FINRA Unscripted

By FINRA

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Description

FINRA Unscripted is the voice of the nation’s largest non-government securities regulator. We bring together FINRA leaders to discuss existing and emerging regulatory topics that impact the broker-dealer industry. We share best practices for compliance officers, insights into the operations of a 3,500 person self-regulated organization and educational tools and information for investors. Every investor in America relies on one thing: fair financial markets. That is what FINRA works every day to ensure.

Episode Date
FINRA Enforcement: Bringing Cases Against Individual Brokers
00:16:40

When it comes to bringing enforcement actions against individual brokers, there is a lot to consider, especially when the sanctions can be life altering for the individual in question. 

On this episode, we hear from Deputy Head of Enforcement Chris Kelly about what makes cases against individual brokers different from those brought against firms and all the considerations involved. 

Resources mentioned on this episode:
FINRA Enforcement

Monthly Disciplinary Actions

Disciplinary Actions Online Database

Episode 69: Excessive Trading: When A Lot Becomes Too Much

Episode 77: Behind the Process: How an Enforcement Action Becomes an Enforcement Action

Sep 20, 2022
Regulatory Operations: Stronger Regulation Through Integrated Oversight
00:33:56

Member Supervision, Market Regulation and Transparency Services and Enforcement. These three teams together make up Regulatory Operations or Reg Ops, which is at the very core of FINRA's efforts to protect investors and ensure fair and efficient markets for all. 

On this episode, we hear Greg Ruppert, Executive Vice President of Member Supervision, Stephanie Dumont, Executive Vice President of Market Regulation and Transparency Services, and Jessica Hopper, Executive Vice President of Enforcement, about how they are working together to increase coordination and to ensure integrated oversight, to be able to better anticipate and address risks. 

Resources mentioned on this episode:
Conferences and Events

FINRA Report Cards

Episode 99: From NCFC to Member Supervision Head: Reintroducing Greg Ruppert

Episode 87: Introducing Stephanie Dumont

Episode 77: Behind the Process: How an Enforcement Action Becomes an Enforcement Action

Sep 06, 2022
Introducing FINRA's Complex Investigations and Intelligence team and Cyber and Analytics Unit
00:26:55

The new Complex Investigations and Intelligence (CII) team and Cyber and Analytics Unit (CAU) are driving a shift in terms of how Member Supervision’s National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Program comes at its work and leverages intelligence and analytics to drive decision making and operations. 

On this episode, we hear from Omer Meisel, Vice President of CII, and Brita Bayatmakou, Senior Director of CAU, about how these changes will help FINRA better deliver on its mission of investor protection, market integrity.

Conferences and Events

Episode 86: FINRA’s Financial Intelligence Unit
Episode 72: Overlapping Risks, Part 2: AML and Elder Exploitation

FBI Cyber Threat Briefing Series

Aug 09, 2022
Financial Capability Study: Financial Wellbeing During a Global Pandemic
00:33:58

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many facets of American life but did not derail a trend toward increasing financial capability. Still, not all Americans are benefiting equally from improvements in financial wellbeing, according to the new FINRA Foundation Financial Capability Study. 

On this episode, Gerri Walsh and Gary Mottola of the FINRA Foundation join us to delve into the latest results of this nationwide, triennial study and their implications for the financial industry, researchers, policymakers and more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

2021 National Financial Capability Study

FINRA Foundation

Financial Literacy Quiz

Episode 38: 2018 Financial Capability Study, Part I: Does a Rising Tide Lift All Boats?

Episode 39: Financial Capability Study, Part II: Tracking Shifting Currents of Financial Well-Being

Jul 26, 2022
Encore | The Cornerstone of FINRA’s Market Surveillance Program: A Historical Commitment to Market Transparency
00:29:16

This episode originally aired in November 2021.

Transparency plays a central role in promoting the fairness and efficiency of U.S. markets, lowering transaction costs, leveling the playing field and enhancing public trust in our markets. And the data market transparency provides serves as the lifeblood of FINRA's surveillance program.

On this episode, we hear the Market Regulation and Transparency Services’ Jon Kroeper, executive vice president of the Quality of Markets Group, and Ola Persson, senior vice president and head of Transparency Services, about FINRA's historical commitment to market transparency and how it has impacted FINRA's regulatory regime.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE)

TRACE at 20 - Reflecting on Advances in Transparency and Fixed Income

Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT)

Regulatory Notice 20-43

Advancing Market Regulation and Transparency

Episode 13: How the Cloud and Machine Learning Have Transformed FINRA Market Surveillance 

Jul 12, 2022
Regulation Best Interest and Form CRS: Two Years In
00:38:59

June 30th marks the second anniversary of the implementation of Regulation Best Interest and Form CRS and we are celebrating with a deep dive into everything FINRA has learned on the topic over the last two years. 

On this episode, Meredith Cordisco, associate general counsel with the Office of General Counsel, Scott Gilbert, vice president covering the large diversified firm group and alternative net capital group within Member Supervision, and Nicole McCafferty, senior director with the National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Program, join us to talk about how FINRA is examining around the new regulations and explore some of the common problem areas and effective practices when it comes to complying with all that is now required.

How are we doing? Take the FINRA Unscripted survey today. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

SEC Reg BI Resource Page

FINRA Reg BI Resource Page

Episode 63: Implementing a New Standard of Care

Episode 45: Preparing for a New Standard of Care

Episode 69: Excessive Trading: When A Lot Becomes Too Much

2022 Report on FINRA’s Exam and Risk Monitoring Program: Reg BI and Form CRS

March 2022 SEC Staff Bulletin

Jun 28, 2022
Building a Better Future: FINRA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program
00:35:26

Juneteenth is a day to celebrate, but it's also a day to reflect upon the hardships that African Americans endured and the forces that continue to undermine the freedoms of Black Americans. One of the places that these forces are most clear is in the U.S. financial system, in which Black Americans and other people of color have been historically underrepresented. 

On this episode, we invite you to join us in this reflection as we hear from FINRA’s Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Chief Diversity Officer Audria Lee and from Ritta McLaughlin, Director of Community Outreach, about how FINRA has been working to build equitable solutions and a better future within our organization, our communities and the financial industry. 

How are we doing? Take the FINRA Unscripted survey today. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report

Dissertation Completion Fellowship Program

Board of Governor’s Diversity Statement

Racial Justice Task Force

Jun 14, 2022
AML Update: The Latest Trends and Effective Practices
00:26:06

Money laundering looks different in the securities industry and that poses its own challenges. But add to that a landscape of constantly evolving threats and it is a lot to keep up with. 

On this episode, Jason Foye, Senior Director of the National Cause and Finance Crimes Detection Program’s Special Investigative Unit joins us once again to tell us about the latest trends, emerging threats and how firms can ensure their AML program remains strong and effective. 

How are we doing? Take the FINRA Unscripted survey today. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 33: Beyond Hollywood: Money Laundering in the Securities Industry

Episode 34: Beyond Hollywood, Part II: AML Priorities and Best Practices

Episode 71: Overlapping Risks, Part 1: Anti-Money Laundering and Cybersecurity

Episode 72: Overlapping Risks, Part 2: Anti-Money Laundering and Elder Exploitation

Episode 86: FINRA’s Financial Intelligence Unit: Connecting the Dots

2022 Report on FINRA’s Exam and Risk Monitoring Program: Cybersecurity

2022 Report on FINRA’s Exam and Risk Monitoring Program: AML

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Priorities

FinCEN Alert: Potential Russian Sanctions Evasion Attempts

SEC Staff Bulletin: Risks Associated with Omnibus Accounts Transacting in Low-Priced Securities

Regulatory Notice 20-32: Fraudulent Options Trading in Connection with Potential Account Takeovers and New Account Fraud

Regulatory Notice 22-06: U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Russian Entities and Individuals

Regulatory Notice 21-18: Practices Firms Use to Protect Customers From Online Account Takeover Attempts

FINRA Key Topics: Cybersecurity

May 31, 2022
FINRA Annual Conference: Fireside Chat with Eileen Murray
00:26:13

The FINRA Annual Conference is happening now, in-person in Washington, DC, and virtually. The event is packed full of panels with information on all the latest compliance trends and emerging regulatory issues. 

On today's episode, we're taking you behind the scenes of the opening plenary session, a conversation between FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook and the outgoing chair of the FINRA Board of Governors, Eileen Murray. 

How are we doing? Take the FINRA Unscripted survey today.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

2023 FINRA Annual Conference

Episode 36: Digital Experience Transformation

Episode 98: Deep Learning: The Future of the Market Manipulation Surveillance Program

May 17, 2022
The Essential Senior Investor Protection Tools: FINRA Rules 2165 and 4512
00:24:13

Every year, millions of seniors become victims of financial exploitation, resulting in billions of dollars in losses. That's just one reason why the protection of these investors is a top priority for FINRA. 

On this episode, we hear from FINRA’s Office of General Counsel’s Jeanette Wingler and Jim Wrona about how FINRA Rules 4512 and 2165, the first uniform national senior investor protection standards, can help broker-dealer firms and representatives protect their senior and other vulnerable adult customers. 

How are we doing? Take the FINRA Unscripted survey today. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Rule 2165

Rule 4512

Episode 16: How FINRA Rules Get Made (and Reviewed)

Securities Helpline for Seniors®

FINRA Foundation

May 03, 2022
MAP Transformation: Streamlining FINRA's Gatekeeper Function
00:19:52

Member Supervision's Membership Application Program Group is the gatekeeper to the broker-dealer industry. It works both to protect investors by ensuring would-be firms meet FINRA's Standards of Admission and to help new and existing firms grow and evolve, ensuring a vibrant market for all. Now, the program is undergoing a transformation. 

On this episode, we hear from Cindy Foster, the new head of MAP, to hear how the group is working to develop a more streamlined process to help firms and prospective firms work through the New Membership and Continuing Membership Application processes more efficiently. 

How are we doing? Take the FINRA Unscripted survey today. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Information Notice: MAP Transformation

Broker-Dealer Registration

FINRA Standards for Admission

Phone: 212-858-4000, option five

Email: MAPintake@finra.org

Apr 19, 2022
Encore | FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program: Assisting Service Members and Their Families
00:32:44

This episode originally aired in November 2021. 

For service members, a missed credit card payment might do more than just ding their credit report, it could also jeopardize a hard-fought promotion. And for their spouses, move after move might be more than just a financial or logistical hardship; it might also be the biggest hurdle in their own career growth. These challenges are two sides of the same coin. The FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program is just one program that is aiming to address both sides. 

On this episode, we sit down with FINRA Military Spouse Fellows Heather Baker, Shay Cook and Andia Dinesen to learn more.

How are we doing? Take the FINRA Unscripted survey today. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

AFCPE FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship

Find an AFCPE Certified Professional

Yellow Ribbon Network/Coordinated Assistance Network

Military OneSource

Coast Guard Support

Apr 05, 2022
Fraud Stoppers: FINRA’s Market Investigations Team
00:24:08

Detecting and deterring fraud and insider trading is at the core of FINRA's mission of investor protection and market integrity. On this episode, Sam Draddy, the head of FINRA's Market Investigations team, joins us once again to talk about the latest trends and patterns in FINRA's fraud and insider trading investigations, including some stories about some of the craziest and most interesting cases of the past few years.

