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…

FINRA RULE 3130 (ANNUAL CERTIFICATION OF COMPLIANCE AND SUPERVISORY PROCESSES)

FINRA Rule 3130 (formerly known as NASD Rule 3013) requires the CEO to CERTIFY that the firm has a PROCESS to adopt adequate Supervisory Policies and Procedures. The goal of the Rule is to “promote regular and meaningful interaction between senior management and compliance personnel to ensure that compliance is given the highest priority by a member’s senior executive officers.”   Read More…

FINRA Rule 3210 (Accounts at Other Broker-Dealers and Financial Institutions)

FINRA Rule 3210 (Accounts at Other Broker-Dealers and Financial Institutions), which replaces the previously used NASD Rule 3050, Incorporated NYSE Rules 407 and 407A and Incorporated NYSE Rule Interpretations 407/01 and 407/02, was approved by the SEC in April of 2016, and became effective in April 2017. This is a consolidated rule governing accounts opened or established by associated persons at firms other than the firm at which they are employed, ensuring that member companies, brokers, and advisors maintain ethical standards.  Read More…

Automatic Lock-In to ADF Disabled

Firms that use the Alternative Display Facility (ADF) to report over-the-counter trades in NMS stocks for broker-dealer compliance management purposes can choose to have their trades submitted by the ADF to the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) for clearance and settlement. Designated trades can be locked-in via agreement by both parties to the trade (the Uniform Services Agreement and/or the Qualified Special Representative Agreement). Alternatively, designated trades can be locked-in by the system in accordance with FINRA’s rules and regulations for broker-dealers. Lock-in of trades designated for clearing must occur in one of those two ways.

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FINRA Membership Interview – Part II

[Continued from FINRA Membership Interview – Part I]

What happens during the FINRA Membership Interview?

During the FINRA Membership Interview, the participants will discuss substantially all of the aspects of the firm’s proposed business. Emphasis will be placed on the FINRA, SEC, or MSRB rules applicable to the firm’s intended business, as well as the firm’s supervisory structure, the background and experience of the firm’s principals and representatives, and plans for future direction and expansion. Questions about how the firm will process transactions and how it will supervise activities to maintain FINRA compliance, among other things, must be answered by the individual(s) who will be responsible for those functions.

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FINRA Membership Interview – Part I

So, you’ve decided to start or own a broker-dealer. You have completed Form NMA, submitted it to FINRA Gateway via the New Membership Application process with all of your supporting documents, and have gone through a round or 2 of information requests with the FINRA Membership Application Program Group (the “MAP Group”).  Now, you have just received a request to sit down with FINRA for the Membership Interview.

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FINRA Begins Publishing ATS Block Trade Data

FINRA has expanded its alternative trading system (ATS) transparency initiative. Beginning October 3, FINRA is now publishing monthly information on block-size trades occurring on ATS’s. Among other things, this data may be used by broker-dealers for market regulation surveillance purposes. The information can be found on FINRA’s website and is available free of charge.

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New Product Considerations for Broker-Dealers

What do you do when you add a new product to your firm’s approved offering listing?  How do your reps know that a new product has been added?  Do your policies & procedures even address new products? What sort of training do you provide?  Does your firm need to file a Continuing Membership Application (Form CMA)?  As a compliance specialist for FINRA-registered broker-dealers, we encounter these type of questions from our clients on a regular basis, including FINRA, SEC, and MSRB compliance veterans.

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Is a Series 24 Required to Own a BD?

The question of who is required to have an active FINRA Series 24 (General Securities Principal) registration is often not as easy to answer as you may think. As a broker-dealer compliance consulting specialist, we encounter this question from seasoned FINRA compliance veterans and new broker-dealers alike.

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