The impact of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest rule is continuing to be felt throughout the industry, as FINRA is taking measures to prepare brokers to ensure they’re in compliance prior to its implementation date of June 30, 2020.
The release of Reg BI in June was the result of a multiyear debate on how broker/dealers and investment advisors should conduct themselves when making recommendations to investors, with supporters of the regulation lauding the "best interest" standard developed between the two categories of financial professionals. As a part of Reg BI, the SEC mandated that broker/dealers and investment advisors would need to offer clients a Form CRS detailing the relationship between investor and advisor.
In response, a checklist prepared by FINRA for brokers details the differences between its own rules and what is demanded of b/ds as a result of Reg BI.
The checklist asks a variety of questions to ensure brokers are in compliance, such as if they have “procedures and training in place to assess recommendations using a best interest standard,” and if brokers “consider reasonably available alternatives” to the recommendations they make (the full checklist is available here).
The regulatory agency also announced a Reg BI conference to be held in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 18, which may help regulators, executives and industry leaders learn what will be required for brokers to achieve compliance. The release of Reg BI has led brokers and investment advisors alike to begin preparations for implementation; during a recent discussion at the Financial Services Institute’s 2019 forum, SEC Chief Counsel of the Division of Trading and Markets Emily Westerberg Russell warned brokers to commit to compliance and not hope for a delay in the implementation date.
“That’s the compliance date, and that’s all I’ll say,” she said. “That’s the compliance date, so prepare.”