New Topics and Content Highlight FINRA’s Increased Focus on Cybersecurity, Crypto Assets, Artificial Intelligence, Market Integrity, Off-Channel Communications and Other Key Risk Areas

On January 9, 2024, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) published the 2024 FINRA Annual Regulatory Oversight Report (the “Report”), which builds on the structure and content of FINRA’s prior reports for 2021-2023. This year, the Report adds new content relating to: crypto assets; Market Integrity, including OTC Quotations in Fixed Income Securities (Rule 15c2-11 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”)), Advertised Volume (FINRA Rule 5210) and the Market Access Rule (Rule 15c3-5 under the Exchange Act); the potential impact of artificial intelligence on firms’ regulatory obligations; and considerations concerning firms’ compliance with books and records requirements, including with respect to “off-channel communications” as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) 2023 amendments to SEC Rule 17a-4 and the requirements regarding the maintenance and preservation of electronic records thereunder.

Additionally, FINRA adds new findings and effective practices relating to a wide range of topics covered by FINRA in prior years’ reports. Finally, the Report’s title (formerly, “Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring Program”) has been changed to signal both FINRA’s ongoing integration of its regulatory operations programs and also the Report’s intended utility for member firms as a resource to strengthen their compliance programs. 

In this Legal Update, we provide a brief overview of the Report’s new topics and the new content relating to previously covered topics.