In February 2017, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (“FINRA”) published a Regulatory Notice asking for comment on proposed changes to FINRA Rule 2210, which governs communications with the public. Under current Rule 2210, broker-dealers are not allowed to make communications that “predict or project performance, imply that past performance will recur or make any exaggerated or unwarranted claim, opinion or forecast.” According to FINRA, the purpose of this rule is to prevent retail investors from relying on performance projections relating to individual investments, which tend to be deceptive.
However, FINRA has acknowledged that performance projections that are not based on how well an individual investment performed can be helpful to investors who are contemplating an investment strategy. Furthermore, investment advisers are permitted to use performance projections in choosing an investment strategy for their clients, provided that the projections do not violate the Investment Advisers Act of 1940’s antifraud rules. Therefore, FINRA proposed the amendments to Rule 2210 in order to allow broker-dealers to use projections in a way that benefits clients and to make the rules governing performance projections by broker-dealers and investment advisers more uniform. Continue reading