How are we doing? Take the FINRA Unscripted survey today. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 23: Insider Trading: Finding the Needle in the Haystack

Mar 22, 2022
Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring Program | A Comprehensive Reference Item for Firms
00:21:13

In February, FINRA issued its second Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring program, a comprehensive document that combines elements of what used to be the annual Priorities Letter and the Examination Findings Report. The report can serve as a reference document, addressing more than 20 topics of interest for firms and regulators from Regulation Best Interest and Form CRS to cybersecurity and mobile apps. 

On this episode, J Koutros, vice president of risk monitoring standards, Joe Sheirer, vice president of the examination program, and Steve Polansky, senior director of special initiatives, join us to talk about the report, some key highlights and how firms can use this extensive document. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

2022 Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring Program

Episode 79: Year in Review: The 2020 Exam and Risk Monitoring Program

Episode 80: Exam and Risk Monitoring Program: Responding to COVID-19 and Looking Ahead

2022 FINRA Annual Conference

Mar 08, 2022
Celebrating 100: FINRA Unscripted's Greatest Hits
00:18:54

We are celebrating 100 episodes of FINRA Unscripted! We’ve covered a lot of ground over the past four years and 100 episodes, but we wouldn’t have made it to this point without you, our listeners. 

To celebrate our 100th episode, we would love to hear from you. Take the quick, anonymous FINRA Unscripted survey today. With your help, we can make the next 100 episodes better than the last.

For today’s episode, we are going to hop in our DeLorean and take a listen to excerpts from a few of our greatest hits, including: 

Episode 33: Money Laundering in the Securities Industry

Episode 23: Finding the Needle in the Haystack

Episode 16: How FINRA Rules Get Made (And Reviewed)

 

Other resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 86: FINRA’s Financial Intelligence Unit

Feb 22, 2022
From NCFC to Member Supervision Head: Reintroducing Greg Ruppert
00:24:27

Greg Ruppert joined FINRA in 2020 to form and lead the National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Programs. Now, he’s been tapped to lead Member Supervision, the team responsible for the surveillance and examination of FINRA member firms and for detecting and deterring activities that can cause investor harm. 

On this episode, we talk to Greg about how he views this transition in leadership and his goals and areas of focus in his new role.

How are we doing? Take the FINRA Unscripted survey today. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

2022 Report on FINRA's Examination and Risk Monitoring Program

Episode 60: Introducing Greg Ruppert and the National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Programs

Episode 86: FINRA’s Financial Intelligence Unit: Connecting the Dots

2021 Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring Program

PLI Podcast: Focus on FINRA Enforcement with Jessica Hopper

FINRA’s Upcoming Conferences and Events

Feb 08, 2022
Deep Learning: The Future of the Market Manipulation Surveillance Program
00:30:14

FINRA’s Market Regulation and Technology teams recently wrapped up an extensive project to migrate the majority of FINRA’s market manipulation surveillance program to using deep learning in what is perhaps the largest application of artificial intelligence in the RegTech space to date. 

On this episode, we hear from Susan Tibbs, senior vice president of Market Manipulation in the Market Regulation Quality of Markets group, and from C.K. Chow, principal developer with the Technology team, about how the use of deep learning is making FINRA’s market surveillance data more digestible and increasing the efficiency and flexibility of the program. 

How are we doing? Take the FINRA Unscripted survey today. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 13: How the Cloud and Machine Learning Have Transformed FINRA Market Surveillance

Episode 67: FINRA’s R&D Program: Exploring the Future of Advanced Analytics

Episode 68: Augmenting the Exam and Risk Monitoring Program with Data Analytics and Technology

Jan 25, 2022
What to Expect: CE Transformation & Maintaining Qualifications Program
00:26:06

In 2020, FINRA and the CE Council embarked on the biggest transformation of the continuing education program in 25 years. And in the months ahead, those major changes are going into effect. 

On this episode, we hear from Patricia Monterosso of FINRA's Credentialing, Registration, Education and Disclosure team and Elizabeth Hansen, the 2021 CE Council Chair, about what firms and reps can expect and why these changes will have such a big impact. 

How are we doing? Take the FINRA Unscripted survey today. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

CE Council Website

Key Topics: Continuing Education

Regulatory Notice 20-05

Regulatory Notice 21-41

Maintaining Qualifications Program

Financial Professional Gateway (FinPro)

Episode 54: Enhancing Industry Continuing Education

Small Firm Conference Call: CE Transformation

Jan 11, 2022
Encore | At, By or Through: Fraud in the Broker-Dealer Industry
00:32:30

This episode originally aired in April 2021. 

The brokerage industry has an important role to play when it comes to detecting, preventing and reporting fraud. It's not just a regulatory concern, but an important reputational concern for individual firms and the industry as a whole. 

On this episode, we hear from Greg Ruppert, who was then head of FINRA's National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Programs, but now heads Member Supervision, about recent trends in the fraud space and how firms can work to protect themselves and their customers.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FTC Scam Alerts

FBI Fraud Resources

IC3 Annual Reports

Episode 60: Introducing Greg Ruppert and the NCFC

Episode 71: Overlapping Risks, Part I: AML and Cybersecurity

Episode 73: Overlapping Risks, Part II: AML and Elder Financial Exploitation

Dec 14, 2021
The Cornerstone of FINRA’s Market Surveillance Program: A Historical Commitment to Market Transparency
00:28:56

Transparency plays a central role in promoting the fairness and efficiency of U.S. markets, lowering transaction costs, leveling the playing field and enhancing public trust in our markets. And the data market transparency provides serves as the lifeblood of FINRA's surveillance program. 

On this episode, we hear the Market Regulation and Transparency Services’ Jon Kroeper, executive vice president of the Quality of Markets Group, and Ola Persson, senior vice president and head of Transparency Services, about FINRA's historical commitment to market transparency and how it has impacted FINRA's regulatory regime.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE)

Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT)

Regulatory Notice 20-43

Advancing Market Regulation and Transparency

Episode 13: How the Cloud and Machine Learning Have Transformed FINRA Market Surveillance 

Nov 30, 2021
2021 Small Firm Conference: A Fireside Chat with Robert Cook and Greg Ruppert
00:24:00

The small firm community, those firms with 150 or fewer registered financial professionals, came together in October to discuss and engage on key areas of concern at the Small Firm Conference. 

On this episode, we're taking you behind the scenes of this year's event with an abridged look at the fireside chat with FINRA CEO Robert Cook and Executive Vice President Greg Ruppert, moderated by FINRA's head of Member Relations Kayte Toczylowski.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Trusted Contact Resources

Racial Justice Task Force

2021 Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring Program

Cybersecurity Resources

Nov 16, 2021
FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program: Assisting Service Members and Their Families
00:32:28

For service members, a missed credit card payment might do more than just ding their credit report, it could also jeopardize a hard-fought promotion. And for their spouses, move after move might be more than just a financial or logistical hardship; it might also be the biggest hurdle in their own career growth. These challenges are two sides of the same coin. The FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program is just one program that is aiming to address both sides. 

On this episode, we sit down with FINRA Military Spouse Fellows Heather Baker, Shay Cook and Andia Dinesen to learn more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

AFCPE FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship

Find an AFCPE Certified Professional

Yellow Ribbon Network/Coordinated Assistance Network

Military OneSource

Coast Guard Support

Nov 02, 2021
Encore | Overlapping Risks: Anti-Money Laundering and Cybersecurity
00:29:13

Firm regulatory risks and priorities don't exist in a vacuum. And that is perhaps nowhere clearer than when it comes to a firm's anti-money laundering responsibilities. A firm's AML risks can overlap with any number of other priorities. 

On this episode, we're looking at the intersection of a firm's AML and cybersecurity risks. Joining us are Jason Foye, a director with FINRA's Anti-Money Laundering Investigative Unit, and Dave Kelley, a director with FINRA's Cybersecurity Specialist Program, both with FINRA’s National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Program. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 60: Introducing Greg Ruppert and the NCFC

Episode 33: Money Laundering in the Securities Industry

Episode 34: AML Priorities and Best Practices 

SWIFT: How Cyber Attackers ‘Cash Out’ Following Large-Scale Heists

FinCEN October 2020 Advisory on Ransomware 

FinCEN July 2020 Advisory on Cybercrime

FinCEN October 2016 Advisory on Cyber Events

FINRA Cybersecurity Resources

Regulatory Notice 20-32 on Fraudulent Options Trading

Regulatory Notice 20-13 on Fraud During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Oct 19, 2021
2021 Ketchum Prize: Expanding Financial Capability in Native Communities
00:26:05

Native communities face unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to their personal finances. Helping them navigate the sometimes-confusing world of finance is Shawn Spruce, the recipient of the 2021 Ketchum Prize. 

Every year, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation awards the Ketchum Prize, the FINRA Foundation’s highest honor, to recognize outstanding service and research to advance investor protection and financial capability in the United States. 

On this episode, we talk to Shawn Spruce about his advocacy and outreach, the financial challenges facing Native communities, and what leaves him feeling optimistic about the future.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

First Nations Development Institute: Building Native Communities

Ask Dr. Per Cap Blog

Oct 05, 2021
Single Points of Accountability: Navigating Firms’ Experiences with FINRA
00:19:02

As part of FINRA’s Member Supervision Transformation, each firm was assigned a Single Point of Accountability – a senior leader in Member Supervision that helps firms navigate their experience with FINRA. 

Now that we are nearly two years into the new structure, we are joined on this episode by two SPOAs – Andrew McElduff and Brian Kowalski – to give us insight into their roles, how they interface with member firms, and how their positions have evolved since the new structure took effect in 2020. 

Sep 21, 2021
Make Your Voice Heard: FINRA's Regional Committees
00:20:23

As a Self-Regulatory Organization, FINRA benefits from the expertise and industry knowledge of member firms to react more quickly to emerging challenges and write more effective and efficient regulations. FINRA’s Regional Committees play an important role in this process, supplying FINRA with real-time insights that help us fulfill our mission of investor protection and market integrity. 

On this episode, FINRA’s Deputy Corporate Secretary Jennifer Piorko Mitchell and Regional Committee Member Trinity Lee join the podcast to discuss the benefits of participating on FINRA’s Regional Committees and how you can get involved. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA’s Regional Committees

Regional Committee Election Notice

SFAC Election Notice

Indication of Interest in FINRA Service Form

2021 Election Process Overview

2021 Advisory Committee Overview and Engagement Notice

Sep 07, 2021
The Journey to the Cloud: Implications for the Securities Industry
00:28:31

The Office of Financial Innovation is a conduit and a facilitator of information related to significant innovation in the financial services industry, working to provide expertise and support to groups within FINRA, as well as FINRA member firms. 

As cloud computing transforms how broker-dealers operate, FINRA’s Office of Financial Innovation surveyed nearly 40 broker-dealer firms, cloud service providers, industry analysts and technology consultants to better understand the implications of cloud computing on the securities industry. 

On this episode, FINRA’s Haime Workie and Michael Oh join the podcast to discuss the group’s latest report on cloud computing and to provide an update on other areas of focus. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Report - Cloud Computing in the Securities Industry

Investor Alert - Following the Crowd: Investing and Social Media

Topic Page - FinTech

Aug 24, 2021
Introducing Stephanie Dumont
00:24:52

FINRA’s Market Regulation and Transparency Services department sits at the center of the U.S. securities markets, conducting ongoing oversight within and across markets and providing transparency to help investors make informed decisions. 

