February 25, 2018

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FINRA Releases 2018 Annual Regulatory and Examinations Priorities

As it does every January, FINRA released its annual Regulatory and Examinations Priorities Letteridentifying areas of examination focus for the coming year, recurring challenges faced by firms, and possible risks impacting the financial sector. FINRA’s 2018 exam priorities for the first time identify cryptocurrencies and related initial coin offerings (ICOs). Other first-mentions include technology governance, business continuity plans, and non-purpose loans. FINRA’s highest listed priorities this year are the repeated priorities of fraud and recidivist brokers.

Protecting senior investors was a prominent part of FINRA’s Exam Priorities in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. In 2018, protection of seniors was not a delineated priority issue but permeated most all other topics.

Despite the fact that FINRA has announced a more strategic use of its resources, most of the old favorites make an appearance including suitability, AML, and cybersecurity.

©2018 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved.


About this Author

Terry R. Weiss, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig law firm

With nearly 30 years of practical experience, Terry R. Weiss focuses his practice on representing the securities industry in the full range of legal disputes. In that capacity, he represents broker-dealers, investment advisors, prime brokers and securities industry professionals in regulatory and enforcement matters, civil litigation and arbitrations and internal investigations.

Of Counsel

William B. Mack focuses his practice on government affairs, government contracts, administrative law, government investigations, legislative, lobbying and regulatory and compliance matters. William is experienced in government and politics at the federal, state and local level. He is also experienced in advising companies on regulatory and compliance matters relating to the Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, the Exchange Act, Anti-Money Laundering laws and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rules.

Prior to joining the firm, William was a Principal Counsel for Enforcement at FINRA. Before FINRA, Will was the Director of the Executive Secretariat in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. There, he advised Ambassador Ron Kirk on trade agreement negotiations and WTO litigation decisions, prepared him for Congressional testimony, and meetings with heads of state and industry organizations. William also served as a Deputy Associate Counsel at the White House, advising primarily on appointments and investigations.  Before the White House, William practiced at large firms in New York.


Stefanie M. Wayco focuses her practice on representing financial services firms, broker-dealers, securities industry professionals and others in regulatory and enforcement matters, FINRA arbitrations and internal investigations. She has wide-ranging experience with product cases, alternative investments, mutual funds and variable annuities, senior investors, Anti-Money Laundering, Bank Secrecy Act, outside business activities, privilege issues, compliance policies, supervisory policies, and standard operating procedures for financial services firms.