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FINRA Rulebook Search Tool™ (FIRST™) Overview

Guide to Using FIRST


What is FIRST?

FIRST is a prototype taxonomy-based rulebook search tool designed by FINRA to make the FINRA rulebook more accessible when searching for relevant information or developing automated compliance functions. FIRST is enabled by a regulatory taxonomy, or a hierarchical classification of business and regulatory terms, applied, or “tagged,” to a series of FINRA rules. The taxonomy enhances the FINRA rulebook by allowing users to narrow down the universe of potentially applicable rules through sophisticated search filters. In addition, the FINRA Application Programming Interface (API) Platform provides a rulebook API that enables users to receive rule content, including the taxonomy terms tagged to each of the 40 rules. These may be mapped to internal compliance systems and can facilitate the development of automated compliance tools.


FIRST is for informational purposes only and does not provide regulatory or compliance advice. You should always review the relevant rule text and the related guidance to understand your regulatory obligations. Usage or reliance on this tool is not a defense to a failure to comply with the FINRA rules.

Why Use FIRST?

FIRST organizes, manages and indexes a portion of the FINRA rulebook in a way that can improve the ability to navigate and search FINRA rules.1 Applicable features and benefits include:

  • A two-tiered taxonomy comprised of:
    • Summary Topics, which include high-level regulatory topics associated with the rules.  These classifications allow users to identify a broader set of rules and select multiple topics that can further enhance the search process
    • Detailed Topics, which are more comprehensive and detailed in scope.  These topics, which are structured similarly to topic indexing, allow users to identify discrete and unique topics associated with the rules.
  • An intuitive display of all taxonomy terms tagged in each rule, which distills key concepts within the rule and guides users to additional relevant rules.
  • Structured rulebook content that can be extracted, via the FINRA API Platform, and that is more amenable to machine-readability. 
  • A free-text search bar that can search the entire FINRA rulebook, as well as the 40 rules that have been tagged.
  • The ability to integrate rule content – including the Summary Topics and Detailed Topics associated with the 40 rules – into internal systems (i.e., compliance policies and procedures) through the FINRA rulebook API on the FINRA API Platform.  In the future, the FINRA API Platform is also anticipated to provide an API that can deliver automatic updates regarding changes to rule tags and other rulebook content and could be used to track regulatory change management.

Which are the 40 Rules That Were Tagged in FIRST?

  • 1210 – Registration Requirements
  • 1220 – Registration Categories
  • 1230 – Associated Persons Exempt from Registration
  • 1240 – Continuing Education Requirements
  • 2010 – Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of Trade
  • 2040 – Payments to Unregistered Persons
  • 2090 – Know Your Customer
  • 2111 – Suitability 
  • 2122 – Charges for Services Performed
  • 2210 – Communications with the Public
  • 2231 – Customer Account Statements
  • 2241 – Research Analysts and Research Reports
  • 2360 – Options 
  • 3110 – Supervision
  • 3120 – Supervisory Control System
  • 3130 – Annual Certification of Compliance and Supervisory Processes
  • 3210 – Accounts at Other Broker-Dealers and Financial Institutions
  • 3220 – Influencing or Rewarding Employees of Others
  • 3240 – Borrowing From or Lending to Customers
  • 3270 – Outside Business Activities of Registered Persons
  • 3280 – Private Securities Transactions of an Associated Person
  • 3310 – Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program
  • 4140 – Audit
  • 4160 – Verification of Assets
  • 4210 – Margin Requirements
  • 4311 – Carrying Agreements
  • 4370 – Business Continuity Plans and Emergency Contact Information
  • 4511 – Books, Records, and Reports:  General Requirements
  • 4512 – Customer Account Information
  • 4513 – Records of Written Customer Complaints
  • 4530 – Reporting Requirements
  • 4570 – Custodian of Books and Records
  • 5110 – Corporate Financing Rule – Underwriting Terms and Arrangements
  • 5121 – Public Offerings of Securities With Conflicts of Interest
  • 5123 – Private Placements of Securities
  • 5130 – Restrictions on the Purchase and Sale of Initial Equity Public Offerings
  • 5131 – New Issue Allocations and Distributions
  • 5310 – Best Execution and Interpositioning
  • 8210 – Provision of Information and Testimony and Inspection and Copying of Books
  • 8312 – FINRA BrokerCheck Disclosure

Special Notice and Request for Comment

Special Notice - 10/21/22 
FINRA Requests Comment on Its Machine-Readable Rulebook Initiative

Comment Period Expires: December 20, 2022


1 At this time, FIRST applies to 40 FINRA rules that represent the most-visited rules on