MSRB Regulatory Notice 2017-21 MSRB to Streamline Series 52 Exam Ahead of Release of FINRA Securities Industry Essentials Exam
The MSRB is publishing this notice to announce that it plans to revise the Municipal Securities Representative Examination (Series 52) into a specialized knowledge exam in advance of the October 1, 2018 release of the FINRA's Securities Industry Essentials™ (SIE) examination. The MSRB worked collaboratively with FINRA during development of the SIE examination to streamline duplicative testing of general knowledge that has traditionally been covered across several representative-level examinations. The MSRB supports the goal to reduce testing redundancies for securities industry professionals and expand opportunities for prospective securities professionals. To that end, the MSRB anticipates filing a proposed rule change with the Securities and Exchange Commission in early 2018 to require the SIE as a prerequisite to registration as a Municipal Securities Representative, Municipal Securities Sales Limited Representative and Limited Representative-Investment Company and Variable Contracts Product Representative.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 17-37 SEC Approves “Pay-to-Play” and Related Rules for Capital Acquisition Brokers (CABs)
The SEC approved CAB Rule 203 (Engaging in Distribution and Solicitation Activities with Government Entities) and CAB Rule 458 (Books and Records Requirements for Government Distribution and Solicitation Activities). These rules apply established “pay-to-play” and related recordkeeping rules to the activities of member firms that have elected to be governed by the CAB Rules. The rules will allow CABs to engage in distribution or solicitation activities for compensation with government entities on behalf of registered investment advisers. The rules become effective on December 6, 2017.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 17-36 SEC Approves Rule Amendment to Create a New TRACE Security Activity Report and End-of-Day TRACE Transaction File
A new End-of-Day TRACE Transaction File and TRACE Security Activity Report will be made available to subscribers, each for a fee, beginning on February 1, 2018. The rule text is available in the online FINRA Manual.
SR-NASDAQ-2017-107 Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Amend Nasdaq Closing Cross Rules
The Exchange proposes to amend Rule 4702 (Order Types) and Rule 4754 (Nasdaq Closing Cross) to enhance the Nasdaq Closing Cross by permitting members to submit LOC Orders until immediately prior to 3:55 p.m. ET subject to certain conditions, and to make other changes related to Closing Cross/Extended Hours Orders.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 17-32 FINRA Reminds Firms of Sales Practice Obligations for Volatility-Linked Exchange-Traded Products
Volatility-linked exchange-traded products (ETPs) are designed to track Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX) futures, rather than the VIX itself. For the reasons explained further below, many volatility-linked ETPs are highly likely to lose value over time. Accordingly, volatility-linked ETPs may be unsuitable for certain retail investors, particularly those who plan to use them as traditional buy-and-hold investments. This Notice reminds firms of their sales practice obligations in connection with volatility-linked ETPs as discussed more generally in Regulatory Notice 12-03, including, without limitation, that recommendations to customers must be based on a full understanding of the terms, features and risks of the product recommended, sales materials must be fair and accurate, and firms must have reasonable supervisory procedures in place to ensure that these obligations are met.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 17-30 SEC Approves Consolidated FINRA Registration Rules, Restructured Representative-Level Qualification Examinations and Changes to Continuing Education Requirements
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved a proposed rule change to: (1) adopt consolidated FINRA registration rules; (2) restructure the representative-level qualification examinations by creating a general knowledge examination called the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) and transforming the representative-level examinations into specialized knowledge examinations; and (3) amend the Continuing Education (CE) requirements. These changes become effective October 1, 2018.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 17-31 FINRA Amends Section 13 of Schedule A to the FINRA By-Laws to Establish Charges for New Option to File Websites and Web Pages in Native Format
FINRA has filed for immediate effectiveness amendments to Section 13 of Schedule A to the FINRA By-Laws governing the review charge for communications filed with or submitted to FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Department. The amendments do not increase the filing fees for the review of communications. The amendments establish charges for a new option to submit websites and web pages in their native format in anticipation of the impending upgrade to the Advertising Regulation Electronic Files (AREF) System. The amendments do not change the current filing requirements under FINRA Rules 2210 (Communications with the Public) or 2220 (Options Communications).
FINRA’s proposed amendments to the definition of non-public arbitrator in the Customer and Industry Codes of Arbitration Procedure have been approved by the SEC. The amended definition provides that a non-public arbitrator is a person who is otherwise qualified to serve as an arbitrator, and is disqualified from service as a public arbitrator under the Codes. The amendments are effective on October 9, 2017.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 17-28 FINRA Makes Available Frequently Asked Questions and Guidance and Extends Effective Date of Margin Requirements for Covered Agency Transactions
In June 2016 the SEC approved FINRA’s rule change (referred to as the “rule change”) amending FINRA Rule 4210 to establish margin requirements for Covered Agency Transactions. To assist members in complying with the rule change, FINRA has made available a set of frequently asked questions and guidance. In addition, FINRA is extending, to June 25, 2018, the effective date of the requirements pursuant to the rule change that otherwise would have become effective on December 15, 2017.
On September 29, 2017, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) filed a proposed rule change with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to modify the fee charged under MSRB Rule A-11, on assessments for municipal advisor professionals.1 The amendments to Rule A-11 increase the annual municipal advisor professional fee to $500 from $300 and is effective immediately, although the first payment at the new rate is not due until April 30, 2018. Amended Rule A-11(a) will require each municipal advisor firm that is registered with the SEC to pay to the MSRB a recurring annual fee of $500 for each person associated with the municipal advisor who is qualified as a municipal advisor representative in accordance with Rule G-3 and for whom the municipal advisor firm has on file with the SEC a Form MA-I as of January 31 of each year. A person is qualified in accordance with Rule G-3(d) when such person has taken and passed the Municipal Advisor Representative Qualification Examination (Series 50 exam).
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