Woman typing on a laptop with FINRA logo on the screen. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The total number of broker-dealers registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority continues to decline, falling 2.5% from 3,607 in 2018 to 3,517 in 2019, with FINRA losing 90 firms, according to FINRA’s 2020 industry snapshot report.

The total number of registered representatives dropped 0.7%, with 629,529 registered reps in 2018 versus 624,674 in 2019.

Of the total number of reps registered in 2019, 328,997 were registered with broker-dealers only while 295,677 were dually registered.

“The snapshot provides visibility into the broad range of firms, individuals and trading activity that FINRA oversees. This year’s edition includes new data on markets activity, including fixed income and equity trading by venue and product type,” said FINRA Chief Economist Jonathan Sokobin.

Brian Rubin, partner at Eversheds Sutherland, said the report “shows the continuing trend of a decrease in the number of reps and a decrease in the number of broker-dealers.”

Rubin added that “it will be interesting to see whether [the SEC's] Reg BI leads to a change in that trend.” If registered reps and broker-dealers “will now have to act in their clients’ best interest, they may stopping fleeing the brokerage business because the standards are similar to the advisory side.”

Five states hold the vast majority of firms: New York (1,038), California (406), Illinois (205), Texas (201) and New Jersey (145).

— Check out FINRA’s Top 5 Fine Categories in 2019 on ThinkAdvisor.