CHARLIE SOMMERS advises financial services firms on a broad range of regulatory, compliance, enforcement and transactional matters. In this capacity, he has represented clients before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Federal Reserve Board (FRB) and various other state and federal regulators. Charlie’s practice also focuses on issues related to cryptocurrency, blockchain and distributed ledger technology, and tokenized assets.
Representative engagements include:
- Advising market participants on establishing and operating alternative trading systems (ATSs), single-dealer platforms, clearing agencies, and national securities exchanges, including those seeking to trade tokens or other digital assets on a blockchain;
- Advising broker-dealers on a variety of regulatory matters including with respect to Reg. NMS, Reg. SCI, Reg. SHO, Reg ATS, the Market Access Rule (Rule 15c3-5), the Customer Protection Rule (Rule 15c3-3), best execution obligations, stock-lending, the Volcker Rule, recordkeeping rules and cross-border registration requirements;
- Advised a broker-dealer initiating an options agency and market making business;
- Drafting proposed rule changes, regularly advising on SEC compliance matters, and developing framework documents for new initiatives for a systemically important financial market utility (SIFMU);
- Advised on regulatory aspects of the merger of two national securities exchanges;
- Drafting comment letters on behalf of clients on a broad range of proposed SEC and self-regulatory organization rules.
Prior to joining Sidley, Charlie served as special counsel at the SEC in the Division of Trading and Markets. There, he worked extensively on two proposed Commission rulemakings relating to equity market structure: (i) proposed amendments to Rule 15b9-1 (broker-dealer exemption from FINRA membership); and (ii) proposed amendments to Regulation ATS to enhance disclosure obligations of NMS Stock ATSs. Charlie also contributed to the Commission’s Equity Market Structure Literature Review, reviewing economic literature related to high frequency trading and market fragmentation to inform regulatory policy. In addition, Charlie was heavily involved in the Commission’s regulation of ATSs, including those trading NMS stock (dark pools), options, private securities, and non-equity securities.
While at the Commission, Charlie also worked on a wide variety of proposed rule changes by self-regulatory organizations including those related to complex orders in options markets, equity market order types, regulatory immunity, corporate governance, auction mechanisms, and over-the-counter trading. Charlie’s SEC experience also includes the review of Investors Exchange LLC’s (IEX) application to become a national securities exchange.