FINRA Rule 3130 serves as an annual requirement to focus on the firm’s overall compliance programs through purposeful interaction between executive members and compliance officers. You might be wondering how firms ensure compliance with this rule. In this blog, we will address some frequently asked questions related to the annual certification requirement and the surrounding process.
The messages are clear. Sales practice concerns, fraud, and operational issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic have arrived. Compliance professionals who are responsible for the surveillance and review of targeted areas of the compliance program should understand what may be coming down the pipe and ensure that their programs are sufficiently flexible to identify potential red flags.
In May of 2017, FINRA released a Retrospective Rule Review 17-20 requesting comments on the effectiveness and efficiency of its Rule 3270, Outside Business Activities (“OBAs”) of Registered Persons, and Rule 3280, Private Securities Transactions (“PSTs”) of an Associated Person. Then, in February of 2018, FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 18-08 seeking additional comments on a proposed new rule, FINRA 3290, to consolidate current FINRA Rule 3270 and current FINRA Rule 3280. The proposed rule change is a result of FINRA’s retrospective rule review the year before. FINRA again sought comments on streamlining and bringing the rule up to date.
Last month, Stephens Inc. was censured by FINRA and fined $900,000 for failing to properly supervise “flash” emails sent by its research department. According to FINRA Rule 3110, firms must have supervisory procedures established which include procedures for the review of incoming and outgoing written (including electronic) correspondence and internal communications relating to the member’s investment banking or securities business. The issue began when Stephens Inc.’s research analysts sent flash emails to the sales and trading personnel. Although the research analysts sent the flash emails internally, the lack of supervision created the risk that material non-public information may have been included in the emails which could lead to misuse by the sales and trading personnel.