On this episode, we meet Stephanie Dumont, the new head of FINRA’s Market Regulation and Transparency Services department. Stephanie shares her priorities, her vision for the department, and how FINRA is responding to recent market events. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Market Transparency Reporting Tools

TRACE Treasury Aggregate Statistics

Jul 13, 2021
FINRA’s Financial Intelligence Unit: Connecting the Dots
00:22:12

Intelligence means different things to different people. But for FINRA, at its most basic, it is the actionable information that allows employees, from an organization’s senior executives to its examiners or investigators, to make informed decisions. 

On this episode, we sit down with Blake Snyder, Senior Director of FINRA’s Financial Intelligence Unit, to learn about this new group, and how it is looking to transform how FINRA takes in, analyzes, and shares data.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Regulatory Notice 21-14: FINRA Alerts Firms to Recent Increase in ACH “Instant Funds” Abuse

Regulatory Notice 20-30: Fraudsters Using Registered Representatives Names to Establish Imposter Websites

Jun 29, 2021
Building Board Diversity: FINRA’s Ongoing Commitment
00:25:21

Diversity has been a focus for FINRA’s Board of Governors for several years—and while the current Board makeup leaves a lot to be proud of, the important work of diversity remains a perpetual work in progress.

On this episode, we sit down with Marcia Asquith, Executive Vice President of Board & External Relations, and Jennifer Piorko Mitchell, Vice President of Corporate Governance and Deputy Corporate Secretary, to explore how FINRA has prioritized diversity in the boardroom. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 25: Behind the Scenes: FINRA's Board of Governors

FINRA Governance

2021 Election Process Overview

FINRA Indication of Interest in Service Form

FINRA’s Racial Justice Task Force

Statement of the FINRA Board of Governors

Jun 15, 2021
2021 Annual Conference: Robert Cook and Eileen Murray Fireside Chat
00:25:07

The 2021 FINRA Annual Conference was like no other with the event held entirely online. Nonetheless, like in any other year, the event provided the opportunity for practitioners, peers and regulators to connect and exchange ideas. 

On this episode, we’re taking you behind the scenes of this year’s event to listen in on the fireside chat between FINRA CEO Robert Cook and FINRA Board Chair Eileen Murray as they talk about everything from return to work and the future of the workforce to the work of FINRA Board of Governor and diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 12: How the Cloud has Revolutionized FINRA Technology

Episode 68: Augmenting the Exam and Risk Monitoring Program with Data Analytics and Technology

2021 Virtual Technology Conference

2022 FINRA Annual Conference 

McKinsey Study: Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained

Statement of the FINRA Board of Governors: June 11, 2020

Jun 01, 2021
Zoom Arbitration One Year Later: Lessons Learned, Tips for Practitioners and the Road Ahead
00:36:56

The pandemic forced the world to re-evaluate how it works in a number of ways—and FINRA’s Arbitration & Mediation Forum is no exception. To keep processes moving, FINRA Dispute Resolution Services allowed hearings to proceed virtually. Now, a year later, we are looking at lessons learned, tips for practicing in a remote environment and plans for the future of arbitration and mediation. 

On this episode, we are joined by Richard Berry, Executive Vice President of FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Services, and two practitioners, Sam Edwards, a partner with the securities litigation and arbitration law firm Shepherd, Smith, Edwards and Kantas, and Beverly Jo Slaughter, senior managing counsel with Wells Fargo’s Wealth Investment Management Litigation group. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 10: What Is FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Forum

Coronavirus Impact on Arbitration & Mediation Hearings

Neutral Workshop: Tips for Virtual Hearings

Arbitrator Resource Guide for Virtual Hearings

Arbitrator Training Videos for Virtual Hearings

May 18, 2021
Advanced Analytics: Transforming Advertising Regulation
00:27:51

A three-day employee hackathon event a few years ago resulted in an idea that has since transformed the way FINRA’s Advertising Regulation group does its work. 

On this episode, we are joined by Amy Sochard, Vice President of FINRA’s Advertising Regulation program, and Lisa Fair and Saugata Chakraborty of FINRA’s Technology, to hear about the impressive collaborative effort to build a tool to apply advanced analytics and machine learning to the review of firm advertising and public communications materials. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Advertising Regulation Topic Page

Episode 53: Advertising Regulation

Episode 43: The Createathon

May 04, 2021
At, By or Through: Fraud in the Broker-Dealer Industry
00:32:03

The brokerage industry has an important role to play when it comes to detecting, preventing and reporting fraud. It's not just a regulatory concern, but an important reputational concern for individual firms and the industry as a whole. 

On this episode, we hear from Greg Ruppert, head of FINRA's National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Programs, about recent trends in the fraud space and how firms can work to protect themselves and their customers.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FTC Scam Alerts

FBI Fraud Resources

IC3 Annual Reports

Episode 60: Introducing Greg Ruppert and the NCFC

Episode 71: Overlapping Risks, Part I: AML and Cybersecurity

Episode 73: Overlapping Risks, Part II: AML and Elder Financial Exploitation

Apr 20, 2021
Exam and Risk Monitoring Program: Responding to COVID-19 and Looking Ahead
00:25:59

Last year, as FINRA staff looked to adjust to a new exam and risk monitoring program structure, the industry and the world was struck with an unprecedented global crisis. 

On this episode, the second in a two-part series, we hear from Ornella Bergeron, senior vice president of the carrying and clearing and diversified firm groups; Tom Nelli, senior vice president of exams and standards; Bill St. Louis, senior vice president of the retail and capital markets firm groups; and Tim Thompson, senior vice president of the trading and execution firm group on how FINRA adjusted its Exam and Risk Monitoring program in the face of a global pandemic. Then, we turn to the current year to talk about the new 2021 Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring Program to discuss insights on recent exam findings and priorities for the year ahead. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 79: Year in Review: The 2020 Exam and Risk Monitoring Program

2021 Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring Program

Apr 06, 2021
Year in Review: The 2020 Exam and Risk Monitoring Program
00:26:31

2020 was a year of great change and transition for FINRA’s Exam and Risk Monitoring Program—and the pandemic wasn’t even the start of it. 

On this episode, the first in a two-part series, we hear from Ornella Bergeron, senior vice president of the carrying and clearing and diversified firm groups; Tom Nelli, senior vice president of exams and standards; Bill St. Louis, senior vice president of the retail and capital markets firm groups; and Tim Thompson, senior vice president of the trading and execution firm group on how the program fared in its first year after a major transformation.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 50: What to Expect: The 2020 Exam and Risk Monitoring Program

Episode 49: A Career Highlight: Exam and Risk Monitoring Program Transformation Update

FINRA Announces Senior Leadership Team Under New Examination and Risk Monitoring Program Structure

Note: The audio was updated on Thursday, March 25, 2021, for clarity.

Mar 23, 2021
Cybersecurity: Current and Emerging Industry Priorities and Threats
00:32:17

Over the past year, cybersecurity has only increased in importance as huge swaths of the workforce began—and continue—to access networks remotely, resulting in a significant shift to the cybersecurity landscape. 

On this episode, we hear from John Brady, FINRA’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), and Eric Pickersgill, FINRA’s Deputy CISO, on how FINRA handled the transition and areas of focus for the year ahead. 

Plus, we learn why you should think twice before trying to brush that piece of hair or dust off your phone screen. 

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

Cybersecurity Topic Page

Small Firm Cybersecurity Checklist

Observations on Cybersecurity

Mar 09, 2021
Behind the Process: How an Enforcement Action Becomes an Enforcement Action
00:26:29

Formal disciplinary action or informal action, settlement or complaint. Or, the one you never hear about: no action. There are a lot of possible outcomes for an Enforcement investigation. And a disciplinary action is far from guaranteed at the outset of the process. 

On this episode, Executive Vice President and Head of FINRA Enforcement Jessica Hopper walks us through the Enforcement process from referral to final outcome for all these possibilities and details the many steps along the way. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA Enforcement

Monthly Disciplinary Actions

Disciplinary Actions Online Database

Enforcement Process Chart

Office of Hearing Officers

Guide to Disciplinary Hearing Process

Feb 23, 2021
Encore | Augmenting the Exam and Risk Monitoring Program with Data Analytics and Technology
00:20:38

This episode originally aired in September 2020.

Technology is opening up new possibilities when it comes to solving business challenges. And that's important when it comes to optimizing an organization's most valuable limited resource: its people.

On this episode, we hear from Member Supervision's new head of Data Analytics and Technology Kerry Gendron to learn how FINRA is augmenting its examination and risk monitoring program and teaching its employees the art of the possible.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 67: FINRA’s R&D Program

Episode 49: Exam and Risk Monitoring Program Transformation

Feb 09, 2021
Revolutionizing the Digital Experience: Form U4 and FINRA Gateway
00:28:40

For the last couple of years, FINRA has been working to revolutionize the digital experience of firms, particularly when it comes to registration and disclosure. Now many of these changes have come to life through the new FINRA Gateway and an enhanced Form U4 filing experience.

On this episode, we talk to Credentialing, Registration, Education and Disclosure’s Noah Egorin and Technology’s Claudia Holanda to hear about recent changes and what firms and registered reps alike can expect going forward as FINRA continues to iterate and improve the digital experience.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 29: CRD Transformation

Episode 36: Digital Experience Transformation

FINRA Gateway

FINRA Gateway Webinars

Financial Professional Gateway (FinPro)

Sign up for FINRA Emails

Send Feedback: feedbackfinragateway@finra.org

Jan 26, 2021
Member Relations & Education: Reimagining the Future of Engagement
00:26:06

If you've ever been to a FINRA conference or boot camp, participated in a small firm call or graduated from the Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional (CRCP) program, you've benefited from the hard work of FINRA's Member Relations and Education team. 

Member Relations and Education is responsible for ensuring FINRA's regulatory programs are working for everyone and maintaining a strong relationship with FINRA's member firms. 

On this episode, we talk to Kayte Toczylowski, the group's new head, to hear how they've adapted in the face of COVID-19 and what the future looks like for this group.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Get Involved

Committee Lists and Membership

Conferences & Events Schedule

Virtual Conference Panels 

FINRA Institute at Georgetown CRCP Program

Regulatory Notice 20-42

Jan 12, 2021
AI Virtual Conference: Industry Views on the State of Artificial Intelligence
00:32:03

Earlier in November, FINRA hosted the virtual AI Conference to bring together regulators and leaders across the financial services industry to discuss the use of artificial intelligence and related opportunities and challenges.

On this episode, we’re dropping in for a quick listen the first of the conference’s sessions, “Industry Views on the Current and Future State of Artificial Intelligence,” with Imperative Execution CEO Roman Ginis, SIFMA Managing Director and Associate General Counsel Melissa MacGregor and Head of Fidelity Labs Mona Vernon, moderated by Haime Workie from FINRA Office of Financial Innovation, as they talk about the role of AI in the securities industry.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

White Paper: Artificial Intelligence in the Securities Industry

Key Topics: FinTech

Nov 24, 2020
Overlapping Risks, Part 2: Anti-Money Laundering and Elder Exploitation
00:29:15

A broker-deal firm’s anti-money laundering efforts may overlap with any number of other regulatory concerns. On the last episode, we looked at the intersection of a firm’s AML and cybersecurity risks. On this episode, the second in a two-part series, we’re looking at how AML may overlap with a firm’s efforts to protect senior investors from exploitation and fraud.

