We’ve previously covered FINRA’s rule change, first proposed in January 2013 (see, e.g., SAA 2013-10), that would require firms to include in websites and other electronic fora a description of BrokerCheck, and a prominent link to it. FINRA went back to the drawing board in response to 24 comment letters it received and now seeks comments via Regulatory Notice 14-19, summarized here. The original rule would have amended FINRA Rule 2267 (Investor Education and Protection); the revised proposed rule would amend Rule 2210 (Communications with the Public) by creating a new Rule 2210(d)(8). As summarized in the Notice, the revised proposal “would require a firm to include a readily apparent reference and hyperlink to BrokerCheck on each website of the firm that is available to retail investors. In addition, it would require a firm to include a readily apparent reference and hyperlink to BrokerCheck in online retail communications with the public that include a professional profile of, or contact information for, an associated person, subject to specified conditions and exceptions, including exceptions for electronic mail and text messages.” The proposal addresses social media, stating that the link requirement applies to Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest, but not Twitter (due to the 140 character limit and the inability to include links). As to the latter and other platforms where hyperlinks are not feasible, the BrokerCheck URL would need to be included in the associated person’s profile or contact information. Comments, which can be sent to email@example.com, are due June 16th.
(ed: Kudos to FINRA, both for being responsive to constituent comments and for trying hard to inform investors about BrokerCheck.) (SAC Ref. No. 2014-17-03)