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1240. Continuing Education Requirements

This Rule prescribes requirements regarding the continuing education of specified persons subsequent to their initial registration with FINRA. The requirements shall consist of a Regulatory Element and a Firm Element as set forth below.
(a) Regulatory Element
(1) Requirements
All covered persons shall comply with the requirement to complete the Regulatory Element.
Each covered person shall complete the Regulatory Element on the occurrence of their second registration anniversary date and every three years thereafter, or as otherwise prescribed by FINRA. On each occasion, the Regulatory Element must be completed within 120 days after the person's registration anniversary date. A person's initial registration date, also known as the "base date," shall establish the cycle of anniversary dates for purposes of this Rule. The content of the Regulatory Element shall be appropriate to either the registered representative or principal status of persons subject to the Rule. The content of the Regulatory Element for a person designated as eligible for a waiver pursuant to Rule 1210.09 shall be determined based on the person's most recent registration status, and the Regulatory Element shall be completed based on the same cycle had the person remained registered.
(2) Failure to Complete
Unless otherwise determined by FINRA, any covered persons who have not completed the Regulatory Element within the prescribed time frames will have their registrations deemed inactive until such time as the requirements of the program have been satisfied. Any person whose registration has been deemed inactive under this Rule shall cease all activities as a registered person and is prohibited from performing any duties and functioning in any capacity requiring registration. Further, such person may not accept or solicit business or receive any compensation for the purchase or sale of securities. However, such person may receive trail or residual commissions resulting from transactions completed before the inactive status, unless the member with which such person is associated has a policy prohibiting such trail or residual commissions. A registration that is inactive for a period of two years will be administratively terminated. A person whose registration is so terminated may reactivate the registration only by reapplying for registration and meeting the qualification requirements of the applicable provisions of Rules 1210 and 1220. FINRA may, upon application and a showing of good cause, allow for additional time for a covered person to satisfy the program requirements. If a person designated as eligible for a waiver pursuant to Rule 1210.09 fails to complete the Regulatory Element within the prescribed time frames, the person shall no longer be eligible for such a waiver.
(3) Disciplinary Actions
Unless otherwise determined by FINRA, a covered person, other than a person designated as eligible for a waiver pursuant to Rule 1210.09, will be required to retake the Regulatory Element and satisfy all of its requirements in the event such person:
(A) is subject to any statutory disqualification as defined in Section 3(a)(39) of the Exchange Act;
(B) is subject to suspension or to the imposition of a fine of $5,000 or more for violation of any provision of any securities law or regulation, or any agreement with or rule or standard of conduct of any securities governmental agency, securities self-regulatory organization, or as imposed by any such regulatory or self-regulatory organization in connection with a disciplinary proceeding; or
(C) is ordered as a sanction in a disciplinary action to retake the Regulatory Element by any securities governmental agency or self-regulatory organization.
The retaking of the Regulatory Element shall commence with participation within 120 days of the covered person becoming subject to the statutory disqualification, in the case of (A) above, or the disciplinary action becoming final, in the case of (B) and (C) above. The date of the disciplinary action shall be treated as such person's new base date with FINRA.
(4) Reassociation in a Registered Capacity
Any covered person who has terminated association with a member and who has, within two years of the date of termination, become reassociated in a registered capacity with a member shall participate in the Regulatory Element at such intervals that may apply (second anniversary and every three years thereafter) based on the initial registration anniversary date rather than based on the date of reassociation in a registered capacity.
(5) Definition of Covered Person
For purposes of this Rule, the term "covered person" means any person, other than a Foreign Associate, registered with FINRA pursuant to Rule 1210, including any person who is permissively registered pursuant to Rule 1210.02, and any person who is designated as eligible for a waiver pursuant to Rule 1210.09.
(6) Delivery of the Regulatory Element
The continuing education Regulatory Element program will be administered through Web-based delivery or such other technological manner and format as specified by FINRA.
(7) Regulatory Element Contact Person
Each member shall designate and identify to FINRA (by name and e-mail address) an individual or individuals responsible for receiving e-mail notifications provided via the Central Registration Depository regarding when a covered person is approaching the end of his or her Regulatory Element time frame and when a covered person is deemed inactive due to failure to complete the requirements of the Regulatory Element program. Each member shall identify, review, and, if necessary, update the information regarding its Regulatory Element contact person(s) in the manner prescribed by Rule 4517.
(b) Firm Element
(1) Persons Subject to the Firm Element
The requirements of this subparagraph shall apply to any person registered with a member who has direct contact with customers in the conduct of the member's securities sales, trading and investment banking activities, any person registered as an operations professional pursuant to Rule 1220(b)(3) or a research analyst pursuant to Rule 1220(b)(6), and to the immediate supervisors of such persons (collectively, "covered registered persons"). "Customer" shall mean any natural person and any organization, other than another broker or dealer, executing securities transactions with or through or receiving investment banking services from a member.
(2) Standards for the Firm Element
(A) Each member must maintain a continuing and current education program for its covered registered persons to enhance their securities knowledge, skill, and professionalism. At a minimum, each member shall at least annually evaluate and prioritize its training needs and develop a written training plan. The plan must take into consideration the member's size, organizational structure, and scope of business activities, as well as regulatory developments and the performance of covered registered persons in the Regulatory Element. If a member's analysis establishes the need for supervisory training for persons with supervisory responsibilities, such training must be included in the member's training plan.
(B) Minimum Standards for Training Programs — Programs used to implement a member's training plan must be appropriate for the business of the member and, at a minimum must cover training in ethics and professional responsibility and the following matters concerning securities products, services, and strategies offered by the member:
(i) General investment features and associated risk factors;
(ii) Suitability and sales practice considerations; and
(iii) Applicable regulatory requirements.
(C) Administration of Continuing Education Program — A member must administer its continuing education programs in accordance with its annual evaluation and written plan and must maintain records documenting the content of the programs and completion of the programs by covered registered persons.
(3) Participation in the Firm Element
Covered registered persons included in a member's plan must take all appropriate and reasonable steps to participate in continuing education programs as required by the member.
(4) Specific Training Requirements
FINRA may require a member, individually or as part of a larger group, to provide specific training to its covered registered persons in such areas as FINRA deems appropriate. Such a requirement may stipulate the class of covered registered persons for which it is applicable, the time period in which the requirement must be satisfied and, where appropriate, the actual training content.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2017-007 eff. Oct. 1, 2018.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2015-050 eff. Dec. 24, 2015.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2015-015 eff. Oct. 1, 2015.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2015-004 eff. Feb. 12, 2015.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2011-013 eff. Oct. 17, 2011.
Amended by SR-NASD-2007-034 eff. Dec. 31, 2007.
Amended by SR-NASD-2004-098 eff. April 4, 2005.
Amended by SR-NASD-2003-183 eff. April 16, 2004.
Amended by SR-NASD-2002-154 eff. July 29, 2003.
Amended by SR-NASD-2000-64 eff. March 11, 2001.
Amended by SR-NASD-98-03 eff. July 1, 1998.
Amended by SR-NASD-95-22 eff. July 1, 1995.
Adopted by SR-NASD-94-72 eff. July 1, 1995.

Selected Notices: 94-59, 95-13, 95-35, 96-27, 98-23, 01-14, 03-44, 04-22, 05-20, 07-42, 11-33, 15-28, 17-30.