Early in the year, FINRA released their 2022 Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring Program, which is designed to inform member firms’ compliance programs by providing annual insights from FINRA’s ongoing regulatory operations. In this report detailing FINRA’s top priorities for 2022, FINRA addresses 21 regulatory areas which are grouped into 4 categories: (1) Firm Operations, (2) Communications and Sales, (3) Market Integrity, and (4) Financial Management. From these 21 regulatory areas, FINRA highlights 7 that they feel are the most important and affect a large portion of member firms, which are as follows: Reg BI and Form CRS Read more about FINRA’s Top Priorities for 2022[…]
Citigroup Global Markets Inc. was recently censured and fined $350,000.00 ([PDF] FINRA Case #2019064316401) for failing to have a supervisory system to ensure statements were reviewed timely, as well as not ensuring they were receiving paper statements for accounts at custodians for which they did not have a direct feed. Although this particular incident was a BD fine, this information should be helpful for RIAs as well. An RIA should be conducting personal trade reviews as a part of their Code of Ethics. Considerations The review and supervision of outside brokerage accounts isn’t news; however, it’s important to take a Read more about Personal Trade Reviews[…]
Cybersecurity remains one of the principal operational risks facing broker-dealers and Registered Investment Advisers. Accordingly, FINRA and the SEC’s examiners expect firms to have reasonably designed cybersecurity programs and controls consistent with the firm business model and scale of operations to ensure that sensitive data, including client information, is not lost or misused, or accessed by unauthorized users.
Examiners continue to inquire into the Firm’s controls regarding firewalls, vulnerability, penetration testing, and training during office examinations.
Investment advisers should consider the need to perform a branch office inspection of branch offices pursuant to a branch office inspection schedule. Firms should consider whether a branch audit is warranted using factors such as nature and complexity of the branch’s business, volume of business, complaints, disclosures, number of registered persons, and other relevant factors determined by the firm. Firms are to document the exam schedules for each branch office including a description of the factors used to determine the exam cycle for such locations.
Various states require investment advisers to conduct regular inspections of their branch offices. For example, an investment adviser registered in Georgia is required to inspect each office location at least annually to ensure that its written policies and procedures are enforced. Even when an investment adviser is not explicitly required to conduct branch inspections, it should still implement a branch inspection program as part of its supervisory procedures. Also, investment advisers lacking an adequate branch office inspection program expose themselves to significant liability for failure to supervise in the event misconduct at the branch goes undetected.
You get that call, and your heart drops. You knew that a regulatory exam was on the horizon, but you have put off thinking about it. Now, you are face-to-face with an upcoming FINRA examination, and the panic has set in.
Reviewing your current mid-year compliance budget plan and adjusting for the rest of the year is important. With COVID-19 taking up a substantial portion of the first half of the year, your vision and budget for 2020 may have drastically changed.