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Wall Street gets a break from FINRA on work-at-home traders

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Brokerages in the U.S. are getting a break from their main regulator as the spreading coronavirus poses major compliance headaches across Wall Street.

FINRA said Monday that it would give firms more flexibility in supervising employees working remotely and in relocating personnel to temporary locations. The industry-backed regulator also said it would consider granting extensions for firms that need more time to respond to inquiries, filing deadlines or investigations.

The guidance from FINRA is the latest move by regulators to deal with a mounting health crisis that’s also behind the steepest global markets selloff in more than a decade. U.S. stocks plunged more than 7.5% on Monday, triggering New York Stock Exchange circuit breakers en route to the worst trading day since 2008.

From travel bans to working remotely, here is how firms including Wells Fargo, Edelman, RBC and others are preparing for a possible pandemic.
March 3

In guidance posted on its website, FINRA said that banks might need to alter policies for supervising traders who are relocated to remote offices or working from home because of the spreading virus. The regulator said it would provide temporary “regulatory relief to member firms from some requirements.”

In addition to more flexibility for employees working remotely, FINRA also said:

  • Firms should consider the increased risk of cybersecurity issues, including making sure that virtual private networks are secure
  • It would suspend some requirements to update registration forms
  • Firms should review their business continuity plans
  • It would consider waiving any late fees incurred by a member firm based on particular circumstances
Bloomberg News