To streamline its investigations, FINRA is creating a new, centralized enforcement office and has appointed its head of enforcement, Susan Schroeder, to run it.

The new office, which combines two previously distinct teams, will create a “uniform approach to charging and sanctions,” and “better target developing issues,” that could harm investors, FINRA said in a statement. It’s the latest move by the agency which is undergoing an organization-wide, top-to-bottom review under CEO Robert Cook to reassess its regulatory operations.

The new office will merge a team that handles disciplinary actions and another that covers a broad swath of regulatory oversight cases, from corporate finance to fraud detection.

FINRA head of enforcement Susan Schroeder will run the new office.
FINRA head of enforcement Susan Schroeder will run the new office.

“A vigorous and effective enforcement program is central to FINRA’s mission of protecting investors and promoting market integrity,” Cook said.

REVIEW AND REFORM
Feedback from the FINRA360 initiative, a multi-year review designed to help reform the 10-year-old organization, led to the changes.

Cook said in May that “everything must be on the table” during the review.

The organization has also announced new proposals to reinforce safeguards against firms that employ brokers with previous misconduct records, including permitting authorities to level stiffer penalties.

Slideshow
The 10 most significant FINRA and SEC exam priorities
Regulators have revealed what kind of issues advisors must address if faced with a review.

Those measures would, “ensure that investors can have confidence in their investment professionals and that bad actors are removed from the industry," Cook said at the time.

Schroeder, formerly FINRA’s deputy chief of enforcement, will head the new office and report to Cook.

“This unified structure will improve our ability to streamline investigations, share information, and maximize our resources to protect investors and the markets,” Schroeder said in a statement.

Sean Allocca

Sean Allocca is the associate editor of Financial Planning, On Wall Street and Bank Investment Consultant.