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Gamification, Social Media, and Digital Communications Perspectives

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Attend this session to hear how regulatory experts are evaluating the rapidly changing world of digital communications to capture investors’ attention and influence their behavior.

The panel discusses risks and benefits of gamification features on broker-dealers’ apps and websites, and also considers the effects of digital marketing, notifications and alerts, and the increased impact of social media during the pandemic and beyond.

Lecturer Bios

Amy C. Sochard

Amy C. Sochard is the Senior Director in FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Department. The department protects investors by ensuring broker-dealer members of FINRA use advertisements and other sales communications that are fair, balanced and not misleading. Ms. Sochard leads the department’s investigative and targeted examination activities. She also serves as liaison to other FINRA departments involved in examinations, including the departments of Enforcement and Member Regulation.

In addition, Ms. Sochard oversees staff dedicated to the routine review of advertisements and other sales communications filed with the department by broker-dealers. Ms. Sochard assists in the development of rules and interpretations for communications with the public and social media, and she routinely speaks at industry events on these topics. Prior to joining FINRA’s predecessor (NASD),

Ms. Sochard worked with a real estate syndication firm in Washington, DC. She received a bachelor’s degree with distinction in English from the University of Virginia and studied poetry writing at Columbia University.

Haimera Workie, Esq.

Haimera Workie is a Senior Director responsible for heading up FINRA’s Office of Emerging Regulatory Issues, which focuses on analyzing new and emerging risks and trends related to the securities market. Previously, Mr. Workie served as Deputy Associate Director in the Division of Trading and Markets at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In this capacity, Mr. Workie was tasked with developing a variety of Dodd-Frank Act related rulemakings, supervising policy matters related to market intermediaries and financial market utilities, and representing the Commission before several international standard setting bodies.

Mr. Workie also previously served as Counsel to Commission Chair Mary Schapiro. Prior to joining the Commission, he was an associate at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, with a practice focusing on corporate law. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (B.S., M.S.) and Harvard Law School (J.D.).

Steven Price

Steven Price is Senior Vice President who oversees FINRA’s National Cause Program, which was created in 2020 to consolidate the intake and investigation of matters based on triggering events or regulatory intelligence across the U.S. He also participates in multiple organizational committees and initiatives designed to establish FINRA as a leader in regulatory vision and to advance the protection of investors.

Mr. Price rejoined FINRA in April 2020 after spending the previous 12 years in multiple roles overseeing broker-dealer compliance and operations for ALPS Distributors and ALPS Portfolio Solutions Distributor.

Mr. Price formerly served in the enforcement units of FINRA and the Colorado Division of Securities, as well as serving on the Colorado Securities Board. Prior to his regulatory roles, Mr. Price was a market maker at the Chicago Board Options Exchange and a litigator with concentration across civil and criminal matters

John S. Sazegar

John S. Sazegar is Assistant Director in FINRA’s Fraud Surveillance Department. The department utilizes a technology-driven approach to conduct real-time surveillance of the marketplace for various securities fraud schemes, including “pump-and-dump” and “boiler room” schemes. The malicious actors investigated by the department often post false or misleading content on social media as a means of furthering their fraudulent schemes. The department routes information concerning potential misconduct by FINRA-registered persons and entities to the appropriate FINRA departments for further investigation.

With respect to matters involving actors outside of FINRA’s jurisdiction, the department routinely refers those matters to the SEC, FBI, and various other domestic and international regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over those actors. Mr. Sazegar plays a leading role in FINRA’s development of enhanced surveillance technologies designed to detect suspicious social media activity on an automated basis.

Since joining FINRA nearly 10 years ago, he has led hundreds of fraud investigations, many of which directly resulted in civil and/or criminal actions. He received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Maryland in 2011 and became a Certified Fraud Examiner in 2018.

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