The Brattle Group assists financial services firms, public companies, and their associated employees and senior management in investigations and enforcement actions brought by government agencies like the SEC and the CFTC, as well as actions brought by self-regulatory organizations like FINRA.
Recently, the SEC has increased enforcement activity targeting broker-dealer practices, market manipulation, and issuer reporting and disclosure practices. Moving forward, the SEC is expected to focus on best execution duty and equity order routing, the suitability of retail investments, the legality of mutual fund distributions under 12b-1, private equity fee practices, and evaluating security returns against disclosed investment strategies.
Economists at The Brattle group have extensive experience dealing with government and SRO investigations and enforcement actions. Brattle staff and affiliates include former SEC officials, Wall Street executives, leading finance academics, and big data experts.
Examples of related experience and abilities include:
- Statistical analysis of quantitative data underlying public disclosures in SEC 10b-5 fraud cases
- Forensic reconstruction of trading books in market manipulation spoofing cases
- Event studies determining whether an alleged misrepresentation affected stock price
- Quantification and calculation of damages resulting from investments not conforming to a stated investment strategy or investment management agreement over a specific time horizon
- Assessment of investment suitability, including complex structured products
Brattle experts consulted to the Board of a national mutual fund complex under investigation by the SEC and the New York Attorney General’s Office regarding existence and effects of after-hours trading activity and short-term (so-called “market timing”) trades in all of the company’s retail mutual funds over a five-year period. We advised both the client and a testifying expert who presented the analysis to the SEC and Attorney General. We were involved in a detailed analysis of extensive trading data at the account level to identify and quantify purchases and redemptions by potential “market timers” and to calculate the corresponding dilution to buy-and-hold shareholders in the funds. The case settled after a presentation of this work.
Brattle experts analyzed the appropriateness of fees charged to mutual fund investors for investment management and related services. Advised the company and its outside counsel on the relevant measures of profitability, developed a sophisticated analytical framework to assess fund-level profitability, and advised both the client and a testifying expert through reports, depositions, and trial preparation. The case was dismissed prior to trial. Afterward, we performed annual fee benchmarking analyses on behalf of the mutual fund complex’s Board.