Joining us on this episode are Jason Foye, a director with FINRA's Anti-Money Laundering Investigative Unit, and Brooke Hickman, a director with FINRA's Vulnerable Adults and Seniors Team (VAST), both with FINRA’s National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Program. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FinCEN February 2011 Advisory on Filing SARs Regarding Elder Financial Exploitation

SARs on Elder Financial Exploitations: Issues and Trends, CFPB

DOJ’s Elder Justice Initiative

FINRA Resources on Senior Investors

FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors

FINRA Foundation – Aging and Financial Decision Making 

FINRA Investor Alerts

Virtual Conference Panel: Social Distancing and the Impact on Older Investors

Virtual Conference Panel: Financial Crimes, Trends and Responses In the Midst of the Pandemic

Episode 33: Money Laundering in the Securities Industry

Episode 34: AML Priorities and Best Practices 

Episode 71: Anti-Money Laundering and Cyber Security 

Nov 10, 2020
Overlapping Risks, Part I: Anti-Money Laundering and Cybersecurity
00:29:06

Firm regulatory risks and priorities don't exist in a vacuum. And that is perhaps nowhere clearer than when it comes to a firm's anti-money laundering responsibilities. A firm's AML risks can overlap with any number of other priorities. 

On this episode, the first of a two-part series, we're looking at the intersection of a firm's AML and cybersecurity risks. Joining us are Jason Foye, a director with FINRA's Anti-Money Laundering Investigative Unit, and Dave Kelley, a director with FINRA's Cybersecurity Specialist Program, both with FINRA’s National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Program. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 60: Introducing Greg Ruppert and the NCFC

Episode 33: Money Laundering in the Securities Industry

Episode 34: AML Priorities and Best Practices 

SWIFT: How Cyber Attackers ‘Cash Out’ Following Large-Scale Heists

FinCEN October 2020 Advisory on Ransomware 

FinCEN July 2020 Advisory on Cybercrime

FinCEN October 2016 Advisory on Cyber Events

Oct 27, 2020
2020 Ketchum Prize: The Financial Security of Americans with Disabilities
00:30:52

In the 30 years since the passage of the of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, there have been profound changes. But in this 30th Anniversary year, much remains to be done to advance the economic self-sufficiency of Americans with disabilities. 

Michael Morris’s research into and advocacy work around the financial security and capability of Americans with disabilities earned him the 2020 Ketchum Prize, the FINRA Foundation’s highest honor, which looks to recognizes outstanding service and research to advance investor protection and financial capability in the U.S.

On this episode, we talk to Michael Morris, the founder of the National Disability Institute, about his research, the intersection of race and disability, potentially impactful policy changes that have yet to be made and what leaves him feeling optimistic about the future.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

National Disability Institute

Keys to Financial Inclusion Podcast

Race, Ethnicity and Disability: The Financial Impact of Systemic Inequality and Intersectionality

Financial Capability of Adults with Disabilities

Webinar, October 14: The Extra Costs of Living with a Disability 

Oct 13, 2020
Excessive Trading: When A Lot Becomes Too Much
00:15:55

For some investors, a high-volume trading strategy could be something they seek. For others, it might be a sign of "excessive trading.” But when does a lot become too much? What is a firm’s responsibility when it comes to supervising for this behavior? 

On this episode, Chris Kelly, deputy head of FINRA Enforcement and head of Main Enforcement and Sales Practice Enforcement joins us to talk about excessive trading or churning. He shares why this practice remains in focus for FINRA Enforcement and some recent trends. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Monthly Disciplinary Actions

Blog: Red Flags to Detect Excessive Trading

Investor Insights: 3 Ways to Guard Against Excessive Trading

Sep 29, 2020
Augmenting the Exam and Risk Monitoring Program with Data Analytics and Technology
00:20:25

Technology is opening up new possibilities when it comes to solving business challenges. And that's important when it comes to optimizing an organization's most valuable limited resource: its people. 

On this episode, we hear from Member Supervision's new head of Data Analytics and Technology Kerry Gendron to learn how FINRA is augmenting its examination and risk monitoring program and teaching its employees the art of the possible.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 67: FINRA’s R&D Program

Episode 49: Exam and Risk Monitoring Program Transformation

Sep 21, 2020
FINRA’s R&D Program: Exploring the Future of Advanced Analytics
00:26:29

FINRA's Research and Development Program is using advanced analytics to change the way FINRA performs its essential regulatory functions. Feeding off FINRA’s culture of innovation, the R&D program is designed to be quick and agile, hoping to find transformative new technologies, but willing to fail and fail fast when an idea doesn't work out. 

On this episode, we hear from FINRA Technology’s Ivy Ho and Greg Wolff how the R&D program is pioneering the future of how FINRA fulfills its mission. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 43: The Createathon

Episode 41: Introducing FINRA’s Values

Episode 36: Transforming the Digital Experience of Firms

Sep 01, 2020
The Ombudsman: FINRA’s Confidential, Independent Resource
00:23:32

An ombudsman is a neutral party that acts as an impartial, confidential and independent resource that informally works to assist in finding solutions to issues or concerns an individual may have with an organization. And FINRA's Ombudsman is no different. 

On this episode, we sit down with FINRA's Ombudsman Cindy Foster to learn more about the office and how she works to prevent real or perceived conflicts of interest and, when necessary, recommend changes to ensure fair policies and procedures remain in place.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Office of the Ombudsman

FINRA Audit Committee

International Ombudsman Association

United States Ombudsman Association

Investor Complaint Center

Aug 18, 2020
Encore | Beyond Hollywood: Money Laundering in the Securities Industry
00:25:39

When three hapless employees inadvertently embezzle a bunch of cash in the movie “Office Space,” they decide the best way to cover it up is to launder it. But the thing is, they don’t even really know what money laundering is and they learned that even the dictionary couldn’t fill them in.

If you want to understand what money laundering is, and more specifically, the efforts brokerage firms must take to prevent and detect it, stay tuned. We have something better than the dictionary: we have Blake Snyder and Jason Foye, two members of FINRA’s Anti-Money Laundering Investigative Unit.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, the first of a two-part series, Blake and Jason explain what money laundering is, how it looks different in the securities industry, how that makes regulation different for the securities industry, what FINRA’s Anti-Money Laundering Investigative Unit does and more.

Continue the conversation with part II

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Key Topics: AML

AML FAQs

AML Half-Day Seminars

Aug 04, 2020
Virtual Conference Panels: Fireside Chat on Current Issues
00:16:22

With the cancellation of the 2020 FINRA Annual Conference and other in-person events throughout the year, we’ve gone virtual with a variety of on-demand conference panels on regulatory hot topics. 

On this episode, we’re dropping in for a quick listen to the latest FINRA Virtual Conference Panel with FINRA CEO Robert Cook, Member Supervision Head Bari Havlik and Chief Legal Officer Bob Colby, moderated by Chip Jones, head of Member Relations and Education, as they talk about the continued impact of the coronavirus on firm and FINRA operations, recent conversations around racial justice in America and more. 

You can watch this full panel and nearly a dozen more on the FINRA website at any time.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA Senior Leaders Fireside Chat on Current Issues

COVID-19 FAQs

Regulatory Notice 20-16

Statement from the Board of Governors, June 2020

Jul 21, 2020
Regulation Best Interest: Implementing a New Standard of Conduct
00:31:56

As of June 30, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest—or Reg BI—is officially in effect. That means brokerage firms now have to comply with a new standard of conduct when working with retail clients.

On this episode we talk to Meredith Cordisco and Jim Wrona of FINRA’s Office of General Counsel about what a post implementation date world looks like for FINRA member firms and what FINRA has been doing to train staff to ensure a consistent approach to examining around and enforcing the new rule across the organization.

And listen to the end for a special surprise from Jim. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

SEC Reg BI Resource Page

FINRA Reg BI Resource Page

Virtual Conference Panel: Reg BI and Form CRS: Where Are We Now

Virtual Conference Panel: Reg BI: Compliance Inspections and Examinations

Email questions: IABDquestions@sec.gov

Jul 07, 2020
Protecting the Most Vulnerable: How FINRA Enforcement Prioritizes Senior Investors
00:17:32

You can't talk about investor protection without talking about senior investors, according to Chris Kelly, deputy head of FINRA Enforcement and head of Main Enforcement and Sales Practice Enforcement. 

In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in the number of cases involving the exploitation of senior investors and the results are often devastating, especially for seniors who may be out of the workforce and living on a fixed income. That’s why protecting senior investors is a priority for FINRA Enforcement. 

On this episode, Kelly shares how FINRA is working to protect this segment of the population and what firms can do to work with FINRA in this important effort.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 57: Securities Helpline for Seniors: Celebrating 5 Years 

Episode 59: Protecting Investors and Markets in Good Times and Bad

Regulatory Notice 19-36

Under the Radar: New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study

CFPB: Suspicious Activity Reports on Elder Financial Exploitation

Jun 23, 2020
COVID-19 Task Force: Staying Innovative and Collaborative Through Crisis
00:21:05

The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike any other crisis in recent history, and that presents an opportunity to criminals who are flexible and adaptable. That means firms and regulators must be flexible and adaptable too. 

In his first week on the job, Greg Ruppert, the new head of the National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Programs (NCFC), created a COVID-19 Task Force to help FINRA tackle emerging issues to quickly protect investors and to maintain the integrity of our markets.

On this episode, Greg joins us to tell us more about the task force, how firms can identify, detect and mitigate emerging threats and the importance of adopting a “one team, one fight” approach. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 60: Introducing Greg Ruppert and the NCFC

COVID-19 Resource Page

Fraud and Your Investment Accounts During COVID-19 Pandemic

Regulatory Notice 20-13

Virtual Conference Panels

Jun 09, 2020
Introducing Greg Ruppert and the National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Programs
00:23:51

Between the level of interconnectedness on the web and the sheer about of data available, we’re living in an era ripe for the perpetration of financial fraud. That makes it more important than ever for FINRA to have a holistic view of emerging trends and risks—and the ability to coordinate closely with other regulators and law enforcement. FINRA’s new National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Programs (NCFC) aims to be the nerve center to do just that. 

On this episode, we meet Greg Ruppert, the new Executive Vice President of the NCFC, to hear about his background and his vision for the new team.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 57: Securities Helpline for Seniors: Celebrating 5 Years of Senior Investor Protection

Episode 33: Beyond Hollywood: Money Laundering in the Securities Industry

Episode 31: FINRA’s Point Guard: The Central Review Group

Episode 23: Insider Trading: Finding the Needle in the Haystack

May 26, 2020
FINRA Enforcement: Protecting Investors and Markets in Good Times and Bad
00:26:03

FINRA Enforcement works on the front lines of investor protection—not just now, as some look to take advantage of these uncertain time to defraud investors or manipulate the markets – but always. 

