These are some compliance-related stories that recently caught my attention.
A Best Lawyers List Is Suing Another Best Lawyers List
By Jacob Gershman
[The New Jersey Supreme Court-appointed committee on attorney advertising] cautioned New Jersey attorneys against touting dubious distinctions. While lawyers in the state may promote their inclusion in lawyer directories like “Super Lawyers” or “Best Lawyers,” they may not advertise themselves as a “super lawyer” or the “best lawyer.” An attorney can still sip coffee from a “World’s Greatest Lawyer” mug like the Saul Goodman character on “Better Call Saul,” according to the advertising committee’s chairman.
Since its creation in 2017, the unit has brought more than 80 enforcement actions related to fraudulent and unregistered crypto asset offerings and platforms, resulting in monetary relief totaling more than $2 billion. The expanded Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will leverage the agency’s expertise to ensure investors are protected in the crypto markets….
The SEC’s New Risk Alert Warns about the Use of Alternative Data
by Andrew J. Ceresney, Avi Gesser, Julie M. Riewe, Kristin A. Snyder, Jonathan R. Tuttle, Charu A. Chandrasekhar, and Mengyi Xu
The Risk Alert should be considered along with the SEC’s September 2021 enforcement action against alternative data provider App Annie and EXAMS’ recent statement in its 2022 Priorities that it plans to scrutinize advisers’ use of alternative data in their business and investment decision-making processes. When viewed together, these actions demonstrate the agency’s increasing scrutiny of the usage of alternative data for securities trading and the potential that such data may contain MNPI. As discussed in our blog post on the case, the SEC found that alternative data provider App Annie made material misrepresentations and omissions about its policies and procedures for handling alternative data (in that case, data on companies’ mobile app usage) and failed to implement its policies and procedures involving such data.
The pandemic’s true death toll
“How many people have died because of the covid-19 pandemic? The answer depends both on the data available, and on how you define “because”. Many people who die while infected with SARS-CoV-2 are never tested for it, and do not enter the official totals. Conversely, some people whose deaths have been attributed to covid-19 had other ailments that might have ended their lives on a similar timeframe anyway. And what about people who died of preventable causes during the pandemic, because hospitals full of covid-19 patients could not treat them? If such cases count, they must be offset by deaths that did not occur but would have in normal times, such as those caused by flu or air pollution.”
“Although the official number of deaths caused by covid-19 is now 6.2m, our single best estimate is that the actual toll is 21.3m people. We find that there is a 95% chance that the true value lies between 14.7m and 25m additional deaths.”