Reports & Studies
View published reports, studies and related information by FINRA and associated businesses regarding the securities industry.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Securities Industry
FINRA’s Office of Financial Innovation conducted an in-depth study over the past two years on the impacts AI is having in the securities industry. Our research found that AI-based applications are proliferating in the securities industry and transforming various functions within broker-dealers. Additionally, we found a number of challenges that securities market participants may wish to consider as they explore AI related technology tools. These key issues are discussed in this white paper.
Protecting Senior Investors 2015-2020
FINRA released a new report illustrating the FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors’ efforts to provide support, resources and education to senior investors over the last five years. The report also provides insight into FINRA’s ongoing work to protect senior investors beyond the Helpline – including rulemaking, disciplinary actions, and collaboration with other regulators and organizations – and shares effective practices from member firm senior investor protection programs.
2019 Report on FINRA Examination Findings and Observations
This report summarizes key findings and observations identified in recent examinations, and contains effective practices, where noted, that could help firms improve their compliance and risk management programs. Topics range from supervision, cybersecurity and best execution, to segregation of client assets, and Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) and Uniform Grants to Minors Act (UGMA) accounts, and more.
2019 Industry Snapshot Report
FINRA regulates a critical part of the securities industry – brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. In an effort to increase public awareness and understanding about the broad range of FINRA-registered firms and individuals, FINRA shares an annual snapshot of some of the data collected in the course of its work.
Report on Selected Cybersecurity Practices – 2018
Report on Selected Cybersecurity Practices – 2018 is a detailed review of effective information-security controls at securities firms. The report is designed to help broker-dealers – including small firms – further develop their cybersecurity programs. The report addresses areas that firms tend to find most challenging: cybersecurity controls in branch offices; methods of limiting phishing attacks; identifying and mitigating insider threats; elements of a strong penetration-testing program; and establishing and maintaining controls on mobile devices.
2018 Report on FINRA Examination Findings
In this report, FINRA provides selected observations from recent examinations that it considers worth highlighting due to their potential significance, frequency, and impact on investors and the markets. It describes practices the organization has observed to be effective in certain circumstances. FINRA also included within the report a case study that highlights examination findings from a targeted examination (sweep) of volatility-linked products.
Technology Based Innovations for Regulatory Compliance (“RegTech”) in the Securities Industry
Technology Based Innovations for Regulatory Compliance in the Securities Industry outlines recent regulatory technology (RegTech) developments within the securities industry and potential opportunities and implications these technologies may have for broker-dealers.
2018 FINRA Industry Snapshot
The FINRA Industry Snapshot 2018 provides a high-level overview of the industry, ranging from the number of FINRA-registered individuals to the overall revenues of firms; from trading activity to how firms market their products and services. All of the data are reported in aggregate to respect the confidentiality of regulatory information.
FINRA Perspectives on Customer Recovery
In this discussion paper, FINRA provides perspectives on customer recovery of judgments and awards in the financial services industry, with a particular focus on the arbitration forum operated by FINRA. The paper is intended to encourage a continued dialogue about addressing the challenges of customer recovery across the industry while directly informing the further enhancement of recovery in FINRA's forum.
Report on FINRA Examination Findings
In this report, FINRA provides selected observations from recent examinations that it considers worth highlighting due to their potential impact on investors and markets or the frequency with which they occur. The report also describes certain practices that FINRA has observed to be effective in appropriate circumstances, which firms may be able to use as a resource in tailoring their compliance and supervisory programs to their business.
Distributed Ledger Technology: Implications of Blockchain for the Securities Industry
In this paper, FINRA provides an overview of distributed ledger technology, highlights some key applications being explored in the securities industry and potential impact of the technology, and discusses key implementation and regulatory considerations for broker-dealers.
Report on Digital Investment Advice
This report discusses digital investment advice tools, highlights broker-dealers’ obligations under FINRA rules and shares effective practices related to these tools, including with respect to technology management, portfolio development and conflicts of interest mitigation. The report also provides considerations for investors in evaluating investment advice derived from digital investment advice tools.
Retrospective Rule Review Report: Membership Application Rules and Processes
This report addresses the assessment phase of FINRA's membership application rules. The review is part of an ongoing initiative launched in April 2014 to periodically look back at significant groups of rules to ensure they remain relevant and appropriately designed to achieve their objectives, particularly in light of industry and market changes.
Report on the FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors
In April 2015, FINRA launched the Securities Helpline for SeniorsTM to provide senior investors with a resource for securities-related questions or concerns. This year-end report provides an overview of the Helpline’s operation since its launch and describes how the Helpline complements FINRA’s broader regulatory programs. It also highlights situations where the Helpline has had a positive impact on seniors’ lives and shares effective practices that firms should consider.
National Senior Investor Initiative Report
FINRA and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a report to help broker-dealers conduct an analysis for assessing, crafting, or refining their policies and procedures related to senior investors as they prepare for and enter into retirement. The report includes key observations and practices identified during a series of 44 examinations conducted by the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations and FINRA that focused on how firms conduct business with senior investors.
Report on Cybersecurity Practices
In 2014 and 2011, FINRA reviewed firms' cybersecurity practices to better understand the types of cybersecurity threats firms face and how they counter these threats. This report highlights effective practices in the industry and discusses a risk management-based approach to cybersecurity.
