SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL CRD Number: 70

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SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES
MANUAL
Effective August 5, 2014
CRD Number: 70
Main Office Address:
51 Haddonfield Road
Suite 210
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
© Regulatory Compliance, LLC
Updated and Revised as of end of June 2014
SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I:
INTRODUCTION
PART II:
COMPLIANCE FUNCTIONS CHECKLIST
SECTION 1:
USE AND DISTRIBUTION OF MANUAL
SECTION 2:
SUPERVISORY PERSONNEL
2.1
Chief Compliance Officer
2.2
Executive Representative
2.3
Financial and Operations Principal
2.4
Assigned Areas of Supervision
2.5
Contact Information and CRD Account Administration
SECTION 3:
3.1
STANDARDS OF SUPERVISION
Supervisory System
3.1.1
3.2
Supervisory Control System
3.2.1
Review of Producing Managers
3.2.2
Testing & Verification
3.3
Supervision of Main Office Personnel
3.4
Trade Desk Supervision
3.5
Registration and Supervision of Branch, OSJ and Non-Branch Offices
3.6
3.5.1
Branch Office Supervision
3.5.2
OSJ Supervision
3.5.3
Non-Branch Office Supervision
Special Supervision
3.6.1
The Taping Rule
3.7
Supervision of Online Activities
3.8
Steps to Remedy Deficiencies
3.8.1
Termination
3.9
Registered Research Analyst Supervision – Not Applicable
3.10
Networking Arrangements with Financial Institutions – Not Applicable
3.11
Office Inspections
3.12
Annual Compliance and Supervisory Certification
SECTION 4:
4.1
LICENSING
Registered Representatives/Associated Persons
4.1.1
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Qualifications of Supervisory Personnel
Who is Required to be Registered
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4.1.2
Documentation
4.1.3
U4 and Other Disclosure Rules
4.1.4
State and Other Registrations
4.1.5
Dual Registration
4.1.6
Foreign Licensing
4.1.7
Transferring to the Company
4.1.8
Designated Supervisors
4.1.9
Special Representative/Supervision
4.1.10
Statutorily Disqualified Persons
4.1.11
Termination of Registration; Continuing Commissions
4.1.12
Active Duty Professionals
4.2
Investment Advisors (RR/RIAs)
4.3
Investment Advisor Representatives of Third Party Firms
SECTION 5:
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES
5.1
Daily Review of Customer Transactions and Accounts
5.2
Weekly Customer Account Supervision – Not Applicable
5.3
Monthly Customer Account Supervision – Not Applicable
5.4
Annual Reviews
5.5
Investigations of Questionable RR Activity and Disputed
or Unauthorized Transactions
5.6
Suitability Review
5.7
Payment/Funds Transmittals
5.8
Review of Personal Accounts
5.9
Annual Compliance Certification
5.10
Annual Compliance Meeting
5.11
Continuing Education
5.12
Business Continuity
5.13
Solicitation of Charitable Contribution by Fiduciaries
5.14
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
SECTION 6:
REGISTERED REPRESENTATIVE CONDUCT
6.1
Outside Business Activities and Private Securities Transactions (“Selling Away”)
6.2
Personal Accounts and Trading
6.3
Insider Trading and FIRM POLICY on Insider Trading
6.3.1
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In General
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6.3.2
FIRM POLICY on Insider Trading
6.3.3
“Chinese Wall” Requirements – Not Applicable
6.3.4
Restricted or Watch Lists – Not Applicable
6.3.5
Other Information Barriers – Not Applicable
6.3.6
Training and Updates
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
6.4
Foreign Licensing/Securities Business – Not Applicable
6.5
Commission/Fee Splitting and Referrals
6.6
Improper Use, Prohibited Guarantees and Sharing in Accounts
6.7
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Policy
6.8
Receipt of Non-Cash Compensation, Sales Incentives, Gifts and Gratuities
6.8.1
FINRA Rules on Non-Cash Compensation
6.8.2
Prospectus Disclosure of Cash Compensation
6.8.3
Gifts and Gratuities
6.8.4
Entertainment Expenses
6.8.5
Training and Education
6.8.6
Securities as Compensation in Offerings – Not Applicable
6.8.7
Payments to Affiliates – Not Applicable
6.8.8
Differential Compensation; Single Security Sales
Contests – Not Applicable
6.9
Improper Conduct
SECTION 7: CUSTOMER RELATIONS
7.1
Know Your Customer
7.2
Suitability
7.2.1
Sales to Seniors
7.2.2
Institutional Suitability
7.3
Fiduciary Duty
7.4
Documentation and Follow-Up
7.5
Address Changes and Mail Holds
7.6
Death
7.7
Telemarketing
7.8
Loans To and From Customers
7.9
Orders
7.10
Privacy of Customer Information
7.10.1
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Who is Protected?
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SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
7.10.2
What is Protected?
7.10.3
How Is It Protected?
7.10.4
Notice Requirements
7.10.5
Books and Records Requirement
7.10.6
Superseding Authorities/State Regulations
7.11
Forwarding Material Information
7.12
Investor Education
SECTION 8:
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
REPORTING REQUIREMENTS: CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS AND OTHER
DISCLOSURES
8.1
Customer Complaints
8.2
Disclosure Events and Other Reporting
8.3
Internal Conclusions of Violations
SECTION 9:
CUSTOMER ACCOUNTS, NEW ACCOUNTS, ACCOUNT TRANSFERS
9.1
New Account Form - General
9.2
New Account Information
9.3
Signature Guarantees
9.4
Discretionary Accounts; Unauthorized Trading
9.5
ACATS and Other Account Transfers
9.5.1
Bulk Transfers Using Negative Response Letters
9.6
Margin Accounts
9.7
Accounts of Registered Reps of Other Firms
9.8
Transactions Involving FINRA Employees
9.9
Obligations of Associated Persons Concerning an Account with
an Investment Adviser, Bank or Other Associated Financial Institution
9.10
“Household” Prospectus Delivery
9.11
Anti-Money Laundering, FCPA and FACT Act Compliance
9.12
9.11.1
AML/CIP and FCPA
9.11.2
FACT Act
Online Accounts and Approval
9.12.1
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Day Trading Account Approval
9.13
Investments of Liquefied Home Equity
9.14
Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements
9.15
IA-Managed Accounts
9.16
Negotiable Instruments
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SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
SECTION 10: TRANSACTIONS
10.1
Charges for Services
10.1.1 In General
10.1.2 Commissions, Fees and Mark-Ups/Downs Charged for Brokerage Services
10.2
Disclosures
10.3
Churning
10.4
Directed Brokerage – Not Applicable
10.5
Restrictions on IPO Transactions
10.6
Fictitious Accounts
10.7
“Soft Dollar” Arrangements – Not Applicable
10.8
“Parking” of Securities
10.9
“Microcap” Securities and Penny Stocks
10.10
The Recommendation Rule: OTC Equities – Not Applicable
10.11
Certificates of Deposit: Reinvestment of CD Proceeds
10.12
Illiquid Investments
10.13
Member Private Offerings – Not Applicable
10.14
Short Sales
10.15
Online Trading; Day Trading
10.16
Allocation of Orders from IAs – Not Applicable
10.17
Relationships with Foreign Broker-Dealers
SECTION 11: COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE PUBLIC
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11.1
Review, Approval and Recordkeeping
11.2
Content Standards and Guidelines
11.3
Filing with FINRA Advertising Review Department
11.4
Reminders and Certain Clarifications
11.5
Correspondence
11.5.1
Outgoing Correspondence
11.5.2
Electronic Correspondence/E-Mail
11.5.3
Incoming Correspondence
11.6
Research Reports – Not Applicable
11.7
Use of Electronic Media
11.7.1
General Guidelines
11.7.2
Hyperlinks
11.7.3
Protection of Information
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SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
11.7.4
Websites (Company and RR Maintained Sites)
11.7.5
Online Offering Materials
11.7.6
Interactive Forums/Social Networking Sites
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
SECTION 12: TRADE DESK
12.1
12.2
12.1.1
Indications of Interest
12.1.2
Erroneous Transactions
12.1.3
Market Access
Best Execution and Related Rules
12.2.1
Best Execution and Interpositioning/Order Routing
12.2.2
Related Requirements and Prohibitions
12.2.3
Regular and Rigorous Reviews
12.2.4
Best Execution for Large Orders
12.3
The Order Record
12.4
Order Processing
12.5
12.6
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Trading Systems and Risk Management
12.4.1
Order Adjustments
12.4.2
Fail to Deliver
12.4.3
Close-Out and Other UPC Requirements
Volatile Securities
12.5.1
Volatile Conditions
12.5.2
Disclosures to Customers
12.5.3
Market-Wide Trading Halts: Procedural Reminders
12.5.4
OTC Halts
12.5.5
Halts, Pauses and Circuit Breakers in NMS Stocks
12.5.6
Withdrawal of Quotes, per SEC Regulation M
12.5.7
New Issues
Margin Requirements
12.6.1
Initial and Maintenance Margin Requirements and Other Obligations
12.6.2
Risk Management
12.6.3
Day Trading Margin Requirements
12.6.4
Joint Back Office
12.6.5
Higher Margin Securities List
12.6.6
Disclosure
12.6.7
Margining Credit Default Swaps
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12.6.8
Portfolio Margin Methodology
12.7
Confirmations
12.8
Large Orders – Not Applicable
12.9
Solicited/Unsolicited Transactions
12.10
Trade Reporting
12.10.1
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Order Audit Trail System (OATS)
12.11
Proprietary Trading – Not Applicable
12.12
Payment for Order Flow – Not Applicable
12.13
Customer Online Trading Systems
12.14
Extended Hours Trading – Not Applicable
12.15
Alternative Trading Systems – Not Applicable
12.16 Market Center and Order Routing Reporting
12.17
Exception Reports
12.18
Mutual Fund Pricing/Late Trading – Not Applicable
12.19
Agency Securities Lending – Not Applicable
SECTION 13:
CUSTODY AND CLEARING
13.1
Customer Funds and Securities
13.2
Carrying and Clearing Arrangements
13.3
The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)
13.4
Fidelity Bond
13.5
NEP Surveillance – Not Applicable
13.6
Currency Transactions, “Travel Rule” and Blocked Accounts
SECTION 14:
INVESTMENT BANKING, PUBLIC & PRIVATE OFFERINGS, AND
RESALES – NOT SPPLICABLE
SECTION 15: PARTICULAR INVESTMENT PRODUCTS
15.1
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Mutual Funds
15.1.1
Communications with the Public
15.1.2
Suitability
15.1.3
Disclosure of Fees and Expenses
15.1.4
Sales Charges: Volume Discounts and NAV Sales
15.1.5
“Trails” and Other Contingent Deferred Charges
15.1.6
Repurchases and Redemptions
15.1.7
Switching
15.1.8
Change in BD of Record
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15.2
15.3
15.4
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15.1.9
Selling Dividends
15.1.10
Selling Compensation
15.1.11
Late Trading
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Variable Product
15.2.1
Product Identification
15.2.2
Suitability
15.2.3
Disclosures in Communications with the Public
15.2.4
Switching and Replacement
15.2.5
Change in BD of Record
15.2.6
Liquidity
15.2.7
Sales Charges; Promotional Payments
15.2.8
Contract Delivery
15.2.9
Training
15.2.10
Supervisory Review
15.2.11
Processing Customer Funds
Direct Participation Programs and Unlisted REITs
15.3.1
Prospectus and Disclosures
15.3.2
Suitability Requirements
15.3.3
Investor Representations and Warranties
15.3.4
Due Diligence Procedures
15.3.5
Rollups
15.3.6
Secondary Market Trading
15.3.7
Valuation of DPP/REIT Units for Reporting Purposes
15.3.8
Compensation in Public Offerings
15.3.9
Communications Concerning Real Estate Investment Programs
Municipal Securities
15.4.1
Sales and Trading Practices
15.4.2
Disclosure of Events
15.4.3
Municipal Underwriting – Not Applicable
15.4.4
Transaction Reporting
15.4.5
Books and Records
15.4.6
MSRB Rule G-37 (Contributions)
15.4.7
Administration: Contacts and Fees/Assessments; Changes
15.4.8
Prohibition on Payments to Non-affiliated Persons Soliciting Municipal
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SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Securities Business
15.4.9
Municipal Fund Securities (529 Plans)
15.4.10
Submissions to SHORT System – Not Applicable
15.4.11
Municipal Advisory Business
15.4.12
Institutional Customers
15.5
Options – Not Applicable
15.6
Fixed Income Securities
15.6.1
Government Securities
15.6.2
Corporate Bonds
15.6.3
MBS/CMOs – Not Applicable
15.6.4
Pricing
15.6.5
Sales and Trading Practices
15.6.6
Repurchase Agreements; Bonds Borrowed and Loaned
15.6.7
Prohibited Activities
15.6.8
Inside Information
15.6.9
TRACE Reporting
15.6.10
Long-Term or Brokered CD’s
15.7
Limited Partnerships/Hedge Funds – Not Applicable
15.8
Security Futures – Not Applicable
15.9
Complex and Non-Conventional Investments, Including Structured Products and
Derivatives
15.10
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15.9.1
Product Approval and Due Diligence
15.9.2
Customer Suitability and Fair Dealing
15.9.3
Promotional Materials
15.9.4
Registration and Training
15.9.5
Specific Product Considerations
Cash Alternatives
15.10.1
Due Diligence
15.10.2
Customer Suitability
15.10.3
Promotional Materials
15.10.4
Registration and Training
15.11
Retail Forex – Not Applicable
15.12
Private Equity Funds – Not Applicable
15.13
Secondary Market Transactions in Limited Partnerships – Not Applicable
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SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
SECTION 16: RECORD KEEPING AND REPORTING
16.1
Principal Responsibilities
16.1.1 Accounting Control and Supervision
16.2
Electronic Media
16.3
FinOp Responsibilities and Net Capital Requirements
16.3.1 Withdrawals of Equity Capital
16.3.2 Subordinated Loans and Other Financing
16.3.3 Expense Sharing Agreements
16.3.4 Deficits in Introduced Accounts
16.3.5 FINRA Financial Responsibility Rules Summary Chart
16.3.6 Funding and Liquidity Risk Management
16.4
Annual Financial Audit
16.5
Focus Reports
16.6
Reporting Required Under SEA Rule 17a-11
16.7
Customer Account Statements
16.7.1
Estimated Annual Income and Estimated Yield
16.7.2
Consolidated Reports
16.8
Record of Written Complaints
16.9
Telemarketing Records – Not Applicable
16.10
Customer Account Information
16.10.1
Account Record
16.10.2
Furnishing Account Record Information
16.10.3
Written Customer Agreements
16.11
FCPA Payment-Related Records and Reporting
16.12
Preparation of Required Records
16.12.1
Explanation of Records
16.13
Offices
16.14
Records Regarding Approval of Communications
16.15
Investigation Records and Submission of Trade Data
16.16
Records of Cash and Non-Cash Compensation
16.17
Preservation of Required Records
16.17.1Format of Primary Records Storage
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16.18
Municipal Securities Business
16.19
Investment Banking – Not Applicable
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16.20
Options Business – Not Applicable
16.21
RR/RIA Business
16.22
Cash or Currency Transactions
16.23
Security Futures Business – Not Applicable
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
SECTION 17: IA SUPERVISION
17.1
Supervision of Advisory Activities -- Where the Company or Its Affiliate
is a Registered IA
17.2
Supervision of Advisory Activities – Outside Business Activity
SECTION 18: MISCELLANEOUS
18.1
PART III:
Outsourcing
REGISTERED REPRESENTATIVE ASSIGNMENTS
When NASD was changed to FINRA in July 2007, all references to “NASD” in this manual were changed to “FINRA.”
FINRA is in the process of converting all old NASD Rules to FINRA Rules. As of the date of this manual, certain rules
are “NASD Rules” that have not yet been converted to “FINRA Rules.” This manual generally does not distinguish
between the two, but rather, refers to former NASD Rules as FINRA Rules or just “Rules”—except in two cases: 1)
when there is number duplication (where there is an old NASD Rule with the same number as a new FINRA Rule). In
this case, the old NASD Rule is referred to as a “NASD Rule”; and 2) when a rule has been adopted by FINRA as a
consolidated rule, the new FINRA Rule is referred to as a “Consolidated FINRA Rule.”
As rule
conversion/consolidation changes are announced, those rule number references are changed herein; eventually all
rules will be Consolidated FINRA Rules and the “Consolidated” prefix will be removed.
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BCG SECURITIES, INC.
PART I: INTRODUCTION
This Written Supervisory Procedures Manual (“Manual”) of BCG Securities, Inc. (“BCG” or the
“Company”) describes its established supervisory procedures and system required under Rule 3010. The
Company has established and maintains these supervisory procedures by taking into consideration, among
other things, the firm’s size, organizational structure, scope of business activities, number and location of
offices, the nature and complexity of products and services offered, the volume of business done, the
number of associated persons assigned to each location (and whether the location has a principal on-site or
is a non-branch location) and the disciplinary history of registered representatives or associated persons,
among other factors. The Company’s supervisory system is a result of the process by which it adopts
compliance policies and supervisory procedures reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable
securities laws and regulations and FINRA rules. Having this process, and requiring its designated top
business officer to certify annually with regard to its implementation, facilitates compliance with
Consolidated FINRA Rule 3130. In addition, the Company, in accordance with Rule 3012, has in place
supervisory control procedures to test and verify that its supervisory procedures are reasonably designed to
achieve compliance with applicable securities laws and regulations and FINRA rules. The Company,
pursuant to Rule 3012, is committed to amending or creating additional supervisory procedures when
required. Procedures designed to ensure compliance with Rules 3010, 3012 and Consolidated FINRA Rule
3130 are described throughout this Manual; the Rules are specifically referenced in Section 3. Personnel
should refer to Notice to Members (Notices) 04-71 and -79 for guidance or further clarification.
It is the obligation of the Company to supervise the activities of its registered and associated persons. Each
principal assigned supervisory responsibility (referred to throughout this Manual as the “designated
Principal”) has the obligation to ensure that the rules, regulations, and policies applicable to the business of
the Company are maintained and followed in the specifically designated areas of his/her supervisory
responsibility. This Manual is not to be construed as all-inclusive, but rather serves as a guide in conducting
the daily supervisory functions.
In the conduct of its operations, the Company strives to maintain high standards of commercial and ethical
conduct and just and equitable principles in its business dealings. The Company is dedicated to serving the
best interests of its clients while complying with regulatory requirements. In addition, in all of its filings
with FINRA, such as those regarding membership or registration, both the Company and its associated
persons are prohibited from filing incomplete or inaccurate information or from failing to correct any such
misleading information.
Anti-Money Laundering Compliance The Company’s AML compliance program is under separate cover.
All associated persons are directed to reference and abide by the procedures described therein. See Section
9.12.
Emergency Preparedness The Company’s “Business Continuity Plan” is under separate cover. All
Company personnel are encouraged to periodically review the Plan in order to be prepared for unforeseen
business disruptions. See Section 5.12.
Approved Business At this time, the Company conducts securities business in equities over-the-counter;
US government securities, municipal securities, mutual funds and variable insurance products. The
Company may also engage in sales of corporate debt securities, REITS, UITs, and TICs. Its clients consist
of individuals, accredited individuals and institutions. Should the Company’s ownership or control structure
change, or should the Company wish to change the nature of its securities business outside the scope of
approved business as described in its Membership Agreement, the CCO will ensure compliance with the
application and approval requirements detailed in NASD Rule 1017. The Company clears its brokerage
transactions through Pershing, LLC, its clearing firm.
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BCG SECURITIES, INC.
New Products This Manual includes procedures relating to the products and services offering by the
Company. Products substantially different from those described herein may not be offered or sold by
Registered Representatives without the pre-approval of the Company’s President. No new product may be
introduced to the marketplace before it has been thoroughly vetted from a regulatory as well as a business
perspective. To follow are guidelines Company personnel must follow in this regard.
Request All Company personnel who would like to offer products not currently offered by the
Company must request such to the above-named designated Principal.
Consider The designated Principal and/or his designees will first determine if a proposed product
should be considered “new” and therefore subject to further analysis. To determine what constitutes
a new product, including when a modification of an existing product is material enough to warrant
the same level of review as a new product, the following questions may be considered: Is the
product new to the marketplace or the firm? Is the firm proposing to sell a product to retail
investors that it has previously only sold to institutional investors? Will the product be offered by
Representatives who have not previously sold the product? Does the product involve material
modifications to an existing product, whether risk to the customer, product structure, or fees and
costs? Does the product require material operational, supervisory or system changes? Is the
product an existing product that is being offered in a new geographic region, in a new currency, or
to a new type of customer? Would the product involve a new or significant change in sales
practices? Does the product raise conflicts that have not previously been identified and addressed?
Is the product complex, and therefore difficult for customers to understand, thus raising customer
protection concerns?
Analyze Once a proposed product is determined to be “new” based on the answers to these
questions, the CCO and/or his designees must then attempt to clearly understand the ramifications of
offering such products. Questions relating to the characteristics of the product, suitability
considerations, sales and marketing issues, legal and compliance risks, training requirements and
operations/order systems capacity must be asked and answered in order for a full vetting of the
product. The Company may rely on the guidance offered in Notice 05-26 when undertaking this
product analysis and may use the form entitled, “New Product Approval” in order to prompt
valuable questions during the vetting process.
For products that are considered complex, the designated Principal should review FINRA’s
guidance provided in Notice 12-03 when analyzing the request for approval. The Section herein on
non-conventional investments includes reminders about analysis of complex products and the
Company’s compliance obligations in that context.
The designated Principal must ensure that records of new product requests, consideration, vetting
and approval are maintained in dedicated files. Issues to consider should include: customer
complaints; additional training needs; adherence to compliance parameters; suitability; and ongoing
effectiveness of any imposed limitations or conditions. Corrective action should be taken when
deemed necessary.
The designated compliance staff will ensure that no new product is introduced to the marketplace
before it has been thoroughly vetted from a regulatory as well as a business perspective. The
President will have final authority to approve new products; no products without this approval may
be offered by Company Representatives.
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SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
PART II: COMPLIANCE FUNCTIONS CHECKLIST
Below is a summary of the compliance functions within the Company and the persons responsible for
overseeing these functions. This summary should be consulted for reference to the supervisory oversight in
place with respect to a particular activity or function.
Each section of this Manual has a Supervisory Procedures Checkbox, designating “Who, What, When and
How.” For each section, there is also a cross reference to the applicable FINRA Rule. The letters “WSP”
denote the term “Written Supervisory Procedures” throughout this Manual.
SECTION 1: USE AND DISTRIBUTION OF THIS MANUAL
This Manual is intended to be a set of specific supervisory directives, which shall be kept available
for all Main Office and branch office supervisory personnel for day-to-day reference. Familiarity
with this Manual is intended to reduce errors, avoid losses and save time.
Registered Representatives are also required to have a copy of this Manual (or access to it) at all
times and to be familiar with its content.
It should be noted that this Manual includes only those rules, regulations and policies that are
considered to be most applicable to supervision of the day-to-day activities of the Company’s
Registered Representatives and other associated persons. It is not all-inclusive of the laws and
regulations with which the Company and its associated persons must comply. In order to be
specifically familiar with the many rules and regulations affecting registered and non-registered
personnel, Company personnel are encouraged to visit FINRA's Website (www.finra.org),
especially the "Registered Representative" page.
The most important rules and regulations that govern securities activity are the Securities Act of
1933, as amended, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, the Investment Advisors Act
of 1940, as amended, FINRA and NASD Rules, MSRB Rules and equivalent state laws. These
statutes, rules and regulations are complex and all Registered Representatives and associated
persons are advised to consult the Chief Compliance Officer or the Company’s legal counsel for
further clarification.
This Manual will be reviewed no less often than annually and any significant changes to SEC,
FINRA, state laws, regulations and rules or Company policies will be reflected. This Manual is the
exclusive property of the Company and, as such, its contents are confidential, and should not be
revealed to any third party without the express written consent of the Company.
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BCG SECURITIES, INC.
SECTION 2: SUPERVISORY PERSONNEL
The Company is committed to substantial and purposeful interaction between its associated persons
and its compliance staff. The following sub-sections describe the compliance staff appointed by the
Company to conduct daily oversight of business activities for the purpose of verifying compliance
with all applicable securities laws and regulations and FINRA rules. The designated top business
officer of the Company, Robert Paglione, CEO, is required to meet with the designated Chief
Compliance Officer in order to be apprised of compliance issues, progress and problems, if any, and
will certify annually as to the Company’s compliance processes. This interaction and required
certification is described in Section 3, below, and is a significant factor in evidencing the
Company’s commitment to developing and maintaining a firm-wide sense of shared responsibility
and a culture of compliance.
2.1
Chief Compliance Officer
The Company has designated Adam Paglione as the CCO on its Form BD. The CCO is
responsible for establishing, maintaining, and enforcing the Company’s Supervisory Control
System. In general, the CCO must attempt to ensure that the compliance and supervisory
procedures are up-to-date, effective, and followed by all respective Company personnel. By
implementing required testing of the Supervisory System, the CCO will be able to verify
adherence to procedures and promptly rectify lapses in compliance.
Chief Compliance Officer: Adam Paglione, President
Principal’s registrations and effective dates of designation (i.e., test dates):
Series 24 – 09/13/2004; Series 28 – 11/01/2006
Location: Main office
2.2
Executive Representative
Pursuant to FINRA requirements, the Company must designate an Executive Representative
to whom official FINRA notifications will be sent and who will have responsibility within
the Company for notifying applicable personnel. If the Executive Representative or their
contact information is changed, the Company must notify FINRA promptly of the change
by updating the contact information through FINRA’s Contact System and in applicable
areas in CRD, including Firm Notifications. See “Contact Information and CRD Account
Administration” section below.
Executive Representative: Robert Paglione, CEO
Principal’s registrations and effective dates of designation (i.e., test dates):
Series 24 – 06/24/1994
Location: Main office
2.3
Financial and Operations Principal
The Financial Principal has overall responsibility for the systems of financial control and
reporting for the firm, under Code of Conduct Rule 1022 (b) or (c).
Financial and Operations Principal: Joseph Solimeo, CFO
Principal’s registrations and effective dates of designation (i.e., test dates):
Series 28 – 03/30/2007
Location: Main office
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Accounting Supervision: The Company has designated primary and supervisory
responsibility over its general ledger accounts as required under Consolidated FINRA Rule
4523. See the dedicated section, below, describing this requirement and the designated
persons.
2.4
Assigned Areas of Supervision
BCG designates the following appropriately registered Principal(s) with authority to carry
out the specified supervisory responsibilities of the Company, as required by Rule
3010(b)(2). Also designated in this table are the names of the principals responsible for
establishing policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with regulations relating
to each listed area of supervision. See below for Main Office/branch office supervisory
personnel.
Area of Supervision or
Title (alphabetical)
AML Compliance
Supervisor (see AML
program)
Business Continuity Plan
(Approval and annual
review)
Cash Alternatives
Continuing Education
Corporate Debt
Correspondence
Correspondence—E-mail
Reviewer
Customer Account
Statements
Customer Complaints
Discretionary Accounts
Equities (Listed/OTC)
Equity-Indexed Annuities
(EIAs)
Exchange-Traded Funds
Financial Reporting (see
above)
Government Securities
Adam Paglione
Main office
Principal Who
Designed/
Established
Procedures
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Joseph Englert
Main office
Main office
Main office
Main office
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Main office
Main office
Main office
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Joseph Solimeo
Main office
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Joseph Englert
Main office
Adam Paglione
High Yield Investments
Investment Advisory
Activities of RIAs; IARs
Licensing and Registration
(form filings)
Margin Accounts
Municipal, Municipal
Advisory and/or 529 Plan
business
Mutual Funds
OATS Principal (OR
supervisor of NASDAQ
activity)
Online Transactions
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Main office
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Joseph Englert
Main office
Adam Paglione
Joseph Englert
Joseph Englert
Main office
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Main office
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Main office
Adam Paglione
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Supervising
Principal’s Name
Location of
Principal
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Outside Business Activities
and Private Securities
Transactions --Reviewer
Outsourced Functions
Penny
Stocks/Microcap
Securities
Personal Accounts—
Reviewer
Privacy Notices
Private Placements
REITS, UITS, Applicationway LPs
Adam Paglione
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Main office
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Main office
Main office
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Retail Communications
Signature Guarantees
Soft Dollar Arrangements
Special Supervision
Statutorily Disqualified
Persons
Trade Desk Supervisor
Adam Paglione
Joseph Englert
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Main office
Main office
Main office
Main office
Main office
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Adam Paglione
Joseph Englert
Main office
Adam Paglione
Variable Products
Adam Paglione
Main office
Adam Paglione
2.5
Contact Information and CRD Account Administration
Contacts: The CCO will ensure that personnel have been designated to maintain current
contact information on the FINRA Contact System (FCS). In accordance with Rule 1160, the
Company must report to FINRA all required contact information via FCS and must update its
required contact information not later than 30 days following any change in such information.
The Company will respond to FINRA requests for information not later than 15 days
following any such request or within a different time frame, if specified by FINRA staff. The
CCO or his designee may conduct periodic spot checks of FCS to verify that Company
personnel are meeting these requirements.
CRD Account Administration: The Company makes use of FINRA’s online systems and
applications, such as CRD, eFOCUS, Report Center, Regulation Filings, and WebIR (among
others), to comply with required administration as a FINRA member. The Company has
appointed a Super Account Administrator (SAA), who has the authority to grant or deny
entitlements to account administrators and users. The SAA must be an employee or registered
person. The Company’s current SAA is Adam Paglione. Unless the SAA is the sole user on
CRD, he or she will review user accounts annually, during a certification period designated by
FINRA, to verify or revise their continued entitlements and privileges. The CCO will ensure
that the Company complies with FINRA’s requirements for designation of an SAA and
periodic online certification of AA’s and users.
SECTION 3: STANDARDS OF SUPERVISION
3.1
Supervisory System
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
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Chief Compliance Officer
And respective designated Principals and Branch Office Managers overseeing
RR’s, named throughout this Manual
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SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Annual;
Ongoing, in accordance with established procedures.
Upon hiring supervisory personnel.
RR oversight; reviews of business activity, customer account reviews, etc. (as
detailed throughout this WSP); Employment/experience review
This Manual
Account activity approvals;
File records of reviews conducted.
Rules 1022, 3010, Notices 99-45,04-54, 04-71; 05-08; Rule 1014(a)(10)(D),
MSRB Notice 2010-60
This Manual sets forth written procedures by which the Company intends to supervise its
activities. In addition, it describes the Supervisory System in place to oversee the
implementation of the procedures.
This Manual is required under Rule 3010(b)(1), whereby the Company must establish,
maintain, and enforce written procedures to supervise the types of business in which it
engages and to supervise the activities of registered representatives and associated persons
that are reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable securities laws and
regulations, and with the applicable FINRA rules.
The Company’s Supervisory System has the following general components:
• Designation of responsible supervisory personnel (see below)
• Description of review process
• Documentation of reviews
• Specified frequency of reviews
• Monitoring performance of automated compliance systems
• Monitoring effectiveness of supervisory personnel
• Monitoring adequacy of outside service bureau compliance
• Description of steps to remedy deficiencies
• Procedure updates to reflect rule changes
• Retaining records of past procedures
In accordance with FINRA Rules, each Registered Representative (RR) of the Company is
assigned to appropriately Registered Representatives(s) and/or Principals of the Company
who shall be responsible for supervising that person's activities.
The Chief Compliance Officer oversees implementation the following procedures, among
others described in this Manual:
• Providing all registered personnel with a current copy of (or access to) this
Manual;
• Distribution of revised Manual and other material procedural changes to all RR’s
and associated persons;
• Periodic review of the compliance of registered personnel with the supervisory
procedures;
• Registering all branch offices (as defined) with FINRA via Form BR;
• Registering the Company in states when required to do so under respective state
statutes; ensuring necessary state registrations if offering online trading accounts
to customer;
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•
•
•
•
•
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Registering with exchanges and other SRO’s when required, based on business
activities;
Filing required Form BDW and amendments to Form BD and Form BR within 30
days of changes requiring FINRA notification;
Ensuring proper licensing of all sales personnel in the jurisdictions where
required;
Ensuring enforcement of supervisory responsibilities outlined in the “IA
Supervision” section of this Manual; and
Periodic review of the adequacy and timeliness of the Company’s required SEC,
FINRA or state Blue Sky filings.
The Company conducts a review, at least annually, of the businesses in which it engages,
which is designed to detect and prevent violations of, and achieve compliance with,
applicable securities laws and regulations and with applicable FINRA Rules. The
Company’s Supervisory Control System, described below, is designed to ensure and further
enhance compliance by spreading responsibility to the senior management level. The
Company reviews the activities of each office, as applicable, including periodic
examinations of customer accounts to detect and prevent irregularities or abuses. Offices
are inspected as described below in the sub-sections concerning Office Inspections and
branch, OSJ and non-branch office supervision.
Some of the Company’s activities may place it in the category of “municipal advisor” as
defined in Exchange Act §15B(e)(4). Should the Company begin to conduct any activities
that would deem it a municipal advisor, the Licensing and Registration Principal will ensure
proper registration as such with both the SEC and MSRB; the CCO will ensure that
procedures for supervision of this activity are included herein. (In summary, the Company is
deemed a municipal advisor if it solicits to a municipal entity or provides advice to or on
behalf of a municipal entity with respect to municipal derivatives, guaranteed investment
contracts, and investment strategies or the issuance of municipal securities, including advice
with respect to the structure, timing, terms, and other similar matters concerning such
financial products or issues.)
If the Company is currently acting as a municipal advisor, see related procedures in the
“Municipal Securities” section herein.
3.1.1
Qualifications of Supervisory Personnel
Notice 99-45 reminds members that paragraph (a)(6) of the Rule 3010 sets the
standard for determining the qualifications of supervisors. The Rule requires that
members make reasonable efforts to determine that all supervisory personnel are
qualified to fulfill their assigned responsibilities. At a minimum, the supervisor
must be properly licensed to conduct the assigned responsibilities as outlined in
Rule 1022. However, passing the appropriate licensing examination does not, in
and of itself, qualify a supervisor.
When designating supervisory personnel and responsibilities, the Company shall
ensure that each Principal shall have proper licensing and employment
qualifications. The Chief Compliance Officer is responsible for hiring or
appointing designated supervisors. In doing so, this individual should determine
that supervisors understand and can effectively conduct their requisite
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responsibilities. In this regard, the designated Principal should consider the
experience the supervisor possesses to determine whether the individual is qualified
by experience or that it is necessary to arrange training to ensure the person is
qualified to supervise.
3.2
Supervisory Control System
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Chief Compliance Officer
Other designated supervisors or otherwise independent supervisors
Designated Top Business Officer: CEO
Ongoing and annual
Review and testing of producing branch managers’ customer account activity.
Oversight of supervisory systems; reporting inadequacies; remedying problems;
creating new procedures when required.
Heightened supervision of producing managers when required
Meetings between designated top business officer and CCO
Annual report to senior management.
Annual Certification by designated top business officer
Rule 3012 and Consolidated FINRA Rule 3130; Notices 04-71, -79, 05-08, -29,
-75; 06-04, 08-57, 11-54
Comments:
The Company’s Supervisory System, as outlined in this Manual, is summarized in Section
3.1, above. It is important that the Company have a system by which its Supervisory
System is monitored for success—that is, to have a system of supervisory control policies
and procedures. The Company has designated its Chief Compliance Officer to establish,
maintain, and enforce this Supervisory Control System. The system’s procedures have been
designed to:
• test and verify that the Company’s supervisory procedures are reasonably
designed to achieve compliance with applicable securities laws and regulations
and with applicable FINRA rules (with respect to its activities and those of its
registered representatives and associated persons) and
• create additional or amend supervisory procedures where the need is identified by
such testing and verification.
Generally, this testing and verification occurs by virtue of the CCO’s oversight of the
Company’s securities business. His or her interaction with registered persons, principals,
supervisors and staff while they comply with the requirements described throughout this
Manual provides on-going evidence of the effectiveness of the Company’s procedures. The
results of all the various and specific review and approval policies described herein
contribute to the CCO’s sense of satisfaction or disappointment with these procedures. In
addition to this cumulative and substantive evaluation process, testing and verification will
also specifically be implemented by the Company when: complying with the Office
Inspection requirements described in this Section 3; overseeing the Review of Producing
Managers described immediately below; completing and/or reviewing the annual “needs
assessment” under Continuing Education requirements; and, if the Company chooses,
conducting the analysis (series of steps) outlined by FINRA in its guidance provided in
Notice 05-29. Lastly, the CCO, or principal designated above, will submit a summary
report, annually or more frequently if desired, to the Company’s senior management. This
report will include:
• A description of the Company’s system of supervisory controls (i.e., a current
copy of this Manual),
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•
•
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
A summary of the test results and significant identified exceptions (i.e., an
assessment of the effectiveness of the Company’s supervisory system—whether
adequate or inadequate to meet regulatory requirements, and
Any additional or amended supervisory procedures created in response to the test
results or in response to changes in securities regulation.
