In October 2018, the staff of the SEC Division of Trading and Markets (the SEC staff) issued no-action relief (the no-action relief letter) regarding the treatment of operating leases under SEA Rule 15c3-1 (Rule 15c3-1) in connection with the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) Accounting Standards Update for Leases (the Lease Accounting Update). Based on discussions with the SEC staff, and in response to member inquiries, FINRA is issuing this Notice to provide guidance to members for reporting lease assets and lease liabilities on their FOCUS reports. Members should apply the guidance in this Notice going forward when preparing their FOCUS reports. Members are not required to refile any FOCUS reports that they have already submitted to comply with this guidance.
SR-NASDAQ-2019-014 Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Amend Rule 4703 to Make Clarifying Changes
The Exchange proposes to amend Rule 4703 (Order Attributes) to make clarifying changes to the Midpoint Trade Now and Trade Now Order Attributes.
SR-NASDAQ-2018-079 Order Granting Approval of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend Nasdaq Rules 5705 and 5710 to Adopt a Disclosure Requirement for Certain Securities
The Exchange proposes to amend Nasdaq Rule 5705(b)(1)(B) relating to Index Fund Shares and Nasdaq Rule 5710(d) relating to Linked Securities. Specifically, the Exchange proposes to require issuers of leveraged or inverse Index Fund Shares and Linked Securities that seek returns on a daily basis to provide additional website disclosure highlighting the daily return feature of these products and the risks associated with holding these products for longer than one day. The Exchange proposes to amend Nasdaq Rules 5705(b)(1)(B) and 5710(d) to require issuers of such Index Fund Shares or Linked Securities to include on each such product’s website a statement that the product seeks returns for a single day, and that, due to the compounding of returns, holding periods of longer than one day can result in investment returns that are significantly different than the product’s target returns. The proposed disclosure would also direct investors to consult the prospectus for further information on the calculation of the returns and other risks associated with investing in this type of product.
MSRB Regulatory Notice 2019-09 Designation Information Regarding Mandatory Participation in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Testing
The MSRB has established criteria for designating Participants for the next mandatory functional and performance testing of the operation of the MSRB’s Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Plans. Such criteria are designed to ensure participation by those MSRB Registrants that the MSRB reasonably determines are, taken as a whole, the minimum necessary for the maintenance of fair and orderly markets in the event of the activation of its BC/DR Plans.
MSRB Regulatory Notice 2019-08 Request for Comment on MSRB Rule G-34 Obligation of Municipal Advisors to Apply for CUSIP Numbers When Advising on Competitive Sales
In connection with its ongoing retrospective review of its rules and guidance, MSRB is seeking comment on MSRB Rule G-34(a)(i)(A)(3) (the “CUSIP Requirement”), which requires a municipal advisor advising an issuer with respect to a competitive sale of a new issue of municipal securities to apply for the assignment of a CUSIP number or numbers with respect to such issue within a specified time frame, subject to exceptions.
MSRB Regulatory Notice 2019-07 MSRB Establishes Effective Date for Advertising Rules and Provides Social Media Guidance and Related Rule Amendments
The MSRB announces that the effective date for the amendments to MSRB Rule G-21, on advertising by brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers and new Rule G-40, on advertising by municipal advisors (Rule G-21, together with Rule G-40, the “advertising rules”), is August 23, 2019. In addition, the MSRB today filed two rule changes with the U.S. SEC to: • Provide social media guidance under the advertising rules and • Amend the advertising rules to exempt interactive content that is an advertisement from the requirement of principal pre-approval prior to first use. The implementation date for the social media guidance and the amendments to the advertising rules is the effective date August 23, 2019 announced today for the amendments to Rule G-21 and new Rule G-40.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 19-06 FINRA Requests Comment on the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Its Rule on Business Continuity Plans and Emergency Contact Information
FINRA is conducting a retrospective review of Rule 4370 (Business Continuity Plans and Emergency Contact Information), FINRA’s emergency preparedness rule, to assess its effectiveness and efficiency. This Notice outlines the general retrospective rule review process and seeks responses to several questions related to firms’ experiences with this specific rule. FINRA encourages all interested parties to comment. Comments must be received by April 26, 2019.
FINRA warns member firms to be on the lookout for a fraudulent phishing email that is currently circulating. Brokerage firms reported to FINRA that they have received suspicious emails targeting their compliance personnel. The email appears to be from a legitimate credit union attempting to notify the firm about potential money laundering involving a purported client of the firm. The email directs the recipient to open an attached document—which likely contains a malicious virus or malware designed to obtain unauthorized access to the recipient’s computer network. As a reminder, phishing scams are ever-changing and are designed to infiltrate the computer network of the recipient. Use caution when opening emails from unknown senders and do not open attachments until you verify the sender and information that might be included in the document.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 19-05 FINRA 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. FINRA is extending, to March 25, 2020, the effective date of the requirements pursuant to the rule change that otherwise would have become effective on March 25, 2019.
MSRB Regulatory Notice 2019-05 MSRB Amends Implementation Guidance on MSRB Rule G-18, on Best Execution
The MSRB is adopting clarifying amendments to implementation guidance on Rule G-18, on best execution. The Implementation Guidance primarily provides answers to frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about Rule G-18. Since the MSRB’s best execution requirements became effective in 2016, some market participants have communicated to the MSRB that the practice of posting the same bid-wanted for a municipal security simultaneously on multiple trading platforms may have harmful effects on dealers, investors and the market as a whole while not necessarily achieving improved execution for customers. While the posting of bid-wanteds simultaneously on multiple trading platforms is not prohibited by MSRB rules and may be considered by dealers under prevailing facts and circumstances to be consistent with their best-execution obligations and beneficial to their customers, the MSRB has stated previously, including in the Implementation Guidance, that such simultaneous posting is not required.
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