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FINRA Rule 2242: New Implementation Date

February 22, 2016

FINRA has extended the implementation date of FINRA Rule 2242 (Debt Research Analysts and Debt Research Reports) from February 22, 2016, to April 22, 2016. See Regulatory Notice 15-31.

FINRA Rule 2242 is intended to foster objectivity and transparency in debt research and to provide investors with more reliable and useful information to make investment decisions. The rule adopts a tiered approach that, in general, provides retail debt research recipients with extensive protections similar to those provided to recipients of equity research under FINRA rules, with modifications to reflect differences in the trading of debt securities. At the same time, the rule provides broad exemptions for debt research distributed solely to eligible institutional investors.

FINRA Rule 2242 differs from the equity research rule in three key respects. First, it sets out prohibited and permissible communications between debt research analysts and principal trading and sales and trading personnel, taking into account the need to ration a debt research analyst’s resources among the multitude of debt securities, the limitations on price discovery in the debt markets, and the need for trading personnel to perform credit risk analyses with respect to current and prospective inventory. Second, as noted above, the rule exempts debt research provided solely to institutional investors from many of the structural protections and prescriptive disclosure requirements that apply to research reports distributed to retail investors, but adds a “health warning” requirement. Third, in addition to the exemption for limited investment banking activity found in the equity research rule, the rule also contains an exemption for limited principal trading activity from the review, supervision, budget and compensation provisions in the rule related to principal trading activity.




February 22, 2016
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