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 and updated frequently asked questions. Topics addressed include the verification of Form U4 information, qualification examinations, and the extension of certain filing deadlines. The relief provided does not extend beyond the identified rules and requirements.
- Postponed all in-person hearings of Disciplinary Proceedings and all in-person arbitration and mediation proceedings scheduled through July 31, 2020. Parties with hearings scheduled through this date will be contacted by FINRA staff to reschedule or discuss remote scheduling options. Please note that postponing a hearing will not affect other established deadlines.
- Further extended the comment periods on Regulatory Notices 20-04 and 20-05 to June 30, 2020.
- Continued to update the State "Shelter-in-Place" and "Stay-at-Home" Orders page.
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.
Sales Practice Obligations With Respect to Oil-Linked Exchange-Traded Products
Regulatory Notice 20-14 reminds firms of their sales practice obligations in connection with oil-linked ETPs, including that recommendations to customers must be based on a full understanding of the terms, features, and risks of the product recommended; communications with the public must be fair and accurate; firms must have reasonably designed supervisory procedures in place to ensure that these obligations are met; and firms that offer oil-linked ETPs must train registered representatives who sell these products about the terms, features and risks of these products.
Advertising Regulation Frequently Asked Questions
FINRA has published a new FAQ to address whether firms are required to re-file with FINRA retail communications that eliminate references to “adviser” or “advisor” in order to comply with the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest.
The following UPC Advisory was published in the last week:
- UPC #14-20: Internap Corporation (INAPQ)
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 June 30, 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 June 30, 2020.
Upcoming FINRA Board of Governors Election
The annual meeting of FINRA firms will take place on or about Friday, August 7, 2020, to elect one Large Firm Governor and one Small Firm Governor to the FINRA Board of Governors. Election Notice 5/8/20 announced the FINRA Nominating & Governance Committee nominees to fill these vacancies, and informed individuals not nominated by the Nominating Committee of the procedures for being included as an additional candidate on the ballot for these elections. Petitions for candidacy due are June 22, 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!