Business Continuity Planning

FINRA requires firms to create and maintain written business continuity plans (BCPs) relating to an emergency or significant business disruption. Rule 4370—FINRA’s emergency preparedness rule — spells out the required BCP procedures. A firm’s BCP must be appropriate to the scale and scope of its business.

BCP procedures must be reasonably designed so the firm can meet its existing obligations to customers. A firm must disclose to its customers how its BCP addresses the possibility of a significant business disruption and how the firms plan to respond to events of varying scope. This BCP disclosure must be made in writing to customers when they open their account, posted on the firm’s website if they maintain one and mailed to customers upon request. The BCP also must be made available promptly to FINRA staff if requested.

What to Include in a Business Continuity Plan

FINRA Rule 4370 gives a firm flexibility in designing a BCP. It may be tailored to the size and needs of the firm, but at a minimum it must include the following elements:

  • Data backup and recovery (hard copy and electronic);
  • All mission critical systems;
  • Financial and operational assessments;
  • Alternate communications between customers and the firm, and between the firm and employees;
  • Alternate physical location of employees;
  • Critical business constituent, bank, and counterparty impact;
  • Regulatory reporting;
  • Communications with regulators; and
  • How the firm will assure customers’ prompt access to their funds and securities in the event that the firm determines that it is unable to continue its business.

A firm must address the elements to the extent applicable and necessary. If any of the elements is not applicable, the firm’s BCP must document the rationale for not including the element in its plan. If a firm relies on another entity for any one of the elements or any mission critical system, the firm's BCP must address this relationship.

Learn more of the required elements and procedures that must be included in your BCP.

Communicating with FINRA

Firms must provide FINRA with emergency contact information. In addition, if a firm is unable to contact FINRA during a significant business disruption through its usual contact, such as the District Office or direct dial number, please call FINRA’s Gateway Call Center at (301) 590-6500. This number will be rerouted in the event of a business disruption at FINRA’s primary call center, so that the firm will be able to reach an operator or receive recorded instructions. This information also will be posted on

In instances when data communications are disrupted, firms are responsible for retaining data until it can be transmitted to FINRA.

FINRA’s Business Continuity Plan

FINRA’s business continuity plan is updated and tested regularly, and it is provided to the SEC as part of its oversight of FINRA.

Titlesort descendingTypeDate
Rule 4370
FINRA's emergency preparedness rule requires firms to create and maintain business continuity plans (BCPs) appropriate to the scale and scope of their businesses, and to provide FINRA with emergency contact information.
The Disaster Recovery InstituteLink02-09-2015
Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council
Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council for Critical Infrastructure Protection & Homeland Security
Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association's Business Continuity Planning PageLink02-09-2015
Business Continuity Plans
In coordination with the SEC and the CFTC, we are conducting a review of the impact of Hurricane Sandy on firms’ operations and their ability to conduct business at a time when business continuity plans were enacted.
FINRA’s Business Continuity Planning Template
This podcast describes FINRA's Business Continuity Planning (BCP) Template and details recent updates, including those that were made to reflect FINRA's BCP Rule.
Pandemic Preparedness- Part II
The second podcast in a two-part series on pandemic preparedness offers suggestions for addressing the top three challenges firms expect during pandemics.
Pandemic Preparedness- Part I
The first podcast in a two-part series on pandemic preparedness focuses on business continuity planning and results from a recent FINRA survey.
Regulatory Notice 09-60
SEC Approval and Effective Dates for New Consolidated FINRA Rules
Regulatory Notice 09-59
FINRA Provides Guidance on Pandemic Preparedness
SR-FINRA-2009-036Rule Filing05-19-2009
Regulatory Notice 07-49
Guidance for Firms Affected by the California Wildfires
Small Firm Emergency Partner Program
This podcast outlines a new, voluntary partnership program that helps firms provide service to their customers during an emergency.
FINRA Announces Small Firm Emergency Partner Program
Thursday, October 11, 2007 Nancy Condon (202) 728-8379 Brendan Intindola  (646) 942-7325 (mobile)   Scottsdale, AZ  — Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) CEO Mary Schapiro today announced a new, voluntary emergency planning initiative aimed at helping small firms in times of crisis- the
News Release10-11-2007
Notice to Members 06-74
Member Business Continuity Experiences regarding Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
Notice to Members 06-31
NASD Requests Comment on Regulatory Relief that Should Be Granted in Response to a Possible Pandemic or Other Major Business Disruption
Notice to Members 05-57
Guidance to Members Affected by Hurricane Katrina
Notice to Members 04-37
SEC Approves Rules Requiring Members to Create Business Continuity Plans and Provide Emergency Contact Information
Business Continuity Plans and Emergency Contact Information
Rule Filing08-07-2002
Notice to Members 02-23
The NASD Seeks Comment on Proposed Rules Relating to Member Firm Business Continuity Plans and Emergency Contact Information
NASD Board Approves Disaster Recovery Business Continuity Plan
Thursday, March 21, 2002 Nancy A. Condon 202-728-8379 Michael Shokouhi 202-728-8304 Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc., announced today that its Board of Governors approved for comment a proposed rule that would require brokerage firms both to create and
News Release03-21-2002
Small Firm Business Continuity Plan Template
FINRA is providing a template as an optional guide to small introducing firms to assist them in fulfilling their need to create and maintain business continuity plans (BCPs) and emergency contact person lists under NASD Rules 3510 and 3520.
FINRA's Business Continuity Plan
Communicating with FINRA If you are unable to contact us through your usual contact (i.e., the District Office or direct dial number), please call FINRA's Gateway Call Center at (301) 590-6500. This number will be rerouted in the event of a business disruption at our primary call center so
Small Firm Emergency Partner Program
FINRA, in consultation with NASAA and an industry working group, developed the Small Firm Emergency Partner Program (SFEPP), a voluntary initiative that helps firms partner with each other in preparation for a potential business disruption. Should one occur, the affected firm can rely on its
Pandemic Preparedness
In 2009 FINRA conducted a voluntary firm survey to determine preparedness for a pandemic in light of current events involving influenza A (H1N1). This survey continues FINRA's efforts to assist firms with business continuity planning by facilitating the exchange of information.