Following the enactment of the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, FINRA amended the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Industry Disputes to align the Code with the Act.1 Among other things, the amendments permit persons with sexual assault claims and sexual harassment claims to elect not to enforce predispute arbitration agreements in cases that relate to those disputes. The amendments also make a conforming change to FINRA Rule 2263 (Arbitration Disclosure to Associated Persons Signing or Acknowledging Form U4).
The SEC is adopting amendments to the Federal proxy rules governing proxy voting advice as part of our reassessment of those rules and in light of feedback from market participants on those rules, certain developments in the market for proxy voting advice, and comments received regarding the proposed amendments. The amendments remove a condition to the availability of certain exemptions from the information and filing requirements of the Federal proxy rules for proxy voting advice businesses. The release also rescinds certain guidance that the Commission issued to investment advisers about their proxy voting obligations. In addition, the amendments remove a note that provides examples of situations in which the failure to disclose certain information in proxy voting advice may be considered misleading within the meaning of the Federal proxy rules’ prohibition on material misstatements or omissions. Finally, the release discusses our views regarding the application of that prohibition to proxy voting advice, in particular with respect to statements of opinion. The amendments and the rescission of the guidance are effective September 19, 2022.
MSRB Regulatory Notice 2022-04 MSRB Applies Regulation Best Interest to Bank-Dealers and Amends the Quantitative Suitability Standard for Institutional SMMPs
The MSRB received approval from the SEC on June 23, 2022, for amendments to MSRB Rule G-19, on suitability of recommendations and transactions, and MSRB Rule G-48, on transactions with sophisticated municipal market professionals (“SMMPs”). The amendments approved by the Commission align Rule G-19 to the Commission’s Rule 15l-1 under the Exchange Act (“Regulation Best Interest”) for certain municipal securities activities of bank dealers (the “Bank Dealer Amendment”). The approved amendments to Rule G-48 modify the quantitative suitability obligation of brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers for certain institutional SMMP customers (the “Quantitative Suitability Amendment”).
FINRA Regulatory Notice 22-14 FINRA Requests Comment on Proposed Trade Reporting Requirements for Over-The-Counter Options Transactions
FINRA is soliciting comment on a proposal to establish a new trade reporting requirement for transactions in over-the-counter options on securities with terms that are identical or substantially similar to listed options. FINRA is proposing to require firms to report this information to FINRA on a daily basis (end-of-day) for regulatory purposes only.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 22-13 Exemption From Trade Reporting Obligation for Certain Transactions on Alternative Trading Systems
FINRA has adopted amendments to Rule 6732 (Exemption from Trade Reporting Obligation for Certain Transactions on an Alternative Trading System) to expand the scope of the exemption to include eligible ATS transactions that involve only one member (other than the ATS). As amended, a member ATS may apply for the exemption for transactions between a member subscriber and a non-member entity (e.g., a bank). The amendments to Rule 6732 will take effect on October 3, 2022. The amended rule text is available in the online FINRA Manual.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 22-12 FINRA Adopts Amendments to TRACE Reporting Rule to Require Identification of Portfolio Trades
FINRA has adopted amendments to Rule 6730 (Transaction Reporting) to require members to append a modifier to a corporate bond trade that is part of a portfolio trade when reporting to FINRA’s Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE). The amendments to Rule 6730 will take effect on May 15, 2023.
The Notice shares key operational changes in FINRA’s Membership Application Program (MAP) implemented to improve its effectiveness and efficiency (MAP Transformation), including establishing a centralized application intake function and aligning the program with the firm grouping model developed by FINRA’s Member Supervision Department during its recent transformation.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 22-11 FINRA Reminds Firms of Their Sales Practice Obligations for Alternative Mutual Funds
Recently, FINRA took enforcement action against several firms for failing to establish or maintain a reasonably designed supervisory system for recommendations of alternative mutual funds, also sometimes referred to as “alt funds” or “liquid alts” (“Alt Funds”). FINRA is continuing to note such deficiencies in its examinations and communications reviews of such products.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 22-10 FINRA Reminds Member Firms of the Scope of FINRA Rule 3110 as it Pertains to the Potential Liability of Chief Compliance Officers for Failure to Discharge Designated Supervisory Responsibilities
Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) at member firms play a vital role. For example, CCOs and their compliance teams help design and implement compliance programs, help educate and train firm personnel, and work in tandem with senior business management and legal departments to foster compliance with regulatory requirements. In this way, CCOs help promote strong compliance practices that protect investors and market integrity, as well as the member firm itself.
FINRA requests comment on a proposed rule to accelerate arbitration proceedings for seriously ill or elderly parties.
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