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.
The FINRA journey of changes in ownership and control for a FINRA member firm is one that can be difficult to traverse without a proper guide.
The FINRA Continuation of Membership Application (“CMA”) process is covered under NASD Rule 1017. The rule provides that should a member firm wish to make any changes as detailed in Rule 1017(a), an application must be filed with FINRA. More specifically, these events include: a merger, an acquisition, an asset acquisition, a change in ownership or control or a material change in business operations as defined in NASD Rule 1011(k).
Initially, when a firm receives FINRA approval to become a broker/dealer, the membership agreement has specific criteria which defines the types of business the firm may engage. If the firm wants to make changes to certain lines of business, operations, or otherwise, then it must submit a CMA, also known as the Continuing Membership Application, to obtain FINRA approval.