FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) announced on June 2, 2022 that it ordered Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., to pay 15.2 million in restitution and interest to thousands of customers who purchased Class C mutual fund shares when Class A shares were available at a substantially lower cost. FINRA news releases are useful tools to look for trends in violations and other sanctions. These trends can assist you in identifying weak areas in your Firm’s compliance programs or surveillance. Below is a summary of the Merrill order, as well as key takeaways. Click here for the corresponding news Read more about Merrill Mutual Fund Enforcement Lessons Learned[…]
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.
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.
In the recent “2019 Report on FINRA Examination Findings and Observations,” one of the topics highlighted was the use of digital communications. This can include a wide range of social media, email, text messaging, and various other digital tools. The regulatory requirements pertaining to the usage of digital communications are outlined in Exchange Act Rule 17a-3 and 17a-4 and FINRA Rules 3110(b)(4) and 4510. These rules require procedures pertaining to the usage of these types of communications, as well as the appropriate maintenance of the communications in the form of books and records.