Securities and Exchange Commission Now Calling for Comments on FINRA Proposal Regarding New Financial Responsibility Rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission wants feedback about the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s proposal on new financial responsibility rules. Critics have expressed concern that the rules give FINRA wide discretion but without certain safeguards.

The Financial responsibility rules let FINRA make sure that some 5,000 brokerage firms have enough liquidity available so that they can take care of customer claims in a timely manner. FINRA recently submitted a filing with the SEC explaining how the proposed rules would give the self-regulatory organization the authority it needs to act quickly during an emergency or another unforeseen event. FINRA says the necessary safeguards already are in place and vowed to be judicious when exercising this authority.

The proposed rules are based on existing requirements in NYSE and NASD rules. FINRA says that a large number of provisions will only apply to firms that carry or clear customer accounts and would prevent such members from withdrawing equity capital for up to one year without the SRO’s consent. Members would also have to let FINRA know no later than 24 hours after when certain financial triggers are hit.

FINRA has been trying to develop a consolidated rulebook since its formation in July 2007 when the New York Stock Exchange and NASD were merged together. Last May, FINRA requested comments about the rule proposals.

The SRO says a few commenters were worried about how much authority FINRA had under rule 4110(a). Other commenters asked for more specific about the kinds of actions the SRO would have the authority to implement. Another commenter expressed concern that FINRA’s authority to ask for an audit might be too broad. Still others expressed concern over how one proposed rule that prevented members from withdrawing capital for 12 months was even stricter than the SEC’s own requirements.

Related Web Resources:
FINRA Seeks Comment on Proposals for Consolidated Rules Governing Financial Responsibility, Supervision, Books & Records, Investor Education, FINRA, May 14, 2008
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rulemaking,
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