3.2.1
Review of Producing Managers
The Company, under Rule 3012, is required to review and supervise customer
account activity conducted by its Branch Office Managers, sales managers, regional
or district sales managers, or any person performing a similar supervisory function
(all are referred to as “Producing Managers”). Producing Managers are supervisors
of any kind (such as President of the Company) who conduct any amount of
customer activity, no matter how limited (for instance, their family’s and friends’
accounts).
Designated Supervisors A person (not necessarily a registered principal) who is
senior to the Producing Managers must perform day-to-day supervision of their
customer account activity. This senior person must not:
o Report to the Producing Manager;
o Have compensation determined in whole or part by the Producing
Manager; or
o Be subordinate to the Producing Manager (in the same chain of
authority).
This senior supervisor must have the authority to oversee, direct or correct the
activities of the Producing Manager, and take all necessary remedial actions,
including termination, if and when necessary.
Instead of relying on seniority, the Company may choose to (or has to, due to
staffing limitations) rely on an “otherwise independent” person to conduct these
day-to-day reviews. Such otherwise independent person need not be a registered
principal and:
• Must not report to the Producing Manager under review;
• Must be situated in a different office than the Producing Manager;
• Must not have supervisory responsibility over the activity being reviewed
(including not being directly compensated based in whole or in part on
the revenues accruing for those activities); and
• Must alternate such review responsibility with another qualified person
every two years or less.
If the Company’s size and resources are so limited that it cannot appoint personnel
meeting all these requirements, it will have to rely on a knowledgeable principal
under the “limited size and resources” exception (referenced below, if applicable).
When relying on this exception, if the Company has personnel meeting most, but
not all, of the “otherwise independent” requirements, such as the alternation of
duties, the Company should still appoint such personnel instead of a knowledgeable
principal who does not meet the “otherwise independent” requirements. If relying
on this exception, the Executive Representative must notify FINRA electronically
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within 30 days of such reliance, and annually thereafter (by the anniversary date of
the first notification).
If the firm no longer qualifies for, or needs to rely upon the exception in the future,
it will notify FINRA electronically within 30 days of the date that it ceased reliance
upon the exception. If the firm subsequently determines it must again renew its
reliance on the Limited Size and Resources exception, it will electronically notify
FINRA within 30 days of its renewed reliance on the exception.
The following table indicates the Company’s Producing Managers and the persons
designated to review and supervise their customer account activity. These
designated supervisors have been selected because they meet the requirements
above for either seniority or independence—or they are knowledgeable Principals
meeting the requirements under the “limited size and resource” exception
(described below, if applicable).
Name and Title of
Producing
Manager
Jonathan Reardon,
Nat’l Sale Mgr.
Location of
Producing
Manager
Main office
Name and Title of
Supervisor
Designated to
Conduct Day-toDay Oversight of
Producing
Manager’s
Account Activity
CCO
Category of
Supervisor:
Senior (Sr.),
Otherwise
Independent
(Indep.)
OR
Knowledgeable
Principal per Size
& Resource
Exception (KP)
Senior
Is Manager
Subject to
Heightened
Procedures?
(Y/N)
No
Supervisory Review Procedures: Review and supervision of customer account
activity by Producing Managers will be conducted in accordance with the
supervisory procedures described throughout this Manual. Procedures in the
Manual describing, for instance, new account approval, daily transactions reviews,
suitability reviews, trading activity reviews, etc., apply to the activity conducted by
Producing Managers, as well. The supervisors designated to oversee the day-to-day
activity of these Managers must follow all applicable review procedures outlined
herein. In each Summary Supervisory Table, “Name of Supervisor” indicates those
individuals charged with implementing the procedures described in the respective
section. If a Producing Manager conducts activities described in such section, that
Manager’s designated supervisor (see table above) will be required to review and
supervise the activities as described in the related procedures. This Section 3.2 does
not include all required review and supervision requirements expected of Producing
Managers’ supervisors.
Heightened Procedures: Heightened review procedures will be implemented
when deemed necessary to avoid conflicts of interest that serve to undermine
complete and effective inspection because of the economic, commercial, or
financial interests that the Producing Manager’s supervisor holds in the associated
persons and businesses being inspected. Heightened review procedures are required
when the activities of a Producing Manager (or his or her office) generate at least
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20% of the revenue of the business units supervised by his or her supervisor-irrespective of the Company’s internal allocation of such revenue. When deciding
to implement heightened procedures, the Producing Manager’s supervisor will
calculate the 20% threshold on a rolling, twelve-month basis.
Designated compliance staff will apply one or more of the following heightened
review procedures when deemed necessary:
• unannounced supervisory reviews,
• increased number of reviews by different reviewers within a certain time
period,
• a broader scope of activities reviewed, and
• having one or more principals approve the supervisory reviews of the
Producing Managers.
The table above indicates those Producing Managers that are generally subject to
such procedures. Specific heightened procedures relative to each Producing
Manager are located in the registration file for the applicable registered person.
3.3
Supervision of Main Office Personnel
The Main Office is an OSJ and therefore personnel and activities will be supervised in
accordance with applicable procedures as described throughout this Manual.
3.4
Trade Desk Supervision
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Trade Desk Supervisor
How Conducted:
Personal Supervision, Approvals
How Documented:
Firm Trade Desk Records
3010 Checklist:
3010(a)2
Continuous; on a daily basis
Comments:
The Trade Desk Supervisor is responsible for administering Company supervisory
procedures applicable to the Trade Desk, including reviews or administration of the
following:
• Trade execution (issuing approval);
• The Company's order processing system;
• Clearance and settlement systems;
• Confirmations;
• Trade Desk accounting and recordkeeping;
• Exception reports, internal and from clearing firm (see Sections 12.18 and 13.2); and/or
• Systems for compliance review of Trade Desk Personnel.
Although the Company clears its transactions through its clearing firm, the Trade Desk
Supervisor is responsible for conducting thorough reviews of all aspects of its trading
activities.
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3.5
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Registration and Supervision of Branch, OSJ and Non-Branch Offices
“Branch office,” as defined under the Uniform Definition, is any location where one or
more associated persons of the Company regularly conducts the business of effecting any
transactions in, or inducing or attempting to induce the purchase or sale of, any security, or
that is held out as such.
The Licensing and Registration Principal is responsible to ensure disclosure via WebCRD
of all required branch office information on Form BR, including, but not limited to: general
Company information, supervisors and other persons in charge, branch registration category
and type of office, types of business activities conducted, office DBAs, websites other than
the main one, expense and space sharing arrangements, CRD number of all registered
persons working from each office and certain NYSE branch information, if applicable. This
Principal or other approved signatory of the Company must sign all Form BR filings.
Branch offices may be “supervisory” or “non-supervisory” offices. A supervisory branch
is a location that is responsible for supervising the activities of associated persons at nonbranch offices (not requiring registration—see below). A non-supervisory branch is a
location requiring registration, but not supervising other RR activity at other office
locations. Each branch office must be inspected either annually (supervisory branches) or no
less frequently than every three years (non-supervisory branches).
If the Company operates or will operate one or more branch offices or OSJs, the CCO will
designate one or more appropriately Registered Representatives (for branch offices) or
Principals (required for OSJs and, in some states, branch offices) in each such office with
authority to carry out the supervisory and review responsibilities assigned to that office by
the Company and under the direction of either an appointed supervisor or the Company’s
compliance department. Branch offices and OSJs must be registered with FINRA via Form
BR. The CCO will ensure that each Branch Office Manager assigned to a branch office or
OSJ is appropriately qualified to supervise the activities conducted or supervised from that
office. Refer to Sections 2.5, above, and the sub-sections to follow for detailed information
on supervisory personnel and their responsibilities (if applicable).
A “non-branch office” is a location from which the Company may conduct securities
business, but that is exempt from registration as described under Rule 3010(g)(2)(A). To
follow is a description of the types of offices exempt from registration and the conditions
that must be met:
(1) A non-sales location/back office. No sales activities may take place from such a location
and the office must not be held out to the public as a branch office;
(2) A Representative’s primary residence, provided:
o Only the RR and his immediate family members who live with him/her (and who
are associated persons) work from the residence;
o The location may not be held out as an office;
o The associated person may not meet with customers at the location;
o Neither customer funds nor securities may be handled at the location;
o The associated person is assigned to a designated branch office, which is reflected
on all business cards, stationery, advertisements and other communications to the
public;
o All communications with the public must be subject to the supervisory procedures
described herein;
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Electronic communications must be transmitted through the Company’s
electronic system;
o All orders must be entered through the designated branch office or through an
electronic system established by the Company that is reviewable at such branch
office; and
o This Manual describes supervision of sales activities conducted at the location.
(3) A location, other than the primary residence (such as a vacation or second home), that is
used for fewer than 30 business days annually for securities business, is not held out to the
public as an office, and which satisfies the conditions described above in the primary
residence exception; “business day” does not include any partial business day, as long as the
associated person spends at least four hours on such day at his or her designated branch
office during the hours that such office is normally open for business;
(4) An ‘office of convenience,’ where an associated person occasionally and exclusively by
appointment meets with customers, provided it is not held out to the public as an office. An
associated person may not establish regular business hours at such location or hold out the
location in any way (except for signage required at banks as described in the “Networking
Arrangements with Financial Institutions” section below). Final approval and execution of
transactions must be done through the branch office;
(5) A location where associated persons are primarily engaged in non-securities activities
(e.g., insurance sales) and from which an associated person effects no more than 25
securities transactions in a calendar year. All advertisements and sales literature, including
business cards, identifying the location must also include the locations from which the
associated person or persons are directly supervised. All securities transactions originating
from such locations must be entered through, and supervised by, the associated person’s
designated branch office. Once the 25 securities transaction threshold is exceeded, the
Company will have 30 calendar days in which to register the location as a branch office;
(6) The floor of a registered national securities exchange from which the Company conducts
a direct access business with public customers; and
(7) A temporary location established in response to the implementation of a business
continuity plan.
o
The CCO or other designated Principal must determine if any of the Company’s offices are
exempt from registration. Continuing adherence to all applicable exemption criteria is
expected and is further described below in the section dedicated to supervision of nonbranch offices. The Company’s Main Office is technically a “branch office” because it
meets the Uniform Definition of branch office. It is therefore subject to all related
requirements re: registration, supervision, inspection, recordkeeping. The Main Office is an
OSJ—see the dedicated section below.
3.5.1
Branch Office Supervision
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
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See Section 3.5 for names of Branch Office Managers, Branch Office
Managers’ Supervisors, if any, and Office Inspectors.
Branch Office Manager--Continuous; on a daily basis
Office Inspector:--as per cycle described in Section 3.5 (annually for
supervisory branches; at least every 3 years for non-supervisory
branches) and randomly, in unannounced visits, if deemed necessary.
Review of office procedures, trade execution, personal trades,
communications with customers, etc.
Personal Visits by designated supervisor, if any, and inspector:
scheduled and unscheduled, if deemed necessary.
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How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Customer account records; correspondence reviews, office visit
records; Inspection reports and other documents relating to
unscheduled visits, if any.
3010(a)4,(b),(c)
The Company operates from and has registered certain branch offices. The
Company has appointed a Branch Office Manager to each registered branch. This
Branch Office Manager (or “Branch Manager”) may or may not be a registered
Principal. Each Branch Manager is supervised by the individual named in the table
Section 3.5 or by the Company’s compliance department.
Company personnel, as described herein, are required to:
• Provide appropriate qualification and training for Branch Office Managers;
• Conduct day-to-day reviews of the securities business conducted by the
Branch Office Manager, if s/he is a producing manager;
• Establish, if required, a set of written procedures applicable to the operation
of each branch;
• Establish and implement an inspection cycle and procedures designed to
review the activities of each office and customer accounts to detect and
prevent irregularities or abuses (designated personnel must annually inspect
“supervisory branches”--those branch offices that supervise non-branch
offices; non-supervisory branches must be inspected at least once every three
years);
• Make periodic unscheduled visits, if deemed necessary; and
• Produce written inspection reports meeting the requirements of Rule
3010(c)(2).
See “Office Inspections,” below, for details on some of these responsibilities.
The Branch Office Manager for each branch will perform the following function,
unless such functions are otherwise assigned herein:
• Implement branch supervisory procedures;
• Periodically review all personal accounts and personal trading of RR’s, if so
designated;
• Review Registered Representative transactions in customer accounts;
• Supervise compliance with Section 3040 FINRA Conduct Rules (“Selling
Away”); and
• Supervise compliance with Consolidated FINRA Rule 3220 (Influencing or
Rewarding Employees of Others).
Please refer to Part III for specific assignments of Registered Representatives to
Principals or other Representatives for supervision.
3.5.2
OSJ Supervision
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
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See Section 3.5 for names of Branch Office Managers, Branch Office
Managers’ Supervisors, if any, and Office Inspectors.
Branch Office Manager--Continuous; on a daily basis
Office Inspector:--as per cycle described in Section 3.5 (but no less
frequently than annually) and randomly, in unannounced visits, if
deemed necessary.
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How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
T
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Review of office procedures, trade execution, personal trades,
communications with customers, etc; Approval records (orders,
blotters, new account forms) for OSJ and supervised offices.
Personal Visits by designated supervisor, if any, and inspector:
scheduled and unscheduled, if deemed necessary.
Customer account records; correspondence reviews, office visit
records; Order, trade and new account approval; supervision of other
branch offices, if applicable; Inspection reports and other documents
relating to unscheduled visits, if any.
3010(a)4,(b),(c)
The Company’s Main Office is a registered “Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction”
(“OSJ”). The Company has also registered certain of its branch offices as OSJs due
to the functions taking place at those offices, as described above (see Section 3.5,
above, for a list of all registered OSJ’s).
For each OSJ, the Company is required to:
• Provide appropriate qualification and training for the Manager in charge of
the office (must be a licensed principal);
• Conduct day-to-day reviews of the securities business conducted by the OSJ
Branch Office Manager, if s/he is a producing manager;
• Establish in an OSJ manual or similar document a set of written procedures
applicable to the operation of the OSJ (this Manual serves that purpose);
• Establish and implement an inspection cycle and procedures designed to
review the activities of each OSJ and customer accounts to detect and prevent
irregularities or abuses (designated personnel must, at least, annually inspect
OSJs);
• Make periodic unscheduled visits, if deemed necessary;
• Maintain customer complaint records relating to the OSJ or any office
supervised by the OSJ in accordance with Consolidated FINRA Rule 4513 or
promptly make them available upon examiner request; and
See “Office Inspections,” below, for details on some of these responsibilities. The
inspection cycle for each OSJ is provided in the table in Section 3.5.
The Branch Office Manager for each OSJ will perform the following supervisory
functions, unless such functions are otherwise assigned herein:
• Implement OSJ supervisory procedures;
•
• Review and approve any of the following, if carried out at the OSJ:
o Order execution and/or market making;
o Structuring of public offerings or private placements;
o Handling of customer funds and/or securities;
o Final acceptance (approval) of new accounts on behalf of the
Company
o Customer orders, within certain restrictions;
o Retail communications for use by persons associated with the
Company, within certain restrictions;
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Activities associated with the Company at one or more designated
branch offices of the Company; and
o All personal accounts and personal trading, if so designated;
Review Registered Representative transactions in customer accounts;
Review and approve communications with the public, including
correspondence and institutional communications;
Supervise compliance with Section 3040 FINRA Conduct Rules (“Selling
Away”); and
Supervise compliance with Consolidated FINRA Rule 3220 (Influencing or
Rewarding Employees of Others).
o
•
•
•
•
Please refer to Part III for specific assignments of Registered Representatives to
Principals for supervision.
3.5.3
Non-Branch Office Supervision
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
See Section 3.5 for designated overseeing Branch Offices and/or
Branch Office Managers and Office Inspectors.
Branch Office Manager—business activity reviews when required
Office Inspector:--as per cycle described in Section 3.5.
Review of office procedures, trade processing, personal trades,
communications with customers, etc.
Personal Visits by Office Inspector: scheduled and unscheduled, if
required.
Reviews of records of time spent working at non-primary residences.
Customer account records, correspondence reviews, office visit
records, records of time spent working at non-primary residences and
locations of convenience.
Inspection reports and other documents relating to unscheduled visits,
if any.
Rule 3010 (a)(4), (c); Notice 05-67
Some of the Company’s registered personnel operate from locations exempt from
registration as “branch offices.” See Section 3.5, above, for a list and description of
the Company’s non-branch offices.
All Company compliance personnel must be diligent when establishing and
enforcing supervisory standards for non-branch, and especially remote, offices. The
CCO shall ensure that the following requirements are met by designated compliance
personnel:
• Maintain a record of all non-branch offices;
• Assign a branch office or Office Manager to supervise the activities of the
office;
• Educate all Registered Representatives working in the offices as to their
obligations to the Company and to the public, including communications
with the public and prohibited sales practices;
• Maintain regular and frequent professional contact with such individuals;
• Establish and implement an inspection cycle and procedures designed to
review the activities of each office and customer accounts to detect and
prevent irregularities or abuses; and
• Make periodic unscheduled visits, if deemed necessary.
•
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See “Office Inspections,” below, for details on some of these responsibilities.
In addition, where there are "red flag" indications of misconduct or potential
misconduct at the office, the designated Branch Office Manager and/or Compliance
Department personnel will make unannounced visits with the specific purpose of
identifying any problem areas and implementing corrections. Such "red flag"
indications would include:
• repeated failure to document activity properly or to provide documentation
for review,
• receipt of significant customer complaints,
• personnel with disciplinary records,
• indications of "selling away,"
• questions as to suitability of recommendations,
• excessive or inappropriate trading activity,
• trade corrections, extensions, liquidations, and/or
• "switching" or variable contract replacements.
Records will be kept of such visits, including any findings and action taken and
acknowledgments of any remedial action signed by the RR(s) involved.
The Branch Office Manager(s) assigned to supervise each of the Company’s nonbranch offices must attempt to ensure, through regular reviews of business activities
and visits to the locations, that all conditions exempting these offices from
registration continue to be met (these conditions are outlined in Rule 3010(g)(2)(A)
and summarized in the Section above). In the event conditions are found not to be
met, the Branch Office Manager must communicate such to the CCO or Licensing
and Registration Principal, in order that the respective office is thereafter registered
or the situation is remedied.
The following reiterates restrictions on sales/order processing that apply to differing
types of non-branch offices. The respective designated Branch Office Managers
who oversee the Company’s non-branch offices is responsible for enforcing these
restrictions and ensuring compliance with them:
• Non-sales/back office location: No sales activities may take place from
this type of office.
• Primary residence: All orders must be entered through the designated
branch office or through an electronic system established by the
Company that is reviewable at such branch office.
• Non-primary residence: Associated persons must keep records of the
dates and amounts of time spent working there—these records will be
reviewed by the Branch Office Managers assigned to oversee such
offices;
• Office of convenience: Final approval and execution of transactions must
be done through the assigned branch office and associated persons must
keep records of the details of meetings at such offices (see below if
applicable);
• Office of other use (such as insurance sales office): All securities
transactions (maximum per year: 25) originating from this type of office
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must be entered through, and supervised by, the associated person’s
designated branch office.
If Representatives make use of “locations of convenience” for arranging occasional,
scheduled meetings with customers, the designated Office Inspector must conduct
periodic reviews of these locations (as with all non-branch locations). The
inspection cycle listed in Section 3.5 for these locations was determined after
analyzing the following records, maintained by each RR making use of locations of
convenience (note: RR’s are required to maintain this information and produce it
upon request by the Company):
• Name of customer requesting meeting and date of request;
• Location of proposed meeting place;
• List of instances when the location was used to meet a customer; and
• Description of business conducted during each meeting at the location.
See Section 16, below, for recordkeeping requirements. Note that if the non-branch
office is an associated person’s residence, the Company is not expected to produce
records at that office location, under revised SEC books and records rules.
3.6
Special Supervision
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
How Conducted:
Conduct supervision as designed, including added reviews,
inspections, monitoring, and visits.
How Documented:
Periodic certification forwarded to Compliance confirming
special supervision.
Other documentation in accordance with terms of special supervision.
Rule 3010; Notices 96-59, 98-52, 97-19 and 01-38
By-laws, Article III, Section 4
3010 Checklist:
As specifically designed and as required
Comments:
During the course of a Registered Representative becoming licensed or after a
Representative has been licensed with the Company and is engaged in business on its
behalf, there may come to the Company’s attention circumstances that would warrant
Special Supervision for that person. These circumstances are such as to indicate that, while
the person can function well within the regulatory regime, certain aspects of the person’s
history point to a need for more than the usual level of attention by supervisory personnel.
Indicators of such a need would include (but are not limited to):
• A history of customer complaints, disciplinary history or arbitration;
• A prior termination for a significant sales practice or regulatory violation;
• A frequent change of broker-dealers within the industry;
• Excessive trade corrections, extensions and liquidations;
• Personal or financial stress;
• Former employment at a “disciplinary firm”; and/or
• Statutory disqualification pursuant to Article III, Section 4 of FINRA By-Laws (see
section entitled “Statutorily Disqualified Persons” below).
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The foregoing considerations would apply as well to persons hired in a non-representative
capacity that had formerly been Registered Representatives and had experienced any of the
foregoing “red flags.”
Supervisory and compliance personnel at the Company, once having identified the need,
will develop Special Supervision for this person (a “Special Representative”) designed to
diminish the concerns raised by the “red flags.” The designated Principal will carry out the
terms of this Special Supervision, which will be documented in the personnel records of the
Special Representative and will at a minimum include:
• Restrictions on the kinds of activities engaged in;
• Monitoring customer account activity, Correspondence and phone calls;
• Special training (possible re-take of series exams, etc.);
• Assignment to a supervisor responsible for administering the Special Supervision;
• Increased level of visits, inspections, reviews of records and transactions;
• Initial meeting to obtain commitment of Special Representative to the program;
• Agreed upon consequences if program does not work; and
• Time line and periodic progress review to determine success.
In the case of statutorily disqualified persons, registration approval will be necessary before
the person conducts business activities for the Company; additionally, the supervisor will
carry out special supervision as required under an agreement with the applicable SRO
reviewing the disqualified person.
3.6.1
The Taping Rule
If the Company is notified by FINRA or otherwise acquires actual knowledge that it
meets one of the criteria in NASD Rule 3010(b)(2)(H) relating to the employment
history of its registered persons at a “Disciplined Firm” (as defined), the CCO shall,
within 60 days of notification, assign personnel to implement a taping system and
establish, maintain, and enforce special written procedures for supervising the
telemarketing activities of all of its registered persons. Alternatively, if the
Company triggers, for the first time, application of the Taping Rule, it may reduce
its staffing levels (within 30 days) to avoid application of the Rule (“opt out”). The
Company may apply for an exemption from the Taping Rule within 30 days of
notification or knowledge of its applicability (it may not opt out if it applies for
such exemption). The Company currently is not subject to the requirements of this
Rule, and therefore has not established such written procedures, nor has it
implemented a required taping system.
3.7
Supervision of Online Activities
The Company, whether it maintains a website, allows its Reps to maintain websites, permits
its Reps to communicate with customers via social networking sites, or provides its
customers with online account access and/or trading, has certain obligations that span
various compliance categories. The personnel designated in this Manual to oversee these
aspects of the Company’s business operations must ensure strict adherence to the policies
and procedures described herein; in addition, they are required to remain abreast of
continually changing regulations, interpretations and guidance relating to these subjects.
FINRA’s website provides access to informational and educational material on electronic
communications and should be referenced periodically by all supervisors.
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Broker-Dealer Registration and Disclosures It is clear that under federal and state
regulations the making of solicited offers to sell securities and the transaction of purchases
and sales with residents of a given jurisdiction, through a website or otherwise, requires that
the Company register as a broker-dealer in that jurisdiction. Under the laws of some
jurisdictions merely posting a website that provides information regarding the Company’s
services or product offerings or allows transactions (unsolicited or otherwise) with residents
of that jurisdiction is construed as requiring registration. Extreme caution should be
exercised and the Licensing and Registration Principal must confirm registration in a given
jurisdiction before allowing Internet transactions with a resident of that jurisdiction. See
“Use of Electronic Media” for more considerations for online activities.
3.8
Steps to Remedy Deficiencies
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
Chief Compliance Officer
Immediate if situation calls for it (for instance, for rule violations); otherwise,
as part of normal review procedures described herein.
Review and Report, Improve Discipline
Special Records and other reports, as described herein (for instance, with
regard to testing and verification procedures)
FINRA By-laws Article IV, Section 3; Consolidated FINRA Rule 4530.
Notice 10-39, 11-06
1031(a)
BCG takes the following steps in cases where deficiencies are identified in (1) supervisory
procedures, (2) supervisory systems or (3) compliance by individuals with the procedures or
systems:
• Review and/or investigation by designated Principal(s) involved;
• Report and/or review by Compliance Department;
• Change (if required) in procedures or systems;
• Change (if required) in duty assignments;
• Replace (if required) personnel;
• Any required reports filed with regulatory agencies; and/or
• Discipline (if required) individuals involved, including:
 U5 or reassignment or suspension,
 Fine or other monetary penalty,
 Restriction in business activities or types of customers,
 Assignment to special supervision or monitoring,
 Re-take one or more Series exams, and/or
 Special Continuing Education.
3.8.1
Termination
Each Registered Representative should understand that association with the
Company is not a right but a privilege. Continuing and diligent compliance with
the Company's policies and procedures and an ability to coordinate and grow with
the Company's business objectives will generally mean that a Representative is
welcome, supported and encouraged to stay. However, the Company’s management
retains the power, at its sole discretion, to retain or terminate the registration of any
person at any time and for any reason. In the event of termination, voluntarily or
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otherwise, the Company will vigorously seek to assert and maintain any rights
under non-competition or other arrangements to which the Representative is
subject.
Any Registered Representative may at any time resign voluntarily as a FINRA
associated person of the Company, subject to the provisions of any agreements
between the Representative and the Company.
FINRA rules provide that no Registered Representative shall continue to be
associated with a member Company if he/she fails or ceases to satisfy the
qualification requirements under Section 2 of Article II of FINRA By-laws or
becomes subject to disqualification under Section 4 of Article II. Grounds for
disqualification include: violation of FINRA Rules, making of false statements in
applications or reports, conviction of a securities related crime, being enjoined by a
court from engaging in any securities related business, etc. Also, registered persons
of the Company are not permitted to “park” their registrations; that is, the Company
will not maintain FINRA registration for any person (1) who is no longer active in
the Company’s securities business, (2) who is no longer functioning as a
representative, or (3) where the sole purpose is to avoid FINRA qualification
examination requirements. Each supervising Principal of the Company is required
to report to the CCO any individual whose registration could be considered to be
“parked.” The CCO must investigate and terminate such employee, if deemed
appropriate given the circumstances. Records of this investigation and termination
must be kept in accordance with recordkeeping requirements described within this
Manual.
In the event of a serious concern as to the appropriateness of a Representative's
continuing association with BCG, the Company’s management may (and in cases
where FINRA Rules require it, management shall) terminate the Representative's
association with the Company and file a complete and accurate Form U5 on CRD,
as described below.
Upon termination of registration, the designated Principal is required to file notice
thereof with FINRA on Form U5 within 30 days of such termination. This filing
must take place electronically on Web CRD and disclose the reasons for
termination. When indicating “discharged,” “permitted to resign” or “other” as the
reason, the Company must provide a specific, detailed explanation on Form U5 of
the facts and circumstances. The disclosure questions on Form U5 must be
answered affirmatively if they are factually accurate for the RR—whether or not the
Company, itself, is the source of the allegations. Also, in the case of former
associated persons, the Company is responsible for reporting to FINRA via Form
U5 any disclosure events, complaints, internal disciplinary actions or internal
conclusions (firm-detected rule violations) that occurred while the person was
associated with the Company. Notice 11-06 outlines this requirement and
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4530 should be reviewed for details (also see Section 8,
below).
Upon receipt of Form U5 in proper order, FINRA will amend the CRD record of the
Representative to reflect the termination. The designated Principal or his designee
must provide the Representative with a copy of his Form U5 at the time the filing is
made. Form U5 may be amended if necessary, to correct the termination date or
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reason for termination. The firm is no longer required to maintain a copy of the
original Form U5 or any amendment thereto unless the filing requires the
representative’s signature.
3.9
Registered Research Analyst Supervision – Not Applicable
3.10
Networking Arrangements with Financial Institutions – Not Applicable
3.11
Office Inspections
Inspectors Under FINRA Rule 3010(c), the Company requires internal inspections of its
offices. The personnel designated to conduct these inspections is described in Section 3.5
above and referenced in the sections above that describe specific, respective requirements
for office supervision. The CCO appoints office inspectors in consideration of certain
factors, including their understanding of the business, depth of experience, and ability to
challenge assumptions, as well as a lack of conflict of interest, when possible. FINRA
prohibits office inspections to be conducted by the respective Office Manager or anyone
else with supervisory authority in the office, including anyone directly supervised by these
persons. However, the Company, if it is of limited size and resources, may rely on an
exception to this Rule.
Cycles The Company will adhere, at a minimum, to FINRA’s stated inspection cycles
(annually for OSJs and supervisory branches; and every three years for non-supervisory
branches); however, it will endeavor to determine inspection cycles in a thoughtful manner,
while taking into consideration the guidance provided in Notice 11-54. Inspection cycles, as
well as whether or not surprise inspections will be made, are determined by risk assessments
made by CCO. Each risk assessment will address certain factors, such as:
• the size and complexity of the Company as a whole and of the branch office, itself,
• the nature of its securities business and clientele,
• the geographic distance between offices,
• the history and strength of relationships with branch office personnel,
• the disciplinary history of branch office personnel,
• prior results of branch office inspections (both positive and negative results, as well
as repeat findings),
• the nature of outside business activities conducted by off-site personnel, and
• customer complaint history, among other factors.
The Company’s current inspection cycles and the rationale for establishing these particular
cycles are maintained by the CCO. As noted above, unannounced office visits to satellite
offices may take place if deemed necessary. The CCO will appoint personnel to conduct
such surprise inspections; these visits must be documented by means of an Office Inspection
Report that will be reviewed by the CCO and/or CEO.
Heightened inspection procedures will be implemented when deemed necessary to avoid
conflicts of interest that serve to undermine complete and effective inspection because of
the economic, commercial, or financial interests that the Branch Manager’s supervisor holds
in the associated persons and businesses being inspected. Heightened review procedures are
required when the person designated to conduct the inspection reports to the Branch Office
Manager’s supervisor or works in an office supervised by the Branch Manager’s supervisor
and the Branch Office Manager generates 20% or more of the revenue of the business units
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supervised by the Branch Office Manager’s supervisor. When calculating the 20%
threshold, all of the revenue generated by or credited to the branch office or the Branch
Office Manager shall be attributed as revenue generated by the business units supervised by
his or her supervisor irrespective of the Company’s internal allocation of such revenue.
When deciding to implement heightened procedures, the Branch Manager’s supervisor will
calculate the 20% threshold on a rolling, twelve-month basis.
Designated compliance staff will apply one or more of the following heightened inspection
procedures when deemed necessary:
• unannounced office inspections,
• increased frequency of inspections,
• a broader scope of activities inspected, and
• having one or more principals review and approve the office inspections.
The table in Section 3.5 indicates those offices that are generally subject to such procedures.
Focus and Reports. Office inspections should be designed to evaluate the general
compliance of the office and monitor any changes in its business, products, people and
practices, taking into consideration the outside business activities of personnel and any
potential conflicts of interest. Office inspectors must record the results of their reviews on
written reports for each office inspection conducted. These reports should be tailored to the
types of business conducted at respective offices and the risks particular to those offices.
Reports will be maintained for three years (except for reports of non-branch offices, if the
review cycles longer than three years; in which case, the reports will be maintained until the
next report is filed). Each written report will be dated and will provide results from the
testing and verification of the Company’s policies and procedures, including supervisory
procedures.
3.12
Annual Compliance and Supervision Certification
Each year the Company’s designated top business officer will certify that the Company has
in place processes to establish, maintain, review, test and modify written compliance
policies and supervisory procedures reasonably designed to achieve compliance with
applicable FINRA rules, MSRB rules, and federal securities laws and regulations and has
conducted one or more meetings with the CCO in the preceding 12 months to discuss the
processes. In these meetings, the CCO and designated top business officer should discuss
and review the matters that are the subject of the certification, discuss and review the
Company’s compliance efforts as of the date of such meetings, and identify and address
significant compliance problems and plans for emerging business areas. The final report
demonstrating the Company has in place the processes as outlined above and in the
certification must be submitted to the Company’s senior management within 45 days of the
date of execution of this certification. This report may be the same report outlining the
results of the Company’s testing and verification of its policies and procedures or in a
separate report prepared by the CCO or his designee.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 3130 permits the designation of a single co-CEO solely for the
purpose of compliance with this Rule However, the co-CEOs may not divide up the
requirements under the Rules and each CEO would need to be responsible for the
certification as if they were the sole CEO. Therefore, the signature of each must appear on a
single certification each year. The Company has designated Robert Paglione, CEO, as the
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top business officer for purposes of complying with the requirements of Consolidated
FINRA Rule 3130.
This certification is required under Consolidated FINRA Rule 3130(b) and should be in the
form outlined in paragraph (c) of the Rule.
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SECTION 4: LICENSING
4.1
Registered Representatives/Associated Persons
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Licensing and Registration Principal (oversees electronic form
filings):
Upon application and thereafter, in the daily course of business
How Conducted:
Investigation; Interviews, Forms; Review of Reg. Rep. activity
How Documented:
Form U4; Questionnaires; Background Checks
3010 Checklist:
Rules 1031, 1032, 1050; IM-1000-2; MSRB G-7; Consolidated
FINRA Rules 1010, 2263, 4530. Notices 00-02, 02-53,-73, 03-23, 44, 04-57, 05-14, -24, -39, 09-23, 09-40, 11-06, 11-33
See section entitled “Preparation of Required Records,” below, for
additional recordkeeping requirements relating to registered
personnel.
Comment:
The designated Principal of BCG supervises the hiring, conduct and actions of Registered
Representatives and all other associated persons. A reasonable independent investigation is
made of all persons applying for registration or association with the Company.
If
applicable, a copy of the most recently filed Form U5 is obtained to verify personal
information. A record of these investigations will be noted on the applicant’s Form U4.
(For related information see “Documentation” below.)
The Company, while it may wish to hire personnel in a registered or unregistered capacity,
may be prevented from doing so by FINRA. FINRA has the authority to suspend the ability
of an associated or formerly associated person to associate with the Company, if that person
failed to pay an award or settlement decided in FINRA arbitration. Please consult Article
VI, Section 3 of FINRA By-Laws for specifics.
4.1.1
Who is Required to be Registered
In General Rule 1031 states that all persons engaged or to be engaged in the
investment banking or securities business who are to function as representatives
shall be registered as such with FINRA. Specifically, this is to include persons
associated with the Company, including assistant officers other than principals, who
are engaged in investment banking or securities business for the Company including
the functions of supervision, solicitation or conduct of business in securities or who
are engaged in the training of persons associated with the Company for any of these
functions.
The Exchange Act provisions define associated person to include any partner,
officer, director, or branch manager of a broker-dealer (any person occupying a
similar status or performing a similar function), any person directly or indirectly
controlling, controlled by, or under common control with a broker-dealer, or any
employee of a broker-dealer. The SEC interprets the term associated person to
include any independent contractor, consultant, franchisee, or other person
providing services to a broker-dealer equivalent to those services provided by the
persons specifically referenced in the statute.
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The designated Principal will ensure that all associated persons are properly
licensed to conduct their assigned responsibilities in accordance with the categories
of registration described in Rule 1032.
Exempt from registration are several very specific categories of personnel:
• Persons associated with the Company whose functions are solely and
exclusively clerical or ministerial;
• Persons associated with the Company who are not actively engaged in the
securities business;
• Persons associated with the Company whose functions are related solely and
exclusively to the need for nominal corporate officers.
Registration of Operations Professionals Consolidated FINRA Rule 1230(b)(6)
requires the Company to register certain persons who have authority over
operational activities. All members of senior management who have direct
responsibility over operational activities must register as Operations Professionals
(here, “OpProf”). The requirement also applies to designated supervisors, managers
or other persons who approve or authorize operations work, including the work of
other personnel. Lastly, the requirement applies to persons who have authority or
discretion, materially, to commit the Company’s capital towards fulfilling
operational activities or to commit the Company to any material contract or
agreement (written or oral) that relates to these activities.
In summary, personnel who have supervisory, managerial, oversight, control or
other such authority over these functions must be registered as OpProf’s and must
pass the Series 99 qualification exam if they do not qualify for a temporary ‘opt-in’
registration. This requirement pertains to all personnel meeting the registration
criteria, even if they are employed by an affiliate or third-party vendor.
This registration requirement does NOT apply to any person who:
• Performs only a function ancillary to a covered function,
• Serves only in a role that can be viewed as supportive of or advisory to the
performance of a covered function, or
• Engages solely in clerical or ministerial activities in a covered function.
