What is the SIE Exam?

As mentioned in our previous post, What is on the Series 7 exam, the FINRA has restructured the examination process and implemented a new exam, the Securities Industry Essential exam (“SIE”).  On October 1, 2018, the SIE exam will become a prerequisite to all of the FINRA’s representative-level qualification exams (“rep-level exams”). PURPOPSE OF THE[…]

After the SEC and Equifax Hacks, Firms Should Revisit Their Cybersecurity Program

Recently, two major cybersecurity breaches have been in the news which have been very unsettling for many Americans.  First, Equifax, one of the nation’s largest credit bureaus, was hacked exposing 143 million people’s financial data.  Second, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) EDGAR filing system was hacked and it is believed that the hackers made off with information that was used to make money illegally in the stock market. Read More…

How to Become an RIA

A registered investment advisor (“RIA”) is a person or firm that, for compensation, provides advice, makes recommendations, issues reports or furnishes analyses on securities, either directly or through publications.  Typically, an RIA manages the assets of high net worth individuals and institutional investors.  RIAs have the highest standard of care as they are deemed fiduciaries.  As a fiduciary, RIAs owe their clients a duty of Read More…

What is on the Series 7 exam?

The financial services industry is heavily regulated.  In order to enter into the industry and sell securities, you must first prove that you have the competence.  In order to showcase your competency, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) requires that you take the Series 7 exam, also known as the General Securities Registered Representative Qualification Exam.  In order to take the exam, you must be sponsored by a FINRA member firm. Read More…

Order Audit Trail System (OATS)

Established by FINRA, the Order Audit Trail System (OATS),  is an integrated audit trail of order, quote and trade information for all NMS (National Market System) stocks and OTC equity securities. As part of FINRA’s surveillance activities, Rules 7400 through 7470 (OATS Rules) and Rule 4554, OATS requires electronic auditing and reporting capabilities on all stock and equity orders, quotes, trades and cancellations. According to Rule 7430 (updated from NASD Rule 6953), all computer clocks and timestamping devices must be synchronized to be regarding a time source as designated by FINRA. This data can be collected during the day and transmitted to OATS in one or more files at a convenient time; however, reports for events that occur during particular OATS Business Days must be reported by 5am EST the following calendar day.  Read More…

2017 Examination Priorities for RIA’s and BD’s

The Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) continues another year of exam priorities for its Registered Investment Advisors (“RIA”) and Broker-Dealers. OCIE are the “eyes and ears” of the SEC, and its exams are used by the SEC to inform rule-making initiatives, identify and monitor risks, improve industry practices, and pursue misconduct. Read More…

FINRA Updates Private Placement Filer Form Pursuant to FINRA Rules 5122 and 5123

FINRA has updated the form that firms must use to file offering documents and information pursuant to FINRA Rules 5122 (Private Placements of Securities Issued by Members) and 5123 (Private Placements of Securities) (Filer Form). The updated Filer Form, which became available in the FINRA Firm Gateway in May of 2017, includes new and updated questions that will facilitate review of the filed material and eliminates other questions.  Read More…

Regulatory Notice 16-39: Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE)

In 2001, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved the Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE), a rule that requires all member firms to report secondary market transactions in eligible over-the-counter fixed income securities to FINRA. Unlike equities, over-the-counter securities trades are private transactions between counterparties and were not previously publicly reported. This lack of reporting provided very little to no price execution transparency to the marketplace.  Read More…