Financial Services Affiliate Waiver Program (FSAWP)
Second MQP Enrollment Period
Enrollment for the second Maintaining Qualifications Program (MQP) enrollment period closed on December 31, 2023. Individuals who enrolled in the MQP during the second MQP enrollment period must complete their prescribed 2022 and 2023 MQP learning plan by March 31, 2024.
Failure to complete the assigned learning by March 31, 2024 will result in removal from the MQP. Individuals removed from the MQP for failure to complete their assigned CE may then be required to requalify by exam to regain the terminated registration(s).
For more information, please review FINRA Information Notice 3/15/23.
FINRA Rule 1210.09 established a waiver program for eligible individuals who left a member firm to work for a foreign or domestic financial services affiliate of a member firm with FINRA. FSAWP participants will be granted a waiver of their requalification requirements, including the Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam, upon reapplying with FINRA within a single, fixed seven-year period, subject to meeting certain conditions as described below. For additional information, refer to Regulatory Notice 17-30.
Note: The FSAWP stopped accepting new participants on March 15, 2022.
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Individual's Responsibilities While Eligible
To remain FSAWP-eligible while working for a financial services affiliate, the individual must meet the following conditions:
- Complete their appropriate CE Regulatory Element as required. FINRA will notify the individual via email in January of each year of remaining FSAWP eligibility. This will be the only CE notification that the individual will receive. The individual must enroll for their CE session via the Test Enrollment Services System (TESS) to complete the Regulatory Element. The individual will be responsible for paying the Regulatory Element fee.
- Continuously work for a financial services industry affiliate of a member firm. The individual is permitted to move between the financial services affiliate of a member firm or move from the financial services affiliate of one member to the financial services affiliate of another member firm. However, any such transfers must be made promptly and within 30 calendar days to remain eligible for the waiver.
- Keep their contact information current. The individual will be responsible for notifying FINRA at [email protected] if there is a change to the email address used for the initial eligibility notification. The individual will receive confirmation of the email address update from FINRA within three business days.
Requesting a FSAWP Waiver
When a member firm registers an individual who is eligible for a waiver under the FSAWP, the member firm must submit a Form U4 electronically via CRD and request the appropriate registrations for the individual. The member firm must then file a waiver request via FINRA Gateway and attach the completed FSAWP Waiver Request Form. To receive the waiver, the member firm must:
- make the waiver request within seven years of the initial FSAWP designation date;
- state that it is requesting an FSAWP waiver;
- represent that the individual has continuously worked for a financial services industry affiliate of a member firm since their last Form U5 filing by updating the Employment History section of the applicant’s Form U4 to document their employment information during the non-associated period;
- provide the date(s) that the individual completed the appropriate Regulatory Element as required on the FSAWP Waiver Request Form; and
- verify that the individual does not have any pending or adverse regulatory matters or terminations that are reportable on the Form U4 and is not subject to statutory disqualification as defined in Section 3(a)(39) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 while eligible under the program.
FINRA Review of FSAWP Waiver Requests
Upon receipt of the FSAWP waiver request, FINRA staff will verify the information provided and determine whether to grant the request within 30 calendar days. The firm contact will be notified of the decision via email.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long does FSAWP eligibility last?
Seven years from the date of designation, which is based on the initial Form U5 termination date. Note that each individual can request and establish only one seven-year eligibility per lifetime. Once FSAWP eligibility has been requested and established, the seven-year period will run continuously, even if the individual returns to a member firm and regains their registration via the FSAWP.
2. How is the seven-year eligibility period calculated?
Once an individual is designated FSAWP-eligible, the seven-year eligibility period starts on the date of designation, which is based on the initial Form U5 termination date. For example, if an individual’s Form U5 termination date/designation date is Nov. 1, 2020, the FSAWP waiver request must be submitted no later than Oct. 31, 2027.
3. Can I change firms during the seven-year FSAWP eligibility period?
Yes. During the seven-year period, an individual is permitted to move back and forth between a member firm and its affiliate or move to another member firm. The individual is also permitted to move between the financial services affiliates of a member firm or move from a financial services affiliate of one member firm to the financial services affiliate of another member firm as long as the individual is continuously working for a financial services affiliate of a member firm while designated FSAWP-eligible. Transfers between member firms and their affiliates or other financial services affiliates must be made promptly and within 30 calendar days.
4. If I become ineligible for the FSAWP, can my firm still request a regular waiver?
Yes. If an individual who was previously designated FSAWP-eligible becomes ineligible, the firm is permitted to apply for a waiver under FINRA Rule 1210.03.
5. How will I be notified of my CE requirement?
FINRA will notify FSAWP-eligible individuals via email in January of each year of their FSAWP eligibility to complete their CE annually by Dec. 31.
6. What is a financial services affiliate of a member?
A financial service affiliate of a member firm is a legal entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with a member firm and is regulated by the SEC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), state securities authorities, federal or state banking authorities, state insurance authorities, or substantially equivalent foreign regulatory authorities.
Questions Regarding the FSAWP Waiver Process
Member firms that have questions regarding FSAWP should call the FINRA Support Center at (301) 869-6699.