On January 8, 2018, FINRA published its 2018 Annual Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter. As we noted in our last blog post, FINRA announced in December 2017 that it would continue to make enforcement a priority in the coming year. This Letter can be useful in helping firms ensure compliance since it outlines regulatory issues that FINRA plans to prioritize in the coming year.
According to the Letter, fraud is perpetually a significant issue for FINRA. This past year, FINRA made numerous referrals to the Securities and Exchange Commission “for potential insider trading and other fraudulent activities involving individuals outside FINRA’s jurisdiction.” One area of fraud that FINRA intends to place particular focus on is microcap fraud schemes, especially schemes targeting senior investors. FINRA advises member firms that they should pay attention to their brokers’ activities involving microcap stocks, especially when the brokers show a newfound interest in purchasing microcap stocks for their accounts or for customers’ accounts. Continue reading