The Licensing and Registration Principal will review the Rule and Notice 11-33 to
determine initial and on-going licensing and registration requirements and will
ensure that personnel are properly registered when deemed necessary. All OpProf’s
of the Company are considered associated persons of the firm and must adhere to all
applicable rules, regulations and Company policies and procedures. Anyone
registered as an OpProf must be assigned a supervisor and record will be kept of
these assignments.
Principal Registration. Rule 1021 requires that the Company register as a principal
all persons who are actively engaged in the management of the Company’s
investment banking or securities business, including supervision, solicitation,
conduct of business or the training of persons associated with the Company. Every
Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction shall be supervised by at least one registered
principal. “Actively engaged” means day-to-day conduct of the member’s securities
business and the implementation of corporate policies related to such business.
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Thus, directors or persons with a similar official position who have a role to play
but are not “actively engaged” need not register.
4.1.2
Documentation
The following documents must be obtained and reviewed in connection with
becoming a Registered Representative:

Manually signed Form U4 (including employment and disciplinary history);

Fingerprint cards;

Verification of employment for the most recent three years; and
In addition, the Company may require and review any or all of the following when
evaluating whether or not to register a person with them:

Signed Application;

Signed Compliance Certification;

Background check, including a CRD Pre-hire report, FBI report, and/or Credit
check (with written permission from the candidate); and

Registered Representative Agreement.
When asking an associated person to manually sign a new or amended Form U4, or
otherwise provide written (such as electronic) acknowledgment of a U4
amendment, the designated Principal or his/her designee must provide the person
with a written statement (per Consolidated FINRA Rule 2263) regarding the predispute arbitration clause contained within the Form U4 and the associated person’s
rights and/or obligations thereunder. In general, associated persons are required to
arbitrate disputes, claims or controversies arising between themselves and the
Company or customers (or others, per SRO rules). Exceptions include those cases
involving employment discrimination and sexual harassment, or disputes arising
under a whistleblower statute prohibiting the use of pre-dispute arbitration
agreements (such as the Dodd-Frank Act).
The Company is required to electronically file Form U4 (and U5) with FINRA, as
well as all amendments and supplements. The designated Principal is responsible
for overseeing these electronic filings, which must be signed electronically by a
firm signatory. In the case of U4 amendments, manual signatures are not required.
All amendments will be filed within 30 days of the change being reported or sooner
if required by regulation.
Registered representatives are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of
their Form U4 and failure to report any discrepancies or changes to the Company
may result in disciplinary action and could subject the representative to regulatory
action.
Fingerprinting All registered personnel and any other personnel who are required
under SEA Rule 17(f)(2) must be fingerprinted. The Rule exempts employees from
fingerprinting who do not: sell securities; regularly have access to the keeping,
handling or processing of securities, monies or the original books and records
relating to the securities or monies; or have direct supervisory responsibility over
those who sell securities or have access to securities, monies or the original books
and records. The Licensing and Registration Principal should be consulted with
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questions on these requirements; he or she will determine if certain employees
require an “NRF” filing on CRD (for non-registered fingerprinted personnel).
Fingerprint cards must be forwarded to FINRA for review and FBI processing
within 30 days of on the Form U4 being filed through CRD. Failure to submit
fingerprints within 30 days will result in an ‘inactive’ registration and RR’s must be
instructed in this case to cease all activities requiring registration. When relying on
off-site, third parties to collect fingerprints, the Company requires applicants to be
fingerprinted at a local law enforcement office, where officers likely are trained to
verify identity as well as the authenticity of identification cards presented or such
other independent, third party providers who are satisfactorily qualified (the
Company discourages the practice of allowing applicants to fingerprint themselves).
If considered necessary, the designated Principal or his designee will notify local
law enforcement officials to inform them of securities industry fingerprinting
requirements and to discuss reasonable identification verification procedures. In
some cases this Principal or designee will provide applicants with a list of
acceptable third-party vendors that provide fingerprinting services.
A copy of all documents obtained/reviewed during the hiring and registration
process will be maintained in the registered person’s registration/employment file.
The designated Principal shall periodically review registration/employment files to
ensure they contain copies of all required documents, including but not limited to:
• Signed Form U4;
• Form U5 from previous employer, if applicable;
• Verification of employment for previous 3 years;
• OFAC check, if required;
• Fingerprint card; and
• Representative contracts or employment/compensation agreements.
U4 amendments and U5 filings and amendments that do not require the employee’s
manual signature may be maintained solely on WebCRD and do not have to be
maintained in the Company’s books and records; however RRs’ written
acknowledgments of U4 amendments to disclosure information and original U4
filings must be maintained by the Company. The Company will attempt to provide
copies of amendments to its registered persons. It will maintain required filings for
at least 3 years following termination.
No Registered Representative may solicit or conduct securities transactions before
such individual has been appropriately registered through the Company. The
designated Principal shall ascertain that all requirements have been met before any
business is conducted by reviewing the Representative’s status in CRD
demonstrating approval by FINRA and applicable states (see below).
Individuals, such as Operation Professionals, who are required to be registered in
non-sales related capacities, may be permitted to act in covered functions for a
limited amount of time pending the successful completion of the requisite
qualification examination. The Licensing and Registration Principal will monitor
the registration status and activities of these individuals to determine compliance
with this interim provision.
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BCG SECURITIES, INC.
U4 and Other Disclosure Rules
The U4 of each registered persons must disclose the branch office in which they
work (“office of employment address”). If a person works from a non-branch office,
the U4 must disclose that office address in addition to the branch office by which
they are supervised.
FINRA has stringent rules relative to U4 disclosure of prior disciplinary or other
matters (disclosure questions). All new and existing associated persons of the
Company must inform the designated Principal of any and all disclosure items not
already known by the Company. The designated Principal or his designee will
carefully review each person’s answers to the disclosure questions. The disclosure
items are located in Question 14 of Form U4. Details to any “yes” answer to
Question 14 must be reported on the respective Disclosure Reporting Page (DRP).
It should be noted that all disclosures will be manually reviewed by FINRA
Disclosure Review as well as state securities regulators. States have the right to
deny individual registrations based on disclosures. Registered Representatives and
their supervisors who have questions on disclosable events should go to FINRA’s
website for interpretive guidance.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4530 requires the Company to file with FINRA copies
of any criminal complaint or plea agreement, private civil complaint or arbitration
claim against an associated person that is reportable under Question 14 on Form U4,
irrespective of any dollar threshold requirements that question imposes for
notification. The designated Principal, when applicable, must request these
documents and file copies of them with FINRA (if they have not yet been filed).
Please see Section 8, “Reporting Requirements: Customer Complaints and Other
Disclosures” for a full description of required filings under this Rule.
For Registered Representatives who are dually registered a concurrence filing must
be filed through WebCRD for any U4 amendment.
4.1.4
State and Other Registrations
Registered Representatives must be registered in the state from which they conduct
business and may be required to be registered in other states where customers are
located, unless exemptions from registration are available. Most states require
successful completion of the Series 63 Uniform State Agent Securities Law
Examination. Successful completion of the exam does not automatically confer
registered status on the examinee. Application must be made by filing a Form U4
amendment through the WebCRD system for both the Company and its RR’s to
obtain respective state registrations.
No Registered Representative may solicit or conduct securities transactions in a
given state before such individual’s registration has been approved to conduct
securities business in that state or the designated Principal has determined that
registration is not required because of an exemption made available by that state.
The designated Principal shall review transactions to ensure that Registered
Representatives are registered where required and will not approve transactions
where registration is not approved or exempted.
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The Company, depending on its business activities, may require
registration/membership with various exchanges or other SRO’s; likewise for its
personnel conducting certain business activities, such as municipal securities sales.
The designated principal will determine registration requirements and ensure
compliance with all respective registration and documentation requirements.
4.1.5
Dual Registration
A “dual licensing” situation exists where a Registered Representative maintains a
registration with another broker-dealer as a Registered Representative, is registered
as an investment advisor or is registered as an investment advisor representative.
Any Registered Representative desiring to obtain or maintain “dual licensing” status
must contact the designated Principal in advance for approval. It is noted that many
state jurisdictions restrict or prohibit “dual licensing” and any such activity should
be conducted with full knowledge of these state restrictions.
4.1.6
Foreign Licensing
FINRA and certain foreign jurisdictions have rules that prohibit persons who are not
licensed in these jurisdictions conducting or soliciting securities business.
Depending on the laws of the applicable foreign jurisdiction, a wide variety of
activities may constitute solicitation of business for purposes of foreign local law.
For instance, solicitation of business may occur through newspaper ads, internet
postings, e-mails, telephone calls, or facsimile transmissions. Under no
circumstances may a RR of the Company solicit securities business in a foreign
jurisdiction without being properly licensed and authorized by the Company. RRs
desiring to engage in such activities must contact the designated Principal in order
to request and subsequently secure licensing and approval
FINRA has rules that apply to U.S.-based member firms conducting business in foreign
locations, to member firms based in other countries that do business in the United States,
and to foreign representatives who wish to engage in securities business in the U.S.
Collectively, these rules and programs make it easier for FINRA members to conduct
business abroad. These rules include the following:
• Firms may register certain persons working in foreign offices as Foreign Associates
without requiring qualification examinations (NASD Rule 1100).
• Firms may maintain registrations for persons who are engaged in the investment
banking or securities business of a foreign securities affiliate or subsidiary (NASD
Rules 1021(a) and 1031(a)).
• In limited circumstances, firms and associated persons may pay transaction-related
compensation to non-registered foreign persons, or foreign finders (NASD Rule
1060(b)).
• Persons registered in certain foreign countries may work in the U.S. as general
securities representatives after taking an abbreviated examination (FINRA Rule
1032).
• “Foreign research analysts” are exempt from licensing and registration requirements
under Rule 1050 in certain circumstances.
FINRA also offers examinations and continuing education programs abroad.
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In many cases foreign jurisdictions will bring unlicensed activities directly to the
attention of the Company or FINRA, leading to swift disciplinary penalties. The
Company will refuse to process any transactions proposed to be undertaken where the
Company or the RR has not complied with applicable licensing requirements. Certain
FINRA Notices provide guidance concerning the conduct of business abroad. The
Company and its associated persons should consult NtMs 00-02 and 01-81 for reminders
related to foreign licensing and securities business.
The Company and all persons associated with it are obligated to comply with
applicable U.S. laws and foreign laws when soliciting business in any foreign
jurisdiction. The designated Principals of the Company, in conducting their
respective supervisory duties described throughout this Manual, will take note of
any perceived violations of such laws and will immediately report such
observations to the Chief Compliance Officer for further review and investigation.
4.1.7
Transferring to the Company
Registered Representatives transferring to the Company need to follow the
directives of the designated Licensing and Registration principal (in supervisory
table in Section 2) and, in addition, to provide the information described above.
Procedures for transferring client accounts, described elsewhere in this Manual,
need also to be observed.
Where the Registered Representative has an agreement or other arrangement with
the prior broker-dealer this will need to be reviewed with the designated Licensing
and Registration principal and/or CCO prior to transfer.
The Company may provide “signing bonuses” to new registered persons. However,
the Company does not provide accelerated payouts or other arrangements to
transferring Representatives.
Where a bonus payout arrangement is in effect for a new Representative, the
arrangement needs to be cleared in advance with the Compliance Department.
4.1.8
Designated Supervisors
Each Registered Representative shall be assigned directly to a Registered Principal
who will have responsibility for supervising his/her activities. When designating
supervisory personnel and responsibilities, the Company shall ensure that each
Principal shall have proper registration and employment qualifications. The
Principal responsible for hiring or appointing designated supervisors (designated
earlier herein) is responsible for making the determination that the individual is
qualified by experience or to arrange training to ensure the person is qualified to
supervise. Please refer to the section entitled “Qualifications of Supervisory
Personnel” for further information.
4.1.9
Special Representative/Supervision
As part of the interview process the CCO or other Principal charged with hiring,
should explore the following with each applicant:
 The nature of the applicant’s prior customers and types of securities sold;
 The reason(s) for any history of rapid changes from dealer to dealer;
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

BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Explanations as to any customer complaints or regulatory actions; and/or
Discussion of any DRP items on Form U4 and pending proceedings,
investigations or complaints not in CRD.
The Company’s compliance or supervisory personnel will undertake an evaluation
of items covered during the discussion. If appropriate, given the nature of these
matters, the applicant may be required to be licensed by the Company as a Special
Representative, subject to Special Supervision and review by the designated
Principal of the Company. The records of such Representative will indicate the
nature of such Supervision, the person(s) responsible for such Supervision and any
time limits, periodic evaluation, etc., imposed on the person. Proceedings or
complaints not accurately reflected on Form U4 should be placed there by
amendment. See below under “Reporting Requirements: Customer Complaints and
Other Disclosures.”
4.1.10 Statutorily Disqualified Persons
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
How Conducted:
Review of employee’s records; Interviews with employee or
regulatory authorities; Review of business conduct.
Form MC-400 or MC400A; Agreement with SRO
determining supervision requirements.
FINRA By-laws Article III, Section 4; Rule 9520 series
Section 3(a)(39) of the SEA, MSRB G-4, G-5, Notice 0755, 09-19
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Upon application; during course of business following hire.
It is the Company’s obligation to determine if prospective new hires, whether
registered personnel or not, are subject to disqualification under Article III, Section
4 of FINRA’s by-laws. In doing so, the Company should carefully scrutinize any
state regulatory actions against the applicant and any other circumstances which
may render him or her disqualified under the Rule (association with disqualified
persons is also grounds for disqualification).
In the event the Company considers hiring an applicant subject to statutory
disqualification, the designated Principal will take steps to conform to FINRA Rule
9522. The designated Principal will complete and file Form MC-400 with FINRA’s
Registration and Disclosure department. Registration approval will be necessary
before the employee conducts business activities for the Company. Note that
disqualified persons seeking employment in strictly clerical or ministerial capacities
are also subject to FINRA’s pre-approval via the MC-400 filing process.
For currently registered persons meeting the definition in the by-law, the designated
Principal must investigate any supposed disqualifications and take steps necessary
to ensure permissible registration prior to approving the persons continuing
employment; likewise for compliance with MSRB Rules G-4 and G-5.
Documentation relating the Principal’s review and any regulatory filings made in
conjunction with the continuing employment of the individual will be maintained in
the registration or employment file. The Company itself is also subject to these
Rules should it become a disqualified member.
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Each disqualified person’s supervisor will carry out special supervision as required
under an agreement with FINRA. Records of such supervision will be kept by the
designated Principal. Please refer to “Special Supervision” herein for further details
on supervision.
4.1.11 Termination of Registration; Continuing Commissions
Within 30 days of termination or resignation of a registered person, the Company’s
appointed personnel is required to electronically file notice thereof with FINRA on
Form U5 disclosing the reasons for termination. Upon receipt of Form U5 in proper
order, FINRA will amend the CRD record of the Representative to reflect the
termination. Within 30 days of filing the Form U5, the designated Principal or
designee must provide the Representative with a copy of his/her Form U5. The
designated Principal will ensure that a copy of the submitted U5 and evidence it was
sent to the individual is maintained in the Terminated Representative file for that
person.
FINRA Rule IM-2420-2 allows the Company to pay continuing commissions to
persons who remain registered representatives and, after they cease to be registered,
such persons, their beneficiaries or their estates provided that there is in existence a
bona-fide contract for such payment. No arrangement shall cover the solicitation of
new business or the opening of new accounts. The provisions of the Rule should be
consulted before any arrangements are entered into.
4.1.12 Active Duty Professionals
In the event any of the Company’s Registered Representatives volunteer or are
called into the Armed Forces of the United States, the designated Principal shall
notify FINRA (or ensure that such RR’s have provided notification) and the
Registered Representatives will be placed on specially designated “inactive” status.
Such RR’s need not be re-registered by the Company upon their return to active
employment with the Company.
Rule IM-1000-2 was further amended in November 2005 and January 2006 to
further clarify:
• that the scope of relief provided under the rule extends to any registered person
of a firm who volunteers for, or is called to active duty, not just registered
representatives;
• the staff’s existing interpretation permitting the receipt of transaction related
compensation by registered persons who volunteer for or are called into active
military duty is permitted;
• that the relief provided to a registered person called into active duty is available
to the person during the period that they remain registered with the firm,
regardless of whether they resume their employment with the firm upon
completion of their active military duty;
• that the “inactive” status designation is available to registered persons and sole
proprietors and is available to them only while they remain on active military
duty. Persons placed on inactive status while serving and subsequently
terminate their relationship with the member prior to completing their service
will lose their inactive status designation for the purposes of this rule.
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the tolling provisions of the rule with respect to the two-year expiration
provisions for qualification examination requirements set for in Rules 1021 (c),
1031 (c), and 1041 (c) for certain former registered persons serving in the
Armed Forces of the United States, including persons who commence their
active military duty within two years after they have ceased to be registered
with a member and persons who terminate their registration with a member
while on active military duty.
Notification Requirements
The member firms are required to provide FINRA with the following information
(once the person’s military service has started) relative to persons who seek inactive
status pursuant to IM-1000-2:
• A copy of the individuals orders or official call-up notification or a copy of
leave request (for individuals that volunteer); and
• A letter from the firm (on firm letterhead) to FINRA indicating:
o Firm CRD #;
o Date the person’s active military service started;
o The person’s name; and
o The person’s CRD #
When the individual terminates or completes their active military service, the
following information must be provided to FINRA:
• A copy of the individual’s discharge papers indicating the start and end dates of
service; and
• A letter from the firm (on firm letterhead) to FINRA indicating:
o Firm CRD #;
o Date the person returned to the firm;
o The person’s name; and
o The person’s CRD #
A Registered Representative who is placed on inactive status as described above
will not be required to complete either of the Regulatory or Firm Elements of the
continuing education requirements while on such inactive status.
4.2
Investment Advisors (RR/RIAs)
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
Licensing and Registration Principal
Continuous; on a daily basis
How Conducted:
Review of RR activities; inquire about IA activities.
Receipt and approval of notice of IA activities.
Maintain RR/RIA files, including Notice and approval of activities and
evidence of licensing and registration
Consolidated FINRA Rule 3270, 3040, 3050; Notices 94-44, 96-33, 01-24
and 03-21
See Section 17
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
The Company is a registered investment advisor or is affiliated with one and some or all of
its RR’s perform advisory services on behalf of the IA entity. The Company permits RR’s
to act as independently registered IA’s, subject to the conditions described below. Some of
the Company’s RR’s are currently registered as independent IA’s.
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Those Registered Representatives, whether acting on behalf of the Company or their own
independent IA firm, who are deemed by the Company to be engaged in activities which
constitute providing “investment advisory services” subject to registration will be asked to
evidence their proper licensing and registration or to become licensed and registered.
Registered Representatives providing advisory services will be expected to maintain all
required licenses and registrations and to advise the Company in advance as to advertising,
customer disclosures, documentation, fees and billing, customer reporting, portfolio
activities and the like in accordance with guidelines provided by the Company, as described
in the IA Supervision section, below. Records related to the approval, licensing and
registration of investment advisors will be maintained with the RR’s personnel files.
If any Registered Representative is in doubt about his or her status as advisor, the RR
should immediately consult his or her designated Principal before transacting any business
that could subject the RR to registration or licensing requirements. RR’s should be aware
that activities such as putting on seminars, publishing newsletters, and making public
appearances where securities are discussed may require advisory registration – particularly
where the Representative has received compensation for the activity.
The CCO charged with receiving and reviewing annual RR questionnaires will take note of
any disclosures related to advisory services and will ensure that the Licensing and
Registration Principal follows up. The Licensing and Registration Principal or individual
designated to review CRD registrations will be responsible for the completeness and
accuracy of adviser registrations. In addition, the designated Principals or others conducting
office visits or reviewing outside business activities of RR’s must be sure to note and follow
up on any perceived advisory business taking place in order to assure proper licensing and
registration.
FINRA (in Notices 94-44 and 96-33) has made it clear that member firms have supervisory
responsibilities over the investment advisory activities of their Registered Representatives.
Please refer to the IA Supervision section, below, for a description of related supervisory
procedures, in addition to notice requirements.
4.3
Investment Advisor Representatives of Third Party Firms
Persons providing advisory services are required to register as “investment advisor
representatives” (IAR’s) in states where advisory services are offered for a fee (subject to
any applicable de-minimus requirements). Registered Representatives will typically be able
to offer any proprietary or third party asset management programs which have been
approved by the Company through its internal due diligence process.
Registered Representatives who wish to offer third party wrap account or other similar asset
management services to their clients are cautioned that providing such services may be
considered “selling away” if such programs are not approved in writing, in advance by the
Company. The Company may require the “third party” provider of services to contract with
the Company to provide the services through the Representatives in question rather than
allowing the provider to contract directly with the Registered Representative.
Representatives must obtain approval from the CCO in order to contract directly with third
parties.
No Registered Representative will be allowed to provide such services unless the
Representative is properly licensed as an IAR. If any doubt exists, Registered
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Representatives should consult the Licensing and Registration Principal. The Company’s
obligation to supervise RRs’ IAR business is described in the IA Supervision section,
below.
The Company will generally prohibit a Registered Representative from becoming an IAR of
an independent third party advisory firm, since it will have a limited ability to properly meet
its compliance and supervisory obligations under Notices 94-44 and 96-33. Company
management may, at its discretion, consider exceptions to this general prohibition on a case
by case basis only. Any such exceptions granted will be evidenced in writing from the
Chief Compliance Officer or his designate.
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SECTION 5: SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES
5.1
Daily Review of Customer Transactions and Accounts
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
Designated Principal: Joseph Englert
And assigned supervisors/ designated Branch Office Managers if
applicable (see Sections 3.5)
Daily review of transaction activity
How Documented:
Review of transaction documentation, including new account forms,
investor profiles, transaction reports/blotters; disclosure documents, and
related correspondence.
Approve orders requiring approval, including new accounts, discretionary
account trades, orders for more than 10,000 shares.
Any necessary approval forms.
3010 Checklist:
3010 (d); 2510(d); Consolidated FINRA Rule 4515
Comments:
4515 effective 12-5-11
In compliance with FINRA Rule 3010(d), the designated Principal shall promptly review
each transaction and evidence of his/her review. The designated Principal shall review all
orders to ascertain that the ticket or other documentation has been properly prepared
containing all required information. “Promptly review” is defined as review of the
transactions by the next business day.
Rule 2510 requires prompt approval of each discretionary account order, which shall be
reviewed within 24 hours of the trade.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4515 requires that changes in account name or designation must
be approved by the designated Principal (see Section 16).
All daily reviews will include an assessment of the nature of the trades, in an effort to
confirm suitability (as described in detail elsewhere in this Manual). In addition, the
designated Principal shall review all documentation associated with opening new accounts,
such as New Account Forms, investor profiles, risk disclosure documentation and investor
checks. See Section 9 for a detailed description of compliance requirements related to new
accounts. Additional specific customer/transaction review activities required of the
designated Principals of the Company are described in the sections to follow.
5.2
Weekly Customer Account Supervision – Not Applicable
5.3
Monthly Customer Account Supervision – Not Applicable
5.4
Annual Reviews
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
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Designated Principal: CCO
And assigned supervisors/designated Branch Office Managers if
applicable (see Section 3.5)Section 3.2 and 3.5
Annually or more frequently.
Periodic office reviews, including customer files and activity reviews, to
detect irregularities or abuses and spot reviews of customer records.
Reports produced after each office review and notes on spot reviews
maintained either separately or in customer files.
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3010 Checklist:
3010 (c); IM-3010-1; Notice 05-67
Comments:
Refer to Sections 2 and 3 for specific individuals and schedules.
The CCO must ensure that the Company complies with IM-3010-1, by conducting a review,
at least annually, of the businesses in which it engages, which must be reasonably designed
to assist in detecting and preventing violations of and achieving compliance with applicable
securities laws and regulations and with FINRA rules. The review should provide that the
quality of supervision at remote offices is sufficient to assure compliance with these laws
and rules. This review may be in conjunction with the reviews described in Section 3 of
this Manual, for instance, with regard to office inspections (if conducted annually) or in
conjunction with efforts made to test and verify certain procedures related to business
activity.
The Company will also comply with this annual review requirement to conduct random
examinations of customer account records (electronic and/or hard copy files) to detect and
prevent irregularities or abuses and to ensure completeness. These spot examinations are in
addition to daily and periodic reviews conducted by designated Principals responsible for
overseeing sales of specific securities types, as herein described.
The designated Principals will retain written records of the dates upon which their reviews
and inspections of account files and transaction history are conducted, in addition to records
described in Section 3.
5.5
Investigations of Questionable RR Activity and Disputed or Unauthorized
Transactions
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
How Conducted:
Review orders for completeness of order records, suitability of transactions,
discretionary account orders, orders requiring approval and prohibited orders.
Review commission runs for unusual trading patterns activity in inactive
accounts. Review of correspondence and client files. Interviews
Review order records and/or top copy of day’s tickets
Establish investigation file and documentation to cancel transactions,
if necessary.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 2010, Notice 08-57
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Daily; Spot checks of commission runs.
Comments:
In the event of suspected questionable Representative activity, the Representative will be
questioned about the activity and may be required to present a written explanation. A file
will be kept in which documentation of the situation and its resolution is described.
Potential indicators of unauthorized transactions may include a pattern of:
• Cancellations of transactions,
• Cancellations and rebilling between accounts,
• Sellouts for failure to pay for purchases, and
• Numerous extensions.
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In the event of an unauthorized or disputed trade incident involving a customer, the
Representative will normally be asked to provide written documentation describing the
events and circumstances of the situation. The designated Principal will review the facts
and make a determination as to resolving any conflict. Review and corrective action may
include the following, depending on the circumstances:
• Confer with Registered Representative,
• Contact customers directly to confirm authorization of transactions,
• Cancellation of unauthorized transactions, and/or
• Confer with Compliance regarding any identified unauthorized transactions.
Where it is determined that restitution is called for or that a trade must be cancelled and/or
corrected, all or part of the disputed trade will be placed in the Company’s Error Account
and corrected accordingly. Any profit resulting from any subsequent trade(s) will go to the
Company; losses will be the responsibility of the Representative(s) at fault as determined at
the exclusive discretion of the designated Principal.
5.6
Suitability Review
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Designated Branch Office Managers and Producing Managers’ Supervisors
(see Section 3.2 and 3.5)
All supervisors and principals assigned to oversee new accounts and customer
activity
Daily
Review of new account forms, order records, correspondence, and customer
statements for consistency of investment objectives with financial status,
prior investment experience, etc.
Initials on trade confirms and if necessary, notes added to client files and
memos to compliance files.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 2090, 2111; Rule 3010(d); Notices 01-23, 11-02;
MSRB RG-19 (c)
Comments:
In the course of daily reviews and as described throughout this Manual, each respective
designated Principal will review activity in customer accounts for compliance with the
suitability rule. Implicit in the dealings of a Representative with Company customers is the
fundamental responsibility for fair dealing. A consideration of the suitability of an
investment for a client is inherent in this responsibility. Consolidated FINRA Rule 2111
clearly sets forth the standards: in making recommendations to customers, the Company
and its associated persons must “have a reasonable basis to believe that a recommended
transaction or investment strategy involving a security or securities is suitable for the
customer, based on the information obtained through the reasonable diligence of the
Company or associated person to ascertain the customer’s investment profile.” See Section
7 below.
Under the Know Your Customer Rule, associated persons opening and servicing accounts
are responsible to learn the essential facts concerning every customer. Supervising
principals should expect to see evidence of adherence to this rule when reviewing accounts
and transactional activity. Section 7.1, below, details this requirement.
5.7
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Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Designated Branch Office Managers and Producing Managers’ Supervisors
(see Section 3.2 and 3.5)
Specific supervisory roles described below.
Continuous; on a daily basis
Periodic during office inspections
Daily customer account reviews
Periodic office inspections, including records of funds transmittals, if any
Meet with Representatives
Initials on blotters and logs
3010(d), 3012(a); Consolidated FINRA 11860. MSRB RG-19 (c), Notice 0964, 10-49, 12-05
Comments:
Each Principal assigned to supervise account activity, in the course of his or her duties, will
review transactions in customer accounts for compliance with the payment rules.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 11860, “COD Orders,” has certain requirements that must be
met—see “Orders,” herein. It is a violation of FINRA regulations and Company policy to
accept or execute any order for a customer without reasonable assurance of ability to pay
and/or ability to deliver securities sold or pledged within the expected time frames.
Neither BCG nor any Registered Representative may loan cash or securities to a client or
arrange or facilitate credit for clients except for margin loans in accordance with Company
procedures (see below under Margin Accounts) or except under approved circumstances
described in the Section below entitled “Loans To and From Customers” and as allowed
under Consolidated FINRA Rule 3240.
It is a Company policy that the Registered Representative responsible for causing the
Company or any other Representative or customer to incur a loss or liability shall be
required to reimburse the injured party and all assets, commissions, dividends, interest or
other property of the Representative may be utilized by the Company to make good on the
loss or liability.
FINRA requires the following transmittals of funds to be subject to written procedures and
monitored by appointed staff and designated principals:
• From customers and third-party accounts (e.g., a transmittal that would result in a
change of beneficial ownership);
• From customer accounts to outside entities (e.g., banks, investment companies,
etc.);
• From customer accounts to locations other than a customer’s primary residence
(e.g., post office box, “in care of” accounts, alternate address, etc.); and
• Between customers and registered representatives, including the hand delivery of
checks.
The Company receives funds transmittal requests from its clients; following approval, these
requests are forwarded to its clearing firm for processing, approval and execution. The
Company itself does not handle customer funds and securities, or execute customer wire
transfers; rather, it relies on its clearing firm to do so. To follow are the Company specific
procedures; designated personnel will be trained by the Company in how to effectively
implement these procedures:
Receipt and Processing:
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•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
The following types of transmittals/withdrawals are accepted/accommodated by the
Company: checks to the customer at primary residence; checks to the customer at
locations other than primary residence; wire transfers to the customer’s bank
account; checks or wires to third party accounts (change in beneficial ownership)
and transfers between accounts of the same customer.
Transmittal requests may be delivered by the customer to the Company via hard
copy, telephone, or fax. Communications with the customer must be at his/her
primary address, e-mail address or phone number: in instances where these lines of
communication are different, the RR or other associated person receiving the
request must attempt to contact the customer by other means in order to validate the
source of the request.
All transmittal requests—no matter in what form--received by associated persons
must be forwarded immediately to Operations. Only authorized persons may
process transmittal requests.
Once forwarded for processing, the transmittal request documentation will be
reviewed for completeness and proper authorization (such as individually executed
or standing Letters of Authorization—LOA’s). The processor will pursue missing
information or documentation from the associated person and/or the customer: no
requests with missing information/documentation may be approved for transfer
without all required input. Exceptions may be made only with written principal
approval.
Requests must be received from authorized parties: the processor must confirm the
authority of any third party request from a person who purports to act on behalf of
the customer, such as a family member, IA, money manager, or legal counsel. The
processor must have access to account documentation such as powers of attorney
for the sake of verification: transmittals may not be processed without evidence of
valid third party authorization.
If the request relies on standing instructions, the processor must verify that the
authorization is not outdated or rescinded. The processor must have access to all
standing authorizations for such verification purposes: associated persons must
forward all such authorizations (and instructions about amended/rescinded
instructions) to this person for reference.
If the Company has dollar thresholds or other limitations on funds transfers, those
will be communicated and updated by the designed Principal, and maintained by the
processors for reference and enforcement. Requests outside restrictions must be
approved in writing by a principal.
Associated persons and processing staff must attempt to identify red flags such as
multiple transfer requests made in an apparent attempt to avoid dollar maximums or
reporting thresholds. All such suspicions must be reported to respective supervising
principals who will escalate the issue with AML supervisory staff if necessary.
Approval and Tracking:
• Following the review and preliminary processing of transfer requests, the processor
must present requests for approval to the Operations Manager. Approval must be
evidenced by signature or initial, or by trusted electronic means.
• Approved transfer requests are sent to the clearing firm for their approval and
execution; the processor will address any clearing firm requests for additional
information when required. Only authorized persons are permitted to forward
transfer/withdrawal requests to the clearing firm.
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Each transmittal must be verified with the customer by sending a confirmation or
other notification of the transmittal (see related procedures herein), or by some
other means of follow-up. This will be performed by the clearing firm, which will
communicate with the customer at his/her primary address, e-mail address or phone
number.
Fraud Prevention:
• The processing, approval and tracking procedures above are designed to prevent
unauthorized funds transmittals or withdrawals. When accepting via e-mail
instructions or requests for transfers, personnel must be aware of the potential for
fraud perpetrated by hackers or other intruders.
• Should Company personnel encounter ‘red flags’ when receiving an e-mailed funds
transmittal request, such as one that appears out of the ordinary, asks to transfer
money to an unfamiliar third party, or appears urgent and possibly designed to
circumvent ordinary verification procedures, the request must be verified with the
customer via direct contact (in person or on the telephone). Red flags must never be
disregarded: personnel must make an attempt to verify validity when faced with any
peculiarity. Company personnel should discuss questions or concerns with their
supervisors.
• Registered representatives are encouraged to remind their customers to notify the
Company should their e-mail accounts be compromised. Any personnel receiving
such information must contact their supervisors to discuss how to proceed. Action
may be taken to prevent abuse and to protect customer accounts and the Company’s
IT infrastructure.
• While personnel are not expected to identify a fraudulent Letter of Authorization,
familiarity with a customer’s style of written communications and signature may
lend itself to identifying red flags. Representatives and processing personnel should
be attentive and poised to follow up on any perceived discrepancies. Any such
issues must be brought to the attention of supervisors and/or the CCO for further
action.
• Slowing down the transfer/withdrawal process may be necessary in circumstances
calling for additional scrutiny and inquiry. Personnel should know that fraud
prevention is essential to protecting both customers and the Company, and therefore
delays in processing will be forgiven in the name of risk prevention.
Records of all transmittal requests and completed transmittals must be maintained with
customer records or in dedicated transmittal files. Each designated Principal, in his review
of this activity, must ensure that required records are maintained.
5.8
Review of Personal Accounts
All trades in personal accounts of Company personnel, where they have a beneficial interest
in such account, will be reviewed on a periodic basis for evidence of:
• Trading in IPO’s;
• Trading ahead of customers;
• Illegal participation in trading profits;
• Manipulative trading activity; or
• Trading on Inside Information.
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In addition, associated persons will be required to sign a certificate annually, disclosing all
personal accounts opened at outside broker dealers. See “Personal Accounts and Trading”
section for further information on personal trades.
5.9
Annual Compliance Certification
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Chief Compliance Officer
How Conducted:
Request completed certifications
How Documented:
Certifications; File notations
Annual
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
Each Registered Representative, registered principal and other associated persons will be
asked to complete and sign an Annual Compliance Certification containing a series of
questions designed to determine whether that person has engaged in conduct which requires
additional compliance scrutiny. The designated Principal will review each Certification for
completeness and accuracy. Failure to complete the Certification or failure to answer a
question honestly is grounds for disciplinary action.
5.10
Annual Compliance Meeting
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Chief Compliance Officer
Designated Branch Office Managers and Producing Managers’ Supervisors (see
Section 3.2 and 3.5)
Annual
How Conducted:
Meeting Materials
How Documented:
Meeting records; Sign-in sheet
3010 Checklist:
3010(a)(7)
Comments:
BCG shall require all Registered Representatives, registered Principals and other associated
persons, either individually or collectively, at least annually, to attend an online meeting at
which compliance matters relevant to the Company and its associated person(s) are
discussed. Such meeting can occur in conjunction with the discussion of other matters.
Beginning in 2013, BCG is using the Annual Compliance Meeting module offered through
Quest CE. BCG can verify attendance and completion of the meeting through Quest’s
tracking software..
5.11
Continuing Education
Pursuant to Consolidated FINRA Rule 1250, BCG has developed and implemented a
program for the continuing education of its covered registered persons. These covered
registered persons include registered persons who have direct contact with customers in the
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conduct of the Company’s securities sales, trading and investment banking activities; are
registered as an Operations Professional or research analyst; or are the immediate
supervisors of such persons. All firm element and continuing education is offered
electronically through Quest CE.
The designated Principal shall administer its continuing education program in accordance
with its annual evaluation and written plan and shall maintain records documenting the
content of the program and completion of the program by its registered covered persons.
All covered persons are required to comply with the rules set forth by FINRA regarding
Continuing Education. This rule prescribes requirements regarding the Continuing
Education of certain registered persons subsequent to their initial qualification and
registration with FINRA. The requirements consist of a Regulatory Element and a Firm
Element. The CCO will ensure that all covered persons are fully aware of their
responsibility to comply with their Continuing Education responsibilities.
5.12
Business Continuity
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Documented:
Chief Compliance Officer
Executive Representative
Upon creation/implementation of Business Continuity Plan and annually thereafter
Annual review of contact person info (Exec. Rep).
Review (or have reviewed) Business Continuity Plan to assess its continued
viability; require changes when necessary to maintain an updated document.
Review final, updated plan yearly.
Confirm contact info has been provided to FINRA. (Exec. Rep.)
Records of review and approval of original and revised versions.
