New and Pending Member Firms: Filing Communications with the Advertising Regulation Department

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  • New Member Firms must file certain retail communications prior to first use with FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Department.
  • Pending Firms that have received a CRD number, but that are not yet effectively registered with FINRA, may wish to consider voluntarily filing retail communications that would be subject to FINRA Rule 2210(c)(1)(A) once the firm becomes effectively registered.

NEW MEMBER FIRMS


New member firms must file certain retail communications prior to first use with FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Department. A retail communication, as defined in FINRA Rule 2210, means any written (including electronic) communication that is distributed or made available to more than 25 retail investors within any 30 calendar-day period. A retail investor is any person other than an institutional investor, regardless of whether the person has an account with the firm.

The filing requirement for new member firms is addressed in FINRA Rule 2210(c)(1)(A) which states:

"For a period of one year, beginning on the date reflected in the Central Registration Depository (CRD®) system as the date that FINRA membership became effective, the member must file with the Department at least 10 business days prior to first use any retail communication that is published or used in any electronic or other public media, including any generally accessible website, newspaper, magazine or other periodical, radio, television, telephone or audio recording, video display, signs or billboards, motion pictures, or telephone directories (other than routine listings).

"To the extent any retail communication that is subject to this filing requirement is a free writing prospectus that has been filed with the SEC pursuant to Securities Act Rule 433(d)(1)(ii), the member may file such retail communication within 10 business days of first use rather than at least 10 business days prior to first use."

PENDING MEMBER FIRMS


Pending firms that have received a CRD number, but that are not yet effectively registered with FINRA, may wish to consider voluntarily filing retail communications that would be subject to FINRA Rule 2210(c)(1)(A) once the firm becomes effectively registered.

FINRA Rule 2210(c)(1)(A) requires all new FINRA member firms to file with the Advertising Regulation Department 10 business days prior to use any widely distributed retail communications for a period of one year. Such communications include generally accessible websites; newspaper, magazine or other print periodical advertisements; radio or TV advertisements; telephone or audio recordings; video displays, signs, billboards or motion pictures; or telephone directory listing advertisements (other than a mere line listing).

Instructions for pending firms wishing to voluntarily file retail communications:

  1. Create a hard copy of the communication for filing.
  2. Complete as much as possible of the Filing Cover Sheet
  3. Make and retain for your files a copy of the completed Filing Cover Sheet and the retail communication being submitted.
  4. Send the retail communication and completed Filing Cover Sheet to the Advertising Regulation Department at this address:

    FINRA
    Advertising Regulation Department
    9509 Key West Avenue
    Rockville, MD 20850‐3389
    Telephone: (240) 386‐4500
    Fax: (240) 386‐4568
  5. Once Advertising Regulation receives the submission, we will process the filing and review it. We will contact the pending firm with any questions.
  6. Once Advertising Regulation has completed the review, it will send a written Review Letter to the pending firm. Generally, the Review Letter will document whether the communication appears consistent with applicable standards, or whether it requires revision or whether the communication should not be used.
  7. The fees for the review are $125 for the first 10 pages of the communication and $10 for each additional page. Schedule A of the FINRA By‐Laws contains details regarding the filing fees.
  8. Firms may request expedited review, which entails an additional fee.  If an expedited review request is accepted by the Advertising Regulation Department staff, we will provide our Review Letter within three business days or other turnaround as negotiated with the pending firm. We will fax our completed Review Letter. The cost of the expedited review is $600 for the first 10 pages and $50 for each additional page.
  9. Firms will be billed for filing fees through FINRA’s E‐Bill system. The firm’s Super Account Administrator (SAA) will receive notification via Firm Gateway when the invoice is available for viewing. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions at /industry/advertising-regulation/how-to-file#faq for details about E‐Bill payments.
  10. Once the firm’s FINRA membership becomes effective, it may submit filings via the Advertising Regulation Electronic Files (AREF) system. The system enables firms to upload filings, view the status of filings, download PDFs of completed Review Letters and view filing fee transaction information.
  11. Pending member firms may contact Joyce Gregory, Business Analyst in FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Department with questions regarding the filing process by calling (240) 386‐4500.