Over the last several months, the SEC has intensified its threats to so-called "gatekeepers," especially in the area of initial coin offerings ("ICOs") and cryptocurrencies. In testimony on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton reminded gatekeepers-including lawyers-that the SEC is laser-focused on them when they advise clients on ICOs. Clayton's testimony was his latest in a series of warnings to lawyers involved in structuring ICOs that the SEC is on "high alert" and may charge them with securities law violations if they do not "do better" in performing their job as gatekeepers for the securities industry. While the SEC has long sought to hold accountable lawyers whom it believes have fallen short of their professional obligations, Clayton's recent warnings go far beyond those of his predecessors.
In this article published in Bloomberg BNA's Securities Law Daily, RK&O attorneys James Q. Walker, Daniel C. Zinman and Margaret W. Meyers review the SEC's recent warnings and recommendations to lawyers who are advising on ICOs.