3010 Checklist:
Consolidated. FINRA Rule 4370
How Conducted:
Comments:
In the event an emergency causes a disruption in the Company’s business, Company
personnel must endeavor to quickly recover and continue its operations. Company
personnel will follow the procedures outlined in its “Business Continuity Plan” in order to
resume normal operations. Personnel may access the Business Continuity Plan by locating
it on the server and referring to the Company’s website.
The Business Continuity Plan is required under Consolidated FINRA Rule 4370 and must
identify procedures relating to an emergency or significant business disruption, designed to
enable the Company to meet its existing obligations to customers. The procedures must
address the Company's existing relationships with other broker-dealers and counter-parties.
The Business Continuity Plan must be updated upon any material change and, at a
minimum, must be reviewed annually (see below). The Company must designate two
emergency contact persons and must provide this information electronically to FINRA.
The Company’s Business Continuity Plan is maintained under separate cover and has been
approved by the designated Principal. The designated Principal is responsible to review, or
appoint someone to review, the Plan at least annually in order to assess its continued
accuracy. If necessary, changes must be made to update the Plan. The designated Principal
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must review proposed changes and the final, updated version of the Plan and will maintain a
record of his or her approval.
The Company must disclose to its customers how its Business Continuity Plan addresses the
possibility of a future significant business disruption and how it plans to respond to events
of varying scope. The most updated version of the statement is always available on the
Company’s website and upon request by customers (a written copy must be mailed when
requested). All Company personnel are encouraged to periodically review the Plan in order
to be prepared for unforeseen business disruptions.
5.13
Solicitation of Charitable Contributions by Fiduciaries
The solicitation of charitable contributions by employees or agents of a customer raises the
potential for conflicts of interest that must be addressed by the member. These concerns are
present when an employee of a customer who is acting in a fiduciary capacity (e.g.,
employees of an investment company, pension fund, or investment manager) solicits
substantial charitable contributions from members or employees of the member with whom
they conduct or intend to conduct business.
To address these potential conflicts, the following written procedures have been established:
• The firm must provide written approval to any firm employee regarding any
charitable contributions to be paid as a result of a solicitation by an agent or
representative of a customer acting in a fiduciary capacity.
These procedures do not apply to the customary charitable giving by member firms or
solicitations received directly from charitable organizations, nor do they address policies
regarding charitable giving by persons in their individual capacities.
5.14 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
3010 Checklist:
Chief Compliance Officer
Designated supervisors and Branch Office Managers
FinOp
On-going, in the ordinary course of business, including account set-up and
transactional activity
New account/client approval process (KYC); correspondence reviews; funds
flow reviews; reviews of gifts and gratuities records and third party vendor
contracts
Account records, third party vendor contracts, transaction records, financial
books and records, gift records, investigation records, if any. Training
records.
Notice 11-12
Comments:
See other sections of this Manual for related compliance obligations
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
The Company is required to comply with all applicable obligations under the U.S. Foreign
Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (“FCPA”). To not do so is a federal offense and a violation
of FINRA Rule 2010 (Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of Trade). Associated
persons are required to comply with the policy, below, on FCPA compliance, and all related
procedures included in this Manual. All supervisors of the Company are required to be
attentive to this requirement when participating in, and reviewing, the activities and
operations of the Company. Any and all perceived breaches of the policy or related
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procedures must be brought to the attention of the CCO, who will arrange for an
investigation and reporting to authorities, if necessary
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SECTION 6: REGISTERED REPRESENTATIVE CONDUCT
6.1
Outside Business Activities and Private Securities Transactions (“Selling
Away”)
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Designated Principal: CCO
Review of notification when received; document consideration of OBA.
Review of selling away transactions: as described in this Manual, as with all
securities transactions (daily).
Document analysis, restrictions and/or prohibitions of OBA
Monitor OBA if necessary based on analysis. Correspondence Reviews
Compliance Review, Interviews, Audits
Notification forms, analysis records. Investigation records
Checklists
Consolidated FINRA Rule 3270, NASD Rules 3040, 3010(c); Notice 01-79,
10-49
Comments:
Outside Business Activities (OBA): Consolidated FINRA Rule 3270.
Registered persons with new outside business activities: No registered person of the
Company may be an employee, independent contractor, sole proprietor, officer, director or
partner of an enterprise/business other than the Company, or be compensated, or have the
reasonable expectation of compensation as a result of such outside activity, unless he or she
has provided written notice to the Company.
All registered persons who intend to commence new outside business activities must request
from the designated Principal the appropriate form or other document used to disclose all
information required by the Company about the activity. Registered persons must submit
the required, completed form and any additional, requested information to the designated
Principal. In the event the designated Principal imposes restrictions or conditions relating to
the activity, the registered person must comply with them or cease to commence his outside
business relationship/activity. If the designated Principal prohibits the activity based on
his/her concerns about the activity, the registered person may not commence the
relationship/activity.
Registered persons with existing outside business activities: Any registered person who is
currently conducting an outside business activity, and who has not notified the Company as
described in the procedures directly above, must complete required internal documentation
and provide it to the designated Principal. Internal notification and supervisory processing
is required for all outside business activities as described herein.
As with a new OBA, in the event the designated Principal imposes restrictions or conditions
relating to the existing activity, the registered person must comply with them or terminate
his/her outside business relationship/activity. If the designated Principal prohibits the
activity based on his/her concerns about the activity, the registered person must terminate
the relationship/activity.
Designated Principal’s responsibility: Upon receipt of a written notice of a new or existing
OBA, the designated Principal shall consider whether the activity will: (1) interfere with or
otherwise compromise the registered person’s responsibilities to the Company and/or its
customers or (2) be viewed by customers or the public as part of the Company’s business
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based upon, among other factors, the nature of the activity and the manner in which it will
be conducted or offered.
After such a review, the designated Principal may impose specific conditions or limitations
on the outside business activity, or may outright prohibit it. The designated Principal will
convey such restrictions to the registered representative and establish a system for
monitoring compliance. Registered representatives must cooperate with such monitoring or
face disciplinary action. If the outside activity meets the definition of ‘private securities
transaction’ as described below, the designated Principal will ensure that the related
procedures are followed.
The Company will maintain records evidencing compliance with these procedures as called
for in SEA Rule 17a-4(e)(1) (three years). In addition, each respective registered person’s
Form U4 must be amended to disclose any outside business activities not previously
reported, in accordance with U4 reporting instructions.
Note that passive investments and activities as described below (Rule 3040) are exempt
from this requirement.
Private Securities Transactions (“Selling Away”): NASD Rule 3040. Private securities
transactions (otherwise known as “selling away”) are outside business activities involving
securities transactions and are governed by FINRA. The term “private” is meant to connote
all those securities transactions, including direct participation programs and other financial
products, engaged in by the individual outside his or her regular course of activities as an
associated person, or other investment transactions which may mislead customers or
participants into believing the transactions are sponsored by the Company. Rule 3040(b)
requires associated persons to provide written notice of their intention to participate in any
private securities transaction before commencing such participation. Rule 3040 further
requires that the Company provide written approval or disapproval, depending on its
preference, of the associated person’s participation in the transaction if the person proposes
to receive compensation as a result of his or her participation; should there be no intended
compensation, the Company shall acknowledge the associated person’s notice and may
require adherence to specific conditions in connection with his or her participation in the
transaction. In the event an associated person participates, with the approval of the
Company, in a private securities transaction for compensation, the transaction shall be
recorded on the books and records of the Company and the Company shall supervise the
person’s participation in the transaction as if it were executed on behalf of the Company.
The Company requires strict adherence to the following policy:
Under no circumstances is the Representative to purchase or sell a security for, to or
from a client without reporting the transaction for recording on the Company’s
books. No Representative may engage in any private securities transaction without
the prior express written permission of the Company. BCG will terminate a
Representative if instances of “selling away” are discovered and will notify the
regulatory authorities. Under no circumstances is any Representative to purchase or
sell a security that is not publicly traded to, from or for a client without prior
approval by a principal of the Company.
The Principal designated to approve and review these Outside Business Activities and
Private Securities Transactions is also required to comply with these procedures. Approval
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of, and subsequent review of, if required, the designated Principal’s Outside Business
Activities and Private Securities Transactions are the obligations of the CEO. This
designated individual must ensure that the policies described above are enforced and
documented and must document and follow up on any violations discovered.
Note that passive investments and activities are exempt from this requirement. Passive
investments are those from which an individual receives income but for which he or she
performs no service. Examples would include interest on investments or income from a
corporation of which the person is a passive shareholder. Passive investments need not be
reported; however, in accordance with FINRA Rule 3050, the Company requires all
associated persons to provide written notice of whether or not they have accounts with
outside brokerage firms (for further information, see “Personal Accounts and Trading”).
6.2
Personal Accounts and Trading
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
How Conducted:
Review of duplicate confirmations and/or statements issued by outside
brokerage firms to employee or his family member, if required,
Verify that outside firms were notified of associated person’s association with
the Company.
Consideration of requests for outside accounts,
Review of account documentation and trade records for evidence of
unacceptable trading practices, including insider trading, trading in new
issues, trading contrary to Watch or Restricted List restrictions, etc.
Annual attestations, if used.
Discussions with employees.
Notifications/approval/disapproval noted in employee files,
Confirmations/statements or annual attestations initialed and filed in
employee files.
3050, Consolidated FINRA Rules 2010, 5130; Notice 91-27, 08-57; MSRB
G-28
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Upon transactions (internal) or monthly/annually
Comments:
These procedures are designed to comply with the Company’s reporting and supervisory
obligations under federal and state securities laws. All associated persons of the Company
must carefully read and understand these policies. Any and all questions should be referred
to the designated Principal.
Securities Accounts All associated persons must advise the Company of all accounts in
which they may transact in securities at outside brokerage firms, "notice-registered
broker/dealers" (for instance, a Futures Commission Merchant or Introducing Broker
trading security futures), domestic or foreign investment advisers, banks, or other financial
institutions maintained in their name in which they have a financial interest or over which
they have discretionary authority. Associated persons must notify in writing their outside
brokerage firms of their association with the Company. The Company permits Registered
Representatives or employees to maintain a securities account with an outside broker-dealer
with written permission of the designated Principal.
If the Registered Representative or employee maintains an account that is limited to
transactions in UITs, registered mutual funds and/or variable contracts (i.e., no equities or
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other trading may take place in the account)—for instance, an account held directly at a
mutual fund company with no brokerage capabilities--this requirement does not apply.
Duplicate Confirmations/Statements. Duplicate confirmations and statements related to
all non-Company account transactions must be sent contemporaneously to the designated
Principal for his or her review.
Trading. In transacting business for themselves all Company personnel must observe
principles of conduct announced in this Supervisory Procedures Manual and elsewhere by
the Company in order to foster professionalism and integrity in the Company’s business.
Insider Trading Employees are prohibited from effecting transactions based on knowledge
of material, non-public information (see Firm Policy on Insider Trading). Associated
persons must adhere to any and all trading restrictions established by Watch and Restricted
Lists, as described herein.
Annual Attestation
The Company requires registered representatives to attest annually
regarding the accounts they hold and that their activities in these accounts comply with all
applicable securities rules and regulations and the company’s policies. The designated
Principal shall review these attestations for compliance with Company policies.
The Principal designated to approve and review personal accounts and trading is also
required to comply with these procedures. Approval of, and subsequent review of, the
designated Principal’s personal accounts and trading are the obligations of the Director of
Operations. This designated individual must ensure that the policies described above are
enforced and documented and must document and follow up on any violations discovered.
6.3
Insider Trading and FIRM POLICY on Insider Trading
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Chief Compliance Officer
Respective product sales supervisors
Continuous; daily
How Conducted:
Review daily transaction report; Review of personal transactions; Field
inquiries from regulators; Personal supervision of activities; Consultations
with personnel regarding questioned activity; Consultations with counsel;
Referrals to regulators, if necessary
Investigation records; Records of all consultations; Initials on daily
transaction records; Notation in files of action taken
SEA Rule 10b-5; SEC Regulation FD; Section 15(g) of ’34 Act; Notice 8905, 91-45, 05-51 09-11, FINRA Rule 5280
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
6.3.1 In General
SEA Rule 10b-5 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 generally makes it
unlawful for any person to use, either directly or indirectly, material inside
information that has not been publicly disseminated in connection with the purchase
or sale of securities. The Insider Trading Act, passed by Congress in 1988, was
promulgated to address the abuses of disclosing non-public information. This
legislation listed a number of policies and procedures to be adopted by brokerdealers “reasonably designed to prevent the misuse of material non-public
information.” These policies and procedures include, among other things, restricted
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access to files and other sources likely to contain non-public information and
provisions for continuing education programs regarding insider trading.
In determining whether the information could be considered “Insider Information,”
and is therefore unusable, the following terms apply:
“Material information” is defined as a) information which in reasonable and
objective contemplation might affect the value of the issuer’s publicly traded
securities, or b) information which, if known, would clearly affect investment
judgment, or which directly bears on the intrinsic value of the issuer’s publicly
traded securities. Examples of “material information” would be:
 Mergers, acquisitions, tender offers or restructuring;
 Securities offerings or share purchases;
 The appointment of an investment banker or signing a letter of intent with
an underwriter;
 Possible proxy fights;
 Asset valuations;
 Dividends or earnings changes (or changes in estimates);
 Significant shifts in operating or financial circumstances such as write-offs,
cash flow reductions, changes in accounting methods and the like;
 Imminent change in credit rating by agency;
 Voluntary calls of debt or preferred stock issues;
 Major new products, discoveries or services or loss of any of these;
 Significant new contracts or loss of business;
 Regulatory developments (such as FDA approvals);
 Significant litigation or litigation developments;
 Extraordinary management developments; and
 Forthcoming publications or articles, such as research reports, that may
affect market prices.
“Publicly disseminated” means information that is generally available to the
public and about which the public has had a reasonable opportunity to make an
investment decision.
“Solicited orders” include all orders for which the inducement to sell or purchase
comes from within the member firm and includes orders in discretionary accounts
initiated by the account executive or such other managing director, officer, or
employee holding discretion.
The most common violations of the “insider trading” rules include purchasing or
selling securities on the basis of such information in any account in which one has a
direct or indirect beneficial interest and “tipping” such information to anyone or
using it as a basis for recommending the purchase or sale of a security (this includes
spreading rumors).
Persons who are in possession of any material inside information that has not been
disseminated to the public are prohibited from:
 Purchasing or selling securities for their own accounts, accounts of close
relatives, or accounts over which they exercise discretion;
 Soliciting customer’s orders to either purchase or sell the securities; or
 Disclosing such information or any conclusions based thereon to anyone.
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If, after considering these items, any of the Company’s Registered Representatives
or other associated persons believes that the information he or she has is material
and non-public, he or she should take the following steps:
 Review the matter with the designated Principal;
 Do not purchase or sell the securities until all concerns have been addressed;
and,
 Do not communicate the information to others until there is no danger of insider
trading.
The Company has designated the principals in the table above as responsible to
monitor trading activities and communications among Company personnel and
between personnel and customers to ascertain whether “inside information” has
been improperly used. The Compliance department shall maintain records of such
monitoring activity.
The Company shall cooperate with any investigation being conducted by any
regulator or law enforcement official regarding insider trading activities. The
designated Principal is responsible for responding to any such inquiries.
6.3.2 FIRM POLICY on Insider Trading
It is the policy of BCG that no personnel (employees, officers, directors, Registered
Representatives and others) may trade either personally or on behalf of others or
participate directly or indirectly in the trading of any security of any issuer about
which the individual possesses material non-public information at or prior to the
time such information is publicly disclosed and available in the marketplace.
Further, no personnel may communicate any material non-public information to
anyone outside the Company (including customers, suppliers, family members and
others). No such information may be communicated inside the Company except as
specifically authorized by the designated Principal.
Violation of the above policy or conduct that has the appearance of violation
although outside the scope of legally prohibited activity can be extremely
embarrassing to the Company and to the person involved. It can cause the
Company to lose an existing or prospective client and cast a pall over the
Company’s reputation. Consequently all incidents will be vigorously and actively
investigated and, if appropriate, the Company will cooperate in the prosecution of
any personnel involved in alleged infringements of this policy or its procedures.
All associated persons shall annually certify their understanding of and compliance
with the Company’s Insider Trading Policy. This certification shall be included in
the Company’s Annual Compliance Questionnaire or be provided in another format
as determined by the designated Principal.
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‘Chinese Wall’ Requirements – Not Applicable
6.3.4
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6.3.5
Other Information Barriers – Not Applicable
6.3.6
Training and Updates
Company personnel who participate in firm element continuing education training
and annual compliance meetings will be trained from time to time on the
importance of detecting and preventing insider trading. By virtue of each employee
having read and understood these procedures and signed the Insider Trading Policy,
training will have been provided. Any person with questions about these procedures
should contact his or her supervisor.
In the event federal or SRO authorities materially change, add or clarify insider
trading rules and regulations, the CCO will ensure that these procedures will be
revised accordingly and that personnel will be informed of and trained in the new
procedures.
6.4
Foreign Licensing/Securities Business – Not Applicable
6.5
Commission/Fee Splitting and Referrals
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Chief Compliance Officer
How Conducted:
How Documented:
Trade Reports; Commission Reports; Interviews; Approval of referral
agreements
Compensation documentation, agreements
3010 Checklist:
2420, 3040, 3010(c)
In the daily course of business
FINRA regulations absolutely prohibit any Registered Representative from sharing fees or
commissions with a non-registered person, including clients, persons who refer business,
accountants, attorneys, family members, etc. Any Registered Representative engaging in
these activities is subject to disciplinary action by the Company as well as fines and
penalties imposed by regulatory authorities.
Fees and commissions can of course be shared with other Registered Representatives of the
Company, provided the arrangement is pre-approved by the designated Principal, is
properly reflected on the books of BCG, is disclosed to the client(s) involved and does not
result in a net increase in fees, commissions, mark-ups, etc. to the client.
Registered Representatives may not forward or share securities commissions with any
individual who is not appropriately registered and licensed with the member firm that
affected the securities purchase. In the case of a variable life insurance policy or variable
annuity contract, the commissions earned can only be shared with those who are also
licensed by the issuing insurance Company in the appropriate state.
Referrals: Because FINRA rules restrict compensation to unregistered persons or entities,
referral arrangements between the Company and other parties, such as IA firms, require
advance approval from Compliance.
The following restrictions are in place:
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Employees are expected to make referrals involving investments or investment
advisory services only to persons or companies included in a Company-sponsored
program or on a list of Company-approved providers.
Employees are prohibited from receiving compensation for referrals except through
Company-sponsored programs.
Any proposed compensation, whether for referring or receiving referrals, must be
approved in advance by Compliance.
Referrals involving compensation may require disclosure to the customer of
potential conflicts of interest.
Non-cash compensation is subject to the procedures in this Manual.
As for referrals to hedge funds or other outside investment opportunities, RRs are expected
to limit their investment recommendations to approved products or services offered by the
Company. Referrals to outside investments not approved by the Company are prohibited.
6.6
Improper Use, Prohibited Guarantees and Sharing in Accounts
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Chief Compliance Officer
How Conducted:
Trade Reports; Transaction documentation; Correspondence; Written
authorizations
Error/correction files; Investigation file; Customer, personnel files
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
In daily course of business
NASD 2330,Consol. FINRA Rule 2150, Notice 03-21, Notice 09-60
MSRB G-25(b), SEC 15c3-3
Comments:
Customer Funds and Securities: Consolidated FINRA Rule 2150 requires that neither
BCG nor any associated person shall make improper use of a customer’s securities or funds.
Likewise, Rule 2330 requires adherence to the possession and control provisions of SEA
Rule 15c3-3. Neither Registered Representatives nor the Company must lend securities
carried for the account of a customer; all customers’ fully paid or excess margin securities
must be properly segregated. This does not, of course, prevent the Company from
extending margin credit under proper circumstances.
Rule IM-2330 includes requirements related to segregation of customer funds and securities
and should be reviewed and understood by associated persons of the Company, if the
Company holds customer securities. The Company will not be holding customer funds and
securities and therefore qualifies for exemptive provisions of the Rule.
Guarantees: Consolidated FINRA Rule 2150 also prohibits the Company and its associated
persons from guaranteeing a customer against loss in connection with any securities
transaction or in any securities account of such customer. Guarantees extended to all holders
of a particular security by an issuer as part of that security may be exempt from this
prohibition; however, it is the designated Principal’s responsibility to determine if this
exception applies to any offerings by the Company. Absent such specific exception, all
RR’s are forbidden from guaranteeing customers against loss.
This prohibition does not preclude the Company from correcting bona fide errors or, in
certain circumstances on an after-the-fact basis, reimbursing a customer for transaction
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losses. The Company, not individual associated persons, may take such action, and must do
so in accordance with its error correction or reimbursement policies. All such actions must
be documented and reported as required—see error procedures herein. The Company will
investigate perceived guarantees against or reimbursement of losses by associated persons
and will take disciplinary action for violations.
Sharing in Accounts: The Company absolutely prohibits a Registered Representative from:
maintaining a joint account with a customer (unless approved as described below);
borrowing securities from customers (see “Loans To and From Customers” for procedures);
or acting as personal custodian of securities, stock powers or money. Important: this
procedure applies to customer accounts of other FINRA member broker-dealers, too—not
just the Company’s customer accounts.
An associated person may enter into an arrangement whereby s/he shares in the profits and
losses of a customer account (carried by the Company or another broker-dealer), If s/he:
• Receives prior written authorization from the customer
• Receives prior written authorization from the Company (the designated Principal);
and
• Is a joint owner on accounts of immediate family members and shares in the
account’s profits or losses in direct proportion to the financial contributions made to
such account.
All written authorizations will be maintained in the respective customer and associated
person personnel files for at least six years after the account is closed. Associated persons
are expected to comply with all other related procedures, such as those concerning outside
business activities, outside brokerage accounts and private securities transactions, where
applicable.
The Company or an associated person, if acting as investment advisor, may receive fees
based on a share of profits or gains in the accounts: see the Section entitled “Charges for
Services” for a description of the related requirements and procedures.
6.7
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Policy
It is the Company’s policy that it and all of its associated persons shall fully comply with all
applicable provisions of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”). While these
procedures are designed for use by associated persons, this FCPA Policy also pertains to all
of the Company’s officers, directors, employees, agents and stockholders who act on its
behalf.
In general, the FCPA makes it unlawful to bribe foreign officials to obtain or retain
business in a foreign country. Neither the Company nor any anyone on its behalf, may
corruptly pay, offer or authorize to pay or give anything of value to any foreign official (as
defined), foreign political party or party official, any candidate for foreign political office or
any ‘middle man’ to such recipients. A payment or offer is corrupt if it is made intentionally
and voluntarily with the intention of causing conduct that is prohibited by the FCPA. The
FCPA prohibits the offer or promise of or payment of anything of value to any prohibited
recipient for the purpose of influencing any act or decision (including a decision not to act)
of an official in his or her official capacity, inducing the official to do any act in violation of
his or her lawful duty, or to secure any improper advantage in order to assist the payor in
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obtaining or retaining business for or with any person, or in directing business to any
person.
A foreign official is defined as any officer or employee of a foreign government, a public
international organization or any department or agency thereof or any person acting in an
official capacity for such government or organization. Foreign government officials include
all levels of federal, state, provincial, county, municipal and similar officials of any
government outside the United States and also include all levels of employees of any
commercial enterprise owned in whole or in part by a government other than the United
States (at state-owned or controlled entities and instrumentalities). Public international
organizations include organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the European
Union, the World Bank and other such organizations.
Various sections of this Manual refer to specific aspects of compliance with this Policy,
including the sections on: gifts and gratuities, improper conduct, Know Your Customer,
AML, private offerings, financial reporting and outsourcing. It is expected that in
conducting business on behalf of the Company, all persons will comply with this policy, all
respective procedures, and the FCPA itself. Perceived violations will be investigated, and if
deemed necessary, reported to federal authorities.
6.8
Receipt of Non-Cash Compensation, Sales Incentives, Gifts and Gratuities
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Chief Compliance Officer
In daily course of business.
Correspondence reviews, interviews with RR’s and clients.
Review of records of non-cash compensation; Review of invitations to
training and or educational events.
Notation to employee file or compensation file.
Gifts and Gratuities Log
Rules 2810, 2830, Consolidated FINRA Rules 5110, 3220, 2320, 2310, 0150
MSRB G-20; Notices 98-75, 99-55, 01-63, 03-53, 06-69, 08-57, 09-49, 0950, 11-12
Comments:
Non-cash compensation, sales incentives, gifts and gratuity items (including travel bonuses,
prizes, and awards offered by any sponsor or program) CANNOT BE PAID DIRECTLY to
any associated person of BCG. The Company, itself, however, is permitted to provide
non-cash compensation to its Representatives provided no sponsor, affiliate of a sponsor, or
program, including an affiliate, directly or indirectly participates or contributes to providing
such non-cash compensation.
All compensation to be received by an associated person that is related to his or her
securities activities or association with the Company must be paid directly to BCG and
BCG shall control distribution of compensation to the associated person and will record the
receipt and distribution in its books and records.
6.8.1
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Non-cash compensation rules are included in Consolidated FINRA Rules 5110
(Corporate Financing Rule—Underwriting Terms and Arrangements) and 2310
(Direct Participation Program Rule); Consolidated FINRA Rule 2320 (Variable
Contract Rule) and Rule 2830 (Investment Company Rule). Together, these rules
apply to sales of variable annuities, mutual funds, DPP securities, public offerings
of debt and equity securities, and real estate investment trust (REIT) programs.
Through application of these rules, as well as Consolidated FINRA Rule 3220,
FINRA and SEC attempt to eliminate the possibility of conflicts of interest,
compromised suitability determinations, and other inappropriate sales practices.
Non-Cash Compensation, Defined: This term is identical in applicability in the
Rules referenced above and encompasses any form of compensation received by a
member in connection with the sale and distribution of securities that is not cash
compensation, including, but not limited to, merchandise, gifts and prizes, travel
expenses, meals, lodging and securities. Certain employee benefits such as
company stock options, bonus awards and other compensation arrangements are not
covered.
Receipt of Compensation From Outside the Company: The Rules prohibit any
person associated with the Company from accepting any compensation from any
person or entity other than the Company, unless approved in accordance with the
procedures described in Section 6.1, above, on Outside Business Activities and
Private Securities Transactions. No compensation may be received in the form of
securities of any kind.
6.8.2
Prospectus Disclosure of Cash Compensation
BCG shall not accept cash compensation from offerors unless such compensation is
disclosed in a prospectus. In the case where special cash compensation
arrangements are made available by an offeror to a member, which arrangements
are not made available on the same terms to all members that distribute the
securities, the disclosure must include the name of the recipient member and the
details of the special arrangements. There is an exception from disclosure for
compensation arrangements between: (1) principal underwriters of the same
security; and (2) the principal underwriter of a security and the sponsor of a unit
investment trust which utilizes such security as its underlying investment. By their
terms, these provisions describe arrangements that would not trigger the proposed
recordkeeping requirements. This disclosure may be placed in the Statement of
Additional Information (SAI) incorporated by reference in the prospectus and made
available to customers on request.
6.8.3
Gifts and Gratuities
Consolidated FINRA Rule 3220 permits associated persons to give or receive gifts
that do not exceed an aggregate annual amount of $100 per person per year. In
addition, personal gifts such as wedding, birthday, anniversary or gifts related to
other special occasions and de minimus or promotional items with a nominal value
are exempted from the Rule. Items that are valued at or near $100, even if
promotional in nature, would not be considered nominal and would be need to be
included in the aggregate annual value of gifts.
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In determining whether a gift is business or personal related, the designated
Principal should consider the pre-existing nature of the relationship between the
presenter and recipient and whether the associated person or the Company has paid
for the gift. Registered representatives must not make a determination as to whether
a gift is personal or business.
The value of gifts is the higher of the cost or fair market value, exclusive of taxes or
delivery charges. In determining the value of tickets, the higher of the cost or face
value must be used. The value of a gift presented to multiple recipients must be prorated among the recipients and a record must be kept as to this pro-ration. For
example, a gift basket valued at $250 delivered to an office of 3 individuals would
be allowed since the per person pro-rata value is less than $100.
All gifts to be given or received must be brought to the attention of the designated
Principal. The designated Principal shall determine:
• the value to be assigned to the gift;
• whether the gift is considered to be personal in nature or business related;
and
• the aggregate value of gifts received by or given to the applicable party
during the year.
Gifts or Payments to Public Officials Some states have laws governing the receipt
of gifts by public officials. Therefore, Registered Representatives are prohibited
from providing gifts to public officials without prior approval from the designated
Principal. If a Registered Representative has questions as to who is considered a
public official, they should consult the designated Principal for additional
information. The MSRB requires firms that offer Municipal Securities to report
contributions and payments to certain public/government officials, see Section
15.4.5 for more information on these requirements.
Labor Unions Gifts or entertainment given to labor unions or their affiliated
individuals may require reporting to the Department of Labor on Form LM-10.
Associated persons must inform the CCO of any such circumstances. This
requirement applies to any payment or loan, direct or indirect, of money or other
thing of value (including reimbursed expenses), or any promise thereof. The CCO
will determine and comply with reporting requirements when necessary.
Foreign Recipients When contemplating giving a gift to a foreign individual or
entity, associated persons must review the Company’s FCPA policy, above, and
must discuss their intentions with their designed supervisor or the CCO. The CCO
must approve all such offerings in advance, following a review of the purpose of the
gift and the identity of the intended recipient, for the sake of ruling out an FCPA
violation. Certain payments may be made to foreign officials, etc., but only if
permitted by the Company and in accordance with the exceptions outlined in the
FCPA—if applicable, see the “FCPA Payment-Related Records and Reporting”
section below.
6.8.4
Entertainment Expenses
Expenses incurred in conjunction with business related meetings and events as well
as activities at which business may be conducted or where an associated person of
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the Company is present is generally considered entertainment. Interpretive letters
issued by FINRA indicate that Consolidated FINRA Rule 3220 does not limit
ordinary and usual business entertainment provided by a member or its associated
persons to the member’s clients and their guests. However, where the member or
associated person is not personally hosting the entertainment, the provision of the
Rule would be applied and the cost would be considered a gift and subject to the
recordkeeping requirements and limitations thereof. Associated persons should
consult the designated Principal if they have any questions as to whether the
expense is entertainment or a gift. Entertainment expenses should be brought to the
attention of the designated Principal for their review prior to any expense reports
being presented to the applicable department for reimbursement, where applicable,
and prior to the expense being incurred where there may be a question as to its
nature under the Rules.
6.8.5
Training and Education
It is important that associated persons receive education opportunities, updates on
any portfolio changes or structural changes to current products and explanations of
new products. Should associated persons of the Company be invited to attend
training or education meetings held by an offeror (including issuer, sponsor, their
advisor, underwriter or any affiliate of these entities), such invitations should be
brought to the attention of the person’s supervisor or designated Principal for
review and approval prior to any such trips being accepted or scheduled.
Any related reimbursement or payment of expenses by the sponsor or issuer must
be made directly to the Company, unless other arrangements are approved by the
designated Principal. If approved, expenses or reimbursement paid directly to, or on
behalf of, the associated person by the sponsor or issuer must be reported to the
Company by the payer and recorded in the Company’s books and records.
6.8.6
Securities as Compensation in Offerings – Not Applicable
6.8.7
Payments to Affiliates – Not Applicable
6.8.8 Differential Compensation; Single Security Sales Contests – Not
Applicable
6.9
Improper Conduct/Ethics
All personnel of the Company, including officers, directors, employees and independent
contractors must apply sound ethical judgment in their actions and working relationships
with current or potential customers, consumers, other Company employees, competitors,
suppliers, government representatives, the media, and anyone else with whom the Company
has contact. In these relationships, personnel must observe the highest standards of ethical
conduct. Personnel are encouraged to report potential ethics violations to the CCO and will
be afforded full confidentiality in doing so; in addition, retaliation for such reporting is
strictly prohibited. Personnel are prohibited from knowingly violating any of the policies
and procedures in this Manual.
The Company hereby reiterates certain important policies: the following practices are
regarded by BCG as improper and will be met with appropriate disciplinary action:
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Effecting any transaction in, or inducing the purchase or sale of, any security by means
of any manipulative, deceptive or other fraudulent device or contrivance (ref:
Consolidated FINRA 2020; SEA 15c1-2);
Preparing written reports or recommendations on a security for general dissemination
without prior supervisory review and approval;
Opening a securities or commodities account at another firm without prior approval;
Participating in public appearances, including but not limited to seminars, radio
programs or interviews, without prior supervisory approval;
Reproducing and giving to clients or others material intended for internal or
broker/dealer use only;
Giving specific tax or legal advice to customers, unless qualified and approved to do so;
Providing inside information to clients, friends, family or others or personally acting on
inside information;
Establishing fictitious accounts;
Executing transactions in discretionary accounts which are excessive and/or
inappropriate;
When conducting firm or customer trading, failing to adhere to just and equitable
principles of trade, for instance, by violating prohibitions on: market manipulation, front
running, trading ahead of market or limit orders, self-preferencing, churning, trade
shredding, adjusted trading, parking (whether for market manipulation, net capital
purposes or otherwise), inter-positioning without ensuring best execution, marking the
opening or close, coordination of prices/quotations, directing or requesting other firms
to alter prices/quotations, intimidation or coercion, pre-time stamping orders in
connection with block positioning, defying known trading restrictions in issuer
repurchases of common stock, ‘overtrading’ or circulation of rumors;
Giving payments that involve publications that influence the market price of a security
(except in the case of paid advertising and research reports, as authorized by the
Company);
Unauthorized use or borrowings of customer funds or securities;
Engaging in outside business activities or private securities transactions without
disclosure to the Company;
Recommending the purchase of securities of a character or amount which are
inconsistent with the customer’s stated objectives or financial ability;
Splitting with or rebating, directly or indirectly, any commission or fee with a person
not licensed with the Company, unless approved by the Company;
Sharing directly or indirectly in the profits or losses of any account without customer
authorization and Company approval;
Improperly using information obtained while acting in the capacity of paying agent,
transfer agent, trustee or otherwise: the Company, if it receives information as to the
ownership of securities may not make use of the information for soliciting purchases,
sales or exchanges except at the request and on behalf of the issuer;
Presenting the merits of any proposed investment in an exaggerated, hyperbolic fashion
with no balanced discussion of risk;
Concealing material adverse information about a proposed investment;
Entering into a relationship with a financial institution (such as a wholesaler for a fund
or insurance Company) whereby advertising, trips and other benefits are paid for
without full discussion and clearance by the Company;
Providing excessive gifts or gratuities to a customer;
Recommending investments funded by liquefied home equity;
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Guaranteeing a customer a profit or a return on an investment;
Failing to comply with the Company’s FCPA policy and procedures or the FCPA itself,
including bribing or attempting to bribe, foreign officials to obtain or retain business in
a foreign country.
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SECTION 7: CUSTOMER RELATIONS
The Company and its associated persons are required to comply with all applicable requirements
under Consolidated FINRA Rule 2010, and in doing so, shall observe high standards of commercial
honor and just and equitable principles of trade. Supervision of these principles shall be the
responsibility of the Principals named in this Manual and shall be in accordance with NASD
Supervision Rule 3010.
7.1
“Know Your Customer”
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
Chief Compliance Officer
Branch Office Managers and Producing Managers’ Supervisors (see
Section 3.2 and 3.5)
Daily/on-going
How Documented:
Oversight of business practices; correspondence reviews; office
inspections; account reviews.
New account approvals; correspondence; approval of business activity.
3010 Checklist:
Consolidated FINRA Rule 2090, Notices 11-02, 11-12
The Company, when opening and maintaining customer accounts, must comply with
FINRA’s Know Your Customer Rule 2090. Associated persons must use reasonable
diligence in order to know the essential facts concerning every customer. Essential facts are
those required to:
• effectively service the customer’s account,
• follow any special handling instructions for the account,
• understand the authority of each person acting on behalf of the customer, and
• comply with applicable laws, regulations, and rules.
Using reasonable diligence means, in essence, making a concerted effort and not ignoring
missing or contradictory information. Specific procedures for learning the essential facts
cannot be fully summarized here; rather, they are included throughout this Manual in
context. By making a good faith effort to follow all Company procedures, as well as
completing, gathering and reviewing all required documentation when opening accounts (or
accepting investors) and servicing customers throughout the customer-broker relationship,
associated persons will have met this standard (which applies whether or not
recommendations are made). Following the procedures on suitability are especially
important to Know Your Customer compliance: see below.
Evidence of compliance with this rule will exist in the totality of customer account and
activity records; likewise for evidence of supervision. The surest indication of failure to
follow this rule is a pattern of sales or other transactions obviously designed to reward the
RR rather than meet the customer’s needs. Supervising principals should be prepared to
investigate any such unacceptable activity, which, if proved, will be met with disciplinary
action. Continuing patterns of self-benefiting activity will be grounds for termination.
7.2
Suitability
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
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Chief Compliance Officer
All supervisors and principals assigned to oversee new accounts and
customer activity
Daily (activity reviews and new account approvals)
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How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Review of new account forms, order records, correspondence, and
customer statements/transactional activity for consistency of investment
objectives with investment profile
Initials on order records; in client files; memos to compliance files.
