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FINRA’s Continued COVID-19 Response

April 22, 2020
Volume 16


  • UPC Advisory

Upcoming Deadlines and Effective Dates
  • FINRA Requests for Comment
  • SEC Request for Comment on FINRA Rules
  • Annual Entitlement User Accounts Certification

Education and Compliance Programs

Working on the Front Lines of Investor Protection. There is no higher priority for FINRA than protecting senior investors from financial exploitation. In a recent blog post, Jessica Hopper, Head of Enforcement, highlights one pattern FINRA has seen with increasing frequency in which certain brokers have exploited their senior customers.

New E-Learning Course on Financial Crimes. FINRA’s newest e-learning course is designed to help registered representatives understand their responsibility to recognize and report “red flags” of financial crimes, which may occur at or through their firm. It also includes best practices for protecting clients and financial firms from the illicit activity. The course is eligible for 1 CFP CE credit.

FINRA is committed to providing guidance, updates and other information to help stakeholders stay informed about the latest COVID-19 developments. This week, FINRA:

  • Provided additional temporary relief to member firms in new frequently asked questions. Topics addressed include supervising virtual meetings with clients and forwarding firm mail. The relief provided does not extend beyond the identified rules and requirements.
  • Postponed all in-person arbitration and mediation proceedings scheduled through July 3, 2020. Note that this decision does not affect other case deadlines. Further, FINRA will waive postponement fees when parties stipulate to adjourn in-person hearing dates scheduled from July 6 through September 4, 2020.
  • Extended all exam enrollment windows that are currently expired, or will expire through May 2020, in response to Prometric extending its testing center closures through April 30, 2020.
  • Updated the Compliance Vendor Directory with information on several vendors offering free and discounted cybersecurity services for firms dealing with remote workplace arrangements during the pandemic. 
  • Continued to update the State "Shelter-in-Place" and "Stay-at-Home" Orders page to aid member firms.
To discuss the latest updates, and other coronavirus-related issues, senior FINRA leaders are hosting a Small Firm Conference Call tomorrow, Thursday, April 23, at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Space on the call is limited, so register today!

FINRA will continue to consider additional relief or adjustments as appropriate. For all of FINRA’s latest COVID-19 updates and answers to frequently asked questions, visit FINRA’s website.


UPC Advisory

The following UPC Advisory was published in the last week:

  • UPC #13-20: Melinta Therapeutics Inc (MLNTQ)

 Upcoming Deadlines and Effective Dates

FINRA Requests for Comment

FINRA’s Capital Acquisition Broker (CAB) rules provide a simplified rulebook for broker-dealers that engage only in limited capital advisory, corporate restructuring and private placement activities. FINRA is requesting comment on proposed amendments to the CAB rules, as described in Regulatory Notice 20-04, to make them more useful to CABs without reducing investor protection. The comment period has been extended to May 15, 2020.

FINRA is requesting comment on a proposal to implement the recommendations of the CE Council regarding enhancements to the continuing education requirements for securities industry professionals. The proposal, described in Regulatory Notice 20-05, would change the: (1) Regulatory Element to provide annual training, make the content more relevant, incorporate diverse instructional formats, publicize the learning topics in advance and enhance the related management systems; (2) Firm Element to expressly recognize other training requirements, improve the guidance and resources available to firms and establish a content catalog; and (3) Continuing Education Program to enable individuals who terminate their registrations the option of maintaining their qualification by completing continuing education. The comment period has been extended to May 31, 2020.

SEC Request for Comment on FINRA Rules

The SEC requests comment on FINRA’s proposal to amend FINRA rules to address brokers with a significant history of misconduct. The comment period expires May 5, 2020. See the Federal Register notice.

Annual Entitlement User Accounts Certification

FINRA's Annual User Accounts Certification Process is underway and will conclude July 20, 2020. During this period, Super Account Administrators (SAAs) for organizations with more than one user and/or administrator account must certify that individuals have the appropriate level of access to FINRA systems required to perform their job responsibilities or remove access if no longer required. This year, organizations with only an SAA account and no other users or administrators have the option to certify but are not required. For detailed information, refer to the Annual Entitlement User Accounts Certification Process page.


 Education and Compliance Programs

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FINRA has canceled the 2020 Certified Regulatory Compliance Professional (CRCP)® Program. We apologize for any disappointment or inconvenience this necessary decision causes. Registrants will receive a cancellation email and FINRA will issue a full refund for registration fees. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Registration is open for the 2020 Small Firm Conference. The event will be held on November 11–12 in Santa Monica, California, and will bring together FINRA staff and industry peers for in-depth discussions on small firms' practices. Register early to receive discounted registration rates!

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