On this episode, we meet Jessica Hopper, FINRA’s new Executive Vice President and Head of Enforcement, to hear what her team is doing today, and every day, to prevent investor harm and to maintain the integrity of our markets. Plus, we hear what keeps Jessica motivated to do what she does. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 9: Introducing FINRA’s New Enforcement Team

Monthly Disciplinary Actions

Individuals Barred by FINRA

May 12, 2020
Market Structure & COVID-19: Handling Increased Volatility and Volumes
00:28:25

Market volatility in recent weeks has surpassed anything else in history in terms of both the extremity and duration. Despite that, the so-called plumbing of U.S. financial markets has held up remarkably well—even with most market participants working from home. 

On this episode, we talk to FINRA’s Executive Vice President of Market Regulation and Transparency Services Tom Gira, who walks us through the evolution of our market structure that has contributed to this resilience and how FINRA and others are handling the increased volumes. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

COVID-19 Resource Page

COVID-19 FAQs

Episode 13: How the Cloud and Machine Learning Have Transformed FINRA Market Surveillance

Apr 28, 2020
Securities Helpline for Seniors: Celebrating 5 Years of Senior Investor Protection
00:26:35

With about 10,000 Americans reaching 65 years old every day, FINRA is committed to the protection of senior investors and other vulnerable adults. That’s why FINRA launched the Securities Helpline for Seniors. 

Senior Helpline’s managers Brooke Hickman and Rob Mascio explain how the Helpline has developed not just as a resource for seniors, but as a resource for broker-dealers as well. 

On this episode, we celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Senior Helpline’s launch with a look at how the Helpline has helped senior investors, notable trends and themes and how the Helpline has evolved over the last five years. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Protecting Senior Investors

Regulatory Notice 19-36

Toll-Free Number: 844-57-HELPS or 844-574-3577

Apr 14, 2020
Business in the Time of COVID-19: BCPs, Regulatory Relief & More
00:18:59

The new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has rapidly changed the way U.S. broker-dealers must conduct business as states implement various shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders, forcing workers remote. 

The shift has a number of implications when it comes to business continuity plans, the security of firm’s networks and the ability to comply with various rules and requirements. 

On this episode, our first to be remotely recorded, we talk to FINRA’s Chief Legal Officer Bob Colby and Head of Member Supervision Bari Havlik to learn what FINRA expects at this time and how firms—and FINRA—are adapting to the current situation.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Regulatory Notice 20-08: Pandemic-Related Business Continuity Planning, Guidance and Regulatory Relief

Rule 4370: BCPs and Emergency Contact Information

COVID-19 Resource Page

COVID-19 FAQs

Cybersecurity Alert: Measures to Consider as Firms Respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Mar 31, 2020
The MAP Group: Gatekeeper to the Broker-Dealer Industry
00:23:00

Want to be a broker-dealer firm and conduct securities transactions in the U.S.? First, the firm and individuals need to register with FINRA, and that means working with FINRA’s Membership Application Program (MAP) Group. 

The MAP Group is the gatekeeper to the broker-dealer industry. It works both to protect investors by ensuring would-be firms meet FINRA’s standards of admission and to help new and existing firms grow and evolve, ensuring a vibrant market for all. 

On this episode, we talk to Lisa Robinson, senior director of FINRA’s MAP Group within the Member Supervision team, to learn more. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Register a Broker Dealer

FINRA’s Standards of Admission

Materiality Consultation

Regulatory Notice 18-23

Episode 16: How FINRA Rules Get Made (And Reviewed)

Mar 17, 2020
FINRA & CE Council: Enhancing Industry Continuing Education
00:25:14

The biggest change to the Continuing Education program in 25 years is underway. 

The CE Council, FINRA and other CE Council members are working together to improve continuing education for broker dealers with a number of proposed changes, including moving to an annual CE requirement, working to reduce duplication between the firm and regulatory elements of continuing education and providing those who leave the industry a means of maintaining their qualification.

On this episode, we hear both the firm and regulatory perspective from our guests, Jeff Freiburger, Chief Compliance Officer at Robert W. Baird and member of the CE Council, and John Kalohn, Senior Advisor to Registration and Disclosure at FINRA. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Regulatory Notice 20-05 (Comments Due: April 20, 2020) 

Letter from the 2019 Council Chair

CE Council

Key Topics: Continuing Education

Mar 03, 2020
Advertising Regulation: Expect More Than Just Hype
00:23:17

It can be a big decision for retail investors to decide how and where to invest their hard-earned cash. After all, their savings are on the line. 

It’s important that when making this big decision investors understand the risks—not just the hype. That’s where FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Group comes in, overseeing broker-dealer communications to ensure that they are fair, balanced and not misleading. 

On this episode, we talk to Amy Sochard, senior director of FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Group within the Office of General Counsel, to learn more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Advertising Regulation Topic Page

Rule 2210: Communications with the Public

Regulatory Notice 19-31: Disclosure Innovations in Advertising and Other Communications with the Public

Feb 18, 2020
Encore | Insider Trading: Finding the Needle in the Haystack
00:27:24

This episode originally aired in December 2018.

When it comes to detecting insider trading, it really is like finding a needle in a haystack with more than 15,000 different stocks, options and bonds trading every day across millions of transactions. Yet, Sam Draddy and the Insider Surveillance team in the Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence manage to find those needles.

The Insider Surveillance team does it by combining a lot of data—20 years’ worth of data on thousands of actively traded bonds, stocks and equity options—with a mix of sophisticated surveillance technology and good old-fashioned detective work.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted Sam Draddy walks us through the process. Plus, he shares details of some of the most interesting cases of his career and attempts to answer the real question: why do people do it?

Resources mentioned in this episode:

SEC’s Edgar Database

Pro Golfer Agrees to Repay Trading Profits

SEC’s Perk Hixon Case

Did Somebody Just Eat a Post-It?

Feb 04, 2020
What Fees?: A Look at American Investor Knowledge
00:24:52

How many Americans are investing in non-retirement accounts? How are they making decisions about where to put that hard-earned cash? How much do they truly understand about investing? And how has this all changed over time?

The FINRA Foundation’s latest study, Investors in the United States 2019, looks to uncover the answers to these questions and more to get a pulse on the investing habits of Americans

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, Gerri Walsh, president of the FINRA Foundation and senior vice president of Investor Education at FINRA, and Gary Mottola, director of research at the FINRA Foundation, tell us more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Investors in the United States 2019

2018 National Financial Capability Study

38: Financial Capability Study, Part I: Does a Rising Tide Lift All Boats? 

FINRA Foundation

Investor Knowledge Quiz

Jan 21, 2020
What to Expect: The 2020 Exam and Risk Monitoring Program
00:25:36

The 1920s was a period of great change and transition and the 2020s are shaping up to be the same—at least for FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring program.

We’re kicking off the new Roaring 20s with three members of the Member Supervision senior leadership team to learn what to expect from the Examination and Risk Monitoring program in the year ahead.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, Ornella Bergeron, senior vice president of the carrying and clearing and diversified firm groups; Tom Nelli, senior vice president of exams and standards; and Bill St. Louis, senior vice president of the retail and capital markets firm groups, join us to tell us more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 49: A Career Highlight: Exam and Risk Monitoring Program Transformation Update

Episode 45: Regulation Best Interest: Preparing for a New Standard of Conduct

FINRA Announces Senior Leadership Team Under New Examination and Risk Monitoring Program Structure

FINRA Examination Program Improvements

A Few Minutes with FINRA: Creating a Single, Unified Examination Program

Jan 07, 2020
A Career Highlight: Exam and Risk Monitoring Program Transformation Update
00:20:51

In 2018, FINRA embarked on a large-scale transformation of its examination and risk monitoring program to make FINRA a more effective, agile and risk-focused regulator. A lot of progress has been made in the last year. 

The group is in the process of realigning around the business models of FINRA member firms, introducing a new single point of accountability and installing a new senior leadership team.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, Bari Havlik, Executive Vice President of Member Supervision, tells us more. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode 21: Introducing Bari Havlik

FINRA Examination Program Improvements

A Few Minutes with FINRA: Creating a Single, Unified Examination Program

Dec 10, 2019
Encore | How FINRA Rules Get Made (And Reviewed)
00:23:11

This episode originally aired in August 2018. 

Schoolhouse Rock taught us how a bill up on Capitol Hill becomes law. Unfortunately, they never got around to explaining how a FINRA rule proposal becomes regulation.

In this episode, Phil Shaikun from FINRA’s Office of General Counsel and Jonathan Sokobin, FINRA’s Chief Economist, fill that gap and explain how lawyers and economists are working together to ensure FINRA’s rules are as effective and as tailored as possible.

Plus, Shaikun and Sokobin give an inside look into how the FINRA Retrospective Rule Review process works, how rules are selected for review and the myriad of possible outcomes.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Retrospective Rule Review
SEC Federal Register
FINRA Advisory Committees
Special Notice on Engagement
Regulatory Notice on Membership Application Process
Regulatory Notice and Comments on Outside Business Activities

Nov 26, 2019
The Buildathon: Creating New Technology in Service of Investors
00:28:48

Hackathons aren’t new. Silicon Valley has been using them for years and they’ve become commonplace among technologists. But what about a Buildathon?

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted recorded at the first ever Buildathon in Boston, we hear from three leaders who pulled together a unique collaboration between FINRA, the private sector and academia. They discuss FinTech and the investor literacy landscape, how this event is different from other hackathons and why cross-sector partnerships can lead to better technology solutions.

Joining us on this episode are: Kevin McGovern, managing partner of Deloitte’s New England office; Charles Senatore, senior advisor at Fidelity Investments' Devonshire Investors unit; and Haimera Workie, the head of FINRA’s Office of Financial Innovation.

The Buildathon, part of FINRA’s Innovation Outreach Initiative, challenged some of the world’s best technology students at MIT and Harvard to solve common problems faced by everyday investors. On this episode, we learn more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Deloitte’s “Closing the gap in fintech collaboration”

FINRA Foundation’s National Financial Capability Study

FINRA Foundation and GLEC’s “New Evidence on the Financial Knowledge and Characteristics of Investors”

Nov 12, 2019
2019 Ketchum Prize: The Evolving World of Retirement Security
00:28:21

The way Americans think about and plan for retirement is changing. Gone are the days when Americas drop out of the workforce at 65 and hit the golf course, according to the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School’s Dr. Olivia S. Mitchell, the 2019 recipient of the Ketchum Prize. Sitting at home for 30 years or longer simply isn’t financially viable anymore. 

Dr. Mitchell’s research into the evolving world of retirement security earned her the 2019 Ketchum Prize, the FINRA Foundation’s highest honor, which looks to recognizes outstanding service and research to advance investor protection and financial capability in the U.S.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, Dr. Mitchell walks us through her research into everything from pensions, Social Security, annuities and more, and discusses how the issues have changed – and what Americans can do about it. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA Foundation Awards 2019 Ketchum Prize

Dr. Mitchell’s Latest Research

Knowledge@Wharton High School

Follow Dr. Mitchell on Twitter

Oct 29, 2019
Regulation Best Interest: Preparing for a New Standard of Conduct
00:23:13

Next year, brokerage firms will have to comply with a new standard of conduct when working with retail clients with the implementation of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s new Regulation Best Interest. 

