“Being an effective self-regulatory organization that protects investors while promoting vibrant capital markets requires that FINRA engage member firms and the public in meaningful dialogue.”
—FINRA President and CEO Robert W. Cook
FINRA is conducting a comprehensive self-evaluation and organizational improvement initiative called FINRA360. The objective of this effort is to ensure that FINRA is operating as the most effective self-regulatory organization (SRO) it can be, working to protect investors and promote market integrity in a manner that supports strong and vibrant capital markets.
Since assuming his role in August 2016, FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook has heard extensively—as part of an ongoing listening tour—from member firms, investors, investor advocates, regulators, trade associations and FINRA employees, among other stakeholders, about what FINRA is doing well and what it could be doing better. FINRA360 provides a framework to address this feedback received from inside and outside the organization. In addition, FINRA360 is intended to ensure that FINRA is committed to continuous improvement.
It has been 10 years since FINRA was formed from the merger of NASD and NYSE Regulation. During that time, FINRA’s member firms and the markets in which they operate have changed significantly. FINRA, too, has made many substantial and innovative changes in a number of areas, but until now has not conducted a comprehensive, organization-wide self-assessment and improvement initiative. With Robert Cook’s arrival, and with fresh input from his ongoing listening tour, now is the right time to ensure that FINRA is optimally organized and managed as an SRO to achieve its mission of investor protection and market integrity for the next 10 years and beyond.
Frequently Asked Questions
What areas are being reviewed as part of FINRA360?
FINRA360 is examining a broad range of topics, including:
- the organization and operation of FINRA’s regulatory functions, including whether they are optimal for sharing information and establishing consistent standards across FINRA;
- the use of data and technology throughout FINRA, including how they can best support efficient decision and policy-making; and,
- the tools and metrics used to assess outcomes and success across FINRA’s various regulatory programs and support functions.
How is FINRA organizing this initiative?
FINRA has formed a Project Management Office to map out and implement the work of this project. The Project Management Office has launched a number of work streams on specific topics, each of which integrates subject matter experts and other resources from across FINRA. All work associated with FINRA360 is supervised by senior management and will be periodically reviewed by FINRA’s Board of Governors.
What is the timeline for FINRA360?
While FINRA360 will produce some changes in the near term, it is not a one-off project. Instead, it is a multiyear initiative focused on creating an organization that is committed to continuous improvement. Changes will be implemented in phases, rather than waiting until all areas of inquiry have been fully addressed. Working this way opens FINRA to new ideas and different perspectives about how the organization can better achieve its mission.
How is the Special Notice on Engagement Activities issued on March 21, 2017, related to FINRA360?
The Special Notice is a key part of the FINRA360 initiative. To be fully effective in pursuing its mission of investor protection and market integrity, FINRA needs to engage on a regular basis with its member firms, investors and other market participants. Therefore, as FINRA undertakes a comprehensive assessment of its operations, a good place to start is to look at its various programs for engaging with members and other stakeholders and to determine whether there are opportunities for improvement. The Special Notice describes the importance of effective engagement, summarizes FINRA’s current engagement programs, and solicits comments on how these programs might be improved.