The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority released a 40-page report outlining its progress on FINRA360, a widespread review of its operations and programs, originally announced last March. The report highlights a number of changes FINRA has put in place in the last year, including integrating its two enforcement programs; releasing its first examination findings report; and launching the FINRA Innovation Outreach Initiative to help the self-regulatory organization better understand technology innovations in financial services. “We have placed particular emphasis on changes that benefit investors, promote compliance, address duplicate operations, enhance transparency, foster engagement, or improve our day-to-day supervisory interactions with firms,” said FINRA CEO Robert Cook, in the report. The initiative is a multiyear project, and the industry should expect more to come, he added.
Four industry groups, including the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard, the Garrett Planning Network, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors and the XY Planning Network, have launched a website to help investors in the Washington, D.C. area find advisors who act as fiduciaries at all times. The website, www.noincidentalinvestors.org, explains that brokers can only offer “incidental” advice while selling products. It provides investors with the names of at least two advisors in their local area who are fee-only. “The proposed SEC rule, Regulation of Best Interest, seeks to raise the suitability standard and is a good first step. Yet, much more needs be done to reflect real ‘best interest’ conduct. The simple fact remains that investment advisers represent clients, and broker-dealers represent issuers,” said Knut A. Rostad, president of the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard.
D.A. Davidson has opened its first office in Colorado Springs, Colo., after acquiring the McCarty, Brown & Eden Financial Advisor Group, the firm announced. The eight person team, with $380 million in client assets, includes five financial advisors and three support staff members. They were all previously affiliated with Merrill Lynch. The team will focus on serving individual investors, families and businesses with financial planning and advice. D.A. Davidson opened its Denver office in 2004, serving institutional clients with fixed income and equity capital markets services.