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 fixed income mark-up disclosure and relief for funding portal members. The relief provided does not extend beyond the identified rules and requirements.
- Announced the formation of a COVID Fraud Task Force to establish a coordinated response across the organization to potential COVID-related fraud in the broker-dealer industry and in U.S. markets.
- Provided an update on remote proctoring of FINRA-administered exams.
- Postponed all in-person hearings of Disciplinary Proceedings scheduled through July 3, 2020. Parties with hearings scheduled through this date will be contacted by OHO staff to reschedule or discuss remote scheduling options. Please note that postponing a hearing will not affect other deadlines established in the Disciplinary Proceeding.
- Continued to update the State "Shelter-in-Place" and "Stay-at-Home" Orders page to aid member firms.
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.
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
The recording of the latest Small Firm Conference Call is now available for FINRA members. On the call, Robert Cook and Senior Vice President of Member Relations and Education Chip Jones were joined by FINRA senior leaders to discuss updates and implications of COVID-19.
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!