NASD 3010; Consolidated FINRA Rule 2111, Notices 01-23, 04-89, 1102, 12-25, 12-55
Fair Dealing: The Company and its associated persons, in their relationships with
customers and others, have the fundamental responsibility for fair dealing. Sales efforts
must therefore be undertaken only on a basis that can be judged as being within the ethical
standards of FINRA's rules, with particular emphasis on the requirement to deal fairly with
the public. The Company is committed to complying with, when applicable, FINRA’s
Suitability Rule 2111 as a means of ensuring fair dealing and promoting ethical sales
practices and high standards of professional conduct.
Suitability of Recommendations: In compliance with Consolidated FINRA Rule 2111, the
Company and its associated persons must “have a reasonable basis to believe that a
recommended transaction or investment strategy involving a security or securities is suitable
for the customer, based on the information obtained through the reasonable diligence of the
Company or associated person to ascertain the customer’s investment profile.”
In complying with suitability obligations under the Rule, the following important concepts
must be understood:
• Even if the term “recommend” or “recommendation” is not used in communications
with the customer, a person may be deemed to have made a recommendation based
on the applicable facts and circumstances.
• RRs are recommending a security or a strategy if the content, context and manner of
presentation of a communication to the customer can be reasonably viewed as a
suggestion that the customer take action (or refrain from taking action).
• The more individually tailored the communication is to a particular customer or
customers about a specific security or investment strategy, the more likely the
communication will be viewed as a recommendation.
• A series of actions, for instance, e-mails, notes on telephone conversations, and
publications provided that all speak to the same investment or strategy, may
constitute a recommendation when considered all together.
• For recommendations to existing customers, the rule applies whether or not a
transaction is consummated. It is the recommendation, itself, that triggers
obligations under the rule, not the ultimate action taken by the customer.
• For recommendations to potential customers, the suitability obligations apply only
if a transaction occurs (that is, when the potential customer becomes an actual
customer of the Company). If a potential customer acts on the recommendation
away from the Company—that is, through another BD—the suitability rule does not
apply to the original recommendation made by the Company or its RR.
• It is clear that trades in discretionary accounts are recommended trades and that
associated persons who effect transactions on a customer’s behalf without
informing the customer have implicitly recommended those transactions, and
thereby trigger the suitability rule.
• As a reminder, private placement investors may be ‘customers’ and therefore the
rule applies to that business. Calls and other communications to potential investors
to present and discuss a particular offering are generally deemed recommendations.
RRs are reminded to obtain all necessary information in order to justify their
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actions. Accredited investors are not exempt from this area of compliance
(however, an institutional exemption exists--see below).
Even if a computer software program sends the communication, it can still be
deemed a recommendation since the Company is responsible for these
communications.
Variable annuity and life sales would generally be considered recommended; unless
such products are offered on an online platform where customers can purchase one
without talking to a RR.
Further, the Company and its associated persons should understand that ‘strategy’ is now
included in the suitability rule and consider the following:
• If a person recommends an investment strategy—for instance, using margin or
home equity to purchase securities or employing a swap strategy—the suitability
requirements apply. Also, if a Representative recommends selling a security to
invest in a non-security (or vice versa), it is considered a recommendation and must
be deemed suitable.
• Non-specific recommendations like those recommending diversification, broad
investment areas (like “equity” or “debt”), or the opening of an investment advisory
account would not trigger the suitability rule; however, a discussion of how to
diversify, which types of securities (like “high dividend companies”) or sectors to
buy, or what the IA account should invest in may well be deemed so.
• A recommendation to hold a position in a security is also viewed as a strategy, and
therefore triggers the suitability rule. This applies even if the Representative did not
originally recommend the purchase. However, should a RR not, in any
communication, recommend holding a position, for instance if s/he does not
comment on transferred positions, then no suitability analysis would be necessary
(this type of ‘implicit’ recommendation is not covered under the rule). RRs
recommending a hold do not have an obligation to monitor the position and make
subsequent recommendations.
• When the Company and its associated personnel make use of certain publications or
educational material, those materials will not be considered recommendations of
strategies if they do not include a recommendation of a particular security or
securities—whether on a stand-alone basis or in combination with other
communications. These types of communications are in this category:
o General financial and investment information, including (i) basic
investment concepts, such as risk and return, diversification, dollar cost
averaging, compounded return, and tax deferred investment, (ii) historic
differences in the return of asset classes (e.g., equities, bonds, or cash)
based on standard market indices, (iii) effects of inflation, (iv) estimates of
future retirement income needs, and (v) assessment of a customer’s
investment profile;
o Descriptive information about an employer-sponsored retirement or benefit
plan, participation in the plan, the benefits of plan participation, and the
investment options available under the plan;
o Asset allocation models that are (i) based on generally accepted investment
theory, (ii) accompanied by disclosures of all material facts and
assumptions that may affect a reasonable investor’s assessment of the asset
allocation model or any report generated by such model, and (iii) in
compliance with Consolidated FINRA Rule 2214 (Requirements for the
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o
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Use of Investment Analysis Tools) if the asset allocation model is an
“investment analysis tool” covered by that rule; and
Interactive investment materials that incorporate the above.
Associated persons must be aware of the full scope of communications provided to
a customer in order to discern whether the suitability rule applies.
• RRs with outside business activities such as investment advisory or financial
planning services, must follow all applicable procedures in this Manual. It is
generally expected that recommendations of investment strategies, including
those with both a security and a non-security component, that are made as part
of an outside business activity will be subject to the rules, standards and
procedures governing those activities (for instance, as outlined in the IA WSP
manual); however, when recommendations are made by RRs acting on behalf
of the Company, that activity will be supervised as described in this Section.
Regardless of the enterprise from which RRs make investment strategy
recommendations, all designated Principals, when reviewing RR activity, must
be prepared to investigate red flags, such as those indicating unsuitable
strategies.
The Company and its associated persons may not attempt to avoid responsibility for a
recommendation by using disclaimers, such stating that it is not a recommendation. It is
incumbent on the RR serving the customer to determine suitability and to keep in mind that
a transaction or strategy that is not in the best interest of the customer based on the
circumstances will be deemed unsuitable even if the customer agreed to it in writing (for
instance, in an e-mail exchange).
Financial Ability: Importantly, neither the Company nor its associated persons may
recommend a transaction or investment strategy involving a security or securities or the
continuing purchase of a security or securities or use of an investment strategy involving a
security or securities unless there is a reasonable basis to believe that the customer has the
financial ability to meet such a commitment. RRs may not ignore facts that might indicate a
lack of financial ability.
While the suitability rule provides room for interpretation on whether or not a
recommendation was made, the Company requires that all customers provide suitability
information (described below) and that associated persons who are responsible for customer
accounts perform suitability analyses for each customer transaction. The Company expects
it RRs to make use of their investment expertise and knowledge when serving customers
and does not allow them to attempt to exempt themselves from this important work.
Designated Principals, in their supervisory reviews of new account opening and
transactional activity, will attempt to confirm that this standard has been met.
Required Analysis: Suitability Obligations: When the suitability rule is triggered, the RR
on the customer account must have a firm understanding of both the product and the
customer. The Company and its associated persons have the following suitability
obligations:
•
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Reasonable Basis Suitability requires associated persons to have a reasonable basis
to believe, based on reasonable diligence, that the recommendation is suitable for at
least some investors. What constitutes reasonable diligence will vary depending on,
among other things, the complexity of and risks associated with the security or
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investment strategy and the Company’s or associated person’s familiarity with the
security or investment strategy. In summary, RRs have to understand the
characteristics of the products they are recommending, including potential risks and
rewards. The Company’s product approval process must be thoroughly completed,
and, importantly, associated persons must be trained to understand the complexities
of each product s/he recommends.
Customer-Specific Suitability requires that the recommendation makes sense for the
respective customer at the time it is made, given his/her investment profile. RRs
have to try to obtain and analyze all suitability factors—or document why they’re
not obtaining some factors (see below). Although suitability is a recommendationby-recommendation analysis, the rule requires consideration of the customer’s
portfolio and thus the suitability analysis should be performed within the context of
the customer’s other investments, when made available.
Quantitative Suitability requires that when a RR has actual or de facto control over
a customer account, s/he has to have a reasonable basis for believing that a series of
recommended transactions, even if suitable when viewed in isolation, are not
excessive and unsuitable for the customer when taken together. Factors such as
turnover rate, cost-equity ratio and use of in-and out trading in a customer’s account
are clues to unsuitable recommendations/trades. De facto control is established
when the customer routinely follows the RR’s advice because the customer is
unable to evaluate the broker’s recommendations and to exercise independent
judgment.
The topic of suitability in the context of institutional customers is included in the
subsection, below. In summary, the rule exempts the Company from the customer-specific
suitability obligation for institutional investors if certain conditions are met.
Investment Profile: Prior to making a recommendation as described in this section, the
Company or its associated persons must have a reasonable basis to believe the
recommendation is suitable. In order to do that, the customer’s investment profile must be
understood. RRs should attempt to gather and understand the following component factors
of a customer’s investment profile:
• age,
• other investments, financial situation and needs,
• tax status,
• investment objectives,
• investment experience,
• investment time horizon,
• liquidity needs,
• risk tolerance, and
• any other information the customer may disclose to the Company or
associated person in connection with such recommendation.
The Company expects its RRs to analyze these factors for each customer based on the
circumstances. As such, different emphasis may be put on different factors and in some
cases the investment profile of a customer may conflict with a very reasonable
recommendation, given the markets and the security at hand. In situations like this, the key
is to make sure the recommendation is reasonable at the time: if it is outside the scope of
what the account documentation shows for objectives, risk tolerance, etc., RRs should
document their reasons for believing it is reasonable. It is generally expected that
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recommendations made that appear to conflict with documented investment profiles will be
explained in the RR’s account notes or other documentation. Supervising principals, when
reviewing business activities, will rely on such records when determining whether the
suitability rule was met.
Investment experience, when considered, should be that of the person controlling the
account, such as a guardian, trustee or custodian.
When customers refuse to provide profile information RRs may make recommendations
based on the information they have; however, they may not make assumptions about
missing information. If an RR does not have sufficient understanding of the customer’s
profile due to missing information, s/he should not make recommendations. When
customers present conflicting information, an attempt should be made to understand the
reasons or assist the customer in understanding apparent contradictions in order to correct
the record. RRs should be aware that customers may have a different investment objective,
risk tolerance or liquidity need for different accounts, based on the underlying purpose for
establishing the account. The ‘other investments’ factor should be considered only to the
extent they are known and the customer wants the RR to base his recommendations on the
‘big picture.’ Sometimes the customer would prefer that RRs limit their recommendations to
those that make sense only in light of their stated investment factors on any given account.
Because investment profiles change with time and circumstances, RRs should make an
effort to verify the on-going ‘essential facts’ about their customers (as described in the know
your customer rule) in order to avoid mishandling the account. When changes are made
known to or discovered by the RR, account records should reflect those changes and
suitability analyses must be likewise adjusted. The Company does not impose a time frame
for this type of review and revision: rather, it expects its RRs to understand and honor the
importance of continual familiarity with their clientele. The Company must, as a minimum,
ensure that account information is updated per SEA Rule 17a-3, described elsewhere in this
Manual.
Supervision: Reviews of new accounts and account activity will take place in accordance
with the respective procedures in this Manual and will be documented as described.
Designated Principals assigned to supervise RRs and customer activities do not have to
review all recommendations for compliance with the suitability rule. In the absence of
analysis and review of every recommendation made, supervisors are expected to be in touch
with their RRs, their activity and their customer base to discern suitability. Supervisors are
expected to take note of any anomalies or inconsistencies when reviewing account activity
and must follow-up on any such perceptions. Follow-up actions may include discussions
with the RR, review of the documented suitability analyses, review of the transactions and
market conditions, and, if necessary, discussions with the customer. Remedial action, if
taken, will be documented. Should patterns of mishandling of customer accounts be
detected, the CCO must be notified and a course of action determined, including reporting
of internal conclusions, if warranted (see procedures herein).
Documentation: While certain components of suitability compliance will always be
documented (e.g., all applicable investment profile factors on the new account form), others
may not. For instance, for a customer with a stable and well-known investment profile and a
history of traditional, familiar securities investments, a RR may not document the basis for
every recommendation made. In this example, suitability will be self-evident and easily
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justified should an inquiry be made. In other instances, though, documentation of the
suitability analysis should be documented—such as when a recommendation contradicts
any factors in the investment profile, as described above, or in the case of complex products
with multiple, complicated investment features (such as reverse convertibles, floating rate
loan funds, STRIPS, private placements with insufficient, conflicting or confusing
information, certain debentures, low-priced securities, companies with no revenues or
profits, the use of margin, start-up companies, foreign currency debt, options, hedge funds,
commodity futures-linked securities, CMO’s, high yield debt, among others).
Documentation of “hold” recommendations may or may not be required, again, due to
circumstances and profiles. A suitability analysis of a hold recommendation should be
documented when dealing with: leveraged ETFs, REITs, securities of companies in trouble,
positions that are overly concentrated, and securities inconsistent with customer’s
investment profile. As a general rule, the Company requires documentation to support the
recommendation if the basis for suitability is not evident from the recommendation itself.
That is, if suitability is not obvious to the informed investment professional, documentary
evidence should be in place for the recommendation.
7.2.1
Sales to Seniors
Although there is no regulatory definition of “senior,” it is generally considered best
practice to include any person who has retired or is near retirement age as senior.
Additional factors should be taken into consideration when conducting business
with “senior” investors. Factors that should be considered in addition to the
person’s age include, but are not limited to:
• Employment plans – now and in the future
• Other sources of income – investments, savings, pensions, etc.;
• Ongoing expenses – mortgage, living expenses;
• When will they need the money they want to invest;
• Types of current investments or savings plans;
• Healthcare needs & insurance – now and in the future; and
• Income and investment needs – their goals.
In dealing with senior investors, Representative must provide clear, concise
information about the products and services being offered and should provide the
investor with detailed information in writing to support any such discussions. In
some cases, it may be prudent to have a caretaker or relative present to ensure there
is no misunderstanding regarding the product or the information being provided.
RR’s who focus on business with the elderly may be required to participate in
dedicated continuing education training on these and other subjects, in order to
assure familiarity with the special issues relating to them:
• Retirement planning,
• Ethics in working with senior investors, and/or
• The proper use of senior designations in retail communications (advertising,
sales literature, etc.) and correspondence (see the Communications with the
Public section, below).
7.2.2
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A limited exemption from the suitability rule exists if the account is an institutional
account, as defined in Consolidated FINRA Rule 4512(c) as follows:
• a bank, savings and loan association, insurance company, or registered
investment company;
• an investment adviser registered either with the SEC under Section 203
of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 or with a state securities
commission (or any agency or office performing like functions).
(Broker-dealers are not “customers” under Rule 0160 and therefore are also not
institutional accounts; business done with other BD’s is exempt from these
suitability procedures.)
When making recommendations to institutional accounts, the Company and its
associated persons are required to comply with the reasonable-basis (know your
products/strategies) and quantitative obligations described above. The quantitative
obligations only apply to that portion of an institutional customer’s portfolio that
the Company controls.
As for the customer-specific obligation, it only applies to institutional customers if
the RR or Company is making a recommendation in a product the customer has no
experience with or understanding of. However, for knowledgeable institutions, the
RR may omit the customer-specific suitability obligation, if:
• the broker has a reasonable basis to believe the customer is capable of
evaluating investment risks independently, both in general and with regard
to particular transactions and investment strategies, AND
• the investor affirmatively acknowledges that it is exercising independent
judgment. It may indicate this on a trade-by-trade basis, on an asset-classby-asset-class basis, or in terms of all potential transactions for its account.
(In instances where the institutional investor has delegated authority to an agent,
such as a bank trust department or IA firm, the agent must meet these conditions.)
The RR on the account should notate on the New Account Form or in other account
records that these conditions have been met. Supervisory review of account
activities should include a spot check of compliance with the conditions of this
exemption. As with all suitability reviews, indications of mishandling of
institutional accounts must be investigated with a view to remedial action and
internal reporting, if either is deemed necessary.
7.3
Fiduciary Duty
Under some circumstances a Registered Representative is held to have a “fiduciary duty” to
the client. This is a higher than normal standard of conduct where a Representative has a
duty to protect the interest of his/her customers, much the same way as he or she would
watch over his or her own investments. A Representative with a “fiduciary duty,” for
example, could be held liable for not causing the client to sell out of an investment that was
rapidly declining in value, even though he or she had no formal advisory or management
contract with the client.
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Fiduciary accounts include living and testamentary trust, estates, custodial and guardianship
accounts, all of which are governed by state law. Pension, profit sharing, employee welfare,
Keogh, and certain IRA accounts are also considered fiduciary accounts and are governed
by ERISA. The Company acquires a fiduciary status when it accepts such accounts. The
fulfillment of this responsibility, when applicable, will be reviewed by the designated
Principal during periodic account reviews. If Registered Representatives are in doubt, they
should consult their designated Principals as to their responsibilities. In some cases it may
be desirable to correspond with the client clarifying the obligations of the Representative.
7.4
Documentation and Follow-Up
Retaining documentation in the client file is very important to protect both the customer,
Company and Registered Representative from misunderstandings that could arise. Keeping
records of conversations and discussions about investments and strategies can also assist the
designated Principal during his/her review of transactions. The designated Principal as part
of his/her oversight of Representative’s activities will attempt to ensure that Representatives
are diligent in documenting client files.
7.5
Address Changes and Mail Holds
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Designated Principal: Joseph Englert
And assigned supervisors/designated Branch Office Managers if
applicable (see Section 3.5)
Daily account activity reviews; periodic account reviews (per Section 3).
Review files for evidence of address changes; ensure notification sent to
customers; Review status of mail holds; confirm presence of written
requests.
Review reports; memos to compliance files.
3010(a), 3012 (a); SEA Rule 17a-3 and -4, FinCEN ruling FIN-2009R003
Customer address changes should always be brought to the attention of the designated
Principal. Ordinarily, it is unacceptable for a customer to change an address to a P.O. Box
or other location not indicative of the customer’s true street address and Registered
Representatives entering customer address changes of this nature in the record without prior
clearance will be subject to further inquiry and asked for a full explanation. In accordance
with FinCEN guidance, P.O. Boxes used by participants in Address Confidentiality
Programs (ACP) are acceptable provided that the Company also obtains the street address
for the state agency or organization through which the program is administered. This street
address shall serve as the physical location of the individual in the ACP.
Should a Registered Representative receive notice of a customer’s address change, the RR
must furnish the updated account information to the customer within 30 days of updating
the records. Revised account records should be sent to the customer’s former address and
need not contain the customer’s tax ID number or date of birth. The designated Principal, in
his or her periodic review of account records must ensure that address changes are made to
account records and that updated records are forwarded to customers as required. See the
section below entitled, “Furnishing Account Record Information” for details on this and
related SEC Books and Records requirements.
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The Company may hold customer mail temporarily if it receives written instructions from
a customer who will be traveling or on vacation and away from his her usual address.
Appointed personnel may hold mail for up to two months (three months if the customer is
abroad). RR’s receiving requests for mail holds should advise customers that the request
must be in writing; once the written request is received, the RR must forward it to the mail
processing area or other administrative staff for implementation. Periodically, the
designated Principal must review mail holds in effect and ensure that maximum time frames
are honored and written requests are on file.
In the event mail is returned after delivery attempt (for instance, as “undeliverable”), the RR
on the account or appointed operations staff must attempt to call the customer to investigate,
and should follow address change procedures if required. Should the address be only
temporarily inaccessible, the Company may hold the mail (see procedures above) until the
address is functioning again. If no permanent residential or business address can be
obtained, the account must be closed. Designated supervisors should be made aware of
these circumstances.
7.6
Death
Death of a customer automatically freezes all activity in the customer’s individual accounts
and joint accounts without rights of survivorship until such time as letters testamentary or
other evidence of authorization by an executor are presented. Death of a customer should
be immediately brought to the attention of the designated Principal.
7.7
Telemarketing
The Company permits its associated persons to contact persons at their residential or
wireless phone numbers only if they have an established business relationship or the calls
are return phone calls. NO telemarketing (telephone solicitations, also called cold calling) is
permitted. During ongoing reviews of business activity, all designated Principals are
required to take note of violations of this policy and must take action to prohibit further
non-compliance. Instances of repeated non-compliance must be brought to the attention of
the CCO for investigation and possible disciplinary action. “Person,” when used to indicate
the call recipient, includes any individual, group, unincorporated association, limited or
general partnership, corporation, or other business entity.
7.8
Loans To and From Customers
Consolidated FINRA Rule 3240 describes requirements related to loans between customers
and registered persons. The Company prohibits its registered persons from lending money
to, or borrowing money from, its customers. The Company expects its registered persons to
avoid any indication of exploiting their positions or relationships with a client for the
purposes of loaning money to the client or borrowing money from the client. In the
designated Principal’s reviews of customer activity, should the existence of such lending
arrangements be discovered, an investigation and disciplinary action, if warranted, will
follow.
7.9
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Customer orders should be transmitted promptly and necessary steps should be taken,
ensuring that orders are handled promptly. In no event should the placement of a client’s
order be withheld.
7.10
Privacy of Customer Information
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
How Conducted:
Privacy notice process; Review RR activity/correspondence; Customer file
reviews; Enforce information security procedures; train personnel in
information protection
Privacy notices, opt out records; Account information; Records of
monitoring and testing, if required, of internal systems; ensure and
document third party monitoring/testing of systems, if applicable.
SEC Regulation S-P, Notices 00-66, 05-49
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
In daily course of business
Also reference Business Continuity Plan for technical details on document
back-up. and the Company’s ID Theft Prevention Program, if applicable.
The Company has adopted the following supervisory procedures in order to comply with
Regulation S-P and to protect the privacy of customer financial information.
The designated Principal shall ensure compliance with these procedures, and shall use the
following text, in addition to other materials, such as technical manuals and office
procedures instructions, in order to comprehensively train employees with regard to their
obligations under the regulation. Employees are encouraged to review Regulation S-P and
Notices 05-49 and 00-66 to augment their comprehension of privacy requirements.
Safeguarding Customer Records and Information The Company and its employees are
required to attempt to:
• Insure the security and confidentiality of customer records and information;
• Protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of
customer records and information; and
• Protect against unauthorized access to or use of customer records or information
that could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any customer.
The Company’s offices are locked when the business is closed; unauthorized access is
prohibited. Customer records are maintained in locked cabinets and/or in electronic form
that is protected by password entry only and only those employees who are authorized and
have been registered may have access to such records. Unauthorized access is strictly
prohibited. The Company’s computer system is protected by firewall and anti-virus
software. As described herein, the Company’s IT staff or outside vendor will monitor
changes in technology used by Company personnel and will ensure that these changes do
not result in gaps in information protection (“monitor, evaluate and adjust”); training of
personnel is required when technologies change to ensure continued customer information
protection.
Personnel are required to comply with the Company’s information barriers, which are
described elsewhere in this WSP Manual. Control of the flow of information between
personnel, departments and outside vendors is an important tool in protecting non-public
information.
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Destruction of hard-copy confidential customer information is accomplished via a paper
shredder. In the event the Company wishes to purge electronic records or dispose of
computer equipment the hard drive will be removed or magnetically erased to ensure that no
confidential company or customer information can be retrieved by unauthorized parties.
Remote access to company computers will be strictly controlled and protected through
passwords and encryption technology.
The Company shall also ensure that any information maintained by a third-party, including
but not limited to their clearing firm, is protected and that destruction of confidential
company or customer information is done in a manner so as to protect it from unauthorized
access. The treatment of such confidential information by third-parties should be contained
within the Company’s contract with these parties or in a separate confidentiality agreement
signed by the vendor.
Monitoring/Testing of Controls: The Company will monitor the controls it uses to
safeguard its customers’ personal information. Monitoring will be conducted to ensure the
effectiveness of:
i. access controls on personal information systems,
ii. controls to detect, prevent and respond to unauthorized access to personal
information, and
iii. employee training related to the Company’s information security procedures.
For (i) and (ii), monitoring will generally consist of designated IT personnel’s routine
maintenance of IT and other systems (such OMS, electronic communications software, and
database systems) and troubleshooting when required. Such maintenance may include,
among other processes, ensuring that firewalls, anti-virus software, and encryption
technology are in place and functioning; and that all data relay systems, such as those used
to route orders to the clearing firm, are secure. In addition to maintenance and
troubleshooting, IT personnel will respond to and correct perceived failure of any system
that could result (or has resulted) in a privacy breach. Noted deficiencies will be corrected
immediately, and all such instances will be documented and reported to the CCO.
For (iii), the CCO is responsible for ensuring that employees are properly trained in the use
of all systems so as to conform to the safeguards described herein and expected by
regulators.
The Company makes use of outside vendors to provide and maintain its electronic systems
that contain personal information. The CCO is responsible for ensuring that outside service
providers are selected and retained based on their competence and ability to maintain
safeguards over personal information as required and that they are obligated under contract
to implement and maintain such safeguards. Outside vendors are expected to report to the
Company their ongoing monitoring and/or testing of the systems provided; the Company
may require independent evaluations of third-party systems in higher risk situations, or may
require additional tests, evaluations and reports from a third party provider, should its
security monitoring be considered inadequate or not specific enough to meet the Company’s
needs. The CCO will determine if such additional monitoring, testing or reporting is
required, and will oversee completion.
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The monitoring and, if applicable, testing, described herein, whether conducted by the
Company and/or its outside vendors will be supervised by the CCO and documented. Such
records will be maintained for three years.
If any person associated with the Company detects or become aware of any breaches to the
Company’s electronic or paper records that could comprise confidential information, he or
she must immediately notify the Executive Representative and/or CCO. The Executive
Representative and/or CCO shall investigate any reported breaches. If the breach comprised
customer confidential information, the Executive Representative and/or CCO will
immediately notify state or federal regulatory authorities, if applicable, take any necessary
steps to secure the information from future breaches and notify customers regarding the
compromise and any remedies available to them to detect or prevent possible identity theft
or other issues relating to the breach.
The threat of potential threats to the security of customer information is also addressed in
the Company’s Business Continuity Plan, as are the Company’s information back-up
systems—please reference that document for details. For a discussion of permitted
communications via electronic means and protection of information, see the sections called
“Electronic Mail” and “Use of Electronic Media.” In addition, the Company’s Identity Theft
Prevention Program addresses safeguards for preventing online account intrusion and
subsequent compromise of customer information security, such as internet authentication
methods. This Manual does not address those specific procedures: Company personnel
should consult the ITPP for related procedures. The respective designated Principals shall
be responsible for overseeing the strict adherence to these policies.
7.10.1 Who is Protected?
The regulation protects only individuals; thus, trusts, partnerships and corporations
are not protected. Beneficiaries of trusts, 401(k) participants, shareholders of
corporations or partners of partnerships are not protected. IRA beneficiaries are
protected since they are individuals. Institutional investors are not covered by the
regulation and no disclosures are required to be made to institutional customers.
7.10.2 What is Protected?
With certain exceptions set forth below, the Company is required to protect
“Nonpublic Personal Information” (“NPI”) defined as “Personally Identifiable
Financial Information” (“PIFI”) acquired from the customer PLUS any list,
description or other grouping of customers derived from using any PIFI. In general,
PIFI would include all information of a personal nature supplied on account
applications, questionnaires and other information provided in order to obtain
accounts, obtain credit, enter into advisory or other relationships, etc.
NPI does not include information that the Company has taken steps to verify and
reasonably believes could lawfully be obtained from federal, state or local
government records, widely distributed media (telephone book, television, website
or radio program) or disclosures to the general public required to be made by
federal state or local law.
In addition, regulation S-P protects account number information. The Regulation
(with certain exceptions) prohibits the Company under any circumstances from
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disclosing to any non-related third party (“NTP”) other than a consumer reporting
agency, a customer account number or similar form of access number or access
code for a credit card account, deposit account or transaction account if such
disclosure is for use in telemarketing, direct mail marketing or other electronic mail
marketing. Regulation S-P also controls “re-disclosure and reuse” of any NPI.
Regulation S-P specifically requires the Privacy Notice to state that the Company
may disclose NPI about former customers as well as current ones. The Regulation
does not require that a Privacy Notice be provided to any former customer.
THE COMPANY AS A POLICY DOES NOT DISCLOSE ANY CONSUMER OR
CUSTOMER NON-PUBLIC INFORMATION TO NON-RELATED THIRD
PARTIES OTHER THAN IN CONTROLLED CIRCUMSTANCES AS
SPECIFICALLY ALLOWED BY REGULATION S-P.
7.10.3 How is it Protected?
With certain exceptions (consult Rule) the Company may not disclose NPI of any
customer to any NTP without prior notice and consent by the customer. An NTP is
any person, firm or corporation that is not controlled by, controlling or under
common control with the Company. NOTE: if any other government regulator
treats the Company as an “affiliate” of a company regulated by it, then the
Company is also an “affiliate” of that company for purposes of regulation S-P and
may disclose NPI to that company.
7.10.4 Notice Requirements
Initial Privacy Notice Requirement The Regulation requires the Company to
provide an Initial Privacy Notice to (a) every customer at all times and (b) every
customer and “consumer” (see note below) where the Company intends to disclose
that customer’s NPI to any NTP under any non-exempt circumstances. Each
recipient must also be provided with a “reasonable” time to “opt out” or not.
NOTE: If the Company does not share NPI, it does not have to provide initial and
annual notices or opt-out choices to each “consumer”—that is, an individual who
obtains or has obtained a financial product or service from the Company that is to
be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. Typically, a
“consumer” has no further contact with the Company other than the one-time
delivery of products or services (versus a customer, who has an on-going
relationship with the Company). The designated Principal must ensure that this
distinction is well understood and accurately applied.
The Initial Privacy Notice must be provided to the customer, with certain
exceptions, AT OR BEFORE the time the Company establishes the customer
relationship or BEFORE the Company makes any disclosures of that customer’s
NPI to a NTP. The Initial Privacy Notice may be provided in written or electronic
form (if the customer is able to acknowledge receipt electronically).
The exceptions are as follows: The Initial Privacy Notice may be provided at a
“reasonable” later time where (a) the customer relationship has been established
without the customer’s knowledge or consent (i.e., an ACATS transfer or SIPC
trustee transfer); (b) where to provide the Notice would substantially delay the
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customer’s transaction and the customer has agreed to receive the Notice at a later
date; or (c) where the NTP establishes an account or purchases securities on behalf
of the customer.
Once provided to a particular individual, the Initial Privacy Notice does not have to
be provided again every time a new product or service is obtained by that
individual, as long as the Initial Privacy Notice and any subsequent Annual Privacy
Notices (see below) are current and accurate as to that product or service.
“Opt Out” Provision: Because the Company does not share NPI, it does not offer
an opt-out provision in its Privacy Notice.
Annual Privacy Notice: Appointed personnel of the Company are required to
provide an Annual Privacy Notice to each Customer every 12 months as long as
he/she remains a customer. Once he/she ceases to be a customer no further Notice
is required. Annual Privacy Notices are sent in March of each year to all covered
persons. The Annual Privacy Notice may be delivered over the Company’s
website.
7.10.5 Books and Records Requirement
The Company maintains records to evidence its delivery of Privacy Notices to
customers. Copies of Notices are kept in the customer’s account records. The
Company is committed to protecting the confidentiality, security and integrity of all
its customers’ nonpublic personal information. Compliance with the procedures
described herein is intended to ensure such protection.
7.10.6 Superseding Authorities/State Regulations
Regulation S-P does not modify, limit or supersede the Fair Credit Reporting Act
(15 U.S.C. 1681), particularly Section 603 that allows companies to provide
selected credit information to lenders. In addition, Regulation S-P does not
supersede, alter or affect any state law or regulation that establishes and imposes
different information protection standards. Accordingly, the Company should be
aware of comparable provisions in states where it is doing business. For example,
some jurisdictions, including Massachusetts and Nevada, have enacted legislation
that establishes minimum standards to safeguard personal information in electronic
records. These laws contain potential penalties against persons and entities for
failures to adequately safeguard electronic information containing personal
information. The CCO must attempt to conform to these State regulations when
applicable.
7.11
Forwarding Material Information – Not Applicable
7.12
Investor Education
Product Educational Material Registered Representatives, in offering services and
securities to customers and the public, must attempt to provide educational material on the
products and services under consideration. As described elsewhere in this Manual, items
such as disclosure documents, prospectuses, offering memorandums, sales literature and
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research reports, among others, should be distributed when required. In addition, RR’s must
attempt to verbally describe the characteristics and risk profiles of all products presented to
investors, in order that the products are fully understood. It is the obligation of RR’s to
fully respond to questions or concerns posed by customers; no available information should
be withheld from inquiring customers. Each designated Principal, in his or her review and
approval of new accounts and investments, must attempt to discern whether RR’s are
making sufficient attempts to educate the public. Where RR’s are found to fail at investor
education, the designated Principal must monitor the RR’s future business more closely in
order to assure improved educational efforts. Repeated and constant failure to attempt to
educate investors will result in disciplinary action.
FINRA Manual Under Consolidated FINRA Rule 8110, the Company will make the
FINRA Manual available to customers upon request; personnel may do this by providing
customers with the web address of the online manual or by providing access to the online
manual at the Company’s offices.
The Company’s clearing firm provides this information to its customers on behalf of the
Company. For non-brokerage customers, the information will be provided on the
Company’s new account form.
Records of compliance with this rule will be maintained in accordance with the Company’s
recordkeeping policies. The Chief Compliance Officer will review for completeness and
will make an effort to remedy lapses in compliance.
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SECTION 8: REPORTING REQUIREMENTS: CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS AND OTHER
DISCLOSURES
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Designated Principal: CCO
Upon receipt of customer complaints (both verbal and written) or notice of events
requiring disclosure; When informed of potential misconduct.
Quarterly.
Confirm notices sent to customers; Discussions with representatives about verbal
complaints; Review of written customer complaints; Review of event disclosures;
review of evidence of misconduct; Compilation of quarterly complaint information
Complaint files, including evidence of notices sent, written complaints, notes
related to verbal complaints, and any supporting documentation;
Disclosure event report to FINRA, if necessary; Notes, records on the subject of
misconduct considered for reporting of internal conclusions.
Quarterly statistical summary report to FINRA.
Consolidated FINRA Rules 4513, 4530, Notices 95-81, 02-53, 03-23, 09-23, 1106, 11-19, 11-32; SEA Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4
FINRA requires the reporting of certain specified events and quarterly statistical and summary
information regarding written customer complaints; and the filing of certain criminal actions, civil
complaints and arbitration claims. To follow are our Company’s procedures relating to FINRA Rule
4530 and other guidance and rules.
8.1
Customer Complaints
Notice to Customers. The designated Principal ensures that the Company provides to each
customer a notice of the address and telephone number to which any complaints may be
directed. This notice is provided on the Company’s New Account Form and by the
Company’s clearing firm on printed documentation, such as customer statements. If
provided on the Company’s NAF or on a different form or document, the disclosure should
be prominent and easily distinguishable from other text.
Definition, Review and Resolution For purposes of this Manual, a securities complaint is
defined as any written communication from a person with whom the Company has engaged,
or sought to engage, in securities activities that expresses a grievance against the Company
or an associated person. Occasionally, customer complaints raise serious questions about
the Company’s operating procedures or question the honesty of its personnel. Therefore it
is required, and critical, that all complaints received be forwarded promptly to the
designated Principal. Associated persons must inform the Company of any complaint
received from a former, existing or prospective customer, whether written or oral.
The associated person will be asked to produce any documentation and records related to
the complaint that are reasonable to request. The designated Principal or designee will
analyze the complaint to determine the Company’s reporting obligations; he or she will
coordinate the Company’s follow-up to the complainant, and will maintain copies of all
written responses and the resolution. The designated Principal will initial the written
complaint and sign or initial the Company’s response(s) as evidence of Principal review.
Associated persons should not contact the SEC, FINRA, any state securities division or
other authority without the express prior consent of the Company. They should not attempt
to resolve the complaint on their own and should not offer to make payments to the
complainant from personal funds in order to resolve the complaint.
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Oral Complaints Registered Representatives, registered Principals and employees of the
Company are reminded that even minor complaints must be given proper attention
immediately. Oral, non-written grievances should be documented in notes and discussed
with the associated person’s supervisor to determine if action is necessary to resolve the
issue. While oral complaints are not reportable to FINRA, it is important to address them in
order to limit frustration and escalation. In some cases, associated persons may be permitted
by the designated Principal to resolve oral complaints; written complaints may never be
resolved by the associated person, alone.
Records In accordance with SEA Rule 17a-3, the designated Principal or designee will
make a record as to each associated person that includes every written customer complaint
received by the Company concerning that person (including those received electronically).
Records will include:
• the complainant’s name, address, and account number;
• the date the complaint was received;
• the name of each associated person identified in the complaint;
• a description of the nature of the complaint; and
• the disposition of the complaint.
