DEFINITION of 'Registered Principal'

A licensed securities dealer who is also empowered to oversee operational, compliance, trading and sales operations and the personnel who staff them. Registered principals must have all the basic securities licenses required for the operation they oversee plus an additional principal license.

BREAKING DOWN 'Registered Principal'

Th Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the New York Stock Exchange, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and other regulatory agencies require that certain activities be approved by a registered principal of a securities firm. Sales and advertising literature must be approved by a principal prior to use, for example.

Individual firms often supplement the approval procedures with higher levels of supervisory responsibility. One of the most well-known types of registered principals includes registered options principals (Series 4 required).

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