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.
Your firm is beginning to get in the groove since the shelter-in-place orders have been implemented. In the past, you have worked from home on certain days, but the transition to full-time teleworking, homeschooling, and pet sitting has been a challenging reality. Then surprise! You get a call from your regulatory coordinator that FINRA or the SEC has decided to conduct a regulatory exam of your firm starting now.
Is your small broker-dealer drowning in boxes and boxes of paper? Do you cringe every time you think of storing yet another 50+ page document? Are you interested in exploring the benefits of cloud-based storage? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you must first consider your firm’s regulatory requirements for electronic storage media.
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.