Instructions for Completing the Risk Control Assessment (RCA)

The 2015 Risk Control Assessment (RCA) is being administered through CVENT, a Web-based third-party survey application. Executive representatives of all firms will to receive emails on or around June 22, 2015, with unique links to access the RCA survey. Those who serve as executive representatives to multiple firms will receive an email for each firm they represent. These links are unique to each firm and should not be shared with individuals outside of the organization.

We have also made available a PDF version of the survey for firms unable to access the Cvent version.


Security of Your Responses

Your survey responses will only be accessible to authorized FINRA employees. Your responses are transmitted and stored using both server authentication and data encryption, thereby ensuring that your survey data is safe, secure and available only to authorized persons. No one outside FINRA and no unauthorized FINRA employees will have access to your responses.


Accessing the Survey

Certain firewall rules or Internet security controls at your firm may block the CVENT website. If your firm has this level of security, please have your IT department grant access to www.cvent.com and all of its sub-domains.

If that is not possible, please refer to instructions for accessing and submitting the PDF version of the survey.

If you are the executive representative of a firm and believe you have not received the RCA for your firm, please check the spam or junk folder of your mailbox and look for the email with the subject “2015 FINRA Risk Control Assessment” sent from RCA@finra.org.

If you are unable to locate your unique survey link, please email RCA@finra.org with your firm’s CRD number to request your unique link.


PDF Version of the Survey

If your firm is still unable to access the Web-based RCA survey, an Adobe PDF version has been created to allow you to fill in the survey directly from your computer. The PDF version may be downloaded by visiting the Resources section of the main RCA page. It is recommended that you use the latest version of Adobe Reader to view the document.

If using the PDF version, please make sure to first save the PDF document to your local computer, and then save frequently while populating the survey to prevent loss of information. Please note that all questions marked with an asterisk require responses. As the PDF version does not allow for dynamic skip logic, you will see instructions embedded throughout the survey prompting you to skip certain questions that would not pertain to your firm.

Finally, upon completing the survey and saving your responses, please send your completed survey as an email attachment to RCA@finra.org. Again, please complete the survey on your computer (or network), as opposed to printing it out, filling it in by hand, and scanning it back in. This enables us to process your responses more efficiently.


Completing the Survey

The survey is designed to dynamically update questions with embedded skip logic based on how you respond (e.g., if you indicate in the survey that a commission-based brokerage business is not a material aspect of your business, your survey will bypass all questions in this section).

If you encounter questions where the available response options don't completely describe your situation or could lead to a potential misinterpretation of your firm's business, please use your best judgment and select the answer choice that is the closest match. The results of this analysis will not be used to try to "catch" firms, nor are the questions designed to trick respondents. They are merely used to enable FINRA to gain a better understanding of the business in which your firm is materially engaged. Feel free to clarify your responses using the comment box associated with each question. For additional guidance, please reference the Frequently Asked Questions.

All of the survey sections are listed on the Introduction page of the online survey. While the Risk Governance, Cyber Security, and Financial Crime (Anti-Money Laundering) sections of the survey are required for all participants, the business-specific survey sections are only required if those business areas represent a material aspect of your overall business. For more information on materiality, please reference the Frequently Asked Questions.

Check boxes that have been pre-populated on the Introduction page are driven by revenue lines as reported in your firm's Supplemental Statement of Income (SSOI) filings over the last 12 months. If these check marks are not representative of the material aspects of your overall business, please select or deselect the boxes as appropriate.

Each survey section title (e.g., Commission-based brokerage, Asset management) links to a pop-up window with that section's questions. You may find it helpful to circulate these survey sections to individual(s) within your firm who are best positioned to respond to the questions (see "How to Route Your Survey " section below).


Question types:

All questions marked with a red asterisk require a response. You will not be able to proceed to the subsequent survey section without providing a response to each asterisked question.

  • Questions with radio buttons only allow one selection as an answer choice.
  • Questions with check box answer choices allow multiple selections. These questions will state "select all that apply." Please select all applicable answer choices. If a comment box is provided, you have the option to enter additional comments at your discretion.
  • For questions that include a matrix of answer choices with radio buttons, each row marked with a red asterisk requires a single response.
  • For questions that include a matrix of answer choices with check boxes, each row marked with a red asterisk requires at least one check box to be checked. Please select all values that apply.
  • Questions where firms are asked to break down revenue by business area will have a "Total" number appearing below a series of entry boxes, allowing you to enter numerical values. These numbers represent percentages in the form of a whole number. Responses to these questions must sum to 100 in order to satisfy the requirements of the question.

Navigating the Survey

You can use the buttons at the bottom of each screen to navigate the survey. In addition:

  • The progress bar toward the top of the screen indicates approximately how much of the survey you have completed.
  • The "Start Survey" button on the Welcome page initiates your firm's survey.
  • The "Save and Continue" and "Previous" buttons located toward the bottom of the screen allow you to navigate the survey and modify responses. The "Save and Continue" button allows you to save your progress and return to the survey at a different time or distribute it to others at your firm. Until you submit the survey (see the "Submitting the Survey" section below), you can revisit any question to make changes.
  • Important: Please do not use the Forward and Back buttons on your browser to navigate the survey; this may result in a loss of survey responses that you have not yet saved.
  • After you navigate past the Survey Feedback page, you will see a "Print" button toward the top right-hand corner of your screen. This will allow you to print your survey responses for your firm's recordkeeping. Important: In order to submit your survey as complete, you must hit the "Submit" button at the bottom of this page.
  • Upon clicking the "Print" button, a pop-up window will display all questions your firm answered. See below for additional guidance on printing your survey responses from this pop-up window.

Submitting the Survey

The "Submit" button will appear toward the bottom of the final page of the survey. Clicking this button will submit your survey responses as final and complete; so only click the "Submit" button after you have reviewed all of your survey responses. Once you submit your survey, you will not have the opportunity to edit your responses.


Printing Your Responses

The “Print” button on the last page of the survey will display a pop-up window with all questions to which your firm provided responses. It is recommended that you print your responses for your recordkeeping purposes. To do so, please see the printing instructions for the Web browser you are using.


Where to Find Definitions

For key terms that may have ambiguous interpretations, definition links have been embedded into the survey for your convenience. A phrase or keyword will appear as blue text. Hover your cursor over the blue text to view the definition. For a complete list of terms FINRA has defined for purposes of the RCA, please see the RCA Glossary.


How to Route Your Survey

The RCA addresses multiple business areas within the firm. As such, firms are encouraged to identify the most qualified resources within the firm to respond to designated sections. The executive representative should serve as the primary point of contact for the firm in gathering survey responses, and may need to forward the survey link to other departments within the organization. To do so, make sure to click the "Save and Continue" button at the bottom of the screen.

This will bring you to the next page of the survey. At this point, simply forward the original email that includes the survey link to the appropriate resource(s). Please note that if multiple individuals are simultaneously modifying the survey, the last person to save his or her edits will overwrite changes made by anyone else at the firm.


How to Find Additional Assistance

If you have additional questions or concerns, please email RCA or visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.