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FINRA Revamps Its CRD Program

FINRA is overhauling its registration and disclosure programs, advisors aren’t worried about market volatility and how to talk to clients about betting on the World Cup.

FINRA announced on Thursday a major overhaul of its registration and disclosure programs, including the Central Registration Depository that provides the backbone of BrokerCheck. The initial changes, which include a new WebCRD interface, go into effect June 30, and the full transformation is expected to be completed in 2021. The new registration system will be more efficient to use and include information from other FINRA regulatory programs, resulting in a more accurate set of information about registered individuals, branches and firms. The changes are being made in response to feedback FINRA received through its FINRA360 organizational improvement initiative. “This important initiative will strengthen an essential function of the securities industry,” FINRA president and CEO Robert W. Cook said in a statement. “The transformation will allow FINRA to develop systems that help firms effectively maintain compliance programs and reduce compliance costs, while continuing to operate and enhance BrokerCheck as an essential tool for investors.”

Volatility: Clients May Worry, But Advisors Aren’t Phased

Copyright Drew Angerer, Getty Images

The majority of clients (64 percent) are concerned about market volatility, according to a survey conducted by Charles Schwab. Independent advisors say their clients are worried about volatility, according to the poll, driven by concerns related to rising interest rates, trade policy and domestic political uncertainty. While clients may be growing more nervous, advisors aren’t significantly upending their own business strategies. More than seven in 10 advisors report turbulence having no impact on their marketing investments, and more than eight in 10 advisors say volatility hasn’t dissuaded them from making new hires or investing in technology. Within the last 18 months, more than half of the independent advisors polled said they’ve continued to improve the client experience through workflow improvements in client services, reporting, trading and investment management.

Are Your Clients Betting on the World Cup?

Copyright Catherine Ivill , Getty Images

Advisors can use the 2018 FIFA World Cup to connect with next gen clients. But if clients bring up gambling on soccer’s biggest stage, advisors might also find it helpful to field some basic questions about it, as sports betting quickly becomes legal in more states. Jordan Waldrep, the portfolio manager of the USA Mutuals Vice Fund (VICEX), breaks down the states that allow it and some of the ways people in the U.S. can now place bets—and they are plentiful. “The World Cup is also the biggest gambling event of the year,” Waldrep wrote. “Sportsbooks can create hundreds of opportunities to wager on an event by using this combination of standard and unusual wagers.” 

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