Reserving a Firm Name
Under Article IV, Section 2 of the FINRA By-Laws, a prospective or approved member may not use a firm name identical to that of an existing member, or one so similar that it will confuse or mislead others. Furthermore, pursuant to Section 709 of Title 18 of the United States Code, it is a criminal offense for a person or business entity engaged in the brokerage business to use the words "national," "Federal," "United States," "reserve" or "Deposit Insurance" as part of its business or firm name, unless otherwise allowed by law.
Accordingly, new member Applicants are required to submit proposed firm names to FINRA's Regulatory Review and Disclosure Department for review to determine any conflicts with existing member names and compliance with federal law. New names, whether requested by applicants or by existing members that seek a name change, are subject to review as prescribed under the By-Laws.
Firms should request and reserve a proposed name before filing a new membership application (and existing members similarly are required to request and reserve a name before filing a Form BD or Form FP amendment regarding a name change). Please be advised, name changes for existing member firms are subject to a 10-day hold. To reserve a name, please complete and submit to FINRA the Firm Name Reservation Form.
FINRA will deny use of unacceptable names. Proposed names are reviewed for compliance with federal law and for similarities in appearance, sound, connotation and commercial impression with the names of other FINRA member firms. Note that although services offered by two or more firms may differ in nature, scope or geographic location, these criteria, alone or in combination, do not provide a sufficient basis for approving a proposed name if it is too similar to that of an existing member.
Applicants or member firms should not prematurely order stationery and other materials printed with a firm name until a name approval is received. Printing expenses will not justify acceptance of an unacceptable name.
Moreover, although a name may be accepted by a state, regional or other agency or jurisdiction, this will not justify approval of an unacceptable name by FINRA if the name conflicts with any one of FINRA's international network of members.
Clearance for appropriate names will not be provided over the telephone. An Applicant or member firm must send, by mail or fax, a written request for clearance to reserve an acceptable firm name.
Upon receipt of a written request, an acceptable firm name will be reserved for 120 days. The membership application, Form BD amendment, or Form FP amendment should be filed during this name reservation period. If an application or amendment is not received within 120 days, the name clearance and reservation automatically will be cancelled.