If you haven’t yet had time to comb through the 1,363 page rule package, on this episode we have FINRA’s Chief Legal Officer Bob Colby walk us through the rule and steps FINRA member firms will need to take to prepare for its implementation. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

SEC Small Entity Compliance Guide

FINRA Reg BI Resource Page

Reg BI and Form CRS Checklist

Regulation Best Interest Conference

Oct 15, 2019
Market Regulation Enforcement: Ensuring Market Integrity
00:18:37

What happens if a brokerage firm doesn’t report trading information appropriately? At first, it might seem like it isn’t a big deal – just a data issue. But is vital. Accurate market data is at the foundation of FINRA’s efforts to ensure the integrity of our markets.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, we are joined by Lizzie Hogan, senior vice president of Market Regulation Enforcement, to learn what her group does, how it fits under the broader Enforcement team umbrella and why market data cases matter.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA Enforcement Group Structure

Episode 9: Introducing FINRA’s New Enforcement Team

Disciplinary Actions Online

Oct 01, 2019
The Createathon: Breaking Down Silos and Sparking Innovation
00:27:11

It’s easy for any company to get caught up in the status quo, too busy focusing on the challenges of today to anticipate the challenges of tomorrow. The Createathon, FINRA’s take on a hackathon, looks to prevent that by allowing employees across the organization a chance to step away from their day jobs to think differently.

On this episode, we speak to two members of FINRA’s Technology team to hear how the Createathon keeps FINRA innovating and helps break down silos across the organization. Then, we talk to the winning team of the 2019 Createathon to hear about their idea and what the event means to them.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA Open Source

FINRA Technology

Sep 17, 2019
FINRA’s Ambassador Abroad: The International Group
00:23:04

From Ireland to Malta to Colombia, foreign markets are global, so too must be FINRA’s presence. That’s where the International Group comes in as FINRA’s central point of contact for relations with foreign regulators.

On this episode, we talk to FINRA’s ambassador abroad, Gloria Dalton, to hear how the group supports FINRA in seeking and sharing information, raises awareness of FINRA’s regulatory programs and contributes to the development of global securities regulation and policy.

Resources mentioned in this episode:
SEC Office of International Affairs
Episode 10: ERI: Introducing FINRA’s Weatherman
Episode 27: The Future of RegTech

Sep 03, 2019
Collaboration, Expertise, Innovation and Responsibility: Introducing FINRA’s Values
00:28:18

Corporate culture is defined as the way people act. But what helps people understand how to act, how to behave and how to make decisions? That’s the organization’s values.

To shape the FINRA of the future, this year FINRA introduced four new corporate values—collaboration, expertise, innovation and responsibility. On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, we learn why values matter, the challenges involved with introducing new organizational values and how FINRA hopes these new values will help drive the organization forward.

Aug 20, 2019
Credit For Cooperation: Recognizing Extraordinary Efforts
00:18:52

Extraordinary,* adjective*, very unusual or remarkable. But what does that really mean when it comes to FINRA members, both firms and individual registered representatives alike, looking to receive credit for cooperating on FINRA enforcement matters?

On this episode, Susan Schroeder, executive vice president and head of FINRA Enforcement, joins us to discuss new guidance on credit for extraordinary cooperation and to dig into what kind of cooperation is expected and what is considered by FINRA Enforcement. Plus, we hear how FINRA will work to provide more transparency around credit for extraordinary cooperation going forward.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Regulatory Notice 19-23: Updated Guidance on Credit for Extraordinary Cooperation
Regulatory Notice 08-70: Guidance on Credit for Extraordinary Cooperation
Episode 14: Enforcement Guiding Principals
Rule 4530: Reporting Requirements

Aug 06, 2019
Financial Capability Study, Part II: Tracking Shifting Currents of Financial Well-Being
00:20:12

How many Americans participate in the gig economy? Do you regret paying what you did for college? Would you avoid a medical service due to its cost?

The economic concerns of Americans shift over time. That’s why the FINRA Foundation Financial Capability Study is always asking new questions to get a pulse on recent changes to American financial capability and well-being.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, the second part of our two-part series on the 2018 Financial Capability Study, we dig into these questions and emerging trends and more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

2018 National Financial Capability Study
FINRA Foundation
NFCS Financial Literacy Quiz

Jul 23, 2019
Financial Capability Study, Part I: Does a Rising Tide Lift All Boats?
00:19:44

The U.S. economy is improving, but not all Americans are benefiting equally. Many Americans are failing to save money, struggling with student loan debt and facing decreasing financial literacy, according to the new FINRA Foundation Financial Capability Study.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, the first of a two-part series, Gerri Walsh and Gary Mottola of the FINRA Foundation join us to delve into the study results and their implications for researchers, policymakers, advocates and more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

2018 National Financial Capability Study
FINRA Foundation
Episode 19: Debunked: 7 Myths about Millennials

Jul 09, 2019
Encore | How the Cloud and Machine Learning Have Transformed FINRA Market Surveillance
00:22:27

Every day, FINRA processes roughly 66.7 billion market events. This includes stock orders, modifications, cancellations and trades from the moment orders are placed, as they move through the markets and are executed. And FINRA not only processes a massive amount of data each day, but also must analyze it to uncover misconduct.

How does FINRA surveille this enormous volume of data to find instances of abusive activity? With exceedingly sophisticated technology and highly adept analysts in FINRA’s Market Regulation and Transparency Services group. Today we sit down with Tom Gira the head of the department and a 25-year veteran of FINRA.

Tom explains how FINRA’s use of technology, specifically the cloud and machine learning, has improved FINRA’s quality of regulation, furthering the organization’s mission of market integrity and investor protection.

This episode originally aired in July 2018.

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Options Clearing Corporation
FINRA Market Regulation
FINRA Ad Hoc Committees
12: How the Cloud Has Revolutionized FINRA Technology

Jun 25, 2019
DXT: Transforming the Digital Experience of Firms
00:22:24

FINRA is in the middle of a wide-ranging, multi-year effort to revolutionize the digital experience that firms have when interacting with FINRA. The Digital Experience Transformation (DXT) is a transformation driven by firms for firms.

The initiative is focusing on six solution areas that have been identified as priorities by FINRA member firms, including a simplified user experience and flexibility and automation when it comes to user-defined access to FINRA data.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, two members of FINRA’s Technology team tell us how this project can enhance compliance and reduce costs for member firms.

Resources mentioned in this episode:
DXT Website
Episode 29: CRD Transformation

Jun 11, 2019
Straight from the Top: Fireside Chat with Robert Cook and Bari Havlik
00:31:51

The Annual Conference in Washington, DC, is FINRA's premier event, bringing together practitioners, peers and regulators to exchange ideas on compliance and regulatory topics and trends.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, we take you behind the scenes of this year’s event to listen in on the first session of the three-day event: a fireside chat with FINRA’s President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Cook and Executive Vice President of Member Supervision Bari Havlik, moderated by Chip Jones, Senior Vice President of Member Relations and Education.

It’s not too soon to reserve your spot for the 2020 event. Don’t miss out, register today.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA360 Progress Report
How to Get Involved: FINRA Committees
2019 Annual Budget Summary
Report on Use of 2018 Fine Monies
Episode 21: Member Supervision: Introducing Bari Havlik and the Exam Program Transformation
Episode 14: Enforcement Guiding Principles
Reg Notice 18-08: Outside Business Activities
CAT Website
Reg Notice 19-17: Protecting Investors from Misconduct

May 28, 2019
Beyond Hollywood, Part II: AML Priorities and Best Practices
00:31:09

The world of money laundering is a fast-paced and ever evolving as we learned on the last episode of FINRA Unscripted. That can make it difficult for a financial firm to develop and maintain a robust anti-money laundering program.

But maintaining a strong program is essential, making AML a perennial priority for FINRA’s examination staff. A robust AML program will not only safeguard the investing public and our financial markets, but it will also protect a firm’s reputation.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, we are joined once again by Blake Snyder and Jason Foye of FINRA’s AML Investigative Unit to discuss current priorities and best practices when it comes to anti-money laundering regulation.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA Senior Helpline
2019 FINRA Priorities Letter
FINRA CDD Rule Requirements

May 14, 2019
Beyond Hollywood: Money Laundering in the Securities Industry
00:25:36

When three hapless employees inadvertently embezzle a bunch of cash in the movie “Office Space,” they decide the best way to cover it up is to launder it. But the thing is, they don’t even really know what money laundering is and they learned that even the dictionary couldn’t fill them in.

If you want to understand what money laundering is, and more specifically, the efforts brokerage firms must take to prevent and detect it, stay tuned. We have something better than the dictionary: we have Blake Snyder and Jason Foye, two members of FINRA’s Anti-Money Laundering Investigative Unit.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, Blake and Jason explain what money laundering is, how it looks different in the securities industry, how that makes regulation different for the securities industry, what FINRA’s Anti-Money Laundering Investigative Unit does and more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Key Topics: AML
AML FAQs
AML Half-Day Seminars

Apr 30, 2019
2019 Budget Summary: A Look Behind the Curtain
00:25:02

FINRA’s 2019 Budget Summary provides a unique view into FINRA’s budget for the current calendar year – providing greater transparency not just into FINRA’s operations, but also the self-regulatory organization’s financial guiding principles.

The 2019 Budget Summary includes no fee rate increase for member firms, but projects a shortfall of $185.8 million – the result of a projected increase in operating expenses while revenues stay largely flat. But FINRA Chief Financial and Administrative Officer Todd Diganci isn’t worried. He explains how it is all part of FINRA’s long-term financial plan.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, we learn more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Financial Reports and Policies
2019 Budget Summary

Apr 16, 2019
FINRA’s Point Guard: The Central Review Group
00:26:45

The Central Review Group is the nerve center of FINRA’s Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence (OFDMI), triaging tens of thousands of matters every year.

The group combs through everything from investor complaints, external tips and employee tips to disclosure events, routine regulatory filings and more to look for red flags of fraud or other concerns. If something of concern is spotted, the group determines how to escalate the situation, whether internally within FINRA or through a referral to other regulators.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, Tony Cavallaro joins us to tell us more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Reg Notice 11-06: Consolidating Reporting Requirements
Information Notice: Phishing Emails Targeting Member Firms
Investor Alert: Beware Fake Checks
23: Insider Trading: Finding the Needle in the Haystack

Apr 02, 2019
Member Relations & Education: Making Regulation Smarter
00:21:16

As a self-regulatory organization, FINRA is uniquely positioned to gain meaningful insights from its members to ensure FINRA’s regulatory programs are working for everyone. Tasked with maintaining that relationship and keeping an open dialogue is FINRA’s Office of Member Relations and Education.

The Member Relations and Education team routinely engages with firms through conferences, roundtables, boot camps and more. And because they recognize that regulation isn’t simple or easy, they offer a host of educational tools and resources.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, Chip Jones, FINRA’s Senior Vice President of Member Relations and Education, joins us to tell us more about how FINRA works to make regulation smarter.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Get Involved
Committee Lists and Membership
Conferences & Events Schedule
28: A look at the FINRA Institute at Georgetown CRCP Program
Small Firm Resources
Report Center

Mar 19, 2019
CRD Transformation: Enhancing the Registration & Disclosure Process
00:18:32

FINRA’s Central Registration and Depository (CRD) system is the central licensing and registration system not just for FINRA, but also for U.S. securities exchanges and all 50 states . But the system is still partying like it’s 1999.

