Additional Small Firm Initiatives
In addition to the Small Firm Helpline, FINRA has implemented other programs for small firms:
Benefits Specific to Small Firms
- Increased the number of Certified Registered Compliance Professional small firm scholarships.
- Significantly reduced the small firm registration fee for FINRA conferences.
- Initiated a retrospective review of FINRA Rule 4311 (Carrying Agreements), especially important to smaller firms, as they often rely on carrying agreements.
- Created the Capital Acquisition Broker (CAB) rule set for firms engaged in a limited range of corporate-financing activities.
General Benefits that also aid Small Firms
- Host Small Firm Conference focused on small firms' practices and tips for complying with FINRA rules.
- Filed with the SEC proposed rule amendments to permit the use of electronic signatures for discretionary accounts. The amendments, which were approved by the SEC in March 2019, increase flexibility and reduce costs and administrative inefficiency in compliance without diminishing investor protection.
- Added a FINRA contact name or department, along with an email address or phone number, to FINRA.org Key Topic pages so firms have an expert to contact on any given topic/rule.
- Published a 2018 Report on Selected Cybersecurity Practices
- Report includes an appendix listing core controls that are likely to be relevant to many small firms’ cybersecurity programs
- Created a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Compliance Library, including a Third Party Vendor Due Diligence Checklist and Outside Business Activities Template.
- Enhanced the annual renewal statements to provide renewal fee details by individual representative.
- Published Examination Priorities Letters, annual Examination Findings Report, and the Risk Control Assessment summary report.
- Improving information request processes.
- Signed a services agreement with SIPC to ease reporting burdens and compliance costs.
- FINRA provided a template as an optional guide to small introducing firms to assist them in fulfilling their need to create and maintain business continuity plans (BCPs) and emergency contact person lists under FINRA Rule 4370.
- Retrospective review of the outside business activities, MAP, communications with the public, payment for market making, and capital raising rule sets.
- Ongoing outreach to firms to identify and address FinTech developments and issues.
- Providing CFP CE credit to nearly 60 FINRA e-learning courses.
- Offering events on more specialized topics of interest to firms.
- Making the FINRA Weekly Updates Archive searchable.
- Introduced an Engagement Portal, an online portal that provides interested parties a more streamlined way to express interest in FINRA service.