At the Security Traders Association’s yearly market conference in DC, Richard Ketchum, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s chief executive officer and chairman, said that due to growing problems the SRO is heightening its surveillance and exam focus on the options industry. He noted that there has been an increase in complaints about the use of algorithmic activities to perform possible manipulations to “move underlying equity” and that this could cause a financial firm to “take advantage” of options positions that were pre-established.
Per BNA, Ketchum said that FINRA has set up surveillance alerts to catch too much messaging traffic from algorithms that update quotes at vicious rates when options are involved. It is also looking at firms to make sure they have adequate controls related to algorithms and it will keep checking for options orders that may have possibly inaccurate coding.
The week before, Ketchum reported that the FINRA Board of Governors had given the SRO’s staff the authority to propose to the SEC rule changes to promote greater investors use of BrokerCheck. This free tool allows investors to look up former and current firms and brokers that are registered with the SRO, and representatives and investment advisers, to decide whether the should work with them. (This information would also have to be available on websites that were maintained by/for an individual associated with these firms.) Per amendments that have been proposed to the FINRA Rule 2267, which covers the education and protection of investors, member firms would have to make sure that their company sites provide a direct link to BrokerCheck. Meantime, a change has also been proposed to FINRA Rule 8312 that would give the public permanent access to information available through BrokerCheck about foreign and state cases against associated persons who were let go after a settlement was reached. It would also per the board’s approval, make downloads of BrokerCheck information available.