FINRA Rule 2111: Quantitative Suitability

Welcome to the third and final part in our series on the three main suitability obligations outlined in FINRA Rule 2111 (Suitability). As with our earlier posts, “FINRA Rule 2111: Reasonable-Basis Suitability” and “FINRA Rule 2111: Customer-Specific Suitability”, we will begin with a brief overview of the three main suitability obligations imposed on broker-dealers and their associated persons; then, this particular blog will focus in on Quantitative Suitability.

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FINRA Rule 2111: Customer-Specific Suitability

This post is the second in our three-part series on the three separate and distinct suitability obligations outlined in FINRA Rule 2111 (Suitability). As with our previous post, “FINRA Rule 2111: Reasonable-Basis Suitability”, we will begin with a brief overview of the three main suitability obligations imposed on broker-dealers and their registered representatives; then, this particular blog will focus in on Customer-Specific Suitability.

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FINRA Rule 2111: Reasonable-Basis Suitability

Although suitability is a well-established principle within the securities industry, broker-dealers and their registered representatives sometimes forget that FINRA Rule 2111 (Suitability) has three separate and distinct suitability obligations. We will begin with an overview of all three main suitability obligations. Then, we will be going in-depth on these areas across three different blogs; this particular blog will focus in on Reasonable-Basis Suitability.

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SEC Adopts Amendments to Rule 15c2-12 to Improve Municipal Securities Disclosure

In August 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) announced that it has adopted amendments to Rule 15c2-12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), in an effort to enhance transparency in the municipal securities market. The SEC has stated that the commission believes the amendments will provide[…]

Guidance on Third-Party Recordkeeping Services and SEA Rule 17a-4

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.

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Customer Identification Program (CIP): Common Questions – Part II

[Continued from Customer Identification Program (CIP): Common Questions – Part I]

What Is A “Reasonable Time” To Verify Customers’ Identities?

A customer’s identity must be verified within a “reasonable time” before or after the customer’s account is opened. The rule does not specify what counts as a “reasonable time,” and the Adopting Release for the Broker-Dealer CIP Rule emphasizes that broker-dealers must be reasonably flexible when undertaking such verification. The broker-dealer must be able to undertake verification before or after an account if opened, as the amount of time needed may depend on various factors, which is part of the firm’s risk assessment.  A firm’s CIP procedures must enable the broker-dealer to form a reasonable belief that it knows the true identity of each customer. Read More…

Customer Identification Program (CIP): Common Questions – Part I

In our previous post on customer identification programs, “Customer Identification Program (CIP): Definitions and Requirements,” we defined “account” and “customer” and went over the minimum requirements for CIP procedures and verification, including touching on non-documentary means of identity verification. This post will get a little more specific, addressing common questions firms have when developing and implementing their customer identification programs. Read More…

Customer Identification Program (CIP): Definitions and Requirements – Part II

[Continued from Customer Identification Program (CIP): Definitions and Requirements – Part I]

How Does Risk Assessment Affect a Firm’s CIP?

Appropriate verification procedures for a CIP are governed by a risk-based assessment. A CIP must include risk-based procedures for verifying the identity of each customer to a reasonable and practicable extent. These procedures must be based on the broker-dealer’s assessment of the relevant risks, including those presented by the types of accounts maintained by the broker-dealer, the methods of opening accounts, and the types of identification information available. Additionally, this risk-based assessment should take into consideration the broker-dealer’s size, location, and customer base.

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Customer Identification Program (CIP): Definitions and Requirements – Part I

A broker-dealer must establish, document, and maintain a written Customer Identification Program (CIP) as a part of the broker-dealer’s anti-money laundering (AML) compliance program (31 CFR 1023.220) as required by FINRA Rule 3310. The CIP must be appropriate for the broker-dealer’s size and business, and it must outline the following procedures: Read More…

FINRA Rule 3310: Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program

FINRA Rule 3310 sets forth minimum standards for the required anti-money laundering (AML) compliance programs to be implemented by broker-dealers. This written AML compliance program must be reasonably designed to achieve and monitor compliance with the requirements of The Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act of 1970 (more commonly known as the “Bank Secrecy Act” or “BSA”) and with the implementing regulations declared thereunder by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Read More…