In order to meet these requirements and those of SEA Rule 17a-4 and Consolidated FINRA
Rule 4513, the Company will keep copies of all original complaints and all records related
to their disposition, filed by name of the respective associated person; or, rather than
keeping all the records in one place, the Company may keep a separate record of each
complaint and clear references to the files containing the correspondence connected with the
complaint. Should any of the required information not be included in the original
complaint, such information will be gathered and recorded in the file or cross-referenced in
the records. Original records of complaints against the Company, itself, will also be
maintained, along with records of their disposition. Complaints relating to an OSJ or an
office supervised by such OSJ must be maintained either at the OSJ or promptly made
available at such office upon FINRA request. Customer complaint records and written
responses will be maintained for a period of at least four years. Each customer complaint
file will also contain a description of any and all verbal complaints received by the
Company, including notes as to the disposition of such complaints.
Arbitration Many complaints are subject to mandatory arbitration under FINRA rules.
Generally these include any complaints between registered broker-dealers or between
Registered Representatives and/or broker-dealers. Any customer has a right to have his
claims against an FINRA registered broker-dealer or representative resolved by FINRA
arbitration. If applicable, see the “Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements” section, below.
Reporting The Licensing and Registration Principal will ensure that all reportable
complaints are reported to FINRA as required under Consolidated FINRA Rule 4530. To
follow is a summary of when complaint reporting is required:
1. The Company or an associated person is the subject of any written customer
complaint involving allegations of theft or misappropriation of funds or
securities or of forgery. This applies to a complaint received from any person
(other than a broker or dealer) with whom the Company has engaged, or has
sought to engage, in securities activities (meaning, former, existing or
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prospective customers). Reporting is required via U4, U5 or Form BD and via
the online “Rule 4530 Application” section of the Regulatory Filings
Application system. Filings must be made within 30 calendar days after
discovery of the complaint. (See below for exceptions for duplicative
reporting.)
2. The Company or an associated person is the subject of a written customer
complaint not reportable under number 1, above. This applies to complaints
received from customers with whom the Company has engaged in securities
business (meaning, former or existing customers—not prospective customers).
Reporting is required quarterly by 15th day of the month following the calendar
quarter in which written customer complaints are received by the Company.
Reporting is made via the online “Rule 4530 Application” section of the
Regulatory Filings Application system. NOTE:
a. Although complaints from prospective customers are not normally
reportable quarterly, any complaint reportable under no. 1, above, is
also reportable by the Company in its quarterly statistical complaint
filing; and
b. Quarterly complaint reporting is only required to the extent complaints
were received in the prior quarter: If no complaints were received, as
described here, then no report need be filed.
As described in the section above about registration terminations, these complaint reporting
rules apply to former associated persons, too. That is, should the Company be made aware
of a written complaint against a person who was associated with the Company when the
activity occurred, the designated Principal must ensure proper processing, recordkeeping
and filing of the complaint as described herein. The complaint will be disclosed via a
quarterly complaint filing and, if required due to the nature of the complaint, a Form U5
amendment (that is, duplicative Rule 4530 Application filings are not required for former
associated persons whose U5s have been amended).
A 4530 Application filing described above is not required if the event was already reported
on Form U4 with an affirmative request to satisfy Rule 4530 reporting requirements.
The Licensing and Registration Principal (or other designated party) will ensure that the
proper filings are made and that all forms are reviewed and signed by the appropriate
signatories as described elsewhere in this Manual. Filings must be made within the time
required (see above) and in a manner and format specified by FINRA, such as electronically
via Firm Gateway. The designated Principal will ensure proper recordkeeping of all
complaint filings.
8.2
Disclosure Events and Other Reporting
Reporting of Disclosure Events Besides complaints, certain other events, findings and
circumstances require prompt reporting to FINRA. To follow is a summary of reportable
events, whether involving the Company or an associated person. This list does not contain
all the Rule language: it is only a summary. All associated persons MUST inform the
designated Principal of any such event summarized here—when in doubt, persons
should discuss the issue with their supervisors to determine if the circumstance calls for
reporting:
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•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
External Findings—Rule Violations: Found to have violated any securities-, insurance-,
commodities-, financial- or investment-related laws, rules, regulations or standards of
conduct of any domestic or foreign regulatory body, SRO or business or professional
organization. This does not include informal agreements, deficiency letters, examination
reports, memoranda of understanding, cautionary actions, admonishments and similar
informal resolutions of matters; nor does it include SRO ‘minor’ rule violations if there
was no fine or the fine was less than or equal to $2500.
Regulatory Proceedings: Named as a respondent or defendant in any proceeding
brought by a domestic or foreign regulatory body or SRO.
Other Regulatory Actions: Subject to disciplinary or other actions (such as suspensions,
disbarment, cease and desist orders, etc.) by any securities, insurance or commodity
industry domestic or foreign regulatory body or SRO.
Criminal Actions Involving Felonies & Certain Misdemeanors: The subject of any
indictment, conviction, or guilty or no contest plea involving: any felony or certain
misdemeanors, such as a misdemeanor involving the purchase or sale of a security or
involving forgery; a conspiracy to commit any of these offenses; or substantially
equivalent actions.
Associations with Certain Entities: Associated with certain financial entities that were
denied registration, suspended, expelled or had their registration revoked by a regulator
or associated with a financial institution that was convicted of, or pleaded no contest to,
any felony or misdemeanor. This includes associations as director, controlling
stockholder, partner, officer or sole proprietor of, or an associated person with, a broker,
dealer, investment company, investment advisor, underwriter or insurance company,
and includes foreign matters.
Civil Litigations, Arbitrations, Claims for Damages: Named as a defendant or
respondent in any securities or commodities-related civil litigation or arbitration or any
financial-related insurance civil litigation or arbitration, or is the subject of any claim
for damages by a customer, broker or dealer that relates to the provision of financial
services or relates to a financial transaction, that was disposed of by judgment, award or
settlement in excess of $15,000 ($25,000 in the case of the Company as a member
firm). Note that legal fees and interest are included in the totals.
Statutory Disqualifications: Subject to a statutory disqualification or involved in the
sale of any financial instrument, the provision of any investment advice or the financing
of any such activities with any person who is subject to a statutory disqualification.
Internal Disciplinary Actions: In the case of associated persons only, the subject of any
disciplinary action taken by the Company involving suspension, termination or the
withholding of compensation/imposition of fines in excess of $2,500. Also applies to
discipline that significantly limits the person’s activities, whether temporarily or
permanently.
Internal Conclusions of Violations: Conclusions reached about violative conduct by
associated person or the Company. See below for details.
All of the above events (except findings and actions by FINRA) must be reported to FINRA
on the online “Rule 4530 Application” section of the Regulatory Filings Application system
and respective uniform forms, depending on the circumstance (for instance, on Form BD for
the Company, and Forms U4 and U5 for individuals). However, events already reported on
Form U4 with an affirmative request to satisfy Rule 4530 reporting requirements do not
require separate reporting. The Licensing and Registration Principal must ensure that
required filings are made within 30 days of the Company learning of these reportable
events, and that all forms are reviewed and signed by the appropriate signatories as
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described elsewhere in this Manual. The designated Principal will ensure proper
recordkeeping of all such filings and related documentation.
Note on former associated persons: Reporting must be made for conduct (i.e., not just the
event, but the conduct that led to the event) that occurred while a former associated person
was registered with the Company. If reportable conduct is disclosed on Form U5 filings (on
Questions 13, 14 and 15) because the person was associated within the prior two years, it
need not be reported via the 4530 Application system. However, if the conduct is reportable
under Rule 4530 but not reportable on Form U5 due to it being outside the U5 date range,
the Company must report it on the Rule 4530 Application.
Documentation to FINRA In certain cases, the Company will be required to provide
copies of the following to FINRA:
• any indictment, information or other criminal complaint or plea agreement for conduct
reportable under “Criminal Actions Involving Felonies & Certain Misdemeanors” bullet
point, above;
• any complaint in which the Company is named as a defendant or respondent in any
securities- or commodities-related litigation or in any financial-related insurance private
civil litigation;
• any securities or commodities-related arbitration claim, or financial-related insurance
arbitration claim, filed against the Company in any forum other than FINRA’s Dispute
Resolution forum; and
• any indictment, information or other criminal complaint, any plea agreement, or any
private civil complaint or arbitration claim against an associated person of the Company
that is reportable under question 14 on Form U4, irrespective of any dollar thresholds
Form U4 imposes for notification, unless, in the case of an arbitration claim, the claim
has been filed in FINRA’s Dispute Resolution forum.
The designated Principal must ensure timely filings of these documents, when applicable,
and must provide copies of related documents to the District Office or other FINRA office,
when requested. Copies of all documents pertaining to the events will be maintained in
dedicated files. The Company, if subject to a request by FINRA's Registration and
Disclosure staff, will provide requested documents to the Registration and Disclosure staff
not later than 30 days after receipt of such request, or sooner if so requested. Filings must be
made in a manner and format specified by FINRA, such as electronically via Firm Gateway.
Additional Reporting Each associated person must also immediately inform the designated
Principal if:
• he or she is the subject of any regulatory investigation that could result in
reportable events: notices of such investigations are typically referred to as
“Wells Notices”;
• he or she is the subject of any pending investment-related civil action;
• allegations of sales practice violations are made against the associated
person in a civil lawsuit or arbitration in which the person is NOT named,
but can be reasonably identified as involved in the alleged violation.
The designated Principal will review the events to determine reporting requirements and
will ensure that proper and timely reporting is made via U4 or U5 filings.
8.3 Internal Conclusions of Violations
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It is possible that in the conduct of its operations, management and/or supervisory personnel
of the Company may determine instances of non-compliant conduct, whether by its
associated persons or the Company, itself. In such cases, where the Company has concluded
that an associated person or the firm itself has violated any securities-, insurance-,
commodities-, financial- or investment-related laws, rules, regulations or standards of
conduct of any domestic or foreign regulatory body or SRO, the designated Principal or
other designated person (such as counsel) must report the conclusion to FINRA no later
than 30 calendar days after it is made.
The following will be considered reportable violative conduct committed by:
• The Company: Conduct that has widespread or potential widespread impact
to the Company, its customers or the markets, or conduct that arises from a
material failure of the Company’s systems, policies or practices involving
numerous customers, multiple errors or significant dollar amounts.
• An associated person: Conduct that has widespread or potential widespread
impact to the Company, its customers or the markets; conduct that has a
significant monetary result on other FINRA member firms, customers or
markets; or multiple instances of any violative conduct.
The Rule calls for reporting multiple instances of the same violative conduct: multiple
instances of different violative conduct should be noted and monitored, but may not
necessarily result in reporting. It is the appointed senior person who will make this
determination based on the facts and circumstances. Should multiple instances of different
violative conduct be punishable by internal disciplinary action (such as fines greater than
$2500), the Company would have to report this as described above, but would not report it
as an internal conclusion (unless it otherwise met the threshold for reporting as noted in the
bullets directly above).
Where violations have already been reported to FINRA based on external findings (as
described above), the Company does not have a separate reporting obligation (that is, if the
perceived misconduct has already been found to have occurred by a regulatory body and is
reported on Form U4, U5 or BD, the Company does not have to report the matter under this
Rule).
This requirement applies to instances where the Company “reasonably should have
concluded” that misconduct has taken place. That is, no supervisory or managerial
personnel may turn a blind eye to perceived misconduct: matters are reportable to FINRA if
a reasonable person would have concluded that a violation occurred. This ‘good faith’
determination standard is essential to ensuring compliance with the Rule.
This requirement also applies to internal conclusions reached about former associated
persons. Should a conclusion be reached about violative behavior that occurred while the
associated person was registered with the Company, the Company must report it as
described herein. Please reference the “Note on former associated persons” in the text
above: it applies to reporting internal conclusions, as well.
All personnel, if they perceive of or know of any conduct by the Company or its associated
persons (or former associated persons) that may violate any securities-, insurance-,
commodities-, financial- or investment-related laws, rules, regulations or standards of
conduct of any domestic or foreign regulatory body or SRO MUST immediately report such
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to their designated supervisors for escalation. All such conversations will be deemed
confidential and will not result in retaliation. Supervisors are required to discuss the matters
with the CCO; in the event the subject of the matter is the CCO or the supervisor, him/
herself, internal reporting should be directed to a member of senior management. The
Company will rely on the CCO to make final, internal conclusions about each reportable
violation, and to document the matter, the decision reached, and subsequent reporting. If
reporting is required, it will be made within 30 calendar days of the conclusion being
reached, and will be reported via the online “Rule 4530 Application” section of the
Regulatory Filings Application system.
It is clear that honest mistakes resulting in inadvertent non-compliance may be made in the
daily operations of the Company. These procedures are not intended to elevate normal
operating shortfalls to the category of reportable violative conduct. The CCO expects
normal internal review mechanisms, such as daily and periodic activities reviews, office
inspections and annual testing and verification, to be useful in identifying instances of noncompliance that do not have widespread impact and therefore rise to the level of reporting.
All such instances will be documented and resolved as described in this Manual. Only in
instances where conduct is deemed a material failure and is concluded to meet the bulleted
descriptions, above, will the Company report it as necessary under the Rule and these
procedures.
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SECTION 9: CUSTOMER ACCOUNTS, NEW ACCOUNTS, ACCOUNT TRANSFERS
9.1
New Account Form - General
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Designated Principal: Joseph Englert
And assigned supervisors/designated Branch Office Managers if
applicable (see Section 3.5) Section 3.2 and 3.5
Upon account opening
Review NAF for completeness of information including investment
profile factors, proper type of account, unacceptable accounts (minors;
fictitious; numbered accounts without ownership disclosure, etc.), proper
address format; apparent suitability; sanity of initial transaction, proper
registration and licensing of assigned RR. Ensure proper set-up of
master/sub-accounts
New Account Form plus any other necessary documentation (such as
guardianship agreement, joint account agreement, corporate trading
authorization, third party authorization, corporate resolution, W9 Form,
etc.); Initials on NAF upon approval.
NASD Rules 3012(a), 3050; Consolidated FINRA Rules 2090, 2111,
2268, 3250, 4512, SEA Rule 17a-3(a)9, 17a-3(a)(17); MSRB 6-8(a)(xi);
Notices 10-18, 11-02, 11-19
Every customer of the Company must provide the Registered Representative with certain
basic information and the Representative must evaluate that information for know your
customer, suitability and other purposes when undertaking transactions for the customer in
any account. The basic tool for doing this is the New Account Form (NAF). The
Registered Representative who opens the account is responsible for seeing that the NAF is
filled out for every new account opened and that all required signatures are obtained (as
described below). The designated Principal, in his or her periodic reviews of customer
account activity, will confirm the Representatives’ fulfillment of their NAF responsibilities.
In addition, the Registered Representative is responsible for seeing that all required backup
documentation has been filled out and is included with the NAF: this includes all
documentation with respect to any transaction(s) being undertaken at the time the account
is opened. Transactions will not be processed if the required documentation has not been
submitted and approved.
Each Registered Representative should make sure that all NAF documentation in his or her
customer records is updated so that it is current and relevant. While SEC books and records
rules call for updating account information at least every 36 months, the RR on the account
must keep pace with customer profile changes to assure continued suitability. This requires
periodic communication with customers to update their NAFs.
The Registered
Representative is responsible for the accuracy of the information contained in the NAF and
shall obtain such information directly from the customer. The Registered Representative
shall use reasonable diligence to know the essential facts concerning his or her customer so
as to be able to determine whether it is appropriate for the Company to do business with
such customer, and in what capacity. The Registered Representative shall make inquiry into
the customer’s investment profile and financial ability for all types of accounts in
accordance with FINRA Rule 2111, the suitability rule (see Section 7). SEE SECTION
16.10 BELOW FOR DETAILED RECORD KEEPING REQUIREMENTS RELATED TO
CUSTOMER ACCOUNT INFORMATION.
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A critical part of the NAF are the prompts for investment objectives, risk tolerance,
investment time horizon and liquidity needs, among others. Care must be taken to discuss
the form input fields with the client and to make sure that the input is not inconsistent.
Section 7 of this Manual describes the required suitability factors that must be gathered and
analyzed when making recommendations; in general, these factors should be included on
the NAF, regardless of whether RRs will be making recommendations: it is required to
‘know your customer’ in order to serve him or her well. Certain other considerations,
including those relating to senior citizens, investments of liquefied home equity, and
specific products are important to understand and are described in other sections of this
Manual. RR’s must read this Manual to thoroughly understand their obligations when
recommending securities to customers. The Principal reviewing the new account will check
any proposed transaction against collected customer data and related RR reflections to rest
assured that a suitability analysis has taken place, when required. Subsequent reviews of
account activity must include reviews of changes to account information, including address
and investment objectives, to determine that information is up-to-date and that changes are
conveyed to customers via some form of notification (see Section 16.10).
The Registered Representative shall make certain that the customer is aware of and
understands the nature, significance, and obligations of every type of account opened and
maintained for the customer and the significance of each order placed. If the NAF contains
a Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreement, the RR should review the section in this Manual
addressing such Agreements and must ensure that the customer receives a copy of any such
signed Agreement.
When a third party who is not listed as an owner of the account will give instructions
regarding orders, disposition of funds, or other actions involving an account,
Representatives or appointed personnel must obtain a signed third-party authorization or
power-of-attorney prior to accepting instruction from the third-party. Such documents will
include guarantee of accounts and powers of attorney and other evidence of the granting of
any discretionary authority given in respect of any account. The authorization is signed by
the owner(s) of the account and the third party, giving the third party authority to act on
behalf of the principal. An example of a third party account is an account for a wife whose
husband will give instructions regarding his wife’s account.
If the account is established for a Corporation, copies of resolutions empowering an agent to
act on behalf of a corporation must be obtained. In the case of a trust, partnership or other
entity, applicable documentation showing the duties, powers and authority of the trustee,
partner, or other party must also be received.
9.2
New Account Information
In completing the NAF, the following practices should be observed and required
information gathered. This list is derived from various sources including SEC, FINRA and
federal AML regulations.
•
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Consolidated FINRA Rule 4512 requires the following for all accounts:
o The names of each associated person responsible for the account and their
respective roles (e.g. the RR opening the account and any other RR charged
with servicing the account) must be recorded and maintained; generally this
information will be in the NAF. If the account was subjected to a suitability
analysis, the RR responsible for that must sign the NAF;
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Customer’s name and residence;
Whether the customer is of legal age;
If the customer is a corporation, partnership or other legal entity, the names
of any persons authorized to transact business on behalf of the entity (for
instance, by receiving ‘trading authorizations’ signed by the proper
signatory);
o Whether the customer is an associated person of another member (see rule
for specific exceptions);
o The designated Principal (a partner, officer or manager of the company)
must sign the NAF to denote that the account has been accepted in
accordance with the Company’s account opening procedures—this
signature may be electronic if standard electronic signature procedures are
followed (such as those that comply with the E-Sign Act);
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4512 requires dated, manual signatures of those individuals
with discretionary authority—see section below for these procedures;
For recommendations, Consolidated FINRA Rule 2111 requires certain investment
profile information; in the case of institutional accounts, certain conditions must be met
to be exempt from a customer-specific suitability analysis: see Section 7 herein;
The Company’s clearing firm must assign an account number to each new brokerage
account;
Each account must usually be opened in the full legal name of the customer including
the full first name and the customer must sign the NAF;;
Joint accounts must include the type of joint tenancy, e.g., Joint Tenants, Tenants-InCommon, Tenants-By-Entirety, or Community Property;
Estate or trust accounts should include specific descriptive titles—e.g., pension, profitsharing, testamentary or living trust—and the names of the trustees and the date of the
trust, pension plan, or retirement plan must be included;
Corporate status should be indicated in the title of the account and the file must include
the necessary authorizing resolution;
The mailing address should be a permanent residence or permanent business address.
All addresses should include a zip code. If the mailing address is other than the
customer’s home address (for instance, a P.O. Box or third party address), the home
address must also be noted. The account form should also include the number of years
the customer has been at that address and should include the home telephone number;
Social Security Number (for individuals) or Tax Identification Number (for entities)
must be entered for all accounts in accordance with the following rules:
• If custodian account—use the SSN of the minor;
• If trust account—use the SSN of beneficiary or TIN of the trust, if applicable;
• If joint account in name of husband and wife—both SSNs are necessary;
• If an entity—use the TIN;
For individuals, the Registered Representative should indicate the name and address of
the customer’s employer, years employed, business telephone number and, in addition,
if customer is married and spouse is employed, indicate the name of the employer of the
spouse (Under the Rules, this requirement is not required for accounts with nonrecommended transactions, held at investment company sponsors—however, it is good
business practice and generally applies to all customers who are natural persons); see
below for procedure about customers who are FINRA employees;
For individuals, date of birth;
o
o
o
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
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If the customer is an organization, the Registered Representative should describe the
type of organization specifically; e.g., hedge fund, investment partnership, brokerdealer, investment advisory partnership, etc.;
If the customer is an investment partnership, the Registered Representative should note
that in compliance with the Registered Representative’s obligation (and that of the
Company to know the customer, certain additional information must be obtained in
advance in writing with respect to both the limited and general partners: the names of
the general and limited partners; their respective occupations and business addresses;
whether the general or limited partners are U.S. citizens; the status of each of the
partners (whether sophisticated, accredited, etc.); and whether any of the general or
limited partners—or members of their immediate families—fall within restricted
categories, such as persons associated with brokers, dealers, mutual funds, banks, trust
companies, insurance companies, etc. If a general or limited partner is associated in any
capacity with a member of the NYSE, AMEX, or FINRA, written consent from such
member organization should be obtained as well as the name of the person at such
organization who is to receive copies of transaction documents of the investment
partnership involved;
The type of account opened (either cash, margin, option or custodian) must be noted on
the NAF;
Notation whether customer is an associated person of another broker dealer or a more
than 10% shareholder in a public company; and
To the extent available, electronic entry of account data should be accomplished in the
customer database of the Company.
•
•
•
•
Records should be maintained and preserved as necessary to meet SEC and FINRA rules:
see the sections herein on preserving books and records for details. Customer information
should be updated in accordance with the Company’s practices: where there are new
recordkeeping requirements, associated persons must update customer records to meet those
requirements during their routine updating process. Associated persons will rely on
compliance staff to keep them informed of changing requirements.
9.3
Signature Guarantees
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
How Conducted:
Transaction review
How Documented:
Ledgers; Approvals; Compliance
In the daily course of business
3010 Checklist:
Many mutual funds, clearing companies, banks and other financial institutions require a
guarantee of a particular individual's signature from a registered entity before the institution
will accept a transaction signed by that individual. The guarantee is provided by an entity
(bank, brokerage Company or other financial institution) that is a member of a signature
guarantee association, knows the individual and can certify that the signature is genuine.
The Company is able to provide signature guarantees to its customers as an accommodation
in transactions in which the Company is involved (e.g. transfer of securities, redemption,
etc.). The Company has issued a limited number of signature guarantee stamps for this
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purpose. The Principal shall keep a log of all such guarantees showing date, name,
document and Registered Representative involved.
The designated Principal shall keep a ledger indicating where all the stamps are. All
signature guarantee stamps shall be kept under lock and key and returned immediately to the
designated Principal when no longer in use.
9.4
Discretionary Accounts; Unauthorized Trading
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Chief Compliance Officer:
Designated Branch Office Managers and Producing Managers’ Supervisors
(see Section 3.2 and 3.5)
Continuous; on a daily basis
Reviews of order tickets and/or blotters;
Review and approval of discretionary agreements.
Customer Account Documentation granting discretion; Notation on order
tickets for all discretionary orders, including time and price discretion.
Related correspondence
Consolidated FINRA Rules 2010, 4512, Rule 2510 (related: Advisers Act
Rule 202(a)(11)-1), Notice 08-57, 11-19
A “discretionary account” is any account in which a person other than the named
accountholder has the power to execute transactions in the account. This power could arise
because of a power of attorney, trust agreement, advisory or management agreement or
other document. Registered Representatives should take great care to be aware of the
“discretionary” nature of certain relationships and be clear about them both with the
customer and with the Company.
Unauthorized trading in customer accounts occurs when the Registered Representative
enters orders without any discretionary or other authority. Unauthorized trading is a severe
violation of FINRA and Company Rules and SEC Regulations and when discovered will be
swiftly and severely remedied. See “Investigations of Questionable RR Activity and
Disputed or Unauthorized Transactions” above for procedures for detecting unauthorized
transactions.
9.5
ACATS and Other Account Transfers
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Designated Principal: Joseph Englert
And assigned supervisors/designated Branch Office Managers if
applicable (see Section 3.5)
Upon request for approval of account transfers
Review account transfer documentation and notate approval or suggested
follow-up actions.
Authorized instructions from customer wishing to transfer;
Broker-to-broker transfer instruction from receiving broker-dealer;
Written identification of, and instructions for disposition of,
nontransferable assets (asset validation report);
Notes in account files providing any necessary clarification.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 11870; Consol. FINRA Rule 2140. Notices
04-47, 04-58, 04-72, 07-50 08-48, 08-57, 09-20, 10-49
When a customer whose securities account is carried by a member firm (the carrying
member) wishes to transfer all account assets, or specifically designated assets, to another
member firm (the receiving member) and gives authorized instructions to the receiving
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member, both member firms must expedite and coordinate activities with respect to the
transfer. If a customer wishes to transfer a portion of the account assets outside of the
Automated Customer Account Transfer System (ACATS), alternate authorized instructions
should be transmitted to the carrying member indicating such intent and specifying the
designated assets to be transferred. Although such transfers are not subject to the provisions
of Consolidated FINRA Rule 11870, member firms must expedite all authorized customer
asset transfers, whether through ACATS or via other means permissible, and coordinate
their activities with respect to the transfer. Authorized instructions from customers may
include their actual or electronic signatures.
In the case of a Registered Representative’s departure from the Company in order to work
for a different broker-dealer, the Company will not create unnecessary delays in transferring
customer accounts, including delays accompanied by attempts to persuade customers not to
transfer their accounts. Consolidated FINRA Rule 2140 prohibits the Company and its
associated persons from interfering with a customer's request to transfer his or her account
in connection with the change in employment of the customer's registered representative,
provided that the account is not subject to any lien for monies owed by the customer or
other bona fide claim. Prohibited interference includes, but is not limited to, seeking a
judicial order or decree that would bar or restrict the submission, delivery, or acceptance of
a written request from a customer to transfer his or her account.
Upon receipt from the customer of an authorized broker-to-broker transfer instruction form
to receive such customer’s securities from the carrying member, the receiving member must
immediately submit such instruction to the carrying member through ACATS. The carrying
member must, within one business day following establishment of such instruction:
• Validate and return the transfer instruction to the receiving member with an attachment
reflecting all positions and money balances to be transferred; or
• Take exception to the transfer instruction for reasons other than securities positions or
money balance discrepancies and advice the receiving member of the exception taken.
The carrying member and the receiving member must promptly resolve any exceptions
taken with regard to the transfer instruction.
Account asset transfers accomplished under the Uniform Practice Code are subject to the
following conditions which the customer must be informed of, affirm, or authorize through
their inclusion in the transfer instruction form which is required to be completed and signed
in order to initiate the account transfer:
• To the extent that any account assets are not readily transferable, with or without
penalties, such assets may not be transferred within the time frames required by the rule
and the customer will be contacted in writing by the carrying member with respect to
the disposition of any nontransferable assets;
• If securities account assets in whole other than retirement plan account assets are being
transferred, the customer must affirm that he or she has destroyed or returned to the
carrying member any credit/debit cards and/or any unused checks issued in connection
with the account; and
• The carrying member and the receiving member must promptly resolve and reverse any
nontransferable assets that were not properly identified during validation.
In all cases, each member shall promptly update its records and bookkeeping systems and
notify the customer of the action taken.
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In the case of non-transferable assets described above, the customer may ask the carrying
member to liquidate the asset, continue to retain the asset, or transfer the asset in the
customer's name to the customer.
The receiving member will review the asset validation report, designate those proprietary
and/or third party assets it is unable to receive/carry, provide the customer with a list of
those assets and request instructions from the customer regarding their disposition. The
customer may instruct the receiving member to liquidate the asset (in which case the
receiving member must inform the customer of resulting fees and remaining balance
distribution information, and must refer the customer to the fund prospectus or to the RR at
the carrying firm for fee information), continue to retain the asset, transfer the asset in the
customer's name to the customer, or transfer the asset to the third party that is the original
source of the product. Most importantly, the transfer of the other assets in the account will
occur simultaneously with the receiving member's designation of nontransferable assets.
These procedures should eliminate the need for reversing the transfer of third party and/or
proprietary products, thereby reducing delay and the cost of customer transfers incurred by
members under the current system. These procedures also will substantially reduce
customer confusion in that customers will no longer receive multiple account statements
from the carrying and receiving firms as they transfer and then reverse transactions.
If the customer has authorized liquidation or transfer of such assets, the carrying member
must distribute the resulting money to the customer or initiate the transfer within five (5)
business days following receipt of the customer’s disposition instructions.
With respect to mutual fund shares, a receiving member must deem receipt of a mutual fund
re-registration form evidencing book-entry shares in an account as adequate delivery for
purposes of transferring such shares, provided the registration form contains the customer’s
new account number at the fund. The carrying member is also responsible for obtaining this
number and entering it on the form prior to submission to the receiving member. This
provision is applicable to book-entry shares and is not intended to preclude the delivery of
physical certificates.
The provisions of the Rule should be consulted in the case of transfer of retirement plan
securities accounts. Important: the carrying member must inform the customer that the
choice of method of disposition of such assets may result in penalties or a tax liability.
If cost basis information is electronically available for transfer (for instance, through the
Cost Basis Reporting Service), and the customer has decided to change firms, it is a
violation of Consolidated FINRA Rule 2010 for the Company to refuse to transfer the
information upon request or take any steps to interfere with its transfer to the customer's
new firm. The designated Principal must make sure that operations personnel are
complying with this requirement, if applicable (the Company is not required to create cost
basis records upon customer request if electronically transferable records do not already
exist).
Consolidated FINRA Rule 11870 should be referenced for specific requirements on closeouts. Recent changes to the rule make the notice and completion of closeouts of fail
contracts resulting from the non-completion of a transfer of a customer’s account conform
to the time frames for all close-outs as specified in Consolidated FINRA Rule 11810 (BuyIn Procedures and Requirements).
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The Company does not hold customer accounts or assets. Therefore, its clearing firm will
ensure that assets are transferred in accordance with applicable Rules and standards. In the
event the clearing firm is unable to comply with the customer’s request, the designated
Principal will receive notification from the clearing firm as to any problems with the
request. The designated Principal, and/or the representative for the customer, shall contact
the customer to resolve any problems or concerns and will forward corrected instructions to
the clearing firm. The designated Principal shall monitor transfers into or out of accounts
held by the Company’s customers to ensure that transfers occur within applicable time
frames and will work directly with the clearing firm to resolve any issues.
9.5.1
Bulk Transfers Using Negative Response Letters
Should the Company wish to transfer a group of customer accounts, there are
situations where a negative response letter may be appropriate to provide for the
efficient transfer of those accounts (a negative response letter generally informs the
recipient of the letter of an impending action, and requires the recipient to respond
or act within a specified time frame if the recipient objects to the action. If the
recipient does not respond, he or she is deemed to have consented to the action). In
identifying these situations, the designated Principal must consider the need to
effect a timely transfer of the account and the interests of customers affected by the
transfer. Company personnel must adhere to FINRA guidance on this subject and
may consider the use of negative response letters to be appropriate in the following
circumstances:

A Member Experiencing Financial or Operational Difficulties. An introducing
firm that is experiencing financial or operational difficulties may seek the
transfer of all of its customer accounts to another introducing firm using
negative response letters;

An Introducing Firm No Longer in Business. When an introducing firm has
gone out of business, the clearing firm may effect the transfer of all of the
introducing firm's customer accounts to another introducing firm using negative
response letters;

Changes in a Networking Arrangement with a Financial Institution. Upon the
conclusion or termination of a networking arrangement with a financial
institution pursuant to Consolidated FINRA Rule 3160, a member may seek the
transfer of all customer accounts established pursuant to the networking
arrangement to a new firm with which the financial institution has formed a
networking arrangement using negative response letters;

Acquisition or Merger of a Member Firm. When a firm is acquired by or
merges with another firm, the firm originating the accounts may seek the
transfer of all of its accounts to the new firm using negative response letters;
and

Change in Clearing Firm by an Introducing Firm. When an introducing firm
decides to enter into a clearing arrangement with a different firm, the
introducing firm may use negative response letters to transfer customer
accounts to the new clearing firm.
In addition, applicable rules permit the Company to use "negative response letters"
to obtain authorization to take certain actions on behalf of its customers without
obtaining affirmative consent, but only in limited circumstances. For instance, Rule
2510(d) allows a member to use negative response letters in certain situations to
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effect the bulk exchange of a customer's money market mutual fund for a different
fund without the affirmative consent of a customer, provided certain conditions are
met. (However, the use of negative consent letters to change the BD of record in
mutual fund or variable annuity accounts held at product sponsors or issuers
(“application-way” accounts) is NOT permitted; affirmative customer consent must
be sought and obtained to change the BD of record.) FINRA trade-reporting rules
regarding riskless principal trading also permit the use of negative response letters
to document an institutional customer's agreement to trade with a firm on a net
basis.
The use of a negative response letter to facilitate the bulk transfer of customer
accounts in these situations may be appropriate, given the potential risk to investors
and costs to firms that could result if firms were required to solicit individual
transfer instructions from each customer. The bulk transfer of accounts in these
situations also helps minimize interruptions to customers' access to their accounts
and the trading markets. Should the Company wish to use negative consent letters
in bulk transfers in circumstances outside of the scenarios described above, it will
seek specific guidance from FINRA through FINRA's interpretive letter process, as
needed.
While the use of negative response letters by the Company to transfer customer
accounts may be appropriate in the situations described above, negative response
letters may not be used by Registered Representatives to transfer customer
accounts. Should a Registered Representative wish to transfer accounts by these
means, he or she must contact her/her designated Principal to seek approval.
Certain exceptions may be granted by the designated Principal due to special
circumstances or following FINRA guidance. The designated Principal will make
records of exceptions granted, if any, and maintain them in the appropriate files (RR
and customer).
Required Disclosures in Negative Response Letters
The Company, when seeking to transfer customer accounts using negative response
letters, will provide account holders, consistent with just and equitable principles of
trade under Consolidated FINRA Rule 2010, with adequate time and information to
decide whether to object to the transfer. Appointed staff will provide each customer
with the following information in the negative response letter:
• A brief description of the circumstances necessitating the transfer;
• A statement that the customer has the right to object to the transfer;
• Information on how a customer can effectuate a transfer to another
firm;
• A sufficient time period for the customer to respond to the letter (at
least 30 days from the receipt of the letter unless exigent circumstances
exist that warrant a shorter timer period);
• Disclosure of any cost that will be imposed on the customer as a result
of the transfer, including costs to the customer if the customer initiates
a transfer of the account after the account is moved pursuant to the
negative response letter; and
• A statement regarding the Company’s compliance with SEC Regulation
S-P (Privacy of Consumer Financial Information) in connection with
the transfer.
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Should the Company receive customer accounts pursuant to a transfer by a negative
response letter, it must furnish customers with any applicable customer account
information and agreements upon the receipt of the accounts. Both the transferring
and receiving firms in a customer account transfer situation must be in full
compliance with SEC Regulation S-P. Regulation S-P governs the collection, use,
and maintenance by a financial institution of nonpublic personal information of
consumers and customers. Unless the transfer is being conducted pursuant to a
permitted exception to Regulation S-P, the transferring firm should have reserved
the right to transfer customer accounts in its privacy notice that was previously sent
to its customers. Generally, firms receiving the customer accounts must provide
privacy notices upon the establishment of a customer account. (See Section 7.11)
EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE: Given current market conditions, FINRA has
issued interpretive guidance regarding changes to money market sweep accounts
when the existing account ceases to accept new deposits or issue additional shares
without giving adequate notice to permit the Company to notify its customers 30
days prior to making changes in their sweep account. In these cases, the Company
may cease attempting to sweep balances into current designated money market
accounts and select and activate an alternative sweep arrangement for the client
under the following conditions:
• The Company must use its best efforts to select a new sweep option that is
appropriate for its customers considering the yield, fees, investment
objectives, risks and current market conditions;
• The Company must establish instructions (notify its clearing firm) to sweep
cash balances into the newly selected money market option;
• The Company must promptly notify its affected customers of the change
using negative response letters that included disclosure outlined above; and
• The Company must provide customer written notification as to alternative
sweep options available for their account.
Also, FINRA announced in September 2008 (Notice 08-48) that firms could
exchange customer assets that are invested in the Reserve Primary Fund, the
Reserve Yield Plus Fund, and the Reserve International Liquidity Fund (Funds
whose NAV’s (net asset value) had dropped below $1.00 per share) in bulk for
shares of another money market mutual fund or for deposits in an FDIC-insured
bank without complying with all of the Rule 2510(d) requirements summarized
above, subject to certain conditions. The Company, when relying on this exception,
is permitted to:
 Exchange shares of the Funds either for shares of another money market mutual
fund with a NAV of $1.00 per share or an FDIC-insured deposit account. The
Company must ensure that the money market mutual fund or bank deposit
account into which it is moving customer assets is suitable for each customer;
and
 Conduct the bulk exchange prior to notifying customers, provided written
notification is sent out promptly thereafter. The notice must include the tabular
comparison of the nature and amount of fees charged by each fund as required
by Rule 2510(d)(2)(B) and the comparative description of the investment
objectives of each fund and a prospectus of the new money market mutual fund
as required by Rule 2510(d)(2)(C). If customers’ assets are being moved into an
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FDIC-insured bank account, the notice must include a description of the
account, any fees associated with the account, and a listing of the account’s
terms and conditions that the bank normally provides to customers opening
such an account.
