Fast Track Approval Process
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The Membership Application Program (MAP) Group has a dedicated front-line team of examiners (the Triage Group) to conduct an initial assessment of each New Member Application, Continuing Membership Application, Materiality Consultation, Membership Agreement Change and Two Principal Waiver.
During this initial assessment, the Triage Group evaluates the risk, complexity, regulatory significance, completeness, scale and scope of each incoming matter to determine if the matter is a candidate for Fast-Track Review. The Triage Group continues to closely collaborate and communicate with the Risk Monitoring staff to discuss the filing.
What factors are considered in making a Fast Track determination?
Matters deemed eligible for Fast-Track review are determined to be low-risk, low-complexity, with little additional information needed and, therefore, can be completed in an expedited manner. Business models that are unique or novel will not be eligible for expedited processing. In addition, business lines or business models with open interpretive considerations will also not be available for expedited process. The Triage Group will consider:
- Have all proposed principals obtained the appropriate securities licenses?
- Have all proposed principals demonstrated that they have the required relevant experience?
- Do any proposed key involved personnel have disciplinary history? If so, what are details, and how does it impact this matter?
- What are the risks associated with the proposed activity?
- What is the volume and scope of the additional information and/or documentation required by FINRA staff to complete the application?
- What is the volume and scope of the information submitted as part of the application? Are there a lot of documents that will require substantial staff review?
- Are the Written Supervisory Procedures adequate and tailored to the firm’s business?
- Does the firm or do associated persons have unpaid and/or pending arbitrations? (If so, the matter will not be eligible.)
- Are multiple business lines requested? (If so, the matter may not be eligible.)
Due to FINRA Rule-mandated deadlines, the firm must agree in writing to abbreviated turnaround times for responding to staff’s requests for information for any matter deemed eligible for Fast-Track review.
Can the Applicant determine if their matter is eligible for Fast Track?
Only FINRA can determine if a matter is eligible for this Fast-Track Review process. Even if a matter is initially deemed eligible for Fast Track Review, that can change, for instance, if the firm cannot meet the abbreviated timeframes, if material changes to the matter are made after it has been filed, etc.
Is there a fee for having a matter go through the “fast track” review process?
There is no additional fee for matters that are resolved in the Fast Track process. However, all standard membership rules, processes and fees apply. Please see Regulatory Notice 12-32 and Regulatory Notice 13-11 concerning Fees and Waivers.