In Notice to Members 17-13, FINRA announced changes to its sanction guidelines. In other words, FINRA has listed its new top hits that it is pursuing. Two items bear particular attention.
First, FINRA has introduced a “new principal consideration that examines whether a respondent has exercised undue influence over a customer.” This guideline reinforces FINRA heightened focus on senior investors and those who may be otherwise vulnerable, such as those with diminished capacity.
Second, FINRA has introduced a “guideline related to borrowing and lending arrangements between representatives and customers.” This guideline is particularly alarming in as much as it suggests that associated persons are actively engaging in such transactions even though firms uniformly ban them.
Notice to Members 17-13 is a strong guidepost for your supervision and compliance teams. The guidelines highlight growing problems in FINRA’s eyes. This is a cue that you should be ever vigilant for the same conduct. Otherwise, you may be the focus of the new sanction guideline that addresses systemic supervisory failures.