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FINRA Proposes Expanding Registration to Include Broker-Dealers' "Back Office" Staff

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently issued Regulatory Notice 10-25 in which it proposed expanding registration requirements in the securities industry to include those individuals working in a broker-dealers’ “back office.” The proposed new registration category for these individuals, called “Operations Professionals,” will enhance oversight by requiring individuals “engaged in, or supervising, activities relating to sales and trading support and the handling of customer assets” to register with FINRA. Those required to register as Operations Professionals will also be subject to qualification examination and continuing education requirements. FINRA has traditionally only required registration of individuals who advise customers and effect securities transactions, such as brokers, investments bankers, and traders. FINRA believes that the new registration requirements will help ensure investor protection by enhancing the regulatory structure of a firm’s support operations. FINRA will consider any comments made to the proposal before submitting the rule changes to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The deadline for submission of comments is July 12, 2010.

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