The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is seeking feedback on a new rule proposal that would limit any associated person of a broker-dealer from being named a beneficiary, executor or trustee, or to have a power of attorney or similar position of trust on behalf of a customer.
“Most of the firms we talk to — not all — have policies around this” type of arrangement; “sometimes they outright prohibit it,” Robert Cook, FINRA’s CEO, said Tuesday during the self-regulator’s Senior Investor Protection Conference in Washington.
Some BDs require that brokers “give notice to the firm” that such an arrangement exists “and get approval. That’s effectively what this proposed rule would require; it would require that outside of family situations, that the advisor give notice to the firm and get approval from the firm, and the firm would be expected to execute a reasonable approach in deciding whether it’s appropriate under the circumstances … for the advisor to be a beneficiary or a trustee,” Cook said.
A lot of facts can come into play, Cook said. “The nature of the relationship that the advisor and the customer have had; how long that relationship is…” While FINRA doesn’t want to be “too prescriptive, we want to set up a process where notice, approval and reasonable oversight would have to happen.”