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The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have steadily increased their enforcement and regulatory activity in the $3.75 trillion municipal securities market used by state and local governments to finance their needs. Our team’s experience in regulations and enforcement in this area is unique.
Regulatory Investigation and Enforcement Defense
Bracewell offers an understanding of and experience in the legal and regulatory aspects of the state and local securities markets. Our team of former government regulators and prosecutors has consistently been at the forefront of the development of laws and regulations for this market and is supported by one of the nation's premier public finance transactional practices. We represent financial firms and their officers, directors and employees together with other municipal market participants in regulatory investigation and enforcement actions, federal and state litigation, and FINRA arbitration matters. In addition, as regulatory compliance counsel, we help our clients adapt to the evolving regulatory requirements of this field.
Our lawyers have experience in and an understanding of the state and local securities markets.
- Defending market participants in DOJ, SEC, and FINRA investigations of alleged municipal securities violations
- Defending clients such as investment banks and bond trustees in litigation pertaining to municipal securities issuances
- Defending clients in FINRA arbitration proceedings
- Establishing the SEC's Office of Municipal Securities and serving as its first director
- At the SEC: guiding enforcement proceedings over approximately 150 municipal market participants, supervising the development and implementation of municipal securities disclosure provisions and rules to end pay-to-play practices; and coordinating all SEC activity relating to the bankruptcy of Orange County, California in 1994 – at the time the largest county bankruptcy in the U.S.
- Authoring authoritative works on municipal securities law, regulation, and market practice
Many of our lawyers are former DOJ, SEC, FBI, and FINRA prosecutors, investigators, and enforcement lawyers (a number with combined DOJ/SEC, SEC/FINRA, and DOJ/FBI backgrounds) who are experienced in defending clients in municipal securities and public pension investigations and prosecutions in state and federal courts., SEC administrative proceedings, FINRA disciplinary hearings, and FINRA arbitration proceedings.
Based across the country in New York, Washington, D.C., Dallas, and Seattle, our lawyers have defended clients in municipal market enforcement matters relating to the following allegations:
- investment contract bid-rigging
- pay-to-play violations
- misleading pension disclosure
- bond mark-ups
- tax-issue disclosure
- state false claims act violations
- auction rate securities marketing violations
- transaction reporting and disclosure dissemination violations
- Rule 15c2-12 violations
- Misleading tax-issue disclosure
Our geographical diversity and collaborative approach to work combine to offer a strong benefit to our clients. Our offices are located in proximity to SEC and FINRA regional as well as national enforcement centers allowing us to combine local and national knowledge and experience.
Additionally, our lawyers regularly deal with enforcement of various SEC and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) rules relating to municipal underwriters and broker-dealers. We also assist state and local government, broker-dealer, and municipal advisor clients in the development of internal practices and procedures to promote compliance with federal securities laws.
Strong Municipal Market Transactional Presence
Our public finance practice, one of the largest in the nation, gives our clients a continuing source of up-to-date information on transactional trends and challenges in the municipal market, an in-depth understanding of state and local law issues central to the issuance of municipal securities, and a greater insight into managing municipal securities and public pension enforcement and regulatory challenges.