Effective February 24, and in response to the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is providing an interim accommodation to allow candidates to take additional FINRA exams online, including the Series 24, Series 57, Series 79 and Series 99 exams. An interim accommodation request is not required for the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE), Series 6 or Series 7 exams, which have been available online for all candidates since mid-July 2020.
Continue Reading FINRA Provides Additional FINRA Exams Online

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 April 20, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) updated its webpage in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to clarify the requirements for employees to obtain appropriate qualifications (the Webpage).

The FCA understands that a number of professional qualification providers are cancelling exams due to the COVID-19 pandemic with no specific arrangements in place to reschedule them.
Continue Reading FCA Webpage on the Extension of the Time Limit for Obtaining Appropriate Qualifications

On February 20, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released a targeted examination letter requesting that certain member firms provide information related to their decision not to charge commissions for customer transactions and its impact on firms’ order routing practices and decisions. The letter requests details regarding the type of securities in which a firm effects customer transaction without a commission, the factors a firm considers in deciding whether or not to charge a commission, and other aspects of a firm’s business.
Continue Reading FINRA Releases Targeted Examination Letter for No Commission Brokers

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:
Continue Reading FINRA Issues 2019 Report on Examination Findings and Observations

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.
Continue Reading FINRA Issues Report on Examination Findings

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.)
Continue Reading CBOE Proposes Rule Change Relating to Qualification Examinations

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