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9251. Inspection and Copying of Documents in Possession of Staff
(a) Documents to be Available for Inspection and Copying
(1) Unless otherwise provided by this Rule, or by order of the Hearing Officer, the Department of Enforcement shall make available for inspection and copying by any Respondent, Documents prepared or obtained by Interested FINRA Staff in connection with the investigation that led to the institution of proceedings. Such Documents include but are not limited to:
(A) requests for information issued pursuant to Rule 8210;
(B) every other written request directed to persons not employed by FINRA to provide Documents or to be interviewed;
(C) the Documents provided in response to any such requests described in (A) and (B) above;
(D) all transcripts and transcript exhibits; and
(E) all other Documents obtained from persons not employed by FINRA.
(2) The Department of Enforcement shall promptly inform the Hearing Officer and each other Party if, after the issuance of a complaint, requests for information under Rule 8210 are issued under the same investigative file number under which the investigation leading to the institution of disciplinary proceedings was conducted. If Interested FINRA Staff receives Documents pursuant to a request for information under Rule 8210 after Documents have been made available to a Respondent for inspection and copying as set forth in paragraph (a), and if such Documents are material and relevant to the disciplinary proceeding in which such Respondent is a Party, the additional Documents shall be made available to the Respondent not later than 14 days after the Interested FINRA Staff receives such Documents. If a hearing on the merits is scheduled to begin, Interested FINRA Staff shall make the additional Documents available to the Respondent not less than ten days before the hearing. If Interested FINRA Staff receives such Documents ten or fewer days before a hearing on the merits is scheduled to begin or after such hearing begins, Interested FINRA Staff shall make the additional Documents available immediately to the Respondent.
(3) Nothing in paragraph (a)(1) shall limit the discretion of the Department of Enforcement to make available any other Document or the authority of the Hearing Officer to order the production of any other Document.
(b) Withheld Documents
(1) The Department of Enforcement may withhold a Document if:
(A) the Document is privileged or constitutes attorney work product;
(B) the Document is an examination or inspection report, an internal memorandum, or other note or writing prepared by a FINRA employee that shall not be offered in evidence;
(C) the Document would disclose (i) an examination, investigatory or enforcement technique or guideline of FINRA, a federal, state, or foreign regulatory authority, or a self-regulatory organization; (ii) the identity of a source, including a federal, state, or foreign regulatory authority or a self-regulatory organization that furnished information or was furnished information on a confidential basis regarding an investigation, an examination, an enforcement proceeding, or any other type of civil or criminal enforcement action; or (iii) an examination, an investigation, an enforcement proceeding, or any other type of civil or criminal enforcement action under consideration by, or initiated by, FINRA, a federal, state, or foreign regulatory authority, or a self-regulatory organization; or
(D) the Hearing Officer grants leave to withhold a Document or category of Documents as not relevant to the subject matter of the proceeding, or for other good cause shown.
(2) The Department of Enforcement shall withhold a Document if the Document is prohibited from disclosure by federal law.
(3) Nothing in paragraph (b)(1) authorizes the Department of Enforcement to withhold a Document, or a part thereof, that contains material exculpatory evidence.
(c) Withheld Document List
The Hearing Officer may require the Department of Enforcement to submit to the Hearing Officer a list of Documents withheld pursuant to paragraph (b) or to submit to the Hearing Officer any Document withheld. Upon review, the Hearing Officer may order the Department of Enforcement to make the list or any Document withheld available to the other Parties for inspection and copying unless federal law prohibits disclosure of the Document or its existence. A motion to require the Department of Enforcement to produce a list of Documents withheld pursuant to paragraph (b) shall be based upon some reason to believe that a Document is being withheld in violation of the Code.
(d) Timing of Inspection and Copying
The Hearing Officer shall determine the schedule of production of documents pursuant to this Rule. Unless otherwise ordered by the Hearing Officer, the Department of Enforcement shall commence making Documents available to a Respondent for inspection and copying pursuant to this Rule not later than 21 days after service of the Respondent's answer or, if there are multiple Respondents, not later than 21 days after the last timely answer is filed. If a Respondent in a multi-Respondent case fails to answer, the Department of Enforcement shall make Documents available to all other Respondents not later than the later of:
(1) 21 days after the filing date of the last timely answer, or
(2) the expiration of the second period provided for filing an answer as set forth in Rule 9215(f).
(e) Place and Time of Inspection and Copying
Documents subject to inspection and copying pursuant to this Rule shall be made available to the Respondent for inspection and copying at FINRA office where they are ordinarily maintained, or at such other FINRA office as the Hearing Officer, in his or her discretion, shall designate, or as the Parties otherwise agree. A Respondent shall be given access to the Documents at FINRA's offices during normal business hours. A Respondent shall not be given custody of the Documents or be permitted to remove the Documents from FINRA's offices.
(f) Copying Costs
A Respondent may obtain a photocopy of all Documents made available for inspection. A Respondent shall be responsible for the cost of photocopying. Unless otherwise ordered, charges for copies made at the request of a Respondent shall be at a rate to be established by FINRA staff.
(g) Failure to Make Documents Available — Harmless Error
In the event that a Document required to be made available to a Respondent pursuant to this Rule is not made available by the Department of Enforcement, no rehearing or amended decision of a proceeding already heard or decided shall be required unless the Respondent establishes that the failure to make the Document available was not harmless error. The Hearing Officer, or, upon appeal or review, a Subcommittee, an Extended Proceeding Committee, or the National Adjudicatory Council, shall determine whether the failure to make the document available was not harmless error, applying applicable FINRA, SEC, and federal judicial precedent.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2018-027 eff. Aug. 3, 2018.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2011-044 eff. Mar. 30, 2012.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2011-031 eff. Dec. 2, 2011.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2008-021 eff. Dec. 15, 2008.
Amended by SR-NASD-99-76 eff. Sept. 11, 2000.
Amended by SR-NASD-97-81 eff. Jan. 16, 1998.
Adopted by SR-NASD-97-28 eff. Aug. 7, 1997.
Selected Notices: 00-56, 08-57, 11-50, 12-12.