The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced in Regulatory Notice 15-50 that the Securities and Exchange commission approved amendments to FINRA Rule 2210 (Communications with the Public) that become effective June 6, 2016. The amendments require that each FINRA member firm’s website to include a readily apparent reference and hyperlink to BrokerCheck on:
- the initial Web page that the firm intends to be viewed by retail investors, and
- any other Web page that includes a professional profile of one or more registered persons who conduct business with retail investors.
A hyperlink to the BrokerCheck home page will satisfy the rule’s linking requirements; however, firms may elect to satisfy the requirements of the rule by using a “deep-link” to the firm or associated person’s individual BrokerCheck pages. FINRA notes that it is making BrokerCheck-related icons and similar resources available to member firms as one option for complying with the proposed rule. Member firms use of any such icons or similar resources would be subject to terms and conditions established by FINRA.
At this time, the rule does not require a member firm to include a readily apparent reference and hyperlink to BrokerCheck from communications appearing on a third-party website. Accordingly, the rule does not require a readily apparent reference and hyperlink to BrokerCheck from communications appearing on a social media site (e.g., Twitter or LinkedIn), nor does the rule require a readily apparent reference and hyperlink to BrokerCheck on each email or text message sent by a member firm or registered person to a retail investor.
FINRA views websites operated by registered representatives that promote the member’s business to be websites of the member firm for purposes of Rule 2210. FINRA, therefore, expects member firms to supervise such websites for compliance with Rule 2210. For example, if a registered representative includes a professional profile on a website that he or she operates and that promotes the member firm’s business, FINRA expects that the member firm will monitor any such Web page for compliance with the rule.
Finally, FINRA Rule 2210(d)(8)(B) specifically excepts from the rule’s requirements a member firm that does not provide products or services to retail investors; and a directory or list of registered persons limited to names and contact information.