Annual Compliance Review

At least once per year the member must conduct a compliance review of each OSJ and each registered representative. Branch offices are not required to be directly reviewed. When the member reviews the OSJ, the member is automatically inspecting the activities of the branch offices under the jurisdiction of the OSJ.

Business Continuity Plan

One of the regulations developed as a result of the attack on 9/11 is the requirement for FINRA member firms to develop and maintain plans and back up facilities to ensure that the firm can meet its obligations to its customers and counterparties in the event that its main facilities are damaged, destroyed or are inaccessible. The plan must provide for alternative means of communication as well as a data backup. The plan must be approved by a senior member of the firm’s management team and must provide plans to ensure customers have access to their funds. The plan must be provided to FINRA upon request and must identify two members of senior management as emergency contacts, one of which must be a registered principal with the firm.

Currency Transactions

All member firms must guard against money laundering. Every member must report any currency receipt of $10,000 or more from any one customer on a single day. The firm must fill out and submit a currency transaction report also known as Form 4789 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) within 15 days of the receipt of the currency. Multiple deposits that total $10,000 or more will also require the firm to file a currency transaction report (CTR). Additionally, the firm is required to maintain a record of all international wire transfers of $3,000 or greater.

The Patriot Act

The Patriot Act requires broker dealers to have written policies and procedures designed to detect suspicious activity. The firm must designate a principal to ensure compliance with the firm’s policies and to train firm personnel. The firm is required to file a Suspicious Activity Report for any transaction of more than $5,000 that appears question¬able. Anti-money-laundering rules require that all firms implement a customer identification program to ensure that the firm knows the true identity of their customers. All customers who open an account with the firm, as well as individuals with trading authority, are subject to this rule. The firm must ensure that its customers do not appear on any list of known or suspected terrorists. A firm’s anti-money-laundering program must be approved by senior management.

The money laundering process begins with the placement of the funds. This is when the money is deposited in an account with the broker dealer. The second step of the laundering process is known as layering. The layering process will consist of multiple deposits in amounts less than $10,000. The funds will often be drawn from different financial institutions; this is also known as structuring. The launderers will then purchase and sell securities in the account. The integration of the proceeds back into the banking system completes the process. At this point, the launderers may use the money to purchase goods and services and they appear to have come from legitimate sources. Firms must also identify the customers who open the account and must make sure that they are not conducting business with anyone on the OFAC list. This list is maintained by the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control. It consists of known and suspected terrorists, criminals, and members of pariah nations. Conducting business with anyone on this list is strictly prohibited. Registered representatives who aid the laundering of money are subject to prosecution and face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine per transaction. The representative does not even have to be involved in the scheme or even know about it to be prosecuted. FinCEN is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. FinCEN’s mission is to safeguard the financial system and guard against money laundering and promote national security. FinCEN collects receives and maintains financial transactions data; and analyzes and disseminates that data for law enforcement purposes; and building global cooperation with counterpart organizations in other countries and with international bodies. FinCenwill email a list of individuals and entities to a designated principal every few weeks. The principal is required to check the list against the firm,s customer list. If a match is found the firm must notify FinCen within 14 calendar days.

U.S. Accounts

Every member must obtain from U.S. customers:

  • A social security number/documentation number
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Place of business

Foreign Accounts

All non-U.S. customers must provide at least one of the following:

  • A passport number and country of issuance
  • An alien ID number
  • A U.S. tax ID number
  • A number from another from of government-issued ID and the name of the issuing country


A. Introduction: Customer Accounts

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