Membership Application Program (MAP) Tools
FINRA’s Membership Application Program Group (MAP) serves as the gatekeeper to the securities industry by ensuring that prospective and current FINRA members meet FINRA’s Standards for Admission (Standards). Prospective FINRA members must seek approval for membership through the submission of a New Member Application (NMA). Existing FINRA members that are contemplating a material change in business operations, among other changes specified by applicable FINRA rules, must submit a Continuing Member Application (CMA). MAP reviews both types of applications – NMAs and CMAs. The FINRA Rule 1000 Series (Member Application and Associated Persons Registration) governs MAP’s review of NMAs and CMAs.
NMAs and CMAs are organized into sections that align with the Standards set forth under FINRA Rule 1014. A common impediment to MAP’s efficient review of NMAs and CMAs relates to missing or incomplete information or documents necessary to review the application. Missing or incomplete information and documents impedes MAP’s ability to assess whether the applicant has met the Standards. To that end, MAP has developed guidance to provide applicants with basic information to assist in the preparation of the NMA or CMA. Please note that the information and documents listed in these guidance documents is not exhaustive. FINRA may request additional information and documents, as necessary, to render a decision on the NMA and CMA. In addition, while the information and documents listed in these guidance documents may not be identified in the NMA and CMA as mandatory or required, it may support a more efficient application review process. For purposes of these guidance documents, a prospective applicant should carefully review, in particular, FINRA Rules 1012 (General Provisions), 1013 (New Member Application and Interview), and 1014 (Department Decision). A current member contemplating a material change in business operations, or another change specified in FINRA’s rules, should review FINRA Rules 1012, 1014, and 1017 (Application for Approval of Change in Ownership, Control, or Business Operations).
Early Firm Meetings
MAP has developed an early firm meeting process for applicants to facilitate a more efficient application process for NMAs and CMAs. In addition to the guidance documents below, applicants are encouraged to contact MAP for a pre-filing discussion of the proposed NMA or CMA and the attendant business plan. Applicants should engage the early firm meeting process prior to filing an application. To do so, applicants should contact MAP at 212-858-4000 (Option 5 – Membership Applications) or by email.
File Naming Conventions
This list of conventions guides Applicants in naming documents submitted to MAP as part of the NMA or CMA.
Mapping of Disclosure Categories for FINRA Rule 1017(a)(7)
This table helps firms determine whether they must file a CMA or engage in a materiality consultation (MatCon) pursuant to FINRA Rule 1017(a)(7).