Welcome to the third and final part in our series on the three main suitability obligations outlined in FINRA Rule 2111 (Suitability). As with our earlier posts, “FINRA Rule 2111: Reasonable-Basis Suitability” and “FINRA Rule 2111: Customer-Specific Suitability”, we will begin with a brief overview of the three main suitability obligations imposed on broker-dealers and their associated persons; then, this particular blog will focus in on Quantitative Suitability.
This post is the second in our three-part series on the three separate and distinct suitability obligations outlined in FINRA Rule 2111 (Suitability). As with our previous post, “FINRA Rule 2111: Reasonable-Basis Suitability”, we will begin with a brief overview of the three main suitability obligations imposed on broker-dealers and their registered representatives; then, this particular blog will focus in on Customer-Specific Suitability.
Although suitability is a well-established principle within the securities industry, broker-dealers and their registered representatives sometimes forget that FINRA Rule 2111 (Suitability) has three separate and distinct suitability obligations. We will begin with an overview of all three main suitability obligations. Then, we will be going in-depth on these areas across three different blogs; this particular blog will focus in on Reasonable-Basis Suitability.
The 2019 FINRA Renewal Program for Broker-Dealers, Investment Adviser Firms, Investment Adviser Agents, Investment Adviser Representatives, and Branches is scheduled to begin on November 12, 2018.
Firms should note the following key dates in the renewal process:
- November 12, 2018 – Preliminary statements are available via the E-Bill section of WebCRD. Preliminary statements are not mailed to firms.
- December 17, 2018 – Full payment of Preliminary Statements is due.
- January 2, 2019 – Final Statements are available via the E-Bill section of WebCRD.
- January 21, 2019 – Full Payment of Final Statements is due.
As you may remember from our earlier post on the subject, under SEA Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4, a broker-dealer is required to make and keep books and records relating to its business and may maintain and preserve records by means of “electronic storage media.” The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently released guidance in response to a letter received from FINRA regarding contractual arrangements between broker-dealers and third-party recordkeeping service providers – more specifically, contractual arrangements that include provisions permitting the third-party recordkeeping service providers to delete or discard the broker-dealer’s records, typically due to non-payment by the broker-dealer of fees due under the contract. FINRA recapped the guidance received from the SEC in its Regulatory Notice 18-31.
[Continued from Customer Identification Program (CIP): Common Questions – Part I]
What Is A “Reasonable Time” To Verify Customers’ Identities?
A customer’s identity must be verified within a “reasonable time” before or after the customer’s account is opened. The rule does not specify what counts as a “reasonable time,” and the Adopting Release for the Broker-Dealer CIP Rule emphasizes that broker-dealers must be reasonably flexible when undertaking such verification. The broker-dealer must be able to undertake verification before or after an account if opened, as the amount of time needed may depend on various factors, which is part of the firm’s risk assessment. A firm’s CIP procedures must enable the broker-dealer to form a reasonable belief that it knows the true identity of each customer. Read More…
In our previous post on customer identification programs, “Customer Identification Program (CIP): Definitions and Requirements,” we defined “account” and “customer” and went over the minimum requirements for CIP procedures and verification, including touching on non-documentary means of identity verification. This post will get a little more specific, addressing common questions firms have when developing and implementing their customer identification programs. Read More…
How Does Risk Assessment Affect a Firm’s CIP?
Appropriate verification procedures for a CIP are governed by a risk-based assessment. A CIP must include risk-based procedures for verifying the identity of each customer to a reasonable and practicable extent. These procedures must be based on the broker-dealer’s assessment of the relevant risks, including those presented by the types of accounts maintained by the broker-dealer, the methods of opening accounts, and the types of identification information available. Additionally, this risk-based assessment should take into consideration the broker-dealer’s size, location, and customer base.
A broker-dealer must establish, document, and maintain a written Customer Identification Program (CIP) as a part of the broker-dealer’s anti-money laundering (AML) compliance program (31 CFR 1023.220) as required by FINRA Rule 3310. The CIP must be appropriate for the broker-dealer’s size and business, and it must outline the following procedures: Read More…
This blog post is the third and final entry in our series on the five major areas of Regulatory Technology (RegTech) tools as determined by FINRA: surveillance and monitoring, customer identification and anti-money laundering (AML) compliance, regulatory intelligence, reporting and risk management, and investor risk assessment. If you missed our previous entries on how the financial services industry is using RegTech tools to keep up with their regulatory compliance requirements, they can be found at “RegTech: Surveillance and Monitoring” and “RegTech: Customer Identification and AML Compliance”. Our final entry will address the areas of regulatory intelligence, reporting and risk management, and investor risk assessment. Read More…