Key points from FINRA and SEC's 2019 examination priorities

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently published their 2019 examination priority letters highlighting largely expected areas of focus as well as several new topics and nuances for broker-dealers to consider.

FINRA’s letter is more pointed than in previous years, highlighting new priorities and topics including issues associated with online distribution platforms, fixed income mark-ups, registered representatives (RRs) and regulatory technology. For the first time, FINRA chose not to specifically reiterate priority areas that continue to be on its radar year after year, namely fraud, customer protection and anti-money laundering (AML). However, broker-dealers should be cognizant that these topics will continue to be thoroughly examined despite not being explicitly called out in this year’s letter. 

Meanwhile, the SEC’s priorities echoed many of the themes in FINRA’s letter along with a focus on adequacy of disclosures and brokerage practices pertaining to retail investors, particularly for seniors and those saving for retirement.

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A publication of PwC's financial services regulatory practice.

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Julien Courbe

Financial Services Leader, PwC US

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