FINRA is committed to providing guidance, updates and other information to help stakeholders stay informed about the latest COVID-19 developments. This week, FINRA:
- Further extended the time period for submitting fingerprint information under Rule 1010(d) in accordance with an SEC order providing a temporary exemption from the fingerprinting requirements of Securities Exchange Act Rule 17f-2.
- Announced the extension of all exam enrollment windows that are currently expired, or will expire, between March 16 and August 2020. Each FINRA-administered exam enrollment end date will be extended through the same end date of August 31, 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.
FINRA Shares Practices Implemented by Firms to Transition to, and Supervise in, a Remote Work Environment During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected firms’ day-to-day operations across the securities industry, including requiring firms to transition most or all their staff to remote work environments and implement remote supervisory practices. FINRA prepared Regulatory Notice 20-16 to share common themes FINRA observed through discussions with small, mid-size and large firms about the steps they reported taking to transition their associated persons and supervisory procedures to a remote work environment. This Notice does not represent a comprehensive inventory of all possible approaches taken by firms, nor does it include exam findings or effective practices.
The following UPC Advisory was published in the last week:
- UPC #15-20: Pioneer Energy Services Corp. (PESXQ)
- UPC #16-20: Nuvectra Corporation (NVTRQ)
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.
FINRA is inviting member firms that participate, or plan to participate, in the security-based swap (SBS) market to provide views and information with regard to broker-dealer SBS activities, including the application of FINRA rules to those activities. Any other interested party is also invited to submit views and information. For more information, including how to make a submission, please visit the FINRA website. FINRA would appreciate receiving responses by July 31, 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 are due 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
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!