Outreach Follows Recent Efforts to Expand Opportunities for Participation
WASHINGTON – FINRA today issued Special Notice 3/31/22 to encourage securities industry professionals and non-industry stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to become involved in FINRA’s advisory committees.
“We welcome and encourage industry professionals and other stakeholders to join a FINRA advisory committee, provide their expertise and insights, and help FINRA pursue our mission of protecting investors and ensuring market integrity,” said Marcia E. Asquith, Executive Vice President, Board and External Relations.
The Notice describes FINRA’s 12 advisory committees and explains how potential committee members can indicate their interest in joining. If selected, each advisory committee member serves a three-year term, with the potential to serve one additional consecutive term.
FINRA employs a committee structure to create avenues for member firms and various other stakeholders to provide constructive input to enrich the regulatory and compliance framework. This engagement—a key component of the self-regulatory model—helps FINRA ensure its rules and programs reflect the diverse business models of firms and how they operate, the complexity of today’s securities markets, and the wide range of investors the industry serves.
While most committee members are industry professionals, several committees involve non-industry participants. As a result, academics, consumer advocates, economists, investors and other stakeholders contribute to the regulatory environment.
Recently, FINRA has taken significant steps to increase the involvement of underrepresented minority groups and women on its advisory committees. In May 2021—upon the recommendation of FINRA’s Racial Justice Task Force—FINRA established term limits for advisory committees to facilitate greater diversity and increase opportunities for those who are interested in serving. In addition, FINRA and its Board review each committee annually to help ensure appropriate composition and representation that considers not only the relevant expertise of each committee member, but also the committees’ diversity of geographic location, size and business models.
Committee participants sometimes extend their engagement by pursuing additional engagement opportunities. For example, Wendy Lanton, Linde Murphy and Paige Pierce all gained experience on FINRA advisory committees before being elected to the FINRA Board of Governors.
“Getting involved with the Small Firm Advisory Committee is one of the best decisions I made both personally and professionally,” Lanton said. “It taught me how FINRA operates as an organization, which has helped me understand how rules are created and interpreted. If you understand the ‘why,’ it is much easier to implement the ‘how.’ More importantly, it has afforded me the opportunity to provide a voice for the small firm community and give FINRA context as to how existing and new rules affect small firms.”
Murphy added, “Working on the FINRA committees taught me more about the regulatory process, how to provide input, and how to educate regulators on the ‘ripple’ effects that rules can have that create mountains of paperwork for firms to navigate. It’s one of the best ways to have your voice heard.”
“With a desire to get involved, share the small firm experience, and potentially affect future rule proposals, I first volunteered about 20 years ago for a regional committee,” Pierce said. “This was a great introduction; I met FINRA staff, participated in give-and-take sessions with them about current regulatory issues and proposals, and began to see how participation on these committees could make a meaningful difference for small firms. Other committees and the NAC followed, as I earned my way up to the Board of Governors. Looking back, I am so glad I raised my hand because it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. I highly recommend getting involved, you won’t regret it!”
Special Notice 3/31/22 also encourages industry professionals and non-industry stakeholders to indicate their interest in serving on FINRA’s eight ad hoc committees, which are groups formed by individual FINRA departments to consult on specific issues.
Separately, FINRA will soon issue a Special Notice describing elected positions to be filled on the FINRA Board of Governors and additional committees, and how eligible individuals can become candidates for election.
FINRA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to investor protection and market integrity. It regulates one critical part of the securities industry—brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. FINRA, overseen by the SEC, writes rules, examines for and enforces compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws, registers broker-dealer personnel and offers them education and training, and informs the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. For more information, visit www.finra.org.