Twenty years after the CRD system’s last major update, FINRA is in the middle of a multi-year effort to overhaul the registration and disclosure system that is the backbone of the BrokerCheck, the free tool that allows investors to research the background of their financial professionals and firms.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, FINRA’s executive vice president of Registration & Disclosure, Derek Linden, tells us more about the transformation and what users can expect.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

CRD Transformation Website

Announcement: CRD Transformation

BrokerCheck

12: How the Cloud Has Revolutionized FINRA Technology

Mar 05, 2019
A Look at the FINRA Institute at Georgetown CRCP Program
00:21:11

The FINRA Institute at Georgetown Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional
(CRCP) Program is designed to give careers a shot in the arm, whether you are a compliance professional, investment advisor, regulator or just someone in the financial services space.

The two-week program is the premier professional development program for compliance professionals, providing not just a comprehensive look at current securities laws and regulations, but also an understanding of the regulatory trajectory and where things are going.
On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, Jim Angel, an associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, and FINRA’s Patricia Albrecht join us to tell us what makes the CRCP program a can’t-miss opportunity.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA Institute at Georgetown

Small Firm CRCP Scholarship

CRCP Program: Week I

23: Insider Trading: Finding the Needle in the Haystack

FINRA Annual Conference

Feb 19, 2019
The Future of RegTech: The Challenges and Opportunities
00:21:28

RegTech tools can present both tremendous opportunities and tremendous challenges for firms and regulators alike. They can also pose some interesting philosophical questions when it comes to their implementation.

On this special episode of FINRA Unscripted recorded at FINRA’s RegTech conference in New York, we hear three unique perspectives on these opportunities and challenges. Joining us on this episode are: Nick Cook, head of RegTech and Advanced Analytics at the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); Michael Pieciak, Vermont’s Commissioner of Financial Regulation and the president of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA); and Haime Workie, FINRA’s senior director of Emerging Regulatory Issues.

Listen to hear Nick, Mike and Haime discuss some of the most common ways firms are currently using RegTech, the challenges in implementation, key areas to watch and more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

RegTech White Paper

FinTech at FINRA

Innovation Outreach Initiative

RegTech | FCA

NASAA

Vermont Website

Feb 05, 2019
The Annual Priorities Letter: A Fresh Take
00:21:32

The Annual FINRA Priorities Letter is a great resource for firms looking to improve their compliance, supervisory and risk management programs. But the 2019 Letter is a little different—this year focusing on materially new areas of focus so readers can better identify areas for program improvement.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, we’re joined by Bari Havlik, FINRA’s executive vice president of Member Supervision, Steve Polansky, a senior director in Member Supervision, and Gene DeMaio, a senior vice president of options regulation and the trading and financial compliance exam program, to learn more about the changes to the letter and to drill into a few key topics.

Stay tuned to hear more about new priorities such as fixed income mark-up disclosure and supervision of digital assets business, as well as some new takes on existing priorities, including suitability, best execution, market manipulation and more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

2019 Priorities Letter

2018 Priorities Letter

2018 Exam Findings Report

Fixed Income Confirmation Disclosure FAQs

SEC Statement on Digital Asset Securities Issuance and Trading

SEC Issues Investigative Report on DAO Tokens

Jan 22, 2019
Behind the Scenes: FINRA's Board of Governors
00:17:43

Academics, economists, CEOs. FINRA’s Board of Governors is made up of a diverse group of individuals with diverse perspectives—a must for a group responsible for overseeing a complex organization such as FINRA.

But how does someone become a member of FINRA’s Board of Governors? And what does this group do? What are its priorities for 2019? On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, Marcia Asquith, FINRA’s executive vice president of Board and External Relations answers these questions and more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

2: Building A More Transparent Organization

FINRA Governance

Board Composition

FINRA360

Budget Summary and Financial Guiding Principles

Jan 08, 2019
Bits & Bytes: A Look at Effective Cybersecurity Practices
00:25:02

Cybersecurity is a major challenge for everyone – companies and individuals alike. But it can be a particularly big challenge for those in the financial industry. After all, it isn’t just firm data at risk—customer data and customers’ life savings may be at stake.

Cybersecurity is such a big obstacle for financial firms that this month FINRA released the “Report on Selected Cybersecurity Practices – 2018.” The new report sheds light on some effective practices for FINRA member firms when it comes to branch office controls, phishing attacks, insider threats, penetration testing programs and mobile devices.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted, Steve Polansky, a senior director in FINRA’s Member Supervision Shared Services group, Dave Kelley, a surveillance director out of our Kansas City office, and Yolanda Trottman, an examination director in the regulatory review group in New York join us to discuss the report’s findings.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Report on Selected Cybersecurity Practices

2018 Examination Findings Report

2015 Report on Cybersecurity Practices

Phishing Investor Alert

Dec 20, 2018
Insider Trading: Finding the Needle in the Haystack
00:27:26

When it comes to detecting insider trading, it really is like finding a needle in a haystack with more than 15,000 different stocks, options and bonds trading every day across millions of transactions. Yet, Sam Draddy and the Insider Surveillance team in the Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence manage to find those needles.

The Insider Surveillance team does it by combining a lot of data—20 years’ worth of data on thousands of actively traded bonds, stocks and equity options—with a mix of sophisticated surveillance technology and good old-fashioned detective work.

On this episode of FINRA Unscripted Sam Draddy walks us through the process. Plus, he shares details of some of the most interesting cases of his career and attempts to answer the real question: why do people do it?

Resources mentioned in this episode:

SEC’s Edgar Database

Pro Golfer Agrees to Repay Trading Profits

SEC’s Perk Hixon Case

Did Somebody Just Eat a Post-It?

Dec 04, 2018
Millennials and Money: How to Get Started on the Road to Investing
00:19:14

Contrary to popular belief, many millennials aren’t too keen on robo-advisors and would actually prefer to work with a professional—but don’t feel confident enough to know where to begin. What does that actually mean for young, would-be investors?

On episode 19, Gerri Walsh and Gary Mottola of the FINRA Foundation joined us on the first part of this two-part series to discuss these and other misconceptions and roadblocks that millennials face in their paths to becoming investors as revealed by the new study, "Uncertain Futures: Seven Myths about Millennials and Investing." In this second part of the series, Gerri and Gary are back to turn some of those myths into actionable information.

If you haven’t yet started investing because you have too much debt, you lack confidence or don’t even know where to begin, stay tuned, because Gerri and Gary have tips for you on this episode of FINRA Unscripted.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Uncertain Futures: Seven Myths about Millennials and Investing

CFA Institute

BrokerCheck

IRAs 101: What You Need to Know

Investor.gov

FINRA.org – Prepare to Invest

The True Value of Time for Young Investors

Nov 20, 2018
Member Supervision: Introducing Bari Havlik and the Exam Program Transformation
00:14:43

When Bari Havlik joined FINRA as Executive Vice President of the newly named Member Supervision team, she did so with big plans for the examination and risk monitoring programs.

After a more than 30 year career in compliance with the last 14 years spent as a chief compliance officer, Bari joined FINRA with a unique perspective on what FINRA could do to better leverage its staff and its talent and skills—while also eliminating duplication and improving the examination and risk monitoring experience for firms.

In this episode of FINRA Unscripted, Bari joins us to share more about her vision for the future of FINRA’s exam and risk monitoring programs.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Program Transformation Announcement

FINRA360 Progress Report

Nov 06, 2018
Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Stay Connected and Protected
00:22:42

In an era when much of our lives happen online, from banking to social media, cybersecurity is more important than ever. And we all have a role to play—not just in keeping ourselves safe, but also our employers and customers.

As we become more connected, we also must also become more vigilant. But what do you do to remain secure? Whether you are a broker, an investor or just simply an internet user, we’ve got tips for you on this episode of FINRA Unscripted.

In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Barry Suskind and Eugene Mindel of FINRA’s Cyber and Information Security team join us to provide resources and best practices for keeping you, your family and your clients protected while online.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Cybersecurity Resources

Small Firm Cybersecurity Checklist

Fake Phishing, Real Benefits

Oct 23, 2018
Debunked: 7 Myths about Millennials—the Underinvested Generation
00:19:00

Millennials are on the cusp of surpassing Baby Boomers as the largest adult generation in America. Yet the soon-to-be largest generation in the nation remains substantially under-invested.

Why? That is the question the FINRA Foundation and CFA Institute teamed up to answer. What they learned about this avocado toast eating, "I still live with my parents," social media-fueled FOMO generation might surprise you.

Today, Gerri Walsh and Gary Mottola join us for part one of a two episode series to discuss the misconceptions and roadblocks millennials face in their paths to becoming investors. In part one, Gerri and Gary debunk some of the most common myths about Millennial investors and could-be-investors as revealed by the new study, "Uncertain Futures: Seven Myths about Millennials and Investing."

Are you a millennial with an uncertain financial future? A financial professional looking to expand or better serve your Millennial clients? Then tune in to this episode of Unscripted and gain insight into the minds of the soon-to-be largest and most under-invested generation in America.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Uncertain Futures: Seven Myths about Millennials and Investing

National Financial Capability Study

CFA Institute

Oct 09, 2018
The New SIE Exam: Opening Doors to the Securities Industry
00:23:13

Looking to break into the financial services industry? It is about to get easier.

On October 1, 2018, FINRA will launch a new exam that consolidates the fundamental knowledge shared across several of FINRA’s existing Series exams into a single Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. Additional “top-off” exams, such as the Series 7, will be trimmed down to focus only on the specific knowledge needed for that qualification—eliminating overlap in licensing exams and creating a more efficient program.

And the biggest change: you don’t have to be associated with a financial firm to take the SIE exam.

So get your number two pencils ready and tune in to this episode of Unscripted, where John Kalohn, FINRA’s Vice President of Testing & Continuing Education, joins us to provide insight that just might help you ace the SIE exam.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Registered Representatives Brochure

SIE Exam Content Outline

Sep 25, 2018
Sharing Data and Strengthening Compliance
00:19:32

When you are growing up, you learn “sharing is caring.” At FINRA, Tom Gira’s Market Regulation and Transparency Services team takes that to heart when it comes to their surveillance data.

In episode 13, Gira explained how the cloud and machine learning enable his team to sift through massive amounts of data–we're talking up to 101 billion market events in a single day–to detect misconduct. In this episode, we learn that Tom and his team aren't just keeping that data to themselves; they are sharing it with financial firms to help them better achieve and monitor compliance with FINRA rules.

Learn how FINRA’s rapid remediation program and industry report cards are helping to foster stronger, fairer markets in this episode of FINRA Unscripted.

Report Center

Sweep Letter: Order Routing Conflicts

Pricing Disclosure in the Fixed Income Markets

Sep 11, 2018
How FINRA Rules Get Made (And Reviewed)
00:23:09

Schoolhouse Rock taught us how a bill up on Capitol Hill becomes law. Unfortunately, they never got around to explaining how a FINRA rule proposal becomes regulation.

In this episode, Phil Shaikun from FINRA’s Office of General Counsel and Jonathan Sokobin, FINRA’s Chief Economist, fill that gap and explain how lawyers and economists are working together to ensure FINRA’s rules are as effective and as tailored as possible.

