The Council

Developing engaging and meaningful learning
materials for the securities industry

Council Members


Jim Downing
Chicago, IL

Vice Chair

Mitzi Architect
Director, Business Control Manager
Regulatory Training
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc.
Boerne, TX

Our History

In May 1993, six SROs (NYSE, American Stock Exchange, Cboe, MSRB, NASD and Philadelphia Stock Exchange) created the Securities Industry Task Force on Continuing Education to study the issue of CE and to develop recommendations. Four months later, the Task Force issued a report calling for a formal, two-part CE program. The report also recommended the creation of a permanent Securities Industry/Regulatory Council on Continuing Education to (1) determine the specific content of the uniform regulatory component and (2) mandate specific minimum core curricula for inclusion in appropriate segments of ongoing firm training programs.

The SRO rules for CE were approved by the SEC on February 8, 1995. At that time, the first Regulatory Element Program, the S101, was designed to be a general program for all registration types. In an effort to help firms understand and prepare to meet their CE requirements, Council sponsored seminars around the country.

With firms asking for guidance in meeting their Firm Element requirements, the Council issued the Guidelines for Firm Element Training in November 1995. A year later, the Council published Firm Element Practices and Council Commentary, which provided excerpts of needs analyses and training plans from broker-dealers of various sizes and types and included commentary from the Council. The first Firm Element Advisory was issued in March 1997 to summarize the regulatory notices that may affect a firm’s Firm Element requirements

In 1998, the SRO rules were amended to reflect a change in the participation cycle for the Regulatory Element and also removed the opportunity for registered persons to graduate from participation.

In July of 1998, the Supervisors Program, also known as the S201, was introduced. Firms were reminded that appropriate training of the immediate supervisors of registered persons who had direct contact with customers was required in their Firm Element training.

In the summer of 2001, a third Regulatory Element program was developed. The S106 Program was developed specifically for individuals who were Series 6 registered.

In 2004, based on Council recommendations, SROs amended their CE rules to rescind all exemptions from required participation in the Regulatory Element. Registered persons who were previously eligible for “grandfathered” or “graduated” exemptions were now required to participate in the Regulatory Element on a prescribed schedule.

In 2005, the Council formed the Long Range Planning Committee to review all aspects of the Regulatory Element, including the delivery system and instructional design aspects. The Council decided at that time that a more advanced CE program was needed, and the concept of redesigning the current CE programs in three phases was adopted.

The first phase of the redesign project to employ new instructional design methodologies and upgraded technology began. Changes were made to the content outlines, the structure of the programs and the content.

Each module contained a case that had specified learning objectives that play out in a storyline, following characters through a series of scenes to a resolution. Educational elements in the form of interactive pop-up resources were integrated into the scenes to provide more in-depth knowledge about the topics being covered. Activities focusing on the learning objectives followed each scene and assessed the participant’s understanding of the topics covered. Participants had to show proficiency in four modules to successfully complete their CE sessions.

In 2009, a pilot program was conducted to verify the validity of the new programs’ structure and content. The accumulation of comments and feedback from the session helped put the finishing touches on the project. The redesigned content was successfully launched into the industry in January 2010. A second phase of the redesign, focused on the S201 Program for Supervisory/Principals, followed and was launched in January 2012.

A third phase of the redesign of CE began in 2013, with the development of the S901 Operations Professional Regulatory Element Program. The S901 was developed in response to a recommendation from the SEC to create a regulatory structure for back-office operations staff. The program launched in October 2013.

In 2015, the development of a new era for CE began. With the approval of amendments to FINRA Rule 1250 from the SEC, CE Online was rolled out in two phases. The first phase of CE Online included the S106, S201 and S901 Regulatory Element programs and was launched in October 2015. The second phase of the CE Online Program, for the S101, was launched in January 2016. Test-center delivery was phased out shortly after these changes.

Beginning in 2019, the Council focused its attention on the Securities Industry Continuing Education Program to explore opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of education in the securities industry. In a process that became known as “CE Transformation,” Council worked with FINRA and other regulatory agencies to amend CE rules to create a more efficient, effective and timely program. These changes included a transition to an annual Regulatory Element requirement with courses tailored to an individual’s registrations.

CE Transformation discussions also led to the creation of the Maintaining Qualifications Program (MQP), which allows registered persons to maintain their qualifications for up to five years through CE. This program was officially launched on March 15, 2022, and requires participants to complete annual training to remain current on industry issues.

Annual CE was launched on January 1, 2023. Individuals must now complete the Regulatory Element requirement by December 31 of each year. The updated Regulatory Element provides training on significant rule changes, industry trends and other regulatory developments relevant to each registration category.

Council Chairs

2023 – Melanie Taylor

2022 – James Papagiannis

2021 – Elizabeth A. Hansen

2020 – Gwen Weithaus

2019 – Jeffry Freiburger

2018 – Catherine Makstenieks

2017 – Anthony Scaturro

2016 – John Meegan

2015– Joseph Fleming

2014 – Patricia Bartholomew

2013 – William E. Bartol

2012 – Nicholas C. Cochran

2011 – Deborah Castiglioni

2010 – James Rabenstine

2009 – John T. Miller

2008 – Dean Morell

2007 – Philip Bugay

2006 – Howard Plotkin

2005 – Susan Agonis

2004 – Ronald Thomson

2003 – John Noble

2002 – Mary Owen

2001 – John Dixon

2000 – John Weingart

1999 – Richard Austin

1998 – Robert Watts

1997 – David DeMuro

1996 – Therese Haberle

1995 – William Simmons