Retrospective Rule Review Report: Gifts, Gratuities and Non-Cash Compensation
This report addresses the assessment phase of FINRA's retrospective review of its gifts, gratuities and non-cash compensation rules. The review is part of an ongoing initiative launched in April 2014 to periodically look back at significant groups of rules to ensure they remain relevant and appropriately designed to achieve their objectives, particularly in light of industry and market changes.
Retrospective Rule Review Report: Communications with the Public
This report addresses the assessment phase of FINRA's retrospective review of its communications with the public rules. The review is part of an ongoing initiative launched in April 2014 to periodically look back at significant groups of rules to ensure they remain relevant and appropriately designed to achieve their objectives, particularly in light of industry and market changes.
Conflict of Interest Report
In July 2012, FINRA initiated a dialogue with firms to better understand the conflicts of interest they face and the practices they use to manage those conflicts. This report discusses effective conflicts management practices that FINRA identified through this dialogue with firms.
Protecting Senior Investors: Report of Examination of Securities Firms Providing "Free Lunch" Sales Seminars
This Report details regulators' findings following examinations of broker-dealers, investment advisers and other firms that offer so-called "free lunch" sales seminars aimed at seniors or investors nearing retirement age. The report highlights specific problem areas and suggests best practices for supervising sales seminar activities.
NASD Report on Examination Findings Regarding Gifts and Gratuities
This report details our findings from a review of more than 40 member firms with respect to compliance with the gift rule over a two-year period, and the supervision of firm practices in this area. In light of the findings from this examination, NASD is also issuing Notice to Members 06-69, which provides additional guidance with respect to compliance with Rule 3060.
Report of the Customer Account Transfer Task Force
In response to numerous customer complaints and industry frustration about delays in the transfer of securities accounts from one brokerage firm to another, NASD established the Customer Account Transfer Task Force (Task Force) to consider ways to improve the process of inter-firm customer account transfers. This Report presents the results of the Task Force's deliberations. Following the publication of this Report, NASD has been in continuing discussions with industry representatives and regulators regarding ACATS issues and the implementation of the Task Force's recommendations, and has agreed to re-examine which party has certain obligations under Rule 11870(d) and to consider the further need for executing the TIF Immobilization Agreement.
Report of the Mutual Fund Task Force: Mutual Fund Distribution
Immediately following the submission of its Phase One Report, the Mutual Fund Task Force commenced its work on Phase Two, which covered distribution arrangements, including fees paid pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 ("1940 Act") and revenue sharing. This report presents the results of the Task Force’s deliberations on these issues.
Report of the Mutual Fund Task Force: Soft Dollars and Portfolio Transaction Costs
The Mutual Fund Task Force divided its work into two phases. In the first phase, it considered mutual fund portfolio transaction costs, particularly "soft dollar" services and disclosure. On November 11, 2004, the Task Force submitted its report on these issues to the SEC.
Report of the Corporate Debt Market Panel
NASD releases Report of the Corporate Debt Market Panel, which outlines findings and recommendations of the Corporate Debt Market Panel. These recommendations, which along with the increasing availability of TRACE transaction information, will bring new levels of transparency and information to investors in the corporate bond market.
Joint SEC/NASD Report on Examination Findings Regarding Broker-Dealer Sales of Variable Insurance Products
SEC and NASD staff conducted examinations of broker-dealers that sell variable insurance products. View the report summarizing the findings of those examinations and recent enforcement actions involving the sale of variable annuities.
Report of the Joint NASD/Industry Task Force on Breakpoints
On March 19, 2004, NASD submitted to the SEC, on behalf of the Joint NASD/Industry Task Force on Breakpoints, a status report detailing the progress that has been made toward implementing the recommendations set forth in the July 2003, Task Force report.
Report of the Omnibus Account Task Force
On November 17, 2003, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked NASD to form a task force of industry professionals to assist the Commission in its efforts to combat abusive short-term trading in mutual fund shares, and to report its findings by January 2004. At the Commission's request, the task force focused on the impact of omnibus account processing of mutual fund transactions on the imposition of a mandatory redemption fee. The report identifies a number of steps that the SEC could mandate to facilitate the imposition of such a fee in an omnibus environment, and also identifies supplemental steps that could be taken to curb abusive short-term trading. View the full Report of the Omnibus Account Task Force.
Report of the Joint NASD/Industry Task Force on Breakpoints
NYSE/NASD IPO Advisory Committee Publishes Report
At the request of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, NASD, working with the Securities Industry Association (SIA) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI), led a task force on breakpoints, a problem first uncovered by NASD’s routine examination program. The task force was charged with recommending industry-wide changes to address errors and missed opportunities to provide discounts in the calculation of sales loads charged on the purchase of mutual fund shares that carry a front-end sales load. View the full Report of the Joint NASD/Industry Task Force on Breakpoints and a related news release.
NYSE/NASD IPO Advisory Committee
NYSE/NASD IPO Advisory Committee Publishes Report and Recommendations
View associated news release and report.
Find information about the Global Settlement of Conflicts of Interest Between Research and Investment Banking and the future Distribution Funds from the Global Settlement.