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FINRA Welcomes Feedback on COVID-19 Lessons Learned

January 6, 2021
Volume 1

 
 
guidance

Guidance
  • UPC Advisories
disciplinary actions

Disciplinary Actions

 
upcoming

Upcoming Deadlines and Effective Dates
  • FINRA Request for Comment
  • SEC Requests for Comment
  • Renewal Program
     
education

Education and Compliance Programs

FINRA and Prometric continue to make the health and well-being of our community a top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, for exams not available online, FINRA and the MSRB will extend all enrollment windows that are currently expired, or will expire, between March 16, 2020 and March 31, 2021. FINRA and the MSRB exam enrollment end dates will be extended through the same end date of March 31, 2021. Affected enrollment windows have been systematically updated and reflected in CRD. For more information, visit our website.
 

In response to COVID-19, FINRA has administratively postponed all in-person arbitration and mediation proceedings scheduled through April 2, 2021 unless the parties stipulate to proceed telephonically or by Zoom or the panel orders that the hearings will take place telephonically or by Zoom. For more information, visit FINRA’s website.
 

Annual verification in the FINRA Contact System due January 27, 2021. Firms are required to complete an annual verification of their contact information within the first 17 business days of each calendar year. The deadline for firms to complete the annual verification in the FINRA Contact System (FCS) is January 27, 2021. Prior to completing the Annual Verification, we are asking that firms review all contacts in FCS and update as needed. This includes updating contact details, removing duplicate entries or deleting contacts no longer associated to a role in FCS. As a reminder, Rule 4517 requires firms to update designated contact information promptly upon any material change, verify such information annually and comply promptly with any request for such information via FCS. For additional information, see the FCS Annual Review Guide.
 



Reminder: Feedback welcome on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. FINRA welcomes feedback in Regulatory Notice 20-42 on lessons learned from stakeholders’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the impact of changes made to member firms’ operations and business models, and the effectiveness of business continuity planning. FINRA further requests comment on whether it should consider changes to its rules, operations or administrative processes to address lessons learned during the pandemic or to address anticipated long-term impacts of the pandemic on member firms and investors. The comment period expires February 16, 2021.
 

 Guidance

UPC Advisories

The following UPC Advisories were published in the last week:

  • UPC #01-21: Covia Holdings Corporation (CVIAQ)
  • UPC #02-21: Approach Resources Inc. (AREXQ)
  • UPC #03-21: RTW Retailwinds, Inc. (RTWIQ)
  Disciplinary Actions

FINRA publishes disciplinary actions to remind registered representatives and firms of specific conduct that violates FINRA rules and may result in disciplinary action. FINRA posted the following disciplinary item on the website this week:

  • FINRA announced that it sanctioned Worden Capital Management LLC (WCM) more than $1.5 million, including approximately $1.2 million in restitution to customers whose accounts were excessively traded by the firm’s representatives, and a $350,000 fine for supervisory and other violations.

Upcoming Deadlines and Effective Dates

FINRA Request for Comment

In consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, FINRA is soliciting comment in Regulatory Notice 20-43 on potential enhancements to the information reported to FINRA’s TRACE facility regarding transactions in U.S. Treasury securities. The comment period expires February 22, 2021.

SEC Requests for Comment on FINRA Rules

The SEC requests comment on FINRA’s proposal to amend FINRA Rule 8312 (FINRA BrokerCheck Disclosure). The proposed rule change would (1) make information about formerly registered individuals subject to a final regulatory action available through BrokerCheck® on a permanent basis only for those individuals who have been registered on or after August 16, 1999; and (2) exclude information from BrokerCheck about deceased individuals. The proposed rule change also would make non-substantive, technical changes to FINRA Rule 8312. The comment period expires January 20, 2021. See the Federal Register notice.

On December 18, 2020, the SEC issued an order instituting proceedings to determine whether to approve or disapprove FINRA’s proposal, as modified by Amendment No. 1, to amend the Codes of Arbitration Procedure relating to requests to expunge customer dispute information, including creating a special arbitrator roster to decide certain expungement requests. The comment period expires February 1, 2021. See the SEC Notice of Order.

Renewal Program

FINRA has posted the 2021 Final Renewal Statements in E-Bill. Adjustments resulting from registration approvals or terminations as of December 31, 2020, are included in this final statement. The payment deadline is January 22, 2021, for firms that have a balance due. See Regulatory Notice 21-01 and visit the Annual Renewal Program page for details.
 

 Education and Compliance Programs

FINRA's premier event — the 2021 FINRA Annual Conference — will be held entirely online. Join us virtually as practitioners, peers and regulators exchange ideas on timely compliance and regulatory topics. Nowhere else will you find this unique combination of the highest-caliber speakers discussing issues that matter most for the financial services industry. Register today and take advantage of our virtual pricing!

Registration is open for the 2021 FINRA Institute at Georgetown Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional (CRCP)® Program. Week I takes place on July 18-23, 2021, and Week II takes place on November 14-19, 2021.Take advantage of our new reduced registration rates and gain your CRCP designation.
 

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Regulatory Contacts
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http://www.finra.org/FCS for further information. Requests from executive representatives to be removed from this email notification list cannot be honored.

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