The designated Principal, in his or her periodic review of account activity, will
review negative consent letters sent to customers in order to confirm that all
applicable requirements described above were met.
9.6
Margin Accounts
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
How Conducted:
Application Review Approval/Disapproval
How Documented:
Account Documents
Initials
Reg. T; Consolidated. FINRA Rules 2264 and 4210; Notice 02-25, 01-11,0131, 09-60
3010 Checklist:
Continuous; in the daily course of business
(See Section 12-7 for Margin Requirements) NOTE: The Company offers margin accounts
to its customers, however, as it is a fully-disclosed introducing firm, it is the Company’s
clearing firm that is extending credit to its customers.
To open a margin account, the client must sign a margin agreement. All margin account
securities shall be held in the “street name” of the Company (or Company’s clearing firm, if
applicable) so that it may sell them if the customer cannot meet the margin call.
Trust accounts, estate accounts and other legally created entities may not maintain margin
accounts unless the documentation (i.e., trust indentures, wills and corporate resolutions)
specifically permit margin transactions. A margin account for any such entity may not be
opened unless it is approved in writing by the designated Principal. Short sales in any such
account also require the prior written approval of the designated Principal. Custodian
accounts for the benefit of a minor or pension or profit-sharing accounts must not, in any
case, be maintained on margin. The specific written approval of the designated Principal is
required to establish margin accounts for securities industry employees.
The Company, when opening a margin account for a non-institutional customer, must
provide the customer with an initial Margin Disclosure Statement. The statement may be
provided electronically or in hard copy; the statement, if provided with other documents,
must be on a separate page or contained by itself. Also, the Company must, each calendar
year, provide customers with an Annual Margin Disclosure Statement; such statement may
be provided electronically or hard copy. This annual statement can be the same as the initial
statement or an abbreviated statement as described in Consolidated FINRA Rule 2264; in
either case, it may be delivered within other account documentation and does not have to be
on a separate page or in separate document form. Under the terms of its clearing agreement,
the Company’s clearing firm is responsible for the delivery of the initial and annual
disclosure statements to customers.
Before recommending margin transactions to a customer, the Registered Representative
should be satisfied that margin transactions are suitable for that customer. The customer
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should be provided with a copy of the “Truth In Lending Statement” provided by the
Company’s clearing firm (if applicable). Each margin account and the applicable interest
rate must be approved by the designated Principal. The terms of the “Truth In Lending
Statement” may not be changed in any way unless written notice of the change is sent to the
customer at least 30 days before the effective date of the change.
If signed customer account agreements are not received from the customer within the
prescribed time, the designated Principal should notify the Registered Representative who
will then take steps to obtain the forms from the customer. If the forms are still not
received, then the account should no longer be maintained on a margin basis. In such
instances, only liquidating orders should be accepted and the account should pay off its
debit balances and transact business only on a cash basis. If a Registered Representative
effects a margin transaction in an account that has reverted to a “cash only” basis, or has not
been approved for margin, the Registered Representative may not receive commissions for
either the initial transaction or subsequent liquidating transactions as determined by the
designated Principal.
9.7
Accounts of Registered Reps of Other Firms
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
How Conducted:
Review of Account Documents; Confirm notifications delivered; receipt of
duplicate statement instructions; Confirm delivery of duplicate statements.
Approval/Disapproval
Account Documents; Duplicate statements instructions; records of duplicate
statements sent; Initials
Rule 3050; MSRB G-28
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
Continuous; in daily course of business; upon account opening approval.
Applies to accounts with municipal securities transactions if the Company is
an MSRB broker or dealer.
All accounts of registered representatives of other firms must be pre-approved by the
designated Principal. BCG, when knowingly accepting a transaction for the purchase or
sale of a security for the account of a person associated with another member (employer
member), or for any account for which such associated person has discretionary authority,
shall use reasonable diligence to determine that the execution of such transaction will not
adversely affect the interests of the employer member.
Where the Company knows that a person associated with an employer member has or will
have a financial interest in, or discretionary authority over, any existing or proposed account
carried by the Company, the Company shall:
• Notify the employer member in writing, prior to the execution of a transaction for
such account, of the Company’s intention to open the account;
• Upon written request by the employer member, transmit duplicate copies of
confirmations, statements or other information with respect to such account; and,
• Notify the person associated with the employer member of the Company’s intention
to provide the notice and information required by the above two sections.
The designated Principal, in his or her reviews of new accounts, will ensure that these
procedures are followed and that records are kept to evidence such compliance.
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9.8
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Transactions Involving FINRA Employees
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
How Conducted:
Review of Account Documents; Confirm receipt of duplicate statement
instructions; Review gifts/gratuities; Approval/Disapproval
Account Documents; Duplicate statements instructions; records of duplicate
statements sent; records of gifts/gratuities; Initials
Consolidated FINRA Rule 2070; Notice 08-57
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Continuous; in daily course of business; upon account opening approval.
Where BCG knows that an employee of FINRA has a financial interest in, or controls
trading in, an account, the Company shall obtain and implement an instruction from the
employee directing that duplicate account statements be provided by the Company to
FINRA.
In addition, the Company will not directly or indirectly make any loan of money or
securities to any such FINRA employee (except where loans are made in the context of
disclosed, routine banking and brokerage agreements, or loans that are clearly motivated by
a personal or family relationship). Also, the Company will not directly or indirectly give, or
permit to be given, anything of more than nominal value (notwithstanding the annual dollar
limitation set forth in Consolidated FINRA Rule 3220(a)), to any FINRA employee who has
responsibility for a regulatory matter that involves the Company (such as examinations,
disciplinary proceedings, membership applications, dispute resolution proceedings, etc.).
The designated Principal, in his or her reviews of new accounts, will ensure that these
procedures are followed and that records are kept to evidence such compliance. Should
evidence be found of prohibited loans or gifts or gratuities, the designated Principal will
investigate and take disciplinary action, if necessary.
9.9
Obligations of Associated Persons Concerning an Account with an Investment
Adviser, Bank or Other Associated Financial Institution
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
And assigned supervisors/designated Branch Office Managers if applicable
(see Section 3.5) Section 3.2 and 3.5
Continuous; on a daily basis
How Conducted:
Account Review; Approval/Disapproval
How Documented:
Account Documents; Initials
3010 Checklist:
SEA Rule 17a-4(b)(6)
Any associated person of BCG who opens a securities account or places an order for the
purchase or sale of securities with a domestic or foreign investment adviser, bank or other
financial institution, except a member, shall:
• Notify the designated Principal in writing, prior to the execution of any initial
transactions, of the intention to open the account or place the order; and,
• Upon written request by the Company, request in writing and assure that the investment
adviser, bank or other financial institution provides the Company with duplicate copies
of confirmations, statements or other information concerning the account or order.
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If an account subject to this subsection was established prior to the time the Registered
Representative joined the Company the person shall comply with this subsection promptly
after becoming so associated. (All Company personnel are required to confirm their
understanding of these obligations by reading and signing “Firm Policy on Personal
Accounts and Trading” herein.)
The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to transactions in unit investment trusts
and variable contracts or redeemable securities of companies registered under the
Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, or to accounts which are limited to
transactions in such securities.
9.10
“Household” Prospectus Delivery
When delivering prospectuses to two or more customers at a shared address, associated
persons may send a single prospectus to the address if certain conditions are met. The
specific conditions are described in Rule 154 of the SEC Exchange Act of 1933, and include
conditions related to how recipients are addressed, consent of customers, notification of
deliveries and definition of address. The CCO or assigned Branch Office Managers will
review the prospectus delivery practices of Representatives to ensure compliance with the
requirements under Rule 154. In instances where the clearing firm delivers prospectuses to
customers, the Company will rely on the clearing firm to be in compliance with SEA Rule
154.
9.11
Anti-Money Laundering, FCPA and FACT Act Compliance
9.11.1 AML/CIP and FCPA
In accordance with Consolidated FINRA Rule 3310 and MSRB G-41, and in an
effort to comply with the requirements under the USA PATRIOT Act (in particular,
Section 352 of such Act), the Company has established policies and procedures for
the purpose of attempting to deter and detect money laundering activities by
customers. The Company’s “Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program” is not
included herein; rather, it is maintained under separate cover. Every employee of
the Company is expected to be familiar with the policies and procedures described
in the AML Program and to make reasonable efforts to comply with them. Failure
to do so will result in disciplinary action and possible subsequent termination of
employment.
In accordance with Section 326 of the USA PATRIOT Act, Registered
Representatives are required to attempt to identify any person attempting to engage
in transactions. The Company’s AML Program, under separate cover, provides
detailed procedures related to this requirement.
Hand in hand with AML CIP efforts is attention to foreign customers and whether
they fall into the definition of ‘foreign official’ as described in the FCPA Policy
herein. All new foreign customers must be vetted in an attempt to determine if this
definition applies. Subsequent supervision by designated Principals of account
activity and gifts/gratuities offered must be attuned to the requirements of the FCPA
for the sake of identifying any violations.
9.11.2 FACT Act
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The Company will comply with the FTC’s Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions
Act of 2003 (FACT Act) regulations to the extent they are applicable to its business.
Subject to further clarification from FINRA, to follow are relevant definitions from
the FACT Act and the Company’s procedures for compliance with it:
• “Financial institution” means a depository or other institution that
directly or indirectly holds a transaction account belonging to a
consumer.
• “Transaction account” means an account that permits the account
holder to make withdrawals for payment or transfer to third parties of
securities or funds via telephone transfers, check, debit card or similar
items.
• “Consumer” within these definitions refers only to individuals as
customers, not institutions.
• “Creditor” means any person who regularly extends, renews, or
continues credit or regularly arranges for the extension, renewal or
continuation of credit. This would include introducing or clearing firms
providing margin, or firms arranging loans, even if for institutional
customers.
• “Covered accounts” means (1) an account offered or maintained
primarily for personal, family or household purposes that is designed to
permit multiple payments or transactions—i.e., “retail” accounts; or (2)
any other accounts, including institutional accounts, if they pose a
foreseeable risk to the Company’s customers or to its own safety and
soundness from identity theft.
Red Flags Rules: The CCO has determined that the Company is required to
implement a Written Identity Theft Program under the FACT Act. This Program
will be made available to all personnel by the announced enforcement date.
Company personnel are required to comply with all identity theft prevention
procedures, which are incorporated herein by reference.
Credit and Debit Card Rules: The Company is either a “financial institution” or a
“creditor” as defined in the FACT Act and it issues credit and/or debit cards to its
customers. Therefore, Compliance personnel have established the following
procedures relating to address change notifications from credit or debit card
holders:
When the Company receives an address change notification and also receives
(within at least 30 days) a request for an additional or replacement card, Company
personnel may not issue an additional or replacement card until the Company has
either:
1. Notified the cardholder of the request at the cardholder’s former address or
using any other means of agreed-upon communication, such as e-mail or
telephone, and provided the cardholder with a reasonable means of promptly
reporting incorrect address changes; or
2. Otherwise assessed the validity of the change of address in accordance with its
internal policies and procedures.
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Notices to customers must clear and conspicuous, and separate from regular
correspondence, so as to get the attention of the customers. Validation of address
changes may take place prior to receipt of requests for new cards, in which case, no
second validation would be necessary.
The Principal designated to oversee compliance with these procedures is CCO. He
will conduct spot check review of address change notifications, validations of
changes and issuance of replacement/additional cards and will evidence those
reviews by initialing the respective documentation. Instances of non-compliance
will be met with additional training and disciplinary action, if warranted.
Consumer Reports Rules: The Company may request consumer reports on
individuals from consumer reporting agencies (CRA’s). It therefore has developed
the following procedures addressing the receipt of notices of address discrepancy
from CRA’s:
If, after requesting a consumer report about a new or existing customer, the
Company receives a notice of address discrepancy from the CRA, personnel must
attempt to verify that the consumer report actually relates to the customer in
question. To make his determination, personnel may use current, internal address
information (such as that obtained during CIP verification or on applications or
change of address notifications) or third-party sources such as trusted public
records. Personnel may also directly contact the customer for verbal or e-mailed
confirmation of the address.
If personnel cannot reasonably believe that the consumer report relates to its
customer, the Company may not use that report. Such circumstances should be
brought to the attention of the AML Compliance Supervisor to determine if further
investigation is necessary.
All records relating to these procedures should be maintained with the respective
customer’s account records. Designated Principals, in their customary and periodic
reviews of account set-up and account activity, will spot-check for compliance with
these procedures and will document any required follow-up to instances of noncompliance.
9.12
Online Accounts and Approval
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Chief Compliance Officer
Pre-approval of accounts.
Periodic review of state registration requirements/status.
Check with FINRA/read Notices for updated regulations.
New account records and transaction records consistent with all applicable
procedures in this Manual; day trading disclosure documents.
Notices 95-56, 95-80, 01-23, 04-38, 08-41, 09-72, Consolidated FINRA
Rules 2130, 2270 and 4210; Reg. T
Comments:
The Company provides its customers a link to its clearing firm’s proprietary online account
access system for reviews of account holdings and activities, account opening,. The
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Company does not maintain or control this website in any way. It is the clearing firm that
manages and enforces this system’s password protection, suitability parameters and
oversight mechanisms for each customer using it.
The designated Principal will maintain records of all online trading account approvals.
9.13
Investments of Liquefied Home Equity
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Designated Principal: CCO
And assigned supervisors/designated Branch Office Managers if applicable
(see Section 3.5)Section 3.2 and 3.5
Upon new account opening; daily trade reviews.
Review of customer new account forms and evidence of suitability
assessments conducted and disclosures made.
Account documents, Correspondence, Notes to files (or disclosure document
if used).
Notice 04-89; Consolidated FINRA Rule 2111
Customers who liquefy home equity to make securities investments are faced with
significant and unique risks, including, for instance: losing their homes (typically their
largest and most stable asset); misapprehending their risk tolerance for investments using
liquefied home equity, and being forced to liquidate securities at a loss; failing to recognize
certain potential conflicts of interest, for example, a broker’s desire to earn commissions or
fees on such investments or the BD or its affiliate’s earning compensation on the
refinancing if it is also the lender or receiving referral fees from the lender; and
undermining the asset diversification benefit of home ownership. Once liquefied for
investments in securities, a homeowner can much more easily and quickly lose the equity in
his or her home.
The Company strictly prohibits its RR’s from recommending securities investments using
liquefied home equity (proceeds from refinancings). However, if a RR has not
recommended such a strategy, yet knows a customer’s source of funds is liquefied equity,
he or she is required to disclose the risks and assess the suitability of the transaction, as
described below.
The Company should make efforts to ensure that customers are adequately informed of the
risks and conflicts of such a strategy. RR’s should disclose the following risks and conflicts
of investing liquefied home equity:
• The potential loss of one’s home;
• The fact that unlike other potential lenders, the Company has an interest in having the
proceeds of the loan used for investments that may generate commissions, mark-ups
or fees for the Company;
• The Company or its affiliate may earn fees in connection with originating the loan (if
applicable, the RR must disclose the nature of any such compensation, including
referral fees from unaffiliated lenders);
• The impact of liquefied home equity on the ability to refinance a home mortgage; and
• Depending on the amount of home equity liquefied and any change in home value, the
homeowner may have negative equity in his or her home.
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Sales materials and oral presentations concerning investments of liquefied home equity
must meet all requirements, including Principal review procedures, described in Section 11,
Communications with the Public.
In certain situations, when a customer is considered to have a greater risk profile,
heightened supervision or specific account approval procedures should be put into effect.
RR’s are obligated to bring such customers to the attention of their designated Principals;
and designated Principals, in their review of new accounts and daily account activity, are
obligated to originate and conduct heightened supervision, if deemed necessary. When
leverage is involved, such as options, or specific trading strategies, such as day trading,
associated persons must follow required specific account approval procedures, as described
elsewhere in this Manual.
The designated Principal, in his or her reviews of daily trade activity, will take note of
investments of liquefied home equity. Periodic reviews of customer account documentation
and Correspondence will include a review of evidence of disclosure of the risks and
conflicts associated with these investments. Perceived lack of disclosure or thorough
suitability assessment will result in further investigation by the designated Principal and
possible disciplinary action taken against the respective Registered Rep.
9.14
Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements
The Company’s new account form or other required account opening document includes a
Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreement. These Agreements require customers to agree in
writing to arbitrate disputes concerning the account, typically in a forum sponsored by an
SRO (i.e., FINRA).
The Company’s written language used to describe its Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreement
must comply with the requirements under Consolidated FINRA Rule 2268. In summary,
the language must be highlighted and must include certain disclosures, including: the parties
are giving up the right to sue each other in court; arbitration awards are generally final and
binding; discovery is generally more limited in arbitration; arbitrators have to explain the
reasons for their awards only if certain conditions are met; arbitrators may have been or may
be affiliated with the securities industry; the rules of some arbitration forums may impose
time limits for bringing claims in arbitration (in some cases, claims that are ineligible for
arbitration may be brought in court); and the rules of the arbitration forum apply to cases
brought in that forum and new agreements are not necessary for each time a forum changes
its rules. The exact language and manner of presentation that must be used in account
agreements is outlined in Consolidated FINRA Rule 2268 (see Notice 11-19): the Chief
Compliance Officer must ensure that the correct language is used to describe its Pre-Dispute
Arbitration Agreements.
In the Company’s agreement(s) containing a Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreement, there must
be a highlighted statement immediately preceding any signature line or other place for
indicating agreement that states that the agreement contains a pre-dispute arbitration clause.
This statement must also indicate at what page and paragraph the arbitration clause is
located. Company personnel must provide information on the arbitration forums referenced
in the Agreement—how to contact, or obtain rules of, the forums—when requested by the
customer.
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The Chief Compliance Officer or other designated compliance or legal staff must ensure
that all agreements containing a Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreement MUST meet the revised
disclosure and other requirements under the Rule.
9.15
IA-Managed Accounts
IA-Managed Accounts: The Company may have customer accounts whose assets are
managed by an outside IA firm. In these cases, the IA firm must adhere to SEC’s new “payto-play” rule (Advisers Act Rule 206(4)-5). The Company may be called on by the IA firm
to assist in this compliance. For instance, IA’s are prohibited from providing advisory
services for compensation to a government client for a period of time after the adviser
makes a contribution to certain elected officials or candidates. In some cases, it may be
difficult for the IA to identify government investors when shares in a covered investment
company managed by the IA are held through an intermediary (here, the Company). In these
situations, the IA may request information from the Company for the sake of properly
identifying government investors. The Company will make reasonable efforts to assist IA’s
seeking to comply with Rule 206(4)-5: all inquiries from IA’s should be forwarded to the
CCO for consideration; this individual will authorize any action taken by the Company in a
manner designed to ensure continued adherence to Reg. S-P, where applicable.
9.16
Negotiable Instruments
Neither the Company nor an associated person may obtain from a customer or submit for
payment a check, draft or other form of negotiable paper drawn on a customer’s checking,
savings, share or similar account, without that customer’s express written authorization. The
customer’s signature on the negotiable instrument is acceptable authorization. When the
written authorization is separate from the negotiable instrument (such as authorization to
periodically debit the customer’s checking account to make a contribution to a securities
account), the Company must preserve the authorization for a period of three years following
the date the authorization expires. Unless otherwise described in this Manual, the Company
is not required to preserve copies of negotiable instruments (i.e., checks) signed by
customers. Each principal designated to review new account applications and other account
documentation will ensure compliance with this procedure.
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SECTION 10: TRANSACTIONS
10.1
Charges for Services
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Chief Compliance Officer
Trade Desk Supervisor
Daily approval of trades
How Conducted:
Upon or prior to entering fee agreements; Review order records; trade reports;
Review of market conditions; Review justification for mark-ups/downs
outside guidelines; Review commission reports; Review of customer fee
agreements; invoicing; Investigations if necessary
Maintain trade docs, NAFs and disclosures; Initial trade reports; include notes
if necessary; Notes on annual reviews and follow-up.
Consolidated FINRA Rules 2010, 2150(c), 2124, 5250; Rules 2430, 2440,
2830; IM-2440; MSRB G-30, Notices 93-81, 92-16, 03-68, 08-36, 08-57, 0960
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
10.1.1 In General
In accordance with NASD Rule 2430, charges, if any, for services performed,
including miscellaneous services such as collection of moneys due for principal,
dividends or interest; exchange or transfer of securities; appraisals, safe-keeping or
custody of securities and other services, shall be reasonable and not unfairly
discriminatory between customers.
In addition, in accordance with Consolidated FINRA Rule 5250, neither the
Company nor its associated persons may accept payments, made directly or
indirectly, by issuers or the issuers' affiliates and promoters for publishing a
quotation, acting as a market maker, or submitting an application in connection
therewith. This does not prohibit the Company from receiving payment for bona
fide services such as investment banking services, or reimbursement for registration
or listing fees. The designated Principal, in his or her reviews of contracts and
incoming payments for services, shall ensure compliance with this Rule.
Mutual Funds and UIT Sales: Fees and commissions earned by the Company
from transactions in mutual funds and unit investment trusts will be carefully
reviewed by the designated Principal in order to identify improper practices such as
switching, avoiding or not recognizing breakpoints (or available discounts) and
recommending purchases prior to funds going “ex-dividend.” See below under
“Particular Investment Products – Mutual Funds” for a description of these
practices and related supervisory authority.
10.1.2 Commissions, Fees and Mark-Ups/Downs Charged for Brokerage
Services
With regard to all fees, etc. charged to customers, it is the policy of BCG to fully
comply with the rules and guidelines set forth by FINRA and NASD Rules with
regard to fair prices and commissions and just and equitable principles of trade.
Specifically, when doing securities transactions with customers (excluding other
broker-dealers) in the OTC market or on any exchange, the Company must adhere
to the guidelines under Rule 2440, IM-2440-1 and IM-2440-2. These guidelines do
not apply to transactions in municipal securities or exempt securities; however, all
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Company representatives must comply with Consolidated FINRA Rule 2010 on just
and equitable principles of trade.
The Company acts as agent and/or riskless principal in its transactions with
customers. At or before completion of a securities transaction, customers must be
advised as to the Company's role in the transaction (i.e. agent or principal). In
addition, the Company’s transaction documentation must disclose if it acted as
agent for the parties on both sides of a transaction (due to the potential conflict of
interest).
As a "broker/agent" (executing orders on an “agency" basis for customers on an
exchange or in the OTC market), the Company is compensated via commissions on
customer trades. As a matter of Company policy, the Company adheres to the
agency commission schedule as published from time to time by its clearing firm.
Commissions charged in excess of these guidelines will not be permitted. For
agency transactions, the commission is required to be indicated on the client
confirmation and the Company may not include its profit as part of a "net" price.
When acting as “riskless principal,” the Company purchases a security from another
firm or customer AFTER it has received an order for such security from its
customer. It then sells the security to the customer. A riskless principal transaction
is similar to an "agency" trade due to the fact that the Company acts as an
intermediary only and assumes no market risk. For the Company’s limited role in
the transaction, it is compensated by a "mark-up" or "markdown" from its cost,
based on the price paid to acquire the shares. For riskless principal transactions, the
mark-up or markdown must be indicated on internal records and is generally
disclosed to customers on confirms.
As noted above, the Company must adhere to the guidelines under Rule 2440, IM2440-1 and IM-2440-2 when pricing securities. Mark-ups/downs in riskless
principal transactions in excess of 5% will generally be presumed to be unfair and
unreasonable, however a mark-up above 5% may be justified upon a consideration
of other permitted factors as described below. It is important to note that a pattern of
5% mark-ups (or downs), or even a pattern of mark-ups/downs less than 5%, may
be considered unreasonable based on the circumstances. The designated Principal is
responsible for taking note of such patterns and investigating to determine
reasonableness.
Whether the Company acts as agent or riskless principal in its transactions with
customers, the designated Principal is responsible for reviewing the reasonableness
of all commissions and mark-ups or markdowns. In determining fair and equitable
commissions and mark-ups/downs, relevant factors to consider include:
• The best judgment of the Company as to the fair market value of the security at
the time of the transaction and of any securities exchanged or traded in
connection with the transaction,
• Type of security involved (some securities customarily carry a higher mark-up
or commission than other types of securities),
• Availability of the security in the market (in the case of an inactive security the
effort and cost of buying or selling the security may be greater than in the case
of an active one),
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•
•
•
•
•
10.2
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Price or yield of the security, including comparison to yield on other securities
of comparable quality, maturity, coupon rate and block size then available on
market (lower priced securities may require more handling and expense),
Maturity of the security,
The expense involved in effecting the transaction and the total dollar amount of
the transaction (small transactions costs as much or more than transactions
involving large sums of money)--however, expenses considered may not be
excessive,
Profit resulting from transaction, and
The types of services and facilities that the member makes available to its
customers (provided the costs of these services and facilities are not excessive).
Disclosures
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
How Conducted:
Chief Compliance Officer
Designated Branch Office Managers and Producing Managers’ Supervisors
(see Section 3.5 and Addendum)
During normal transaction review or periodic activity reviews as described
herein.
Review standard forms, correspondence, scheduled mailings
How Documented:
Notes to files when deficiencies are perceived; evidence of remedial action
3010 Checklist:
Consolidated FINRA Rules 2210, 2262, 2263, 2264, 2265, 2266, 2267,
2269, 2360, 2370, 4210, 5121, 5122, 5150, 5350; Rules 2320, 2340, 2711,
SEC 15g-2 through 15g-6, 15c1-5, 15c1-6, 15c2-12, 15c3-3, Rule 482,
Reg.’s AC and FD, MSRB G-17 & G21
Frequency of Review:
In the course of doing transactions with customers, the Company is obligated to provide
certain disclosures, depending on the nature of the transactions and the circumstances.
Various SEC and FINRA Rules apply and are generally described below and in respective
sections in this Manual—concerning, for example: disclosures relating to arbitration,
margin accounts, extending hours trading, penny stocks, options and futures products,
estimated values of DPP’s/REIT’s, public offerings with conflicts of interest, loads and
other fees, breakpoints, MF and V/A switches, various NCI’s, material events (muni
securities), SIPC, FINRA Broker-Check, control relationships & participation in primary or
secondary distributions, research reports, day trading, investment analysis tools,
performance reporting, indications of interest, VWAP’s, crossed trades, extreme volatility,
stop orders, fairness opinions, customer complaint reporting, Reg. S-P (privacy), business
continuity, and verification of identity, among others. These requirements are included
elsewhere herein or in procedures under separate cover. In addition, registered persons are
expected to disclose the nature, characteristics and risk factors of securities to their
customers as part of their sales practice obligations; respective sections of this Manual
provide reminders about such investor education efforts.
Participation or Interest in Primary or Secondary Distributions (Consolidated FINRA
2269): If the Company is participating or has a financial interest in a primary or secondary
distribution of securities, and it acts as a broker for a customer or as a dealer receiving a fee
from a customer for advising on securities, it must notify the customer about its
participation or interest when accommodating a transaction for the customer in the subject
securities. The supervisor in any such transactions will ensure written notification takes
place before completion of the transaction.
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Company personnel are required to follow all applicable disclosure requirements and the
respective supervisory personnel are required to review, during transaction and periodic
activity reviews, the proper implementation of disclosure procedures.
10.3
Churning
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Designated Principal: CCO
And assigned supervisors/designated Branch Office Managers if applicable
(see Section 3.5)
Continuous; in the daily course of business
Weekly and Monthly reviews of commission runs
Trade Reviews; Commission Run Reviews; Interviews of RR’s
Maintain trade records and commission runs
Records of unusual activity and steps taken to remedy problems.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 2010, Rule 2510, Notice 08-57
Comments:
“Churning,” which refers to executing trades in a client’s account for the primary purpose of
generating commissions, is forbidden by BCG. Rule 2510 states that where the Company
has any discretionary power over an account there should be no transactions that are
“excessive in size or frequency in view of the financial resources and character of such
account.”
The designated Principal, in his daily review of trades and periodic reviews of commission
runs, shall attempt to identify any churning in customer accounts. Unusual trading activity
will be investigated further to discover if churning is taking place and interviews of
Registered Representatives will be conducted for clarification and/or to remedy the
situation.
10.4
Directed Brokerage – Not Applicable
10.5
Restrictions on IPO Transactions
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Chief Compliance Officer
Continuous; daily
Review and approval of transaction in IPOs; Review of documentation used
to identify restricted or non-restricted accounts; Commission Reviews
Order tickets; account documentation, including representations; Trade
Reports; Investigation Records, when applicable
Consolidated FINRA Rule 5130, 5131, Notices 03-79, 05-65, 08-54, 08-57,
10-60
Consolidated FINRA Rule 5130 prohibits BCG or any person associated with it from:
selling, or causing to be sold, a new issue of equity securities (“Initial Public Offering” or
“IPO”) to any account in which a restricted person has a beneficial interest; purchasing an
IPO security in any account in which the Company or person associated with it has a
beneficial interest; and continuing to hold new issues acquired by the Company as an
underwriter, selling group member, or otherwise, except as otherwise permitted within the
Rule.
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Consolidated FINRA Rule 5131 prohibits certain practices that undermine the market for
new issues. Respective procedures, if applicable, are in the “Public Offerings” section of
this Manual.
New issues, as defined in the Rule, do not include private placement securities (and 144A
stock); commodity pools; rights offerings, exchange offers, or offerings made pursuant to a
merger or acquisition; investment grade asset-backed securities; convertible securities;
offerings of preferred securities; registered investment company offerings, securities that
have a pre-existing non-U.S. market; BDCs (business development companies); DPPs;
REITs; or certain exempted securities. Consolidated FINRA Rule 5130 should be consulted
by personnel with questions about the nature of “new issue” securities.
Therefore, neither the Company nor any person associated with it shall be permitted to
participate in the purchase or sale of a new issue except when purchases are by, and sales
are to, the following accounts or persons, whether directly or through accounts in which
such persons have a beneficial interest:
1. An investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940;
2. A common trust fund or similar fund as described in Section 3(a)(12)(A)(iii) of the
Act, provided that:
• the fund has investments from 1,000 or more accounts; and
• the fund does not limit beneficial interests in the fund principally to trust
accounts of restricted persons;
3. An insurance company general, separate or investment account, provided that:
• the account is funded by premiums from 1,000 or more policyholders, or, if
a general account, the insurance company has 1,000 or more policyholders;
and
• the insurance company does not limit the policyholders whose premiums
are used to fund the account principally to restricted persons, or, if a general
account, the insurance company does not limit its policyholders principally
to restricted persons;
4. An account if the beneficial interests of restricted persons do not exceed in the
aggregate 10% of such account;
5. A publicly traded entity (other than a broker/dealer or an affiliate of a
broker/dealer where such broker/dealer is authorized to engage in the public
offering of new issues either as a selling group member or underwriter) that:
• is listed on a national securities exchange; or
• is a foreign issuer whose securities meet the quantitative designation criteria
for listing on a national securities exchange;
6. An investment company organized under the laws of a foreign jurisdiction
provided that:
• the investment company is listed on a foreign exchange for sale to the
public or authorized for sale to the public by a foreign regulatory authority
(funds, such as hedge funds, that are limited to high net worth individuals
are not eligible for this exemption); and
• no person owning more than 5% of the shares of the investment company is
a restricted person;
7. An Employee Retirement Income Security Act benefits plan that is qualified under
Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, provided that such plan is not
sponsored solely by a broker/dealer;
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8. A state or municipal government benefits plan that is subject to state and/or
municipal regulation;
9. A tax exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal
Revenue Code; or
10. A church plan under Section 414(e) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Rule describes further exemptions related to: issuer directed securities, issuersponsored programs, anti-dilution provisions, stand-by purchasers, and under-subscribed
offerings. RR’s and their supervisors must consult the Rule for specific guidance on these
exemptions.
Company personnel, when considering a purchase or sale of new issue securities, whether
for a customer, the Company or an associated person, must review Consolidated FINRA
Rule 5130 or consult their supervising Principal for guidance. Every prospective
transaction in IPO securities must undergo detailed scrutiny in order to identify restricted
persons, as defined in the Rule. Prior to conducting a transaction in a new issue, the RR
must ensure that the following preconditions have been met. Before selling a new issue to
any account, the RR must ensure that the Company has obtained within the twelve months
prior to such sale, a representation from:
• Beneficial Owners--The account holder(s), or a person authorized to represent the
beneficial owners of the account, that the account is eligible to purchase new issues
in compliance with this Rule (in the case of accounts that are funds of funds, the
Company need only receive this representation from the master fund); or
• Conduits--A bank, foreign bank, broker-dealer, or investment adviser, or other
conduit that all purchases of new issues are in compliance with this Rule.
Associated persons may not rely upon any representation that it believes, or has reason to
believe, is inaccurate. The first such representation from an account must be a positive
affirmation; thereafter, personnel may use annual negative consent letters to affirm the
account’s non-restricted status. Oral representations and affirmations are not acceptable;
they must be in writing or via electronic communication. The designated Principal must
ensure maintenance of copies of all records and information relating to whether an account
is eligible to purchase new issues (for instance, the exemption relied upon) in respective
files for at least three years following the Company’s last sale of a new issue to that account.
All purchases and sales of new issue securities must be pre-approved by the designated
Principal, who shall evidence his or her approval by initialing the order ticket.
SPAC Securities: The Company does not permit RR’s to recommend investments in SPAC
(Special purpose acquisition companies) securities. Unsolicited transactions in these
securities must be pre-approved by the CCO. The RR must record notes on the transaction
and investor records must show Principal pre-approval. In certain cases, the designated
Principal may reject the transaction, based on specific facts and circumstances, some of
which may relate to a perceived lack of understanding by the investor of the investment
features of this type of security.
10.6
Fictitious Accounts
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
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How Conducted:
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
How Documented:
Review New Account documentation; Trade Reviews; Commission Reviews;
Correspondence reviews; Employee supervision
Trade Reports; Investigation Records
3010 Checklist:
Consolidated FINRA Rule 2010, 2510, Notice 08-57
Establishing fictitious accounts in order to execute transactions is strictly prohibited and
considered a fraudulent practice. For example, such accounts could be used to conduct
securities transactions based on insider information or to illegally purchase new issues since
neither the selling broker-dealer nor the Registered Representative’s broker-dealer would
have knowledge of the transaction. Similarly, a Registered Representative could conceal
his/her involvement in an account of an immediate family member in order to execute
transactions which otherwise would be prohibited. The term immediate family shall include
parents, mother-in-law or father-in-law, husband or wife, brother or sister, brother-in-law or
sister-in-law, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, and children. In addition, the term shall
include any other person who is supported, directly or indirectly, to a material extent by the
Company or an associated person.
Company Principals, in the daily course of their supervisory duties, will make every effort
possible to identify fictitious accounts. Should any such accounts be suspected, this
information will be brought to the attention of the Chief Compliance Officer, who will
investigate the matter and forward it for regulatory review, if necessary.
10.7
“Soft Dollar” Arrangements – Not Applicable
10.8
"Parking" of Securities
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Trade Desk Supervisor
And assigned supervisors/designated Branch Office Managers if applicable
(see Section 3.5)
Continuous; in course of doing business
Trade Reviews
Transfer of asset forms; letters of authorization
Investigation Records
Consolidated FINRA Rule 2010, 2510, Notice 08-57
"Parking" is a process whereby a broker-dealer or Representative arranges for securities
actually owned or controlled by one person, company or corporation to be held or "parked"
in street name or record name of another, giving the misleading impression that they are
really owned by that other person, company or corporation. Whether the device is called a
"loan,” a "pledge" or a "transfer" the effect is the same: the person doing the "parking" has
the capacity to exert ownership or control over the securities under an arrangement which
allows that person to direct their sale, pledge, voting or other disposition as if he/she were
the record owner. Often the person and those involved in this activity expect to benefit
from an anticipated appreciation in value once the total transaction is accomplished.
"Parking" is often utilized to conceal trading activity, to avoid 13D reporting to the SEC of
acquisition of a "control" block, to evade net capital requirements, limits on percentage
ownership applicable to mutual funds and the like.
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It is a violation of SEC and FINRA rules (including the net capital rules) for a broker-dealer
to "park" securities. Any Registered Representative involved in a scheme to "park"
securities will be subject to severe disciplinary sanctions by the Company.
10.9
“Microcap” Securities and Penny Stocks
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
Designated Branch Office Managers and Producing Managers’ Supervisors
(see Section 3.2 and 3.5)
During daily trade reviews and approvals;
How Conducted:
Pre-trade approvals
How Documented:
Approvals noted on trade documentation, new account forms or blotters
Completed Penny Stock Required Disclosure Documents; and risk
disclosure letters
Consolidated FINRA Rule 6400 series; SEA Rules 15g-2-6; 15g-9
Notices 93-55, 92-42, 92-38, 03-28
3010 Checklist:
Microcap Securities There are many securities, which do not qualify for listing on
NASDAQ, due to the small size of the company or stockholder base, lack of current
information, etc. Stocks of these companies, sometimes known as “microcap” or “bulletin
board” stocks, often trade below $5 per share and are thus categorized as “penny stocks”
(see below). While legitimate “startup” operations often make their debut as “bulletin
board” stocks there are a large number of such securities which are prey to manipulation by
unscrupulous operators and promoters who run “pump and dump” schemes.
