FINRA’s Change to Rules 5122 and 5123

FINRA’s Change to Rules 5122 and 5123

On July 15, 2021, FINRA released Regulatory Notice 21-26 announcing changes to FINRA Rules 5122 (Private Placements of Securities Issued by Members) and 5123 (Private Placements of Securities) effective October 1, 2021. The changes will require members to file retail communications that promote or recommend private placement offerings that are subject to those rules’ filing requirements.

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FINRA’s New And Improved Fund Analyzer Tool

FINRA’s New And Improved Fund Analyzer Tool

FINRA has recently given us all a new and improved Fund Analyzer tool. With the recent emphasis on Share Class selection, Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) for broker-dealers, and the fiduciary duty of Registered Investment Advisers. Firms are encouraged to train their staff on using this new tool.

The new analyzer allows individuals to sort through and compare more than 30,000 products and run a wide variety of investment scenarios. The tool’s enhancements enable users to better calculate how a fund’s fees, expenses, and discounts impact the value of a fund over time.

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Cybersecurity Exam Observations and Effective Practices

Cybersecurity Exam Observations and Effective Practices

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.

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FINRA Eliminates the Order Audit Trail System (OATS) Rules

FINRA Eliminates the Order Audit Trail System (OATS) Rules

Effective September 1, 2021, FINRA is amending its rulebook to eliminate the Order Audit Trail System (OATS) rules in the FINRA Rule 7400 Series and FINRA Rule 4554 (Alternative Trading Systems — Recording Reporting Requirements and of Order and Execution Information for NMS Stocks) (collectively referred to as the “OATS Rules”). FINRA has determined that the accuracy and reliability of the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) meet the standards approved by the SEC and has determined to retire OATS as of September 1, 2021.

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Regulators Focus on Reg BI During 2021 Audits

Regulators Focus on Reg BI During 2021 Audits

The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a new rule under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that established a standard of conduct for broker-dealers and the natural persons who are associated persons of a broker-dealer. It was established to enhance the broker-dealer’s standard of conduct to retail customers beyond the existing suitability obligation.

This standard of conduct takes critical principles from the underlying fiduciary obligations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The SEC’s focus was regardless of whether a retail investor chooses a broker-dealer or an investment adviser, all retail investors should be entitled to a recommendation (by a broker-dealer) or advice (by an investment adviser) given in the best interest of the retail investor. It is essential to recognize that the term “retail investor” also includes Accredited Investors.

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How to Qualify for Puerto Rico’s Act 22

How to Qualify for Puerto Rico’s Act 22

Also, Act 22, known as “The Individual Investors Act” targets high net worth investors with the promise of 0% tax on interest, dividends, and capital gains obtained while residing in Puerto Rico as a bona fide resident. This act, along with a few others, were the response to Puerto Rico’s ballooning national debt that started accumulating when the US government cut federal subsidies to the island in 1996. Beginning in 2012, Puerto Rico used its special status within the United States to create unique tax incentives that would lure successful employers down to the island to bring capital and create jobs. The tax benefits Puerto Rico’s Act 22 offers are as follows:

  • 100% tax exemption from Puerto Rico income taxes on all dividend and interest income; and
  • All capital gains accrued after becoming a New Resident will be 100% exempt from Puerto Rico taxes.

In this blog we will highlight some of the major steps you need to take to qualify for Puerto Rico’s Act 22.

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