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    SEC official blasts waivers for bad-actor banks

    A Securities and Exchange Commission official is blasting waivers the financial regulator approved for five banks whose traders manipulated the world’s foreign-exchange market. In an angrily worded dissent, SEC Commissioner Kara Stein refused to support waivers enabling Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, London-based Barclays, Swiss banking giant UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland to continue normal activities despite the rate-rigging findings. “Allowing these institutions to continue business as usual, after multiple and serious regulatory and criminal violations, poses risks to investors and the American public that are being ignored,” Stein wrote in a statement dated Thursday, one day after the SEC approved the waivers. More on USA Today here.

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    Whistleblowers Find SEC Rewards Slow and Scarce

    One Sunday afternoon last spring, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigator called Yolanda Holtzee at her Seattle home, asking for her help in catching an alleged con man the press dubbed “the Wolf of Montreal.” Ms. Holtzee had been tracking John Babikian, a Bugatti-driving Canadian accused of multimillion-dollar investment scams, and had tipped the agency about him as part of her longtime interest in fraud in the penny-stock markets. More in the Wall Street Journal here.

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    SEC reveals factors behind how it picks courts it uses

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission released guidance on Friday about how it decides whether to pursue a case in federal court or before an in-house judge, amid complaints by some defendants that the agency’s administrative court violates their rights. The SEC said that while no strict formula exists, it considers factors including what claims it is pursuing, whether a defendant is associated with a registered entity, and the costs and time involved in litigating in a particular forum. The SEC said it also considers bringing a matter before an administrative law judge if a case raised “unsettled and complex” issues under federal securities laws, given the commission’s “expertise concerning those matters.” More on Reuters here.

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    ‘Flash Crash’ Overhaul Is Snarled in Red Tape

    A giant data project at the center of the regulatory response to the 2010 “flash crash” that sent the Dow plummeting nearly 1,000 points is years behind schedule and mired in red tape. The Consolidated Audit Trail, or CAT, originally was conceived as a way to enable regulators to monitor stock and options orders in real time and zero in on manipulators quickly. After the flash crash—which occurred May 6, 2010, and saw some big stocks lose nearly all their value before markets rebounded—the CAT was seen as a crucial step in protecting the markets from future swings. Yet the 10 organizations overseeing the process, including Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and Intercontinental Exchange Inc., which operates the New York Stock Exchange, still haven’t chosen a firm to build and run it, and a final plan hasn’t been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission. More in the Wall Street Journal here.

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    SEC Backlog Delays Whistleblower Awards

    As part of its popular whistleblower program, the Securities and Exchange Commission promises to move swiftly on useful information about potential wrongdoing. But the agency isn’t as speedy when it comes to paying off its tipsters. Of the 297 whistleblowers who have applied for awards since 2011, about 247—or roughly 83%—haven’t received a decision from the SEC, according to data obtained by The Wall Street Journal in response to a public-records request. Some of the award claims have been delayed more than two years. More in the Wall Street Journal here.

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