The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released a Regulatory Notice in May clarifying its new suitability rule, Rule 2111. The rule, which was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in November 2010, will be implemented on July 9, 2012. The Notice is intended to answer industry questions and provide guidance on the new rule.
According to FINRA, the new rule imposes the same obligations as the predecessor rule and related case law. It is intended to clarify and codify three main suitability obligations.
The first obligation is reasonable-basis suitability, which has two components: a broker must (1) perform reasonable diligence to understand the nature of the recommended security or investment strategy involving a security or securities, as well as the potential risks and rewards, and (2) determine whether the recommendation is suitable for at least some investors based on that understanding.
The second obligation is customer-specific suitability, in which the broker must have a reasonable basis to believe that a recommendation of a security or investment strategy is suitable for the particular customer based on the customer’s investment profile.
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