FINRA Regulatory Notice 21-20 FINRA Alerts Firms to Phishing Email Using “gateway-finra.org” Domain Name
FINRA warns member firms of an ongoing phishing campaign that involves fraudulent purporting to be from FINRA and using the domain name “@gateway-finra.org.” The email asks the recipient to click a link to “view request” and provide information to “complete” that request, noting that “late submission may attract penalties.”
FINRA Regulatory Notice 21-19 FINRA Requests Comment on Short Interest Position Reporting Enhancements and Other Changes Related to Short Sale Reporting
FINRA is requesting comment on potential enhancements to its short sale reporting program. FINRA is considering: (1) modifications to its short interest reporting requirements (Rule 4560); (2) a new rule to require that participants of a registered clearing agency report to FINRA information on allocations to correspondent firms of fail-to-deliver positions; and (3) other potential enhancements related to short sale activity. FINRA believes that these potential changes could improve the usefulness of short sale related information to FINRA, other regulators, investors and other market participants.
Cboe Exchange, Inc. (“Cboe Options”) and Cboe C2 Exchange, Inc. (“C2 Options”) (collectively the “Exchanges”) are issuing this Regulatory Circular to provide notice to Trading Permit Holders (“TPHs”) that a rule change, File No. SR-CBOE-2022, amending the Exchanges’ registration rules has become effective and to inform TPHs of the applicable implementation/compliance dates.
Cboe Regulatory Circular 21-011 Qualified Contingent Cross Reporting to the Regulatory Division (Change to Reporting Method Effective July 1, 2021)
Cboe Exchange, Inc. (“Cboe Options” or the “Exchange”) is issuing this regulatory circular to announce certain changes to the available methods for reporting Qualified Contingent Cross (“QCC”) Order information to the Regulatory Division that go into effect July 1, 2021 and to provide Trading Permit Holders (“TPHs”) with information regarding the QCC reporting requirements.
MSRB Request for Comment 2021-08 Request for Comment on Amendments to Rule G-10 Notification Requirements for Dealers
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (“MSRB” or “Board”) seeks comment on a draft amendment to MSRB Rule G-10, on investor and municipal advisory client education and protection, to clarify and better align the requirements for brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers (collectively, “dealers”) to provide the annual notifications to those customers who would be best served by receipt of the annual notifications. The MSRB also seeks comments on an associated draft amendment to MSRB Rule G-48, on transactions with sophisticated municipal market professionals (SMMPs), to exclude transactions with SMMPs from the application of draft Rule G-10.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 21-18 FINRA Shares Practices Firms Use to Protect Customers From Online Account Takeover Attempts
FINRA has received an increasing number of reports regarding customer account takeover (ATO) incidents, which involve bad actors using compromised customer information, such as login credentials (i.e., username and password), to gain unauthorized entry to customers’ online brokerage accounts. To help firms prevent, detect and respond to such attacks, FINRA recently organized roundtable discussions with representatives from 20 firms of various sizes and business models to discuss their approaches to mitigating the risks from ATO attacks.
FINRA Regulatory Notice 21-17 FINRA Seeks Comment on Supporting Diversity and Inclusion in the Broker-Dealer Industry
FINRA is committed to supporting efforts by broker-dealer industry participants to foster diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity. FINRA seeks comment on any aspects of our rules, operations and administrative processes that may create unintended barriers to greater diversity and inclusion in the broker-dealer industry or that might have unintended disparate impacts on those within the industry.
FINRA reminds member firms about requirements when using predispute arbitration agreements for customer accounts. Where member firms use mandatory arbitration clauses in their customer agreements, FINRA rules establish minimum disclosure requirements regarding the use of such clauses and prohibit predispute arbitration agreements from including conditions that, among other things, limit or contradict FINRA rules. In addition, FINRA rules do not allow class action claims in FINRA arbitration. Accordingly, FINRA rules prohibit member firms from incorporating provisions that would prevent customers from bringing or participating in judicial class actions by adding waiver language into customer agreements (class action waivers) and prohibit member firms from enforcing arbitration agreements against members of a certified or putative class action. FINRA urges member firms to take prompt steps to ensure their customer agreements fully comply with FINRA rules. Member firms that fail to comply with FINRA rules related to customer agreements may be subject to disciplinary action.
With the recent increase in the number of customers seeking to open brokerage accounts and trade options, FINRA reminds members of the requirements for determining whether to approve a customer to trade options. Regardless of whether the account is self-directed or options are being recommended, members must perform due diligence on the customer and collect information about the customer to support a determination that options trading is appropriate for the customer. In addition, FINRA reminds members that options accounts are subject to specific supervisory reviews, including, among others, reviewing the compatibility of options transactions with investment objectives and with the types of transactions for which the account was approved, and are subject to other FINRA rules that apply when opening customer accounts, including among others, customer identification requirements under anti-money laundering rules. FINRA also reminds members of the margin requirements for options transactions.
FINRA warns member firms that, over the past two months, we have observed a sharp increase in new customers opening online brokerage accounts and engaging in Automated Clearing House (ACH) “instant funds” abuse to effect securities trading. (FINRA has previously warned firms about trends in losses from schemes involving electronic funds transfers, such as those involving outbound wire transfers and ATM withdrawals.
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