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What is FINRA?

EPC Group's FINRA Compliance Consulting

FINRA stands for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority that oversees US-based broker-dealer firms, registered brokers, and market dealings. FINRA is a self-regulatory, private organization authorized by the US government to enforce ethical investment practices amongst registered brokers.

In July 2007, FINRA came into existence after consolidating of National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) with the member regulation, enforcement, and arbitration operations of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Currently, FINRA supervises more than 624,000 registered brokers across the US and analyzes billions of daily market events.

Empowered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), FINRA creates rules for brokers and ensures they act accordingly, evaluate the firm’s compliance, and discipline brokers that fail to adhere. For a broker, it is an absolute must to register with FINRA. This registration is possible only after the candidate clears the rigorous application and examination process of FINRA. Anyone can check the broker’s registration status with the FINRA using its online BrokerCheck tool. Besides, investors can access numerous educational resources or file complaints against brokers at FINRA.

How does FINRA work?

FINRA’s mission is to safeguard investors against fraud and malpractices. Every broker interested in working in the USA needs to pass FINRA qualification exams and fulfill continuing education to get a license from FINRA. Before licensing any broker, FINRA reviews all the ads, website content, sales brochures, and other communications to ensure the candidate is presenting investment information in a fair and balanced way.

FINRA works by dividing its services into a few different but connected departments,

Regulating and overseeing brokers: Even after getting the license from FINRA, every broker must continue ongoing education over the years. Every broker and the firm undergo periodic audits to ensure whether they are practicing honest and competent business practices. If found it non-compliant, FINRA is authorized to take disciplinary actions against the firm or the broker.

Maintaining BrokerCheck database: FINRA offers a free-to-use BrokerCheck tool for everyone to check if the broker they intend to deal with is registered or not. Besides, the tool also provides detailed information about a specific broker or firm. The information covers if they faced any disciplinary action in the past.

Complaint redressal and dispute resolution: FINRA efficiently handles and addresses all the customer complaints leading to legal proceedings. Every complainant gets a lawyer and forum from FINRA to carry out arbitration and mediation between brokers and customers as an alternative to keep away from legal proceedings.

Providing tools and resources to investors: With an array of personal finance and investment encyclopedia, FINRA offers a range of calculators for beginner and advanced investors. It also offers a free investment course for all interested investors. Besides, it has a special helpline for senior citizens and a free toll-free line to assist investors in understanding the different complexities of hard sells made by brokers.

Surveilling equity markets: FINRA is a technology-dominated organization that monitors market integrity and market transactions using cutting-edge technology solutions. Using AI and ML, FINRA finds patterns and trends to spot malicious or fraudulent activities in the market. If it finds anything suspicious, it flags the activity and alerts FINRA’s enforcement team and other relevant parties like SEC to intervene.

FINRA Goals of Regulation

Market Efficiency and Integrity
FINRA maintains efficiency and integrity within the market by ensuring the market is operating efficiently, plus investors have confidence in the market. FINRA addresses certain market failure issues like principal-agent problems, asymmetric information, and moral hazard to regulate and improve market efficiency.
Consumer and Investor Protection
One of the major goals of FINRA regulations is to ensure no consumer or investor has to suffer from fraud, discrimination, manipulation, and theft. FINRA regulates and prevents exploitative or abusive broker practices that take due advantage of unknowledgeable investors.
Capital Formation and Access to Credit
It is the primary duty of FINRA regulators to ensure brokers, firms, and consumers get equal and easy access to credit and capital as per their needs so that healthy growth in credit and the economy are maintained. FINRA personally oversees that every worthy borrower, irrespective of his race, gender, and location gets credit and capital.
Prevention of Illicit Activity
FINRA regulators are burdened with duties that ensure that any market activity or financial system investing in the market is not in the interest of or supports the criminal and terrorist activity. Examples are policies to prevent money laundering, tax evasion, terrorism financing, and the contravention of financial sanctions.
Protecting Taxpayers
It is the duty of FINRA to ensure that in no way does financial market failure results in federal government payouts ultimately borne by taxpayers. Specific activities such as Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) run by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are only explicitly backed by regulator-run insurance schemes or by the federal government.
Financial Stability
FINRA is associated with taking preventative and palliative measures that mitigate systemic risk and maintains financial stability. FINRA is authorized to contain financial instability issues (markets freeze, participants panic, credit becomes unavailable, and multiple firms fail) through market actions or policy intervention.

How to Become FINRA Compliant?

FINRA is a very powerful body and can shut down or levy heavy penalties or fines on brokers or firms found guilty of any wrongdoing. Even the compliant organizations find FINRAs regulatory examination extremely complicated. Therefore, you need to keep your organization and clients safe and confident.

Use compliance tools provided by FINRA.
  • FINRA Compliance Calendar: Offers month-by-month FINRA filing requirements, deadlines, certifications, and conferences.
  • Peer-2-Peer Compliance Library: Access all the material distributed at events organized by and by FINRA registered firms.
  • Subscribe to Weekly Emails: Stay updated on regulatory changes and FINRA news through their weekly emails.
  • Compliance Vendor Directory: Access a directory offering suitable yet efficient way of searching for vendors offering FINRA compliance services.
Reg BI and Form CRS
  • Ensure all the hired representatives and sales supervisors are registered with FINRA and motivate them to undergo comprehensive training on the best industry standards.
  • Accept recommendations from representatives and offer possible options.
  • Discover possible conflicts and issues that might impact recommendations to retail customers.
  • Maintain records proactively to demonstrate compliance.
Cybersecurity
  • Use proper encryption techniques to encrypt confidential public data.
  • Identify and rectify possible cybersecurity problems at the root level.
  • Ensure robust access control is in place.
  • Train employees on significant cybersecurity threats and how to mitigate them.
Consolidate audit trail
  • All orders received or originated via the National Market System stocks over-the-counter equity securities or listed options, must be reported to the consolidated audit trail (CAT).
  • Report all types of proprietary trading activities – it includes the market0making activities.

FINRA Compliance Consulting from EPC Group

EPC Group is a 25-year-old enterprise offering Microsoft consulting, deployment, integration, migration, and development services. Being a Microsoft Gold Partner, EPC Group has earned several Gold and Silver competencies for different Microsoft products.

For years, EPC Group has helped its clients to become self-satisfied in data governance, cybersecurity, and compliance with different data rules and regulations like HIPPA, GLBA, COPPA, GDPR, CCPA, CMMC, and more.

EPC Group is well aware of FINRA compliance and has helped many brokers and their firms to comply with it while transforming their business with digital technologies and solutions.

A team of security and compliance experts at EPC Group offers a wide variety of training on cybersecurity, guiding attendees through FINRA compliance regulations and standards. Our experts will guide you in implementing policies and procedures that will make you FINRA compliant effortlessly.

Work with EPC Group to conduct a comprehensive evaluation, enhance internal controls, implement technology, and get practical compliance solutions to comply with FINRA. With their extensive experience in the data compliance and securities industry and an in-depth understanding of the complexities involved in broker-dealer relations, EPC Group will provide you with comprehensive compliance solutions or individualized services to meet your unique business needs.

Contact us to find out more and know more about the remaining FINRA Compliance.

Why Choose Us

Why Organizations Recognize EPC Group's Consulting Services as the Industry Leader
EPC Group wrote the book on SharePoint & Power BI
Microsoft Partner for 25+ Years
Over 4 million Office 365 users successfully migrated
200+ years combined senior team migration experience
Expertise migrating to Office 365 in every vertical
EPC Group's Chief Architect Errin O'Connor was on the original SharePoint and
Office 365 Beta teams
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