Skip to main content

For updates and guidance related to COVID-19 / Coronavirus, click here.

Update a Broker-Dealer Firm Registration

Broker-dealer firms must file a Form BD amendment and/or a Continuing Membership Application (CMA) depending on the type of registration information that requires updating.

Form BD Amendments

The Form BD (Uniform Application for Broker-Dealer registration) is used to register a broker-dealer (BD) firm with the SEC, self-regulatory organizations and jurisdictions. Additionally, BD amendments are used to add or change information to an existing Form BD whenever the information on file becomes inaccurate or incomplete for any reason.

Form BD amendments are filed electronically through FINRA’s Web CRD System. Firms should review the quick reference guide titled Organization Form Filing: Form BD for additional information and technical guidance on how to submit a BD amendment through Web CRD.

Also, a firm should review the guidelines provided below about changes to their firm’s registration information that may constitute a material change that requiring the firm to file a Continuing Membership Application.   

Continuing Membership Application

Firms must file a Continuing Membership Application (Form CMA) when they seek to change their business operations (described further below). They also must file a CMA when seeking to modify or remove restrictions previously imposed in a membership agreement. This is all part of the process of updating a firm registration.

The following events require a firm to file a CMA:

  • merger with another member firm;
  • change in control or ownership of a firm;
  • a direct or indirect acquisition of another firm;
  • material changes to a firm’s business (see FINRA Rule 1011(k); and FINRA Notice to Members 00-73);
  • removal or modification of previously-imposed restrictions in a membership agreement; and
  • asset transfers.

When reviewing a CMA, FINRA determines whether a firm will continue to meet its regulatory obligations if the application is approved. FINRA will approve, deny or approve with restrictions each CMA that is filed.

As per Regulatory Notice 12-32 FINRA will assess a fee for continuing membership applications (CMA). To determine the fee that will be charged to your firm, please review the regulatory notice, or access the computation worksheet

How to File a CMA

To file a CMA, firms must submit the electronic Form CMA through the Firm Gateway. See the Application Content Guidance for details on the documents that should be included in a CMA. Keep in mind that each CMA request is unique, so different supporting documentation specific to the facts and circumstances of each particular CMA filing will be required.

Once FINRA receives the application via the Firm Gateway, FINRA assesses the CMA for substantial completeness.  An application is considered substantially complete if it provides sufficient information to allow FINRA to conduct a meaningful review. If we find an application is substantially incomplete, we may grant the applicant five additional days to correct the deficiency.

Once the application is deemed complete, FINRA will determine if the CMA filing is a potential candidate for Fast-Track Review.   To do this, FINRA will evaluate the risk, complexity, regulatory significance, completeness, scale and scope of the matter. Note: For any matter deemed eligible for Fast-Track review, the firm must agree in writing to abbreviated turnaround times for responding to staff’s requests for information.

Learn more about the Fast Track Review process

CMA Safe Harbor

Your firm may be able to take advantage of the safe harbor for business expansion (see IM-1011-1). Under the safe harbor, some expansions are not considered material and do not require FINRA approval. Find out the details of the safe harbor provisions.

You can find detailed information on CMAs and the applicable rules describing CMA events in FINRA’s Continuing Membership Guide. Also available is a handy guide with CMA resources, including webcasts and podcasts covering CMA filings.

As part of the CMA process, a firm, once approved, will need to update its Firm Registration page to accurately reflect the changes. Making sure that a firm’s registration is up-to-date helps protect investors by ensuring that a firm’s supervisory and compliance systems, and policies and procedures keep pace with how their business evolves.