Ethan L. Silver Partner and Chair, Broker-Dealer Practice

New York
T 212.419.5862 | F 973.597.2400

Ethan is a recognized leader in the representation of broker-dealers in regulatory, enforcement, and compliance matters related to federal and state securities laws and regulations, and the rules of self-regulatory organizations such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). He also spearheads an emerging practice representing regulated financial technology companies, including mobile-first brokerage and crowdfunding platforms, as well as robo-advisors.

The regulatory portion of Ethan’s work focuses on advising broker-dealers on formation issues, including guiding them through obtaining FINRA membership and the state registration process. He also advises clients on how to obtain FINRA approval of continuing membership applications for changes of ownership and for material changes to their businesses.

Ethan counsels broker-dealers on compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations and related FINRA rules, including:

  • Net capital and customer protection rules
  • Trading and reporting rules
  • Foreign broker-dealer/cross-border requirements
  • Books and records requirements
  • ATS formation and operation
  • Rules relating to advertising and sales materials
  • Margin rules
  • Finder issues and related fee payment/splitting issues

Ethan also guides clients through SEC and FINRA examinations, and helps them develop and update written supervisory procedures and compliance manuals. Financial institutions benefit from his advice on compliance with anti-money laundering regulations and related issues.

Ethan regularly counsels clients on whether they require broker-dealer registration, and assists them in obtaining interpretive guidance and no-action relief from the SEC, FINRA, and the states. He co-authored the “M&A Broker No-Action Letter” granted by the SEC, which permits M&A brokers to receive transaction-based compensation without registering as broker-dealers.

On the enforcement side of his practice, Ethan advises clients on a range of proceedings with the SEC, FINRA, and state regulatory authorities, and he regularly prepares and defends witnesses in:

  • FINRA on-the-record interviews
  • SEC testimony connected with investigations relating to allegations of fraud, failures to supervise, and sales practice violations
  • Form U4 disclosure issues and potential MC-400 applications
  • Trading and reporting issues

Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, “Investment Advice, Online – The Latest Trends in Canada and the US,” Live Webinar, November 18, 2015.

  • Panelist, "Fintech Startups, Crowdfunding, and Marketplace Lending," FinTech: Law and Disruption, New York, NY, October 6, 2015

  • Panelist, CrowdFinance 2013 Conference – Redefining Wall Street, New York, NY, December 17, 2013

  • Panelist, “Fund Sales: Must the Broker Be Registered?” Live Webcast, August 15,2013

  • Panelist, “Emerging Issues: Social Media Guidelines for Banks and Financial Institutions Explored,” Live Webcast, July 19, 2013


Market Trends: FINRA
Lexis Practice Advisor, May 9, 2017
Ethan Silver, William Brannan
FINRA's Foray into Insider Trading
Investment Management Client Alert, April 5, 2017
Benjamin Kozinn, Ethan Silver, Ted McBride
SEC Staff Issues Guidance Update on Robo-Advisers
Investment Management Client Alert, March 1, 2017
Ethan Silver, Scott Moss
View More...

Related Areas

Investment Management


New York Law School ( J.D. , 2002 )
University of Maryland ( B.A. , 1998 )

Bar Admissions

New York
New Jersey


  • Member of SIFMA Legal and Compliance Society
  • Member of ABA Business Law Section: Federal Regulation of Securities Committee and active participant in various subcommittees, including Trading and Markets, Investment Advisers, FINRA Corporate Finance and Private Placement Broker-Dealer Task Force
  • Member New York State Bar Association, Business Law Section, Securities Regulation Committee