SEC on behalf of the hedge fund and its founder.
- A closed end mutual fund in the first-ever case related to manipulation of an auction for ATP stock by its issuer. We took over the representation from another firm once the SEC staff indicated that they intended to serve the company and its officers with a Wells Notice and overcame the initial demand by the SEC for a high-dollar, fraud-based settlement, achieving a settlement in principal on non-scienter based charges with little monetary impact on the fund.