FINRA's Advertising Regulation Department reviews broker-dealers' advertisements and other communications with the public to ensure that they are fair, balanced and not misleading. Every year, the department reviews more than 100,000 communications. Firms submit communications for review either as required by FINRA's rules or on a voluntary basis. In addition, the department conducts targeted examinations and reviews communications submitted as a complaint or inquiry from a third party such as a competitor or another regulator, including FINRA staff involved in an exam.
FINRA Rule 2210 governs broker dealers' communications with the public including communications with retail and institutional investors. The rule provides standards for the content, approval, recordkeeping and filing of communications with FINRA.
Selected Regulatory Notices
13-03 FINRA Provides Guidance on New Rules Governing Communications With the Public
12-29 SEC Approves New Rules Governing Communications With the Public
Effective Date: February 4, 2013
Through this fee-based program, the department reviews communications broker-dealers file primarily in response to the requirements set forth in FINRA's rules. The department reviews the communications and provides written commentary to the firms, and if the department finds egregious violations, the staff will instruct a firm to cease using the communication and may refer the matter for disciplinary action.
Advertising Regulation Electronic Files (AREF) is a Web-based application that enables FINRA member firms to file communications with the public for review by FINRA's Advertising Regulation Department. In addition, members may use AREF to view, print, and save department letters about communications filed for review. For more information regarding the system, please see the Advertising Regulation Electronic Files page.
Firms that want to file hard copy submissions must use the Filing Cover Sheet.
The department periodically requests that selected groups of broker-dealers provide for review communications that are normally not subject to the filing requirements set forth in the FINRA rules. These sweep or spot check reviews generally target areas of regulatory concern such as a new type of product or an investor protection issue. If a review reveals rule violations, the staff will provide written commentary to the firm and inquire into the preparation and use of the material. The staff may then refer these matters for disciplinary action.
FINRA has issued the following advertising-related targeted examination letters:
Firms may also find the following advertising-related resources useful:
FINRA's educational materials highlight news, regulatory updates and other compliance topics. You can find advertising-related courses using the following links.
Advertising Regulation Department
9509 Key West Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850