The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has published its 2021 Annual Budget Summary (Budget Summary), which outlines how FINRA plans to deploy resources in 2021 to meet its various regulatory responsibilities.

As described in the Budget Summary, FINRA’s 2021 operating revenues are projected to be lower than 2020 operating revenues, due to the unique set of circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic that contributed to increased revenues due primarily to higher trading volumes and a large number of public offerings. Operating expenses are anticipated to increase in 2021 over 2020 budgeted levels, with headcount gradually rising to budgeted levels and in-person testing and travel expected to increase throughout the year.

As described in the summary, the 2021 budget also includes $83.4 million for one-time, key initiatives, which include modernizing systems that support member firm registration, filing and reporting requirements; digitalization of FINRA’s Enforcement programs; compliance with Consolidated Audit Trail requirements; adjustments to FINRA’s real estate footprint in New York to relocate certain functions to lower-cost properties; and significantly improving FINRA’s advanced analytics capabilities.

FINRA 2021 Annual Budget Summary