A broker’s duties. Petitioners challenged an SEC order which sustained a FINRA disciplinary matter stemming from petitioner’s sale of unregistered securities. Dismissing the petition, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that substantial evidence existed to support the SEC’s finding that petitioners had traded unregistered securities and that the Section 4(4) “brokers’ exemption” of the Securities Act was unavailable to petitioners because they had not met their duty of inquiry given the presence of many suspicious circumstances surrounding the sales. Agreeing with positions previously taken by the SEC and the DC Circuit, the Ninth Circuit found that a broker is not merely an “order taker.” Instead, a broker must conduct a reasonable inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the transaction before it may claim the protection of the Section 4(4) exemption. (1/16/2014) World Trade Financial Corporation v. SEC.