The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has decided to implement a number of regulatory changes designed to help firms and advisors whose business was affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Rules were altered on Thursday regarding office relocations, deadlines for regulatory filings, such as U4 forms, deadlines for continuing education, and new member applications.

“FINRA recognizes that members need relief from many regulatory requirements as a result of the dislocation caused by Hurricane Sandy,” the agency said.

Offices who were able to remain open through the storm were encouraged to partner with or take on displaced advisors who had to relocate their business. Moreover, the agency lifted the requirement to file a U4 form or new branch office application. Instead firms could send in a description of their relocated business to their regulatory coordinator as soon as possible.

Given the extensive and lasting power outages that resulted from the storm, FINRA will grant some extensions where appropriate to firms who were unable to send in regulatory filings or responses to regulatory inquiries. Firms who needed more time should contact their regulatory coordinator, the agency said.

Qualification examination and continuing education requirements were lifted for firms in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. Advisors whose had to have completed education requirements completed and updated between October 29 and November 9, 2012 now have until December 10th of this year.

In addition the firm said that it was unable to access its main membership office located in New York and as a result, new member applicants should contact Application Program staff to confirm the status of their paperwork submitted over the past week.

FINRA also notified employers to send in updates on advisors who may have been called up to help as with the National Guard or reserves and also to be sure that mechanisms are in place for clients who may be concerned about their accounts.

“Firms are encouraged to promptly place a notice on their websites indicating to affected customers who they may contact concerning their accounts, access to funds or securities,” FINRA said.

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