WASHINGTON—The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) marked the 75th anniversary of the creation of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) in 1939. In 1938, the Maloney Act amended the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to provide for the creation of a regulatory entity that would create and enforce securities rules and promote just and equitable principles of trade. NASD's mandate was "to protect investors and the public interest, and to remove the impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market." In 2007, NASD consolidated with the member regulation, enforcement and arbitration functions of the NYSE to become FINRA.
Rick Ketchum, FINRA Chairman and CEO, said, "We are very proud of our long history of carrying out our mission of protecting investors and keeping markets fair. Securities regulation has come a long way over the past 75 years and today, nearly 53 million American investing households count on us to make sure the securities markets operate fairly and honestly.
"FINRA will continue to work every day to enforce high ethical standards, examine firms through a risk-focused lens, take swift action in the face of fraud and misconduct, and educate and inform investors on important issues."
FINRA is the largest independent regulator of securities firms doing business with the public in the United States. Its core mission is to pursue investor protection and market integrity, and FINRA carries this out by overseeing virtually every aspect of the securities industry.
FINRA oversees more than 4,100 brokerage firms, approximately 162,000 branch offices and more than 634,000 registered securities representatives. It developed and continues to enhance BrokerCheck®, a free tool that helps investors research the professional backgrounds of current and former FINRA-registered brokerage firms and brokers, as well as investment adviser firms and representatives.
FINRA provides regulatory services for nearly all exchanges in the U.S. exchanges, and its cross-market surveillance program canvasses activity on 90 percent of U.S.-listed equities. Additionally, new advances in technology allow FINRA to aggregate data from multiple trading venues and see trading patterns that it previously could not see. FINRA's cross-market surveillance patterns represent a significant step in further promoting market integrity.
FINRA regulates the over-the-counter securities markets and operates transparency facilities. Its regulatory functions include onsite examinations of securities firms, continuous automated surveillance of markets, and disciplinary actions against firms and registered representatives.
FINRA also provides arbitration and mediation services to assist in the resolution of monetary and business disputes between and among investors, securities firms and registered representatives.
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation provides underserved Americans with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success throughout life. The Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects aimed at segments of the investing public who could benefit from additional resources.
With approximately 3,400 employees, FINRA is the first line of defense for investors — working in communities all across the nation. FINRA examines broker-dealers for compliance with its own rules and also examines them for compliance with federal securities laws and rules of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. FINRA continues to enhance its risk-based regulatory program through the use of new technology to support the process of examining firms.
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. FINRA touches virtually every aspect of the securities business – from registering and educating all industry participants to examining securities firms, writing rules, enforcing those rules and the federal securities laws, informing and educating the investing public, providing trade reporting and other industry utilities, and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and firms. For more information, please visit www.finra.org.