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Fixed Income

FINRA plays an important role in regulating and providing transparency to the fixed income securities markets. For example, we operate and enforce FINRA rules regarding the Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE®), and enforce, for our member firms, federal securities regulations governing fixed income, including those promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB).

Most recently, the SEC designated FINRA as the examination and enforcement authority for municipal advisors that are FINRA members. Firms selling municipal securities or performing municipal advisory services must register with the MSRB.

FINRA Member Regulation is responsible for examining all FINRA members involved in the fixed income markets for compliance with applicable rules and regulations. Among other things, Member Regulation reviews firms' fixed-income sales practices to determine whether they have dealt fairly with customers and that their registered representatives are properly qualified and supervised, and ensures they are in compliance with net capital requirements.

Market Regulation, meanwhile, monitors trading activity in more than 2.5 million individual debt securities, including corporate bonds, municipal securities, government agency securities, U.S. Treasury Securities and mortgage- and asset-backed securities, for potential manipulative activity and to ensure customers receive fair prices.

Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE)

TRACE, introduced in 2002, captures real-time consolidated transaction data for all eligible public and private (144A) corporate bonds—including investment grade, high yield and convertible debt—agency debt and U.S. Treasury Securities. Securitized products, such as mortgage-backed securities (MBS), traded in specified pool or To Be Announced (TBA) transactions also are part of the TRACE system.

As a result, TRACE brings transparency to the bond market. Individual investors and market professionals can access information on all over-the-counter (OTC) public and private activity representing more than 99 percent of total U.S. corporate bond debt, more than 16,000 agency debt securities, and more than one million asset and mortgage-backed securities.

FINRA licenses TRACE data to TRACE vendors and subscribers. The TRACE Content Licensing section provides information about data licensing options, agreements, technical specifications, and market data policies.

Contact FINRA

FINRA's Fixed Income Regulation (FIR) staff provides broker-dealers, attorneys, registered representatives, investors and other interested parties with guidance relating to FINRA’s enforcement of MSRB rules. 

FIR staff contacts:
Cynthia Friedlander and Bonnie Bowes
FINRA, Fixed Income Regulation
1700 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 728-8000

  • FINRA Issues Guidance on the Enhanced Confirmation Disclosure Requirements in Rule 2232 for Corporate and Agency Debt Securities
  • SEC Approves Amendments to Require Mark-Up/Mark-Down Disclosure on Confirmations for Trades With Retail Investors in Corporate and Agency Bonds
  • Guidance on Best Execution Obligations in Equity, Options and Fixed Income Markets
  • FINRA Requests Comment on a Revised Proposal Requiring Confirmation Disclosure of Pricing Information in Corporate and Agency Debt Securities Transactions
  • SEC Approves Rule to Address Conflicts of Interest Relating to the Publication and Distribution of Debt Research Reports
  • Guidance Relating to Firm Short Positions and Fails-to-Receive in Municipal Securities
  • FINRA Requests Comment on Proposal to Require Alternative Trading Systems to Submit Quotation Information Relating to Fixed Income Securities to FINRA for Regulatory Purposes
  • FINRA Reminds Firms of Their Sales Practice and Due Diligence Obligations When Selling Municipal Securities in the Secondary Market
  • FINRA Recommends Review of Municipal Securities Activities
  • NASD and NYSE Joint Interpretive Guidance on Fixed Income Research
  • Investor Insights
    The difference between the yields of two different bonds, called a bond spread, can help you understand the potential risks and rewards for investing in a particular bond. Corporate bonds are often measured against relatively risk-free Treasury bonds. Bond spreads can also help you evaluate the overall health of the economy.
  • Investor Education
    When securities are listed on a centralized exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq, transaction information such as price and trade history is readily available to investors through the exchange. But how can you get information about bonds and other fixed income securities that are not listed on a national securities exchange? Information about these securities, known as over-the-counter (OTC) debt securities, is provided by TRACE®—the Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine®.
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    Most bonds make regular interest or "coupon" payments—but not zero coupon bonds. Zeros, as they are sometimes called, are bonds that pay no coupon or interest payment. With a zero, you buy the bond at a discount from the face value of the bond and are paid the face amount when the bond matures.
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