The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) previously announced an expansion to its ongoing transparency initiative for the over-the-counter (OTC) equity market. This expansion entails FINRA publishing new data about OTC trading volume occurring outside of alternative trading systems (ATSs).

As of December 2, FINRA began publishing the following types of data: 1) monthly aggregate block-size trading data for OTC trades in National Market System (NMS) stocks executed outside an ATS, on a one-month delayed basis; and 2) aggregate non-ATS volume for each member firm (by eliminating the de minimis exception for member firms executing fewer than, on average, 200 non-ATS transactions per day during an applicable reporting period).
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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is requesting public comment on a proposed rule that generally would prohibit registered persons from serving as a customer’s beneficiary, executor or trustee, or holding a power of attorney or similar position for or on behalf of a customer. The proposed rule also would provide two exceptions from this general prohibition, including (1) instances in which the customer is a member of the registered person’s immediate family and (2) instances in which the member firm approves in advance the relationship. In addition, the proposed rule would require member firms to review and assess these relationships.

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On November 4, the Securities and Exchange Commission extended temporary no-action relief to firms that are regulated in the United States in connection with their efforts to comply with the research provisions of the European Union’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II). Under the extension, the SEC staff will not recommend enforcement action

On October 16, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) published its 2019 Report on Examination Findings and Observations (Report). Unlike previous years, the Report delineates between examination “findings” and examination “observations.” “Findings” describe violations of a rule or regulation, whereas “observations” refer to suggestions regarding how firms can improve controls and mitigate risk. The annual Report summarizes various findings and observations from recent examinations of its member firms on a range of topics, including the following:
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On October 18, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued Regulatory Notice 19-34 (Notice) regarding the annual compliance meeting (ACM) requirement in Rule 3110(a)(7) and corresponding Supplementary Material .04 (SM .04). The rule requires each registered representative and registered principal to participate, at least once per year, in an interview or meeting at which compliance

On October 17, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved a rule proposal filed by Cboe Exchange, Inc. (CBOE) allowing the off-floor transfers of options positions by Trading Permit Holders (TPHs) under a new circumstance.

Under proposed Rule 6.9, positions in options listed on CBOE would be permitted to be transferred outside CBOE by a TPH in connection with transactions to purchase or redeem creation units of exchange-traded fund (ETF) shares between an “authorized participant” and the issuer of such ETF shares.
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On October 21, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an Order Instituting Proceedings (the Order) to determine whether to approve a proposed rule change filed by Cboe Exchange, Inc. (CBOE) regarding off-floor position transfers.

Generally, CBOE requires a Trading Permit Holder (TPH) to effect transactions in listed options on an exchange.
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On October 11, the leaders of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (collectively, the Agencies) issued a joint statement reminding persons engaged in activities involving digital assets of their anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (BSA).
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On October 9, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced the formation of its Asset Management Advisory Committee.

The committee will provide the SEC with diverse perspectives on asset management and related advice and recommendations. Topics the committee may address include trends and developments affecting investors and market participants, the effects of globalization, and changes in the role of technology and service providers.
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On October 1, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed an amendment to Regulation NMS that would rescind a rule exception that allows a national market system plan (NMS Plan) amendment to be effective upon filing if it establishes or changes a fee or other charge (Proposal).
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