Plus, Shaikun and Sokobin give an inside look into how the FINRA Retrospective Rule Review process works, how rules are selected for review and the myriad of possible outcomes.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Retrospective Rule Review

SEC Federal Register

FINRA Advisory Committees

Special Notice on Engagement

Regulatory Notice on Membership Application Process (Comments due October 5, 2018)

Regulatory Notice and Comments on Outside Business Activities

Aug 28, 2018
Fintech, Regtech & Suptech: Keeping Up with Industry Innovations
00:18:25

Financial technology (fintech) has revolutionized the financial industry. Need proof? Just ask yourself: when was the last time you went to a bank to deposit a check?

From digital banking and mobile trading apps to Venmo, cryptocurrencies and blockchain, fintech has changed the way we manage our money and investments and the ways in which financial services companies reach and interact with their customers.

So how are financial industry regulators keeping up with the newest developments and predicting their impact on the financial industry and possible regulation? For FINRA, the answer is the Innovation Outreach Initiative. In this episode, Haime Workie and Kavita Jain join us to talk about the initiative itself and share their insights on the fintech innovations that are driving market activity around the world.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Fintech @ FINRA

Know Before You Share: Be Mindful of Data Aggregation Risks

Initial Coin Offerings: Know Before You Invest

Report on Digital Investment Advice

Report on Distributed Ledger Technology

FINRA Unscripted Episode 10: Introducing ERI

Aug 14, 2018
Enforcement Guiding Principles
00:20:53

What are the principles that guide FINRA’s decision making when it comes to taking Enforcement action? That’s the question that’s been on the mind of FINRA’s head of Enforcement, Susan Schroeder, since she took on the role in mid-2017.

One of the first things Schroeder did in her new role was to get right down to basics and define what an effective Enforcement action looks like – to identify clearly her team’s common goals. She wanted to ensure everyone in the group was asking the same questions and considering the same factors in the same way on every case, every day.

In this episode, Susan rejoins us to discuss how getting back to basics has helped her build a more effective Enforcement team.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA360

Sanction Guidelines

SIFMA AML Speech

Jul 31, 2018
How the Cloud and Machine Learning Have Transformed Market Surveillance
00:22:19

Every day, FINRA processes roughly 60 billion market events. This includes stock orders, modifications, cancellations and trades from the moment orders are placed, as they move through the markets and are executed. And FINRA not only processes a massive amount of data each day, but also must analyze it to uncover misconduct.

How does FINRA surveille this enormous volume of data to find instances of abusive activity? With exceedingly sophisticated technology and highly adept analysts in FINRA’s Market Regulation and Transparency Services group. Today we sit down with Tom Gira the head of the department and a 25-year veteran of FINRA.

Tom explains how FINRA’s use of technology, specifically the cloud and machine learning, has improved FINRA’s quality of regulation, furthering the organization’s mission of market integrity and investor protection.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Options Clearing Corporation

FINRA Market Regulation

FINRA Ad Hoc Committees

12: How the Cloud Has Revolutionized FINRA Technology

Jul 17, 2018
How the Cloud Has Revolutionized FINRA Technology
00:25:02

When you think of financial regulation, you don’t typically think of innovation, but in fact, FINRA was an early adopter of the cloud for critical business functions.

Today, FINRA has more than 30 petabytes of data in the cloud—or about 60 million years’ worth of MP3 music. With the cloud, FINRA has been able to build a massive data lake that allows its regulatory staff to conduct business more efficiently and more effectively than ever.

In this episode, FINRA’s Chief Information Officer Steve Randich joins us to discuss all this and more. Plus, we learn why Steve turned down a promising career in the dishwashing industry to end up working in technology.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA Technology

Moving Your Production System to the Cloud? 6 Things You Need to Know

How the Cloud Is Changing Financial Regulation

AWS Case Study

*Note: * Steve misspoke when describing the size of a petabyte. One petabyte would be equal to about 2,000 years' worth of music files, so 30 petabytes would be equal to about 60,000 years' worth of files.

Jul 03, 2018
What is FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Forum?
00:14:16

FINRA operates the largest securities dispute resolution forum in the United States, with disputes resolved through arbitration and mediation. But for those unfamiliar with arbitration or mediation, it can be a confusing process.

What is FINRA arbitration? How might you end up with a case in arbitration or mediation? What’s the difference between the two? What does the process look like?

In this episode, FINRA’s Head of Dispute Resolution, Rick Berry, answers these questions and more.

For more about FINRA arbitration, visit our website.

Jun 19, 2018
ERI: Introducing FINRA’s Weatherman
00:21:09

FINRA can’t predict the future, but like a weatherman, it can make predictions based on circumstances that exist today.

Tasked with that job of figuring out what is ahead is FINRA’s Office of Emerging Regulatory Issues (ERI). ERI works to predict what storms may be brewing in the securities market, what areas of the market they are likely to impact and the likely consequences of those “storms.” This allows FINRA to ensure its resources are deployed where they are needed most.

In this episode, ERI’s Haime Workie and Kavita Jain join us to talk about the role of ERI at FINRA. From volatility to tax reform, we’ll hear what they think about the market’s forecast. Plus, Haime and Kavita share what products or technologies they love and what keeps them up at night.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FinTech

Investor Alerts

Jun 05, 2018
One Enforcement: Introducing FINRA’s New Enforcement Team
00:16:50

Consistency and foreseeability: that’s what any regulator strives for. But when FINRA CEO Robert Cook asked around, he heard that wasn’t always the case—particularly when it came to two different enforcement teams.

Last July, FINRA responded by announcing it would bring together these two teams into One Enforcement under the leadership of Susan Schroeder, FINRA’s Executive Vice President and Head of enforcement.

In this episode, Susan shares what she is doing to bring these two teams together, tells us why the integration is so important and details her greatest challenges so far.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA360

May 21, 2018
The Senior Helpline: Addressing the Unique Needs of Senior Investors
00:20:15

8: The Senior Helpline: Addressing the Unique Needs of Senior Investors

“Can we make a difference? Can this actually work?” Those are the questions FINRA’s Yvette Panetta and her team asked themselves when they launched the Securities Helpline for Seniors.

Three years later, the answer to both questions is clearly yes. Since April 2015, FINRA’s Senior Helpline has helped nearly 13,000 senior investors with everything from simple questions, such as “how do I find out more information about my broker,” to serious concerns, including potential broker misconduct and allegations of fraud.

Yvette Panetta, Brooke Hickman and Robert Mascio share how they helped develop the Senior Helpline into more than just another call center, but rather into a valuable resource for senior investors and FINRA member firms alike.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

844-57-HELPS (844-574-3577)

Monday – Friday

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Eastern Time

May 01, 2018
One FINRA: A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
00:21:20

7: One FINRA: A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Do you show your true self at work? Or do you censor your emotions and self-expression to align with your work’s established environment? If you censor yourself, you’re not alone.

Now imagine an organization where you could bring your “100 percent authentic self” to work. FINRA’s Audria Lee explains that if diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being invited to dance. FINRA strives to achieve both because both are essential to an organization’s long-term success. Diverse and inclusive work environments see greater employee satisfaction, engagement and creativity, as well as greater overall company productivity and success.

Guests Audria Lee and Denise Fields are leaders advancing workplace equality at FINRA and serve as an example for the greater financial services industry. Hear them discuss FINRA’s Diversity and Inclusion programs, initiatives, successes and challenges, and share strategic steps and actionable tips employers can take to improve diversity and inclusion in their own workplace.

Apr 17, 2018
Combatting Cybersecurity Threats
00:16:36

Our tech-connected world faces threats against our data and technology. Both people and businesses must be vigilant to avoid a breach. In this FINRA Unscripted episode, hear from John Brady, FINRA's vice president for cybersecurity, as he talks to FINRA's Mike Rote about what his team does to combat threats and tips you can use in your life to be cyber secure. Watch: Listen:

Feb 27, 2018
A Touch Point for Politicians and Other Regulators: FINRA’s Office of Government Affairs
00:17:21

5: A Touch Point for Politicians and Other Regulators: FINRA’s Office of Government Affairs

It is 2018. America is facing a wave of new government appointments and upcoming elections at all levels of the government. And with new leaders, come new priorities.

Effective government relations are essential to FINRA’s success. So, how does FINRA navigate the changing environment? According to FINRA’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Greg Dean, by building and maintaining genuine relationships and by telling FINRA’s story.

In this episode of FINRA Unscripted, Dean shares how FINRA has achieved success in the government affairs space.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

OATS

Senior Helpline

Jan 30, 2018
Investing Smarter
00:18:31

4: Investing Smarter

Do you have student loan payments every month? If you do, you’re not alone. Almost 70 percent of US grads leave college with student debt. And many are entering the job market in debt and entirely unprepared to manage their own finances. This is exactly what happened to our guest today, Gerri Walsh.

It wasn’t until Gerri’s law school graduation day that she learned how much she had incurred in student loans, and it was more than she ever imagined. So today, Gerri works to make sure what happened to her, doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Gerri is the head of FINRA’s investor education efforts and the FINRA Foundation is here today to help make us all smarter investors.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA Foundation

Investor Resources

Dec 21, 2017
FINRA360: Building a Stronger FINRA
00:16:50

3: FINRA360: Building a Stronger FINRA

How can FINRA become a better, more effective regulator? That’s the question President and CEO Robert Cook is looking to answer.

In 2017, Cook introduced FINRA360, a multi-year initiative to process and act upon feedback about how FINRA could do better. Cook has solicited feedback at every turn – internally, from FINRA member firms, from investors and investor advocates and other stakeholders.

In this episode, Cook highlights some of the major accomplishments under FINRA360 to date and previews what is yet to come.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA360

Special Notice on Engagement

Examination Findings Report

Budget Summary and Financial Guiding Principles

Nov 28, 2017
Building A More Transparent Organization
00:12:09

2: Building A More Transparent Organization

Long before transparency was a buzzword, it was central to FINRA’s mission. Transparent markets and educated investors ensure our markets remain strong and public trust in our markets remain high. But FINRA is a self-regulatory organization (SRO), which means that transparency is also essential to FINRA’s model.

In 2017, FINRA published a special notice requesting comment on potential enhancements to its engagement programs. One year later, FINRA has taken major steps to improve its standing as a transparent SRO in the financial industry.

In this episode, FINRA’s Marcia Asquith, Executive Vice President for Board and External Relations, highlights some of the actions FINRA has taken to improve transparency not only in the markets, but also in its organization and engagement.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

FINRA360

Special Notice on Engagement

Examination Findings Report

Budget Summary and Financial Guiding Principles

Nov 15, 2017
What Does FINRA’s Chief Economist Do?
00:17:27

What Does FINRA’s Chief Economist Do?

Regulation has consequences. It is a regulator’s job to consider those consequences and weight the impact of regulation to ensure that it is appropriately tailored.

What is the problem we are trying to solve? How does this rule or solution solve that problem? Is it the best solution to the problem? How does it impact business development? FINRA’s Office of the Chief Economist asks those tough questions and more to help make FINRA a better self-regulatory organization.

Chief Economist Jonathan Sokobin explains how he built his office, the role he and his staff play in FINRA’s rule making and retrospect rule review processes and the importance of thinking economically when it comes to regulation.

Bonus: you’ll learn why it is called The Ohio State University.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Office of the Chief Economist

Regulatory Notices – Retrospective Rule Reviews

Nov 06, 2017