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FINRA seeks feedback on capital formation rules

Joe Mont | April 17, 2017

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is seeking public comments on rules governing the participation of its member firms in capital raising.

The request, part of FINRA360, the self-regulatory organization’s “comprehensive self-evaluation and organizational improvement initiative.” It is one of three regulatory notices FINRA has issued this month related to the capital formation process, with the others seeking comment on proposed amendments to rules for underwriting arrangements and a proposed safe harbor from equity and debt research rules for desk commentary.

All three proposals seek to clarify the requirements for FINRA member firms engaged in the capital formation process.

“A vibrant capital-raising process supports the growth of the large and small businesses that create jobs and strengthen the economy. Broker-dealers perform a critical role in that process,” FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook said in a sttaement. “As the environment for capital raising evolves, it is essential that we continue to assess how regulation can best facilitate capital formation on a strong foundation of investor protection and market integrity.”

Regulatory Notice 17-14 requests comment on all of FINRA’s existing rules, operations and administrative processes that address the capital-raising activities of its member firms, including recent additions regarding capital acquisition brokers and funding portals.

Regulatory Notice 17-15 requests comment on proposed amendments to modernize, simplify and clarify FINRA Rule 5110. The rule applies to underwriting terms and arrangements regarding the public offering of securities.

FINRA also issued Regulatory Notice 17-16, which clarifies the application of FINRA’s research rules to desk commentary by sales and trading and principal trading personnel and solicits comments on a proposal to create a limited safe harbor for eligible desk commentary that may rise to the level of a research report. The proposed safe harbor would be subject to a number of compliance conditions to mitigate research-related conflicts.

Comments on the notices should be submitted by May 30.