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FINRA Seeks Firms' Feedback on COVID-19

The regulatory agency is looking to see if it should change its rules and operations to better address challenges faced during the pandemic.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued a regulatory notice Wednesday, seeking comment from member firms on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

FINRA is particularly seeking feedback on what kinds of changes firms made to their business operations in response to the pandemic, as well as how effective their business continuity planning (BCP) had been in the midst of the crisis. The agency acknowledged that firms were forced to balance the health and safety of their staff with the need to ensure the public could still access capital markets.

After COVID-19 set off a public health crisis and widespread lockdowns in March, FINRA said that firms had made “widespread use” of remote offices and alternative work arrangements, while also finding new ways to continue their communication and compliance with FINRA and other regulators. 

The agency specifically asked respondents to address 28 questions in six different categories, including questions about BCPs, remote offices and inspections, engagement with FINRA during the pandemic, qualification examinations, investors’ experiences and the ultimate economic impact. For example, the questionnaire asks firms if it will continue to allow employees to work remotely after the pandemic, whether investors have had difficulty accessing funds or securities, and whether there were any ambiguities in FINRA’s rules that exacerbated challenges during the pandemic.

The public comment period ends Feb. 16, 2021.

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