On October 10, 2018, Fordham University School of Law, in conjunction with Morgan Lewis and Bockius LLP held their annual A.A. Sommer, Jr. Lecture on Corporate, Securities and Financial Law. This year’s lecture featured a fireside chat with Robert Cook, President and CEO of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Multiple members of Mr. Sommer’s family, as well as financial industry leaders were in attendance for this year’s lecture. The night began with a short introduction from the Dean of Fordham University School of Law, Mathew Diller, who discussed the legacy of Mr. Sommer.
Mr. Cook began his lecture by discussing the role that FINRA plays in the financial regulatory process. He described how FINRA is a private corporation that acts as a self-regulatory organization. FINRA is the largest independent regulatory body for securities firms in the United States. The discussion moved on to a large array of topics, including the regulation of various types of cryptocurrencies, FINRA’s comprehensive self-evaluation and structural improvement initiative (FINRA360), key rulemaking areas, FINRA’s current enforcement priorities and its approach to chief compliance officer liability, and the role of member firms in today’s self-regulatory regime. Mr. Cook also discussed what the priorities of FINRA are going to be for this upcoming year. As the lecture was winding down Mr. Cook took a few questions from the audience, which then led into a cocktail reception