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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is providing regulatory relief due to the coronavirus pandemic, by, among other measures, extending its expiring qualification exam windows until May 31 and giving broker-dealers a 30-day extension to file their annual reports.

FINRA’s recently released frequently asked questions guidance also states that the BD regulator will permit firms to electronically file an initial or transfer Form U4 without obtaining the individual applicant’s manual signature if the firm does the following:

  • provides the applicant with a copy of the completed Form U4 prior to filing;
  • obtains the applicant’s written acknowledgment (which may be electronic) prior to filing that the information has been received and reviewed, and that the applicant agrees that the content is accurate and complete;
  • retains the written acknowledgment in accordance with SEA Rule 17a-4(e)(1) and makes it available promptly upon regulatory request; and
  • obtains the applicant’s manual signature as soon as practicable.

The 30-day temporary closure of the Prometric testing center, which administers FINRA exams, has prevented one broker-dealer’s reps from sitting for their scheduled exams. “Is FINRA considering temporarily extending the 120-day period under Rule 1210.04 for such individuals?” the broker-dealer asked in the Q&A.

FINRA responded that it’s extending expiring qualification exam windows until May 31, and that, consistent with this extension, individuals who were designated to function as principals under Rule 1210.04 prior to Feb. 2 will be given until May 31 to pass the appropriate exams.

“FINRA will continue to assess this situation and consider any additional extensions of time if necessary.”

Check out ThinkAdvisor’s Coronavirus Guidance for Financial Advisors.

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