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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This month, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued a report summarizing various findings from recent examinations of its member firms (Report). In particular, the Report sets forth selected observations from recent examinations that FINRA considers worth highlighting because of their potential significance, frequency and impact on investors and the markets. The Report also describes compliance and supervisory practices that FINRA has observed to be effective in certain circumstances.
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On September 20, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved a rule proposal filed by Cboe Exchange, Inc. (CBOE) related to the registration categories and qualification examinations required for Trading Permit Holders and associated persons that engage in trading activities on CBOE (Proposal). In light of FINRA’s adoption of the Securities Industry Essentials Examination (SIE), which is a general knowledge examination that all new representative-level applicants will need to take as of October 1 (Implementation Date), CBOE proposed a rule change that would require new applicants seeking to register with CBOE in a representative capacity as of the Implementation Date to pass the SIE. To be eligible for such registration, an individual also must be associated with a firm, pass an appropriate qualification examination for a representative or principal, and satisfy certain other requirements. (For additional information regarding the SIE, please refer to the January 26, 2018 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest.)
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The Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) of the Securities and Exchange Commission has announced its examination priorities for 2018. This year, the OCIE’s examination priorities fall within the following categories: examining compliance and risks in critical market infrastructures; protecting retail investors, including seniors and those saving for retirement; continuing oversight over the Financial

On January 12, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission a proposed rule change outlining the content and selection specifications for FINRA’s new general knowledge examination, the Securities Industry Essentials Examination (SIE) (For additional information related to the SIE, please see the July 14, 2017 edition of the Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest.)
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On February 19, federal banking agencies increased the number of small banks and savings associations eligible for an 18-month examination cycle rather than a 12-month cycle. The changes are intended to reduce regulatory compliance costs for smaller institutions, while still maintaining safety and soundness protections. Under the interim final rules, qualifying well-capitalized and well-managed banks and savings associations with less than $1 billion in total assets are now be eligible for an 18-month examination cycle. Previously, firms with less than $500 million in total assets could be eligible for the extended examination cycle. The examination cycle changes may also apply to qualifying well-capitalized and well-managed US branches and agencies of foreign banks with less than $1 billion in total assets.
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