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Enforcement
FINRA Enforcement works on the front lines of investor protection.

Who We Are

We advance confidence in the securities markets through vigorous, fair and effective enforcement of FINRA and MSRB rules, and federal securities laws and rules.

We act quickly to identify misconduct, stop fraud and prevent losses, obtain restitution for harmed investors and remove bad actors from the brokerage industry.

We dedicate our resources to bringing meaningful enforcement actions to correct wrongdoing and deter future misconduct and to rooting out the bad actors that pose the greatest risk of harm to investors and the markets.

Podcast

FINRA Enforcement: Protecting Investors and Markets in Good Times and Bad (26:03)

What We Do

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FINRA investigates potential securities violations and, when appropriate, brings formal disciplinary actions against firms and their associated persons. FINRA investigations may be opened from various sources, including automated surveillance reports, examination findings, filings made with FINRA, customer complaints, tips, referrals from other regulators or other FINRA departments and press reports.

If it appears that rules have been violated, Enforcement will determine whether the conduct merits formal disciplinary action. FINRA can take disciplinary action through two separate procedures: a settlement or a litigated proceeding. With a settlement, the respondent can opt to resolve alleged rule violations early by submitting a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC). Otherwise, FINRA may issue a formal complaint to FINRA’s Office of Hearing Officers (OHO). If the respondent does not settle the complaint, the matter proceeds to a contested hearing before OHO, which hears the case and issues a decision.

Bringing Cases on Behalf of Securities Exchanges 

Enforcement also brings disciplinary cases on behalf of the securities exchanges with which it has entered into Regulatory Services Agreements (RSAs). These matters may be brought on behalf of a single exchange or, more commonly, may be brought as global settlements on behalf of multiple self-regulatory organizations, sometimes including FINRA.

Sanctions 

Sanctions for wrongdoing include fines, suspensions, and, in cases of serious misconduct, bars from the brokerage industry. FINRA publishes its Sanction Guidelines so that members, associated persons and their counsel understand the types of disciplinary sanctions that may be applicable to various violations. Whenever possible, Enforcement orders firms and individuals to make restitution to harmed customers.

Other Outcomes 

Not all investigations result in formal disciplinary action. For example, if the violation is of a minor nature and there is an absence of customer harm or detrimental market impact, the matter may be resolved with an informal disciplinary action, such as the issuance of a Cautionary Action. While Cautionary Actions are considered by the staff in any future disciplinary matter, these actions do not constitute formal discipline and are not reportable on FINRA's Central Registration Depository (CRD) system or Form BD.

In addition, Enforcement may determine not to recommend formal disciplinary action following an investigation and may close the matter without further action.

I am very happy there is a watchdog looking out for elderly customers who can easily be taken advantage of by their broker.

J.S. from California

See Our Results

Enforcement believes in a fair and transparent process—which is why all formal disciplinary actions we take are available through a publicly accessible online search tool called FINRA Disciplinary Actions Online. In addition, FINRA publishes a monthly summary of recent disciplinary actions.

Disciplinary Actions Database
Conduct a search for FINRA disciplinary actions that were issued 2005 or later – and are eligible for publication pursuant to FINRA Rule 8313.

Monthly Disciplinary Actions 
View monthly compilations of FINRA disciplinary actions against firms and individuals for violations of FINRA rules; federal securities laws, rules, and regulations; and the rules of the MSRB.

Individuals Barred by FINRA  
See the list of individuals who have a FINRA bar in effect, which means FINRA has permanently prohibited them from association with any member in any capacity.

Actions Resulting From FINRA Referrals
See a list of actions resulting from FINRA referrals to federal and state authorities.

NOTABLE CASES

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC
August 12, 2020

Dawn Hare
July 13, 2020

Citadel Securities LLC
July 16, 2020

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Join FINRA Enforcement

Do you have the passion and expertise to help FINRA protect investors and ensure confidence in the securities markets? Learn more about what it is like to work in Enforcement and explore job openings in the department.

Are you a past employee with FINRA Enforcement looking to reconnect? Join the FINRA Enforcement Alumni Network