The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced a series of changes to its advisory committees – including the addition of two new committees focused on the specialized issues surrounding clearing firms and capital acquisition brokers – as part of a comprehensive effort to improve opportunities for firms to provide input on key issues. The changes, which build on several enhancements to FINRA’s advisory committee structure announced in November, are a response to feedback received through President and CEO Robert W. Cook’s listening tour and comments received through the FINRA360 Special Notice on FINRA’s engagement programs.
FINRA today also published a Special Notice informing firms and other interested parties about the process for filling vacancies on various FINRA ad hoc and advisory committees, as well as the National Adjudicatory Council, District/Regional Committees, the FINRA Board of Governors and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation Board of Directors. In addition, FINRA introduced the Engagement Portal, an online portal to enable interested persons to express interest in FINRA service in a more streamlined manner.
“FINRA’s advisory committees provide valuable input on regulatory and policy initiatives related to FINRA’s mission. These enhancements to the advisory committees and the introduction of the Engagement Portal will ensure that FINRA continues to benefit from industry, investor, and other stakeholder expertise and perspectives on critical issues,” said Marcia E. Asquith, FINRA Executive Vice President, Board and External Relations.
Specifically, FINRA is:
- creating a Clearing Firm Advisory Committee and Capital Acquisition and Placement Broker Committee to gain important feedback from these member-firm segments, including with respect to issues facing small firms whose customer accounts are carried at clearing firms and small firms engaged in capital raising activities;
- broadening the Membership Committee’s composition to include medium-size firms, independent dealers and firms affiliated with insurance companies;
- disbanding the Independent Dealer/Insurance Affiliate Committee and Regulatory Advisory Committee, as their respective purposes are being assumed by the Membership Committee;
- renaming the Compliance Advisory Committee and Small Firm Advisory Board as the Large Firm Advisory Committee and Small Firm Advisory Committee, respectively, to better reflect their respective purposes; and
- proposing to the SEC that FINRA reorganize District Committees into Regional Committees that mirror the regions in which FINRA’s 11 districts are administratively grouped. The proposal also includes eligibility and voting standards designed to result in committees that better reflect the industry in each region.
In addition, FINRA has 15 advisory committees that provide feedback on rule proposals, regulatory initiatives and industry issues. FINRA also consults with 16 ad hoc committees created by various departments on specific subject-matter issues.
In November, FINRA announced several changes to increase transparency around the advisory committees, including publishing rosters of each advisory committee on FINRA.org.