FINRA says it is proposing to cut out many of the administrative delays involved with applications for continuing membership.

Firms file continuing membership applications to reflect material changes in a firm’s business operations, such as ownership or control, according to a proposed rule change that FINRA has filed with the SEC. Currently, broker-dealers typically exchange letters with FINRA to initiate and continue the continuing membership application process, says Todd Cipperman, principal of Cipperman & Co., a law firm in Wayne, Penn.

The new process will be partially electronic, the proposal suggests, to eliminate current deficiencies and delays. Among other changes, certain fields will be pre-populated with information that a firm had previously submitted to FINRA on other occasions.

“The 1017 process is one that broker-dealers would like see fixed, and this is a good start,” Cipperman says. “There will still be some human element to the process, but at least broker-dealers will have a better idea upfront what they are looking for.” 

Donna Mitchell writes for Financial Planning.