Regulatory Extensions Announced for COVID-19

Effective March 20, 2020, FINRA released FAQs related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact the virus will have on small FINRA member firms meeting various FOCUS Report and annual audit requirements over the coming months.

ACI Managing Partner, Jay Gettenberg, who is also a member of FINRA’s Small Firm Advisory Committee (SFAC), has been working diligently over recent weeks with other Committee members and senior FINRA personnel to ensure these extensions were granted to provide regulatory relief to the small broker dealer community.  In a time of crisis, it was great to see the regulatory community working together to advocate for this needed relief, and it was great that FINRA and the SEC were receptive to these extensions to allow industry members to prioritize their well-being and the well-being of their respective families and employees.

There remains significant uncertainty on how the coming weeks will impact the industry, the markets, and the country, but ACI will continue to remain committed to advocating for the best interests of its clients and the small broker dealers as a community and intends to coordinate with the SFAC for additional extensions, should they be needed.

The full details and provisions of the deadline extensions can be found here:

Below are the main points:

  • Every member that (1) meets the exemptive provisions in SEA Rule 15c3-3(k) or (2) files a Part IIA FOCUS Report is being provided a 30 calendar day extension for submitting to FINRA their annual report related to fiscal years ending in January 2020 through March 2020.
  • Every member firm that (1) meets the exemptive provisions in SEA Rule 15c3-3(k) or (2) files a Part IIA FOCUS Report is being provided a 10 business day extension for submitting any FOCUS report to FINRA related to a period ending in February 2020 through April 2020.

Also, keep these extensions in mind:

  • Due to the temporary closing of the Prometric test centers, FINRA is extending expiring qualification examination windows until May 31, 2020. Consistent with this extension, individuals who were designated to function as principals under Rule 1210.04 prior to February 2, 2020 will be given until May 31, 2020 to pass the appropriate examination(s)
  • FINRA Rule 1010(c) requires that every initial and transfer electronic Form U4 filing be based on a manually signed Form U4 provided to the member or applicant for membership by the individual on whose behalf the Form U4 is being filed. However, due to the recent outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), FINRA is providing temporary relief from this requirement. Specifically, in the interim, FINRA will permit firms to electronically file an initial or transfer Form U4 without obtaining the individual applicant’s manual signature if the firm meets certain specified requirements.

ACI will continue to provide updates as we manage together through this challenging time. We hope everyone is taking proactive and precautionary measures to remain safe.