Receiving a subpoena from the SEC, or an 8210 Request from FINRA can be the start of a long investigative process. How you handle that process can dictate the end result, and you need to retain competent securities counsel to guide you through that process.
That process ends, and the enforcement process starts with a Wells Notice – a notification from a regulator that it intends to recommend that enforcement proceedings be commenced against the prospective respondent. The notice references, in broad-strokes, the violation that the Staff believes has occurred.
Receiving a Wells Notice is hardly a positive event, as it signifies that you are the subject of an investigation and that enforcement proceedings are going to be commenced against you. However, a Wells Notice is rarely a surprise, and provides a unique opportunity for a prospective defendant to speak directly to the ultimate decision maker prior to the commencement of regulatory proceedings. The process by-passes the District or Regional Staff, and allows the prospective defendant to present his case against the commencement of the proceedings directly to the decision makers, without filtering or misunderstanding of the Staff.
Read Mark Astarita’s commentary and guide to the Wells Notice and a Wells Submission