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FINRA Announces the Passing of Tom Gira

June 24, 2020
Volume 25

 
 
guidance

Guidance
  • Regulatory Notices
  • UPC Advisories
disciplinary actions

Disciplinary Actions

 
upcoming

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

Education and Compliance Programs

Tune in to the latest episode of the FINRA Unscripted podcast. On this episode, Chris Kelly, deputy head of FINRA Enforcement, shares how FINRA is working to protect senior investors and what firms can do to work with FINRA in this important effort. Listen to the podcast.


Reminder: continuing education member survey responses are due July 2. As part of its efforts to enhance the securities industry Continuing Education program, the CE Council is seeking responses to a brief questionnaire to help develop an impactful Firm Element training program. Surveys were sent to firms’ CE contacts and feedback is requested by Thursday, July 2, 2020. Please contact the FINRA Gateway Call Center at (301) 590-6500 with any questions.


In response to COVID-19, FINRA has administratively postponed all in-person arbitration and mediation proceedings scheduled through September 4, 2020, unless the parties stipulate to proceed telephonically or by Zoom or the panel orders that the hearings will take place telephonically or by Zoom. Further, FINRA will waive postponement fees when parties stipulate to adjourn in-person hearing dates scheduled from September 7 through December 31, 2020. For more information, please visit FINRA’s website.

Additionally, pursuant to SR-FINRA-2020-019, FINRA has adopted temporary Supplementary Material .16 (Temporary Extension of Time to Complete Office Inspections) under FINRA Rule 3110 (Supervision) to extend the time by which member firms must complete their calendar year 2020 inspection obligations under Rule 3110(c) (Internal Inspections) to March 31, 2021.


Reminder: sharing account credentials is strictly prohibited. As FINRA introduces multi-factor authentication (MFA) to access various FINRA applications, FINRA reminds all administrators and users that sharing account credentials to access FINRA systems is strictly prohibited by the Entitlement Program Terms of Use (Section 2A). An account must be used only by the person for whom it is created. This is an important measure to safeguard the data of customers, system users, registered persons and member firms. For more information, please visit FINRA’s MFA page.



With great sadness, yesterday FINRA announced that Thomas Gira, Executive Vice President of Market Regulation and Transparency Services, passed away on June 20. “Tom was a beloved and devoted husband and father, as well as a tremendous leader, colleague and friend, and we are enormously heartbroken by his passing. We extend our most sincere condolences to Tom’s family, who are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” said President and CEO Robert Cook.
 

 Guidance

FINRA Amends Its Suitability, Non-Cash Compensation and Capital Acquisition Broker Rules in Response to Regulation Best Interest

FINRA has amended its suitability rule, Capital Acquisition Broker (CAB) suitability rule and rules governing non-cash compensation to provide clarity on which standard applies and to address potential inconsistencies with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI). These changes, outlined in Regulatory Notice 20-18, have been approved by the SEC and become effective on June 30, 2020, the compliance date of Reg BI.

FINRA and ISG Announce the Update of Blue Sheet Data Elements and Repositioning of Exchange Code Field

FINRA and the other U.S. members of the Intermarket Surveillance Group (ISG members) are enhancing the Electronic Blue Sheets (EBS) to improve their ability to analyze broker-dealers’ trading activities. Effective immediately, firms will be required to update certain data elements for EBS to reflect the SEC’s May 10, 2019, and May 4, 2020, approvals of Long Term Stock Exchange and Members Exchange, respectively, and to reserve certain data elements for MIAX PEARL Equities and Boston Security Token Exchange. Effective November 30, 2020, firms will be required to move the Exchange Code field and its values to another position within the EBS record layout. See Regulatory Notice 20-19 for additional information
.

UPC Advisories

The following UPC Advisories were published in the last week:

  • UPC #17-20: Alta Mesa Resources (AMRQQ, AMRWQ)
  • UPC #18-20: Digicel Group One Limited
  • UPC #19-20: PetroShare Corp. (PRHRQ)
  • UPC #20-20: Fred’s Inc. (FREDQ)
  Disciplinary Actions

FINRA publishes disciplinary actions to remind registered representatives and firms of specific conduct that violates FINRA rules and may result in disciplinary action. FINRA posted the following disciplinary item on the website this week:

  • FINRA announced that it has fined SG Americas Securities $1.55 million for submitting inaccurate blue sheet data.

 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.

FINRA encourages comments on its recent paper on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Securities Industry, including areas where guidance or modifications to FINRA rules may be desired to support adoption of AI applications while maintaining investor protection and market integrity. Comments are requested by August 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

FINRA's virtual conference panels provide a unique opportunity to hear the most up-to-date compliance information directly from industry and regulatory leaders right from the comfort of your home. Watch the latest panel on Enforcement Initiatives, Developments and Priorities. Join panelists as they provide an overview of new developments and trends, including enforcement priorities.
 

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