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EB-5 Insights

Where Government Policies and Business Realities Converge

Posted in Securities Law

FINRA recently issued Notice to Members 17-42, which proposes sweeping changes to the process by which a securities broker may seek to expunge reference to a customer complaint from his or her public record.  The comment period for the proposed rule amendments ended on Feb. 5, 2018.  The proposed changes will now to go the SEC for review and approval.  The proposal, if approved, would result in a major overhaul of the expungement process, and, as FINRA acknowledges, will likely increase the cost and the difficulty for brokers making expungement requests. Industry participants may wish to comment to the SEC before the proposal is approved.

Key provisions of the proposed rule amendments include:

  • Brokers making a request for expungement must pay a minimum filing fee of $1,450;
  • Requests for expungement must be filed within one year of the closing of a customer arbitration case, or from the closing of a customer complaint (if no arbitration case was filed);
  • Requests for expungement relief must be filed not against the customer who initiated the complaint (as in current practice), but against the firm which employed the broker at the time the complaint was made, and firms will be assessed a member surcharge and a processing fee (thus increasing the costs for both brokers and firms when expungement relief is sought);
  • Unless a request for expungement relief is decided in an existing arbitration case, all such requests must be heard by a panel of special arbitrators who must (1) be qualified as public chairpersons, (2) have completed enhanced expungement training; (3) be admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction; and (4) have at least five years’ experience in litigation, federal or state securities regulation, administrative law, service as a securities regulator, or service as a judge.  This is true even if a broker makes a proper request for expungement relief during the course of an arbitration, litigates the case before a properly-constituted panel for an extended period of time and then settles the matter on the eve of the arbitration hearing; in such instances the broker will be required to file an entirely separate action, subject to an entirely different set of rules.
  • Brokers must appear at an expungement hearing in person or by videoconference, and such hearings may no longer be conducted telephonically.
  • Decisions of the arbitration panel on requests for expungement must be unanimous.

For a more detailed analysis of the proposed rule amendments, please see the GT Alert, “FINRA Plans Major Changes to Rules Governing the Expungement of Customer Complaint Information.”

Posted in Continuing Resolution (CR), President Trump's Administration

After extended debate, the U.S. Senate set-aside the House-passed Continuing Resolution (CR) and negotiated and passed a CR funding government and programs, including EB-5, until March 23, coupled with a sweeping 2-year budget agreement for FY 18 and FY 19.  The extended debate exceeded the previous CR time extension of midnight Feb. 8, which resulted in a lapse of Appropriations or government shut-down.

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Posted in Continuing Resolution (CR), EB-5 Program

Tonight, by a vote of 245-182, the House approved it’s version of the 5th Continuing Resolution (CR), funding government operations and extending government programs, such as EB-5, until March 23.  The bill now proceeds to the Senate for further consideration.

As of this writing, it is expected that the Senate will continue overall budget negotiations and vote when consensus is reached.  It is further expected that Congress will reach consensus and pass a CR prior to the expiration of the current CR (Feb. 8), thereby avoiding any interruptions of government operations and programs.

Posted in Continuing Resolution (CR), EB-5

Tonight, House Appropriations Chairman, Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), filed a fifth short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) extending government funding and important programs, such as EB-5,  from Feb. 8 until March 23.  After late-night Conference meetings, House Republicans developed the framework and timing of the CR. The CR is expected to be acted upon by the House later this week. 

House action will start the process for the newest CR.

Please subscribe to our blog for more updates on the CR and other matters.

Posted in DACA

A business coalition and many of its members continues to work for passage of a permanent bipartisan legislation solution for Dreamers living, working, and contributing to our economy.   https://www.coalitionfortheamericandream.us/. More than 100 CEOs of businesses from across the industry spectrum and across the United States are represented in this effort.

The economics of DACA to the U.S. economy have been well-documented, most recently by the American Action Forum. The findings are below:

  • New AAF research finds that DACA recipients contribute, on net, roughly $3.4 billion annually to the federal balance sheet.
  • Previous AAF research found that DACA recipients currently contribute nearly $42 billion to the annual U.S. GDP, with an average economic contribution of $109,00 per worker.
  • Previous AAF research further found that physically removing all DACA recipients would cost between $7 billion and $21 billion and reduce U.S. GDP by 0.4 percent.

Read more here.

Business immigration issues are at the forefront of matters before the U.S. Congress. Please contact Laura Reiff and or Bob Maples if your business would like to join DACA advocacy or to discuss any other business immigration/workforce matters of interest.

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, Travel, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Travelers continue to experience heightened scrutiny at U.S. Ports of Entry. Whether the travel is for business or pleasure, travelers often carry an electronic device such as a cell phone or laptop. The current administration’s focus on border security has made travelers increasingly concerned about how to protect personal and corporate data contained on electronic devices.

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Posted in Conrad 30 Waiver Program, Continuing Resolution (CR), E-Verify, EB-5 Program, President Trump's Administration

On Monday evening, President Trump signed the Continuing Resolution (CR) into law ending the three-day, 69-hour government shutdown.

In addition to funding the government and other policy-related matters, the CR extends EB-5, E-Verify, Conrad 30, and the Religious Workers immigration programs until Feb. 8.

Immigration issues will likely occupy most of the Congressional agenda during the extended CR period.

Please check back for updates as events unfold.

For more information on the Continuing Resolution, click here.

Posted in Continuing Resolution (CR)

By a vote of 266-150 on Jan. 22  (three days after  the previous extension deadline of midnight on Jan. 19), the House passed the Senate amendment, extending Continuing Appropriations for government services and programs to Feb. 8.

The bill now goes to the president who is expected to sign it into law.

Today’s action extends government operations and programs until Feb. 8, including vital immigration programs such as EB-5, Conrad 30, E-Verify, and Religious Workers. GT will continue to provide updates as events unfold.

Posted in Continuing Resolution (CR), EB-5, Government Shutdown

Late Friday (Jan. 19)  the U.S. Senate failed to pass the House of Representatives approved Continuing Resolution (or CR).  As of January 20th the federal government is in a shutdown.  It appears that the Senate will attempt another CR vote to extend vital programs, such as EB-5, through Feb. 8, 2018. This vote could come as early as January 21 or 22.   We will keep you posted on the status of the CR votes as they occur.