The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requires that each FINRA member complete an annual verification (the Annual Verification) of their contact information within the first 17 business days of each calendar year, which will be January 27 this year. Annual Verification falls under FINRA Rule 4517, which requires FINRA members to update designated contact information promptly upon any material change, verify such information annually and comply promptly with any request for such information via the FINRA Contact System (FCS). Prior to completing the Annual Verification process, FINRA members should review all contacts in the FCS and update as needed. This review should include updating contact details, removing duplicate entries and/or deleting contacts no longer associated to a role in the FCS.

To access the FCS, log in to the FINRA Gateway Contacts page and select the FCS link in the upper right corner.

On January 19, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Market Participants Division (MPD) and Division of Market Oversight (DMO) issued CFTC Staff Letter No. 21-04 and Letter No. 21-05 (the Staff Letters) to extend, for a limited time, parts of the temporary no-action relief granted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which expired on January 15. Continue Reading CFTC Staff Provides Limited Continuation of Certain No-Action Relief to Market Participants in Response to COVID-19

On January 19, the National Futures Association (NFA) issued Notice to Members 1-21-03, announcing that remote online testing is now available for futures industry proficiency. The exams include Series 3, Series 30, Series 31, Series 32 and Series 34, which FINRA administers on behalf of NFA. Tests also may continue to be taken at a local test center. The availability of remote online testing has not affected NFA’s Swaps Proficiency Requirements.

Continue Reading Remote Online Testing Available for Candidates Seeking to Take Futures Industry Proficiency Examinations

On January 18, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a statement reminding UK-authorized firms of their obligations to periodically review their regulatory permissions under Part 4A of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to ensure they are up-to-date or otherwise removed where they are not needed (the Statement). Continue Reading FCA Reminds UK Firms to Regularly Review Their Regulatory Permission

In December 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (the HFCAA). The HFCAA requires auditors of foreign companies that are publicly traded in the US to allow the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) to inspect the auditors’ audit work papers for audits of non-US operations. If a company’s auditors fail to comply with the inspection requirement for three consecutive years, trading in such foreign company’s securities would be prohibited in US markets. The HFCAA also amends the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the Sarbanes-Oxley Act), mandates that the Securities and Exchange Commission identify foreign issuers that use an audit firm that is located in a foreign jurisdiction in which the PCAOB is restricted from inspecting or investigating the audit firm, and imposes additional SEC disclosure requirements on such foreign issuers. Continue Reading Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act Signed Into Law by President Trump

On December 22, 2020, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a rule change with the Securities and Exchange Commission that further postpones the implementation of mandatory margin for Covered Agency Transactions under FINRA Rule 4210 until October 26. Continue Reading FINRA Postpones Implementation of Mandatory Margin for Covered Agency Transactions

On December 23, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a no-action letter regarding family offices and Regulation Best Interest.

Specifically, the SEC staff indicated that the SEC would not treat Institutional Family Offices as “retail customers” for broker dealers for purposes of Regulation Best Interest and broker dealers’ Form CRS. An Institutional Family Office is defined as “a family office that has one or more experienced securities or financial services professionals, manages total assets of $50 million or more, does not rely on the broker-dealer for recommendations, and has professionals who are independent representatives of their family clients.”

See the SEC no-action letter.

On January 13, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Market Participants Division determined that the National Futures Association’s (NFA) swap dealer capital model requirements and review program are comparable with the CFTC’s swap dealer capital model requirements and review program. As a result, a capital model approved by NFA will be accepted as an alternative means of compliance with CFTC Regulation 23.102. Continue Reading CFTC Approves NFA’s Swap Dealer Capital Model Review Program

On January 8, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) updated its webpage providing information for firms relating to COVID-19 (the Webpage).

The Webpage notes that the FCA’s key considerations include: Continue Reading FCA Updates COVID-19 Webpage With Guidance on Market Trading and Reporting

On January 13, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a statement reminding firms of the requirements under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) relating to the provision of investment services to retail or professional clients by firms not established or situated in the EU (the Statement). Continue Reading ESMA Reminds Firms of MiFID II Rules on Reverse Solicitation Post-Brexit