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Capital Acquisition Brokers

Capital Acquisition Brokers (CABs) are firms that engage in a limited range of activities, including: 

  • advising companies and private equity funds on capital raising and corporate restructuring, and
  • acting as placement agents for sales of unregistered securities to institutional investors under limited conditions.

Firms that elect to be governed under the CAB rule set are not permitted, among other things, to carry or maintain customer accounts, handle customers’ funds or securities, accept customers’ trading orders, or engage in proprietary trading or market-making.

Rule Book

The CAB rules became effective on April 14, 2017. 


FINRA encourages qualifying member firms and new firms to consider converting to CAB status.  Switching to CAB status will help ensure that qualifying firms will be governed by a regulatory structure that is better suited to the limited nature of their business.

To select CAB status, a current firm must contact its regulatory coordinator and request to change its Membership Agreement.  A new firm must file a New Membership Agreement. In the membership agreement, firms must represent that their activities will be limited to those permitted for CABs and that they agree to comply with the CAB rules.  

Testing the waters?

Firms that currently operate as full-service broker-dealers may convert to CAB status and then return to their former status within a year if they prefer full-service status.  Firms that revert to full status within a year are not required to file a Continuing Membership Application (CMA) . Firms that wish to revert to full-service status beyond the one-year period following conversion to CAB may be eligible for FINRA Fast Track review providing an expedited CMA process.

Written Supervisory Procedures Review Checklist

FINRA is providing the Capital Acquisition Broker ("CAB") Written Supervisory Procedures Checklist ("WSP Checklist") as an optional guide to CABs to assist them in fulfilling their obligations under the CAB Rules. The checklist is an outline of selected key topics representative of the business activities typically engaged in by CAB members and permissible under FINRA’s CAB Rules. Note that following this WSP CAB Checklist template does not guarantee compliance with FINRA Supervisory Procedure Rules or provide a safe harbor from regulatory responsibility.

Capital Acquisition Brokers (CABs) We Regulate

FINRA maintains a list of CAB firms that are members of FINRA. 

Contact OGC

FINRA's Office of General Counsel (OGC) staff provides broker-dealers, attorneys, registered representatives, investors and other interested parties with interpretative guidance relating to FINRA’s rules. Please see Interpreting the Rules for more information.

OGC staff contact:
Joe Savage
1735 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 728-8000

  • FINRA Amends Its Suitability, Non-Cash Compensation and Capital Acquisition Broker (CAB) Rules in Response to Regulation Best Interest
  • FINRA Requests Comments on Proposed Amendments to the Capital Acquisition Broker (CAB) Rules
  • FINRA Amends Capital Acquisition Broker Rule 331 to Conform to FinCEN's Final Rule on Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions
  • SEC Approves “Pay-to-Play” and Related Rules for Capital Acquisition Brokers (CABs) Effective Date: December 6, 2017
  • FINRA Requests Comment on FINRA Rules Impacting Capital Formation
  • SEC Approves FINRA's Capital Acquisition Broker (CAB) Rules
  • Interpretive Letter
    Equity Securities as Compensation for Capital Acquisition Brokers
    May 30, 2019
  • Compliance Tools

    Overview -- The Capital Acquisition Broker (“CAB”) Written Supervisory Procedures Checklist (“WSP Checklist”) is an outline of selected key topics representative of the business activities typically engaged in by CAB members and permissible under FINRA’s CAB Rules. A complete copy of the CAB Rules can be found here: "