Dear FINRA Member,
In keeping with our commitment to support firms in meeting their regulatory and compliance obligations, FINRA introduced three new initiatives in October: the Small Firm Emergency Partner Program, the Firm Gateway and a new podcast series. I briefly introduced these programs today at FINRA's Fall Securities Conference; you can hear an audio podcast of those remarks by visiting www.finra.org/podcasts.
The Small Firm Emergency Partner Program is a new, voluntary program aimed at helping small firms during times of crisis. As you know, a weather emergency or a severe power outage can cause significant business disruptions at any firm. But all too often, it's the smaller firms that don't have the resources to support their customers during a disaster.
Working with members of the industry and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), FINRA has developed the Small Firm Emergency Partner Program to address this problem. By participating in this voluntary backup program, two similar but distant firms can establish a supportive partnership in case one of the firms becomes disabled. In the event of a disaster, the affected firm's customer accounts will be temporarily supported by its partner firm. To learn more about this program, including how to participate, visit www.finra.org/sfepp or contact your firm's liaison.
In addition, we have also begun a phased introduction of the Firm Gateway—a new online tool that provides consolidated access to FINRA regulatory and filing applications. The Firm Gateway, which is on finra.org, displays filing reminders and upcoming rule changes to help your firm meet regulatory deadlines—and makes it easier for you to move between applications. We have already rolled out the Firm Gateway to more than 6,000 users at 1,600 firms, and we plan to reach all firms in the coming weeks. To learn more, or to login using your existing user ID and password, visit www.finra.org/firmgateway.
Finally, this month we introduced a new podcast series that highlights important issues from our talks to industry groups over the past year. This new podcast series gives us the opportunity to share these issues more broadly. In the first podcast of this series, I address many of the issues that small firms currently face—and what FINRA is doing to help. You can access this and all of our podcasts at www.finra.org/podcasts.
I look forward to updating you on additional activities in the coming months.
Mary L. Schapiro
Chief Executive Officer, FINRA