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FINRA Warns of Fraudulent Phishing Emails

May 6, 2020
Volume 18

 
 
guidance

Guidance
  • Regulatory Notices
upcoming

Upcoming Deadlines and Effective Dates
  • FINRA Requests for Comment
  • Annual Entitlement User Accounts Certification
education

Education and Compliance Programs

FINRA’s new virtual conference panels provide a unique opportunity to hear the most up-to-date compliance information directly from industry and regulatory experts right from the comfort of your home. Register today and join panelists as they discuss Regulation Best Interest and Form CRS: Where Are We Now, its impact on the industry and effective practices to help broker-dealers manage their obligations. Additional virtual panels will be coming soon.
 


FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors marks five-year anniversary. FINRA released a new report illustrating the FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors’ efforts to provide support, resources and education to senior investors over the last five years. The report also provides insight into FINRA’s ongoing work to protect senior investors beyond the Helpline – including rulemaking, disciplinary actions, and collaboration with other regulators and organizations – and shares effective practices from member firm senior investor protection programs.
 



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 a new update on FINRA and NASAA’s continued progress towards the launch of an online test delivery service, planned for May 24, 2020. Initially, this service will include online delivery of the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE), Series 6, Series 7, Series 63, Series 65, and Series 66 exams. Starting May 11, candidates and firms will be able to begin scheduling their online test appointments for May 24 and beyond. Additional details regarding online test delivery requirements and appointment scheduling will be made available on the FINRA website by May 11.
  • Added to the State "Shelter-in-Place" and "Stay-at-Home" Orders page information about which states have begun to “re-open”, and continued to update the order expiration dates.

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.
 

 Guidance

FINRA Warns of Fraudulent Phishing Emails Purporting to be From FINRA

FINRA warns member firms of a widespread, ongoing phishing campaign that involves fraudulent emails purporting to be from FINRA officers, including Bill Wollman and Josh Drobnyk. These emails have a source domain name “@broker-finra.org” and request immediate attention to an attachment relating to your firm. In at least in some cases, the emails do not actually include the attachment, in which case they may be attempting to gain the recipient’s trust so that a follow-up email can be sent with an infected attachment or link, or a request for confidential firm information. In other cases, what appears to be an attached PDF file may direct the user to a website which prompts the user to enter their Microsoft Office or SharePoint password. FINRA recommends that anyone who entered their password change it immediately and notify the appropriate individuals in their firm of the incident. For additional information, as well as a sample of the phishing email, see Regulatory Notice 20-12.

FINRA Reminds Firms to Beware of Fraud During the COVID-19 Pandemic

FINRA urges firms and associated persons to be cognizant of the heightened threat of frauds and scams to which firms and their customers may be exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regulatory Notice 20-13 outlines four common scams—(1) fraudulent account openings and money transfers; (2) firm imposter scams; (3) IT Help Desk scams; and (4) business email compromise schemes—and describes measures that firms and associated persons may take to mitigate related risks
.
 

 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.

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!
 

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Regulatory Contacts
FINRA By-Laws require member firms to maintain an Internet email account on behalf of their executive representatives. This facilitates firm notification of important publications and information added to the FINRA website.

Firms wishing to change the name or email address of their executive representative or designated assistant should do so through the FINRA Contact System (FCS). See
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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