SEA Rule 3a51-1 defines the term “penny stock” as any equity security other than the
following excluded securities:
• “Reported securities”—those for which last-sale reports are collected and made
available pursuant to an effective transaction reporting plan. Included are
NASDAQ/NMS securities, securities listed on the NYSE and the AMEX, and securities
meeting NYSE and AMEX listing standards that are listed on other national stock
exchanges;
• Securities registered or approved for registration upon notice of issuance on a national
securities exchange provided that price and volume information is required to be
reported on a current and continuing basis and is made available to vendors;
• Securities authorized or approved for authorization upon notice of issuance for
quotation in the regular NASDAQ market known as “NASDAQ Small-Cap Market”;
• Securities priced at $5 per share or more, excluding any broker-dealer commission,
commission equivalent, mark-up or markdown;
• Securities of an issuer having either:
 more than $2 million of net tangible assets (total assets less intangible assets less
liabilities); or
 average revenue of at least $6 million for the last 3 years;
• Securities issued by an investment company registered under the Investment Company
Act of 1940; or
• Put and call options issued by the Options Clearing Corporation.
SEC Penny Stock Rules apply to the Company’s penny stock business. Rule 15g-9 requires
the Company to do the following, unless exempt (see below):
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•
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•
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Obtain information on the customer’s investor experience, financial background and
investment objectives;
Use this information to determine the suitability of penny stock transactions for the
customer; also determine that the customer or his/her adviser has sufficient knowledge
and experience in financial matters such that he/she may reasonably be expected to
evaluate the risks of transactions in penny stocks. The designated Principal must preapprove new penny stock customers;
Before executing a transaction, provide the customers with a documentation regarding
the suitability determination and disclosures relating to the Company’s requirements
and receive this statement, signed by the customer; and
Obtain a written agreement from the customer stating the quantity and identity of the
stock being purchased.
These last two requirements are met by providing the customer with the “Penny Stock Risk
Acknowledgement Letter.” This letter must include information regarding the penny stock
purchase and must be signed by the customer and received by the RR prior to completing
the transaction.
10.10
The Recommendation Rule: OTC Equities – Not Applicable
10.11
Certificates of Deposit: Reinvestment of CD Proceeds
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
Designated Principal: CCO
Designated Branch Office Managers and Producing Managers’ Supervisors
(see Section 3.2 and 3.5)
Upon new account opening; daily trade reviews.
How Documented:
Review of customer suitability forms; disclosure by Rep and evidence of
acknowledgement; review of correspondence and notes to files.
Review of trade activity records.
Notes to files (or disclosure document).
3010 Checklist:
Rules of Conduct, Notice 93-87; Notices 02-28, 02-69
Traditional CDs typically are issued by a bank directly to a customer, carry a fixed interest rate
over a fixed duration of time, and are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
(FDIC) up to $100,000 against insolvency by the depository institution. As such, they are
generally considered by the investing public to be a simple and conservative product that carries
few risks. Since the Company may offer CDs to its customers, certain related information must
be understood by its associated persons, as follows:
Re-Investment of CD Proceeds In accordance with the Rules of Conduct, and as outlined
in Notice 93-87, Representatives are required to disclose to customers the varying risks of
investing the proceeds of deposits, such as maturing Certificates of Deposit (CD), in a
security, such as a mutual fund, collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO), or variable
insurance product. Representatives should emphasize to customers that these securities
products, while potentially providing attractive investment returns, are not the same as CDs,
are not government insured, and have varying risks associated with them.
The following further disclosures must be made, as applicable:
 There is no guarantee of a stable net-asset value (money market funds);
 A rise in interest rates could result in a decline in the value of the customer's
investment (fixed income or bond funds); and/or
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There is a higher degree of risk to capital (equity funds)
These disclosures should be made, orally, with the customer requested to acknowledge such
disclosures orally, indicating that he/she fully understands all the possible ramifications of
changing his or her investment from a FDIC-insured product to a non-insured, investment
product. Records of such disclosure acknowledgement are to be maintained in the client
files.
Also see Section 15.10, Cash Alternatives, for procedures related to such investments.
10.12
Illiquid Investments
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Chief Compliance Officer: CCO
Designated Branch Office Managers and Producing Managers’ Supervisors
(see Section 3.2 and 3.5)
Upon unsolicited request from client to liquidate illiquid investments
Review new account information from both sides of the transaction;
Review trade reports and related notes regarding the transaction; Review
statements of understanding from customers
Notes to files; Initials on new account information, statements of
understanding and trade reports
Notice 08-30
In June 2008, FINRA issued guidance regarding unsolicited transactions in illiquid
securities where the customer is aware of specific buying interest in that security. In this
guidance FINRA stated that there are no specific rules that would require the Company to
refuse to follow the customer’s instructions, even if the Company had a reason to believe
the market or price for the securities was not favorable at the time the customer wishes to do
the transact. However, if those instances, the Company must disclose the pricing risks to the
customer and would be required to obtain a written acknowledgment from the customer that
he or she understands the pricing risks.
While delays in following the customer’s instruction could violate Consolidated FINRA
Rule 2010, FINRA recognizes that there may be circumstances when such a delay is
warranted, such as when the Company has reason to doubt the identity of the person giving
the instructions. However, the Company may not delay acting on instructions from the
customer regarding the sale of illiquid securities if the following conditions are met:
• The customers on both sides of the transaction have indicated their understanding
that the transaction is not being recommended by the Company and that the
Company is not making a suitability determination;
• The customers understand that the Company cannot reach a view as to the
sufficiency or competitiveness of the pricing; and
• The Company has no legitimate concerns about the ability of either side to settle the
proposed transaction.
The Registered Representative upon receiving such a request from the customer should
ensure that the customer has adequate information regarding any buy interest in the security.
In addition, he must also disclose whether the Company has any financial interest in the
transaction.
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To ensure that sufficient information is available to permit the Company to ascertain the
information set forth above, the Registered Representative must obtain the following
information for review by the designated Principal:
• A New Account, or other form as designated by the Company, from the customers
on both sides of the transaction;
• Documentation that includes information sufficient to determine that each party has
the ability to fulfill their obligations relating to settlement of the transaction;
• A statement from each party as to their understanding that BCG
o Is not recommending the transaction;
o Is not making a determination of suitability regarding the transaction; and
o Cannot reach a view as to the sufficiency or competitiveness of the pricing.
The designated Principal shall review the information provided and shall evidence his
review by initialing and dating the information reviewed.
10.13
Member Private Offerings – Not Applicable
10.14
Short Sales
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Trade Desk Supervisor
How Conducted:
Approval of orders; use of software and data systems to monitor short sales
and prevent illegal sales.
Notes on affirmative determination; supervisor’s initials on tickets and
weekly reviews; customer account documents; printed or electronic computer
reports.
Reg. T Consolidated FINRA Rules 4210, 4320, 4560, 6182 & 6624; Rule
6320A; Reg. SHO, including Rule 201: Circuit Breaker; Notices 95-8, 03-08,
04-03, 04-21, 06-14, 06-28, 07-24, 08-13, 08-38, 08-50, 08-57, 10-26, 10-35,
12-38; SEC Release 34-55970, SEC Press Release 2007-120.
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Daily approval of short order; weekly review of orders.
The term “short sale” is defined in SEC Rule 200(a) of Regulation SHO. “Short sale” means
any sale of a security, which the seller does not own or any sale, which is consummated by
the delivery of a security borrowed by, or for the account of, the seller. A person is deemed
to own a security if: (a) the person or his agent has title to it; (b) the person has purchased,
or has entered into an unconditional contract, binding on both parties thereto, to purchase it,
but has not yet received it; (c) the person owns a security convertible into or exchangeable
for it and has tendered such security for conversion or exchange; (d) the person has an
option to purchase or acquire it and has exercised such option; (e) the person has rights or
warrants to subscribe to it and has exercised such rights or warrants; or (f) the person holds
a security futures contract to purchase it and has received notice that the position will be
physically settled and is irrevocably bound to receive the underlying security.
Determination of whether a sale is long or short also requires that the seller must net all
positions in the security. This includes netting positions held in accounts that are related or
under common control. For example, a customer who is long 1,000 shares of Security A in
an account cross guarantees, for Reg. T and margin purposes, a "short account" for the
benefit of a family member who is short 1,000 shares of Security A. The net position would
be zero; if the customer sells shares of Security A, the sale would be deemed a short sale.
Accounts are considered related or controlled if the customer:
• exercises discretion over the account;
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cross guarantees the account for Regulation T or margin purposes; or,
has been granted a power of attorney to execute transactions in the account.
Selling securities short is allowed only for clients approved by the designated Principal as
having an adequate understanding of financial markets and the process of short sales and the
financial resources to absorb potential losses from such activity. Short sales can only be
affected in listed and OTC marginable securities.
Trade Desk personnel and RR’s accepting and/or executing orders for short sales must
review SEC Regulation SHO in order to become familiar with the many requirements and
exceptions related to short selling.
10.15 Online Trading; Day Trading
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Chief Compliance Officer
Trade Desk Supervisor
Daily; periodic according to normal trade reviews.
Review of transactions consistent with all applicable procedures in this
Manual; Review exception reports; Check with FINRA/read Notices for
updated regulations.
New account records and transaction records consistent with all applicable
procedures in this Manual; Notations regarding reviews and corrective
action taken; Initials
Notices 95-56, 95-80, 01-23, 04-38, 08-41, 09-72; Consolidated FINRA
Rules 2130, 2270, 4210, 5350; Reg. T
Comments:
Trade activity in online accounts through the clearing firm’s site must be reviewed like all
customer trades. Both RR’s and designated Principals review the account activity of online
customers. Certain reviews are important in this context, such as heightened account
activity, short sale and other anti-manipulation rules and concentrations in unduly volatile
securities. Registered Representatives who are assigned to such accounts are reminded that
the “unsolicited” nature of orders being processed does not absolve them of responsibility to
monitor their customers’ activities in these accounts. Records of trading activity reviews
must be evidenced and maintained in the same manner as all account activity reviews.
Day Trading: As described above in account opening procedures, the Company does not
‘promote’ day trading and is not required to meet FINRA’s day trading account opening and
disclosure requirements under Consolidated FINRA Rule 2130. However, since some of the
Company’s non-institutional customers may conduct day trading in their online accounts,
the account Representatives and designated Principals reviewing customer online activity
should review such trading for suitability as required for all trading; perceived
contradictions must be investigated. In general, day traders should demonstrate that they
meet the clearing firm’s standards of size and sophistication. The clearing firm may impose
restrictions when deemed necessary.
10.16 Allocation of Orders from IAs – Not Applicable
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SECTION 11: COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE PUBLIC
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
Designated Principal: CCO
When required, depending on item (on-going, as occasioned)
Prior to use or filing, when required.
Pre-approval reviews when required; review of telephone book listings,
websites, Internet communication.
Files to include all required records, depending on type of communication—
see below
NASD Rule 3010(d), Consolidated FINRA Rules 2210, 3160, 4511, 5230.
Notices 03-17, 03-38, 04-86, 08-12, 08-27, 09-10, 09-42, 10-06, 10-10; , 1052, 11-49, 11-52, 12-02, 12-29, 13-03, 13-18; Info Notice 04-29-09; MSRB
G-21. SIPC By-laws, Article 11, Section 4
The designated Principal will ensure cooperation with FINRA when
subjected to spot-checks. After receiving a written request, all requested
communications with the public must be provided to FINRA within the
specified time frame.
See specific product sections within this WSP Manual for other applicable
requirements (for instance, SEC rules related to investment company
advertising).
It is important for all Company personnel to understand the significance of the Company’s
and its regulators’ restrictions on the various forms of communications with the public. The
detailed procedures in this section and others must be followed. Note that Consolidated
FINRA Rule 5230 forbids providing or allowing payments that involve publications that
influence the market price of a security (except in the case of paid advertising and research
reports, as authorized by the Company). Associated persons may not attempt to influence or
reward the actions of any person involved with such publications, printed or online.
Disciplinary action will be imposed when willful violations are discovered and confirmed.
11.1
Review, Approval and Recordkeeping
The table immediately below summarizes the categories of communications with the public,
as included in Consolidated FINRA Rule 2210 and other sources (SEC/FINRA guidance).
The information presented here is meant to assist both associated persons and compliance
staff in determining their obligations when creating, distributing and reviewing
communications materials. The following steps should be taken:
1. Determine the nature of the recipient: retail investor (i.e., natural person),
institutional investor, or fellow employee/associated person.
2. Determine number of recipients and time frame for delivery: will it
exceed 25 recipients in 30 days?
3. Determine, based on the subject matter and content, all specific review,
approval, disclosure, recordkeeping and/or filing requirements—
reference tables below and other guidance provided throughout this
manual and in regulatory publications if necessary.
Associated persons creating content should consult their designated supervisors or the
Principals designated in this section if they need assistance determining which category
their materials fall into. Items requiring pre-review must not be distributed without it.
Additional procedures for correspondence are included in sub-section below.
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TYPE & DEFINITION
(all categories include
written and electronic)
Retail Communication:
Sent or made available to
more than 25 retail
investors* (existing or
prospective customers)
within any 30
calendar-day period
Institutional
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INCLUDES or MAY
INCLUDE
REVIEW &
APPROVAL
• Advertisements
(broad dissemination;
not a limited
audience--print or onair ads including
drafts or storyboards
for TV/video ads;
websites; co-authored
books if selfpublished and used in
sales efforts)
• Sales literature
(targeted audience—
brochures, perf.
reports, telemarketing
scripts, form letters)
• Scripts, slides,
handouts or other
materials used in
public appearances
such as seminars
• Research Reports
• Free writing
prospectuses
• Press releases
• Posts online, such
as social media sites
• Independently
prepared reprints
(articles, research
reports published by
indep. firms)
• Research-related
communications not
meeting definition of
“research reports”
(‘market letters’) that
make financial or
investment
recommendations
• Institutional
communications if
they are being
redistributed/made
available to retail
investors
• Any other type of
communication
meeting definition
PRIOR
APPROVAL by
the CCO
(appropriately
qualified registered
principal)--before
use or filing with
FINRA,
• All
Revised: June 2014
FILE
WITH
FINRA?
(Y/N)
Yes, in
some
cases—
see table
below.
EXCEPT FOR:
Materials already
filed with and
‘approved’ by
FINRA in writing,
if they are not
materially altered
and are used as
originally intended/
approved.
AND EXCEPT
FOR:
1. market letters
that do not contain
financial or
investment
recommendations
Maintain all for
3 years after date
of last use.
Keep:
• Copy of it
• Dates of 1st
and last use
• Name of
Principal who
approved it &
date approved
• (If no prior
approval, name
of person who
prepared or
distributed it. If
this person is
clerical, name
of person on
whose behalf it
was sent.)
• Info on
statistical table,
chart, graph,
etc. used in it.
CONSOL
. FINRA
RULE
REF.
2210(a)(5)
4511
SEA 17a4(b)(4)
2210(b)
(1)
2210(b)
(4)(A)
Notice 1052
Also keep: when
pre-approval of
communications
is not required -evidence of
training and
education of reps
and of
supervision &
implementation
of procedures.
If using
materials filed
by other BD,
2. posts to online
interactive forums
(like social media
sites)
3. materials that do
not make any
financial or
investment
recommendation or
otherwise promote
a product or
service of the
Company—such as
administrative or
informational
materials.
No.’s 1-3 require
review and
approval as
Correspondence
(see below).
Subjected to spot
RECORDS
Also keep:
• Name of BD
that filed it, and
• Review letter
from FINRA
Advertising
Review Dept.
(“ARU”)
No
Maintain all for
2210(a)(3)
Page 130
SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
TYPE & DEFINITION
(all categories include
written and electronic)
Communication: Sent
or made available to
institutional investors**
Correspondence:
Sent or made available to
25 or fewer retail
investors (existing or
prospective customers)
within any 30 calendarday period.
Other:
Internal
Communications:
PER SEC:
Inter-office commun.
RC v.0613-080513
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
INCLUDES or MAY
INCLUDE
REVIEW &
APPROVAL
communications
meeting definition,
but not internal
communications (see
below).
• “For Broker-Dealer
Use Only” material.
• Training and
educational materials
prepared for use by
other B-D’s or their
RRs.
• Third party and
independent third
party research reports
sent solely to
institutional investors
(see Research
section).
• Does not include
those distributed to
institutions but which
may be provided to
retail investors.
checks by the CCO
to review for red
flags. Reviewer
will notate
evidence of review
using available
tools.
• Letters, e-mails,
IMs, texts, private
messages sent on
social media sites
• Market letters (not
research reports) that
do not make financial
or investment
recommendations
• Public
appearance/seminar
slides, handouts, etc.
• Form letters/emails
• Any other type of
communication
meeting definition
• Those retail
communications
excepted from the
pre-approval
requirement (see
above)
See sub-section on
Correspondence
below for review
and approval
procedures.
• E-mails, IMs,
memos, etc.
• Training and
education materials
Subjected to spot
checks by the CCO
to review for red
flags. Reviewer
Revised: June 2014
FILE
WITH
FINRA?
(Y/N)
CONSOL
. FINRA
RULE
REF.
RECORDS
3 years after date
of last use.
Keep:
• Copy of it
• Dates of 1st
and last use
• Name of
Principal who
approved it &
date approved
• (If no prior
approval, name
of person who
prepared or
distributed it. If
this person is
clerical, name
of person on
whose behalf it
was sent.)
• Info on
statistical table,
chart, graph,
etc. used in it.
No
4511
SEA 17a4(b)(4)
2210(b)
(3)
2210(b)
(3)
2210(b)
(4)(A)
Notice 1303
Maintain all for
3 years
(maintain
customer
complaint
records for 4
years)
2210(a)(2)
Records to
include who
prepared
correspondence
and name of
reviewer (if any)
SEA 17a4(b)(4)
NASD
3010(d)
(2) and (3)
4511
2210(b)
(2)
2210(b)
(4)(B),
NASD
3010(d)(3)
No
Maintain all for
3 years
SEA 17a4(b)(4)
Keep evidence
FINRA
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SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
TYPE & DEFINITION
(all categories include
written and electronic)
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
INCLUDES or MAY
INCLUDE
REVIEW &
APPROVAL
sent or received, relating
to business as such.
PER FINRA
GUIDANCE:
Internal communications,
including those that train
or educate RR’s.
for use within the
firm
• Does not include
sales scripts for retail
marketing/telemarketing.
will notate
evidence of review
using available
tools.
Public Appearance:
Live, unscripted
appearance that is not a
retail communic.,
correspondence, or
institutional communic.
• Seminar, forum,
radio or TV interview
• Other such public
appearance or
speaking activity
Scheduled
appearances
require preapproval of
appearance by the
CCO.
FILE
WITH
FINRA?
(Y/N)
RECORDS
of reviews.
No
Also keep
evidence of
training and
education of
reps and of
supervision &
implementation
of procedures.
Maintain related
materials for 3
years.
CONSOL
. FINRA
RULE
REF.
Notice 1229 and
NASD
3010
(inferred)
2210(f)
Impromptu
appearances
require post-event
reviews, within 5
days, of any
materials used and
recordings, if any.
See below for more
specifics.
Materials used
must be
reviewed/approved
(see Retail and
Institutional
Communications
and
Correspondence,
above).
* “Retail investor” includes any person other than an institutional investor, regardless of
whether the person has an account with the firm.
**“Institutional investor” is defined in FINRA 2210(a)(4) and includes definition in FINRA
4512(c).
11.2
Content Standards and Guidelines
The table immediately below summarizes the content standards and other requirements
relating to various communications with the public, as included in Consolidated FINRA
Rule 2210 and other sources (SEC/FINRA guidance and other rules). The information
presented here should be referenced by both associated persons and compliance staff when
drafting and/or reviewing communications for use and distribution. Due to the complicated
RC v.0613-080513
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SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
nature of these requirements, personnel are encouraged to consult the respective Rules
(referenced in the table) in order to ensure full compliance.
During their reviews—whether pre- or post-use, or spot reviews—Principals designated
herein will review communications for compliance with these content standards.
Deficiencies such as non-conforming content or missing disclosures must be brought to the
attention of the preparer; items subject to re-use or distribution must be corrected first.
Evidence of deliberate non-compliance or blatant disregard for these important procedures
will be met with disciplinary action.
Note that product areas and types of content that are not related to the Company’s
business have been eliminated from this summary.
TYPE of
CONTENT
General--All
APPLIES TO
CONTENT STANDARDS & OTHER REQUIREMENTS
All
Communications
Use of footnotes
and legends
All
Communications
Predictions and
Projections of
Performance
All
Communications
Comparisons
Retail
Communications
Disclosure of
Company’s Name
Retail
Communications
&
Correspondence
(Includes sales
scripts, slides,
RC v.0613-080513
•
Observe principles of fair dealing and good faith; provide a
sound basis for evaluating security/type of security, industry
or service; do not omit material fact or qualification if that
would cause communication to be misleading
• Do not make false, exaggerated, unwarranted, promissory or
misleading statement or claim; do not publish, circulate or
distribute any communication containing any untrue
statement of a material fact or is otherwise false or misleading
• Statements must be clear and not misleading in the context in
which they are made; provide a balanced treatment of risks
and potential benefits; information must be consistent with
the risks of fluctuating prices and the uncertainty of
dividends, rates of return and yield inherent to investments
• Consider the nature of the target audience; provide details and
explanations appropriate to the audience
Information may be placed in a legend or footnote only if such
placement would not inhibit an investor's understanding of the
communication
Do not predict or project performance, imply that past
performance will recur or make any exaggerated or unwarranted
claim, opinion or forecast. However, these items are allowed:
• a hypothetical illustration of mathematical principles, if it
does not predict or project the performance of an investment
or investment strategy;
• an investment analysis tool, or a written report produced by
such a tool, if it meets the requirements of Rule 2214;
• a price target contained in a research report on debt or equity
securities, if: it has a reasonable basis, the report discloses
the valuation methods, and it includes disclosure of risks that
may impede achievement of the price target.
Comparisons must disclose all material differences between them,
such as investment objectives, costs and expenses, liquidity,
safety, guarantees or insurance, fluctuation of principal or return
and tax features
• Disclose the Company’s name (or its d/b/a that is on Form
BD)
• May include fictional name by which Company is recognized
or which is required by state or jurisdiction
• Distinguish between firms/persons named:
o Reflect the relationship between the Company and any
non-member or individual who is named
Revised: June 2014
RULE
REF.
2210
(d)(1)(A
), (B),
(D), (E)
2210
(d)(1)(C
)
2210
(d)(1)(F)
2214
2210
(d)(2)
2210
(d)(3)
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SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
TYPE of
CONTENT
APPLIES TO
CONTENT STANDARDS & OTHER REQUIREMENTS
brochures, etc.
used in public
appearances)
Tax
Considerations
Retail
Communications
&
Correspondence
Disclosure of Fees,
Expenses and
Standardized
Performance
Retail
Communications
&
Correspondence
Testimonials
All
Communications
Retail
Communications
&
Correspondence
Recommendations
(Does not apply to
RC v.0613-080513
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
All
Communications
o If it includes other names, reflect which products and
services are being offered by the Company
• ‘Blind’ recruitment ads are permitted without meeting these
disclosure rules.
• NOT required in non-scripted, extemporaneous remarks
during a public appearance.
• References to tax-free or tax-exempt income must indicate
which income taxes apply, or which do not, unless income is
free from all applicable taxes. If income from an investment
company investing in municipal bonds is subject to state or
local income taxes, this fact must be stated, or the illustration
must otherwise make it clear that income is free only from
federal income tax
• Tax-deferred/postponed investment income must not be
characterized as tax-free or tax-exempt
• A comparative illustration of the mathematical principles of
tax-deferred versus taxable compounding must meet the
requirements outlined in Rule 2210(d)(4)(C)—see Rule—
which addresses the following summarized topics:
o identical investment amounts and rates of return
(max: 10%);
o actual federal and state income tax rates, applicable
to audience;
o tax impact during payout period;
o reasonable period of tax deferral;
o disclosures including: risk of assumed rate of return,
effects of investment losses; effect of tax rates on
capital gains and dividends; taxes on a tax-deferred
investment; underlying assumptions; possible
federal or state taxes; and consideration of
investment horizon and income tax bracket when
making an investment decision.
When presenting performance data on non-money market mutual
funds, disclose:
• Standardized performance information mandated by
Securities Act Rule 482 and Investment Company Act Rule
34b-1
• Maximum sales charges (on purchases or deferred) and
operating expense ratio, as stated in current prospectus
These disclosures must be prominently displayed; in print ads,
they must be in a prominent text box. See Rule for details.
If the testimonial concerns a technical aspect of investing, the
person making it must have the knowledge and experience to form
a valid opinion.
When providing testimonials about the Company’s investment
advice, investment performance or products, prominently disclose
that:
• they may not be representative of the experience of other
customers and
• They are no guarantee of future performance or success.
And if more than $100 in value is paid for the testimonial, disclose
that it is a paid testimonial.
Provide or offer upon request available investment information
supporting the recommendation. For corporate equity securities,
provide the price at the time recommendation is made.
Revised: June 2014
RULE
REF.
2210
(d)(4)
2210
(d)(5)
2210
(d)(6)
(A)
2210
(d)(6)
(B)
2210
(d)(7)
(B)
Page 134
SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
TYPE of
CONTENT
“research reports” as
defined.)
APPLIES TO
CONTENT STANDARDS & OTHER REQUIREMENTS
Retail
Communications
Must have reasonable basis and must disclose:
• that the Company was making a market in the recommended
security (or in underlying security if an option or security
future), or that the Company or associated persons will sell to
or buy from customers on a principal basis;
• that the Company or any associated person that is directly and
materially involved in the preparation of the content of the
communication has a financial interest in any of the securities
of the issuer whose securities are recommended, and the
nature of the financial interest (including options, rights,
warrants, futures, long or short positions), unless the extent of
the financial interest is nominal; and
• that the Company was manager or co-manager of a public
offering of any securities of the issuer whose securities are
recommended within the past 12 months.
May not refer to past specific recommendations of the Company
that were or would have been profitable to any person.
(except those
recommending
mutual funds or
variable ins.
products—but
recoms must still
be reasonable)
Retail
Communications
&
Correspondence
(except those
recommending
mutual funds or
variable ins.
products—but
recoms must still
be reasonable)
Public
Appearances
(except those
recommending
mutual funds or
variable ins.
products—but
recoms must still
be reasonable)
Prospectuses Filed
With the SEC
Use of FINRA’s
Name
RC v.0613-080513
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
RULE
REF.
2210
(d)(7)
(A)
2210
(d)(7)
(C)
May, however, set out or offer to furnish a list of all
recommendations as to the same type, kind, grade or
classification of securities made by the Company within the
immediately preceding period of not less than one year. The list
must provide certain information on each recommended security
and include a prescribed cautionary legend warning investors not
to assume that future recommendations will be profitable (see
Rule).
Must have reasonable basis and must disclose:
• that the associated person has a financial interest in any of the
securities of the issuer whose securities are recommended,
and the nature of the financial interest (including options,
rights, warrants, futures, long or short positions), unless the
extent of the financial interest is nominal
• any other actual, material conflict of interest of the associated
person or Company at the time
Disclosures not required for Research Analysts if research rule
disclosure requirements are met.
The content standards listed above do not apply to prospectuses, preliminary
prospectuses, fund profiles and similar documents that have been filed with the SEC.
The standards apply to investment company “omitting prospectuses” published
pursuant to Securities Act Rule 482 and free writing prospectuses that have been filed
with the SEC pursuant to Securities Act Rule 433(d)(1)(ii).
All
The Company may (but is not required to) indicate FINRA
Communications membership:
• in any communications if it neither states nor implies that
FINRA, or any other corporate name or facility owned by
FINRA, or any other regulatory organization endorses,
indemnifies, or guarantees the Company's business practices,
selling methods, the class or type of securities offered, or any
specific security.
• on FINRA ARU-reviewed material, by stating either
“Reviewed by FINRA” or “FINRA Reviewed”
• on confirms for OTC transactions if it states, "This
transaction has been executed in conformity with the FINRA
Uniform Practice Code"
Revised: June 2014
2210
(f)(2)
NASD
2711
2210(d)
(8)
2210(d)
(e)
Notice
11-49
Page 135
SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
TYPE of
CONTENT
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
APPLIES TO
CONTENT STANDARDS & OTHER REQUIREMENTS
RULE
REF.
•
Reference to SIPC
Membership
Public
Appearances
Professional
Designations
on the Company’s or an associated person’s websites if, in
close proximity, a link is provided to FINRA’s home page,
www.finra.org. Only one link is required.
Neither the Company nor its associated persons may use the
FINRA logo/trademark in any of their materials or in their own
trademarks.
Communications Unless material is exempt from SIPC’s requirements (for instance,
that are
ads smaller than 10 square inches in space; radio/TV ads not more
“advertising” as
than 30 seconds in length), must include notation that Company is
defined by SIPC a member of SIPC (unless exempt from membership requirement).
Article 11, Section 4 of SIPC By-Law should be consulted by
designated Principal to ensure adequate notation.
References to SIPC membership on Company’s internet
advertising (i.e., website) must contain a link to SIPC’ website,
www.SIPC.org.
Meet the general “fair and balanced” content standards under 2210(d)(1) (see above).
All
Communications
Senior
Designations
All
Communications
Third-party
produced, or
ghost-written,
materials used to
establish Rep
expertise
All
Communications
Use of Investment
Company
Rankings
Retail
Communications
RC v.0613-080513
May not reference nonexistent or self-conferred degrees or
designations or reference legitimate degrees or designations (such
as Certified Financial Analyst, Certified Investment Planner, etc.)
in a misleading manner.
RR’s wishing to use a designation in any materials, including
business cards, letterhead, newsletters, etc., must submit a request
to the designated Principal for review and approval. Criteria used
to review proposed designations include the curriculum,
examinations and continuing education components.
The use of certifications or designations that imply expertise,
certification, training or specialty in advising senior investors,
such as those including the words “senior” or “retirement,” will be
permitted only if the underlying certification program meets the
Principal’s review criteria and does not represent a false
accreditation. Those RR’s wishing to use senior designations must
request pre-approval from the designated Principal and must
provide all requested information relating to the certification
program, such as its curriculum, emphasis on ethics, continuing
education requirements and public disciplinary process. The RR
must also provide evidence of his or her standing or status in the
program.
Must not misrepresent the Rep’s acumen or be otherwise
misleading. If the Company or a Rep has paid for publications
(such as books, pamphlets, articles published in newspapers,
magazines or online, interview-style broadcasts or webcasts and
handouts in the form of magazines containing article seemingly by
or about a Rep), the communications must be clearly identified as
retail communications and must be subjected to the Company’s
review and approval process. A publication created by a thirdparty vendor must disclose that it was prepared either by the third
party or for the RR’s use. These items must prominently disclose
the Company’s name and meet all other applicable requirements
under Rule 2210.
The Rule should be consulted for specific requirements when
using rankings provided by independent ranking entities or
investment companies. Compliance topics include:
• Headlines/prominent statements
• Prominent and other disclosures
• Use of current rankings, required time periods and use of
Revised: June 2014
SIPC
ByLaws
2210(f)
(1)
Notices
07-43
and 1152
Notices
07-43
and 1152
Notice
08-27
2212
Page 136
SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
TYPE of
CONTENT
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
APPLIES TO
CONTENT STANDARDS & OTHER REQUIREMENTS
•
•
•
Use of Bond
Mutual Fund
Volatility Ratings
Use of Investment
Analysis Tools
“Supplemental
sales literature”-communication
accompanied by
preceded by a
bond mutual
fund prospectus
Tools, retail
communications
and reports
created
Regarding Security
Futures
Retail
communications
Regarding CMO’s
Retail
communications
and
correspondence
Information
disclosed to comply
with DOL Rule
404a-5
Communications
provided to plan
participants and
beneficiaries in
participantdirected
individual
account plans
Communications
Regarding Unlisted
REITs and DPPs
RC v.0613-080513
RULE
REF.
yield rankings
Choice of categories
Multiple class/two-tier funds
Investment company families
The Rule requirements do not apply to use of reprints or excerpts
of articles/reports if they are excluded from filing requirements –
see ref. to Rule 2210(c)(7)(I), above.
May be used only in communications accompanied/preceded by a
prospectus of the bond mutual fund and only if meeting the
content and disclosure requirements in Rule 2213. See Rule for
specifics.
When providing interactive tools, the tools, written reports
generated by them, or related retail communications, must meet
the requirements in Rule 2214(c)—see Rule. Summarized
requirements:
• Describe criteria, methodology, limitations, key assumptions;
• Inform of varying results;
• Explain universe of investments considered, reason for
selectivity, if tool favors certain securities (such as those firm
underwrites, makes a market or has an interest in), and
addresses topic of investments not included;
• Display disclosure about not actual results/no guarantees.
This information is not required if communications address the
tools only incidentally; see Rule 2214.06 for specifics.
Must meet requirements in Rule 2215, addressing these topics:
• information delivered before risk disclosure statements;
• general standards—secondary markets, risks, suitability,
response to claims;
• projections;
• historical performance
• requirements if regarding security futures programs or
worksheets
• recordkeeping
See Security Futures section in this Manual for details.
Must meet requirements in Rule 2216, addressing these topics:
• disclosures and prohibition of comparisons to other securities;
• educational material to be provided before sale;
• standards for promotion of specific CMOs, including for
radio/TV ads
See Fixed Income section in this Manual for details
If the communications comply with the disclosure requirements in
the DOL rule, the content standards in Rule 2210 do not apply
(unless the material also includes non-required information that
would trigger FINRA content rule compliance).
Must meet guidance provided in Notice 13-18, on the following
topics:
Revised: June 2014
2213
2214
and
supplem
entary
material
2215
2216
Notice
12-02
Notice
13-18
Page 137
SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
TYPE of
CONTENT
that invest in real
estate; “real estate
programs”
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
APPLIES TO
CONTENT STANDARDS & OTHER REQUIREMENTS
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
RULE
REF.
Disclosures: details on offerings
Distribution rates
Suitability/volatility claims
Redemption features and liquidity events
Performance of prior related real estate programs
Use of indices and comparisons
Photographs of specific properties
Capitalization rates
11.3 Filing with FINRA Advertising Review Department
The table immediately below summarizes the requirements for filing communications with
FINRA’s Advertising Review Department (called “ARU” herein). The information
presented here is meant to assist both associated persons and compliance staff in
determining the Company’s filing obligations when preparing communications for
distribution.
After determining the nature of communications and following the procedures above for
internal review and approval, designated personnel must take the following steps:
1. Determine if filing is required;
2. Ensure approval by authorized, designated Principal has taken place
prior to filing;
3. Gather all required components (see below);
4. Make filing in accordance with FINRA’s online instructions;
5. If pre-use filing is required, prohibit use or distribution of material until
ARU has responded; revise material if directed to do so by ARU; if
material is rejected, revise and resubmit;
6. If post-use filing is required, and if ARU requires revision, ensure
material is revised prior to re-use or distribution;
7. Keep records of ARU reviews and correspondence.
TYPE of
FILING
COMMUNICATION FILED
(see exclusions, below, that apply to all filings
listed here except spot-checks)
CONTENT/TYPE
PRE-USE
At least 10
bus. days prior
to first use or
publication
Retail communications
concerning registered
investment companies-mutual funds, ETFs,
variable ins. products,
closed-end funds & UITs—
IF they include self-created
performance rankings or
comparisons.
OTHER
RULE REF.
Filings must include
copy of the data on
which the ranking or
comparison was
based.
2210(c)(2)(A)
BUT NOT
INCLUDING
Includes material from
annual/semi-annual reports
and Mgmt’s Discussion of
Fund Performance, if used
in marketing.
RC v.0613-080513
Revised: June 2014
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SUPERVISORY PROCEDURES MANUAL
TYPE of
FILING
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
COMMUNICATION FILED
(see exclusions, below, that apply to all filings
listed here except spot-checks)
CONTENT/TYPE
Retail communications
concerning Securities
Futures
BUT NOT
INCLUDING
Materials filed
with other SRO
and
Materials that
only refer to
futures as a
service offered.
Retail communications
concerning bond mutual
funds that include or
incorporate volatility
ratings.
All or any communications
if instructed by FINRA
POST-USE
Within10 bus.
days of first
use or
publication
Retail communications
concerning registered
investment companies-mutual funds, ETFs,
variable ins. products,
closed-end funds & UITs.
Those materials
subject to a PreUse filing
requirement (see
above)
OTHER
RULE REF.
All materials should
conform to Rule
2215.
2210(c) (2)(B)
All materials should
conform to Rule
2213.
2210(c) (2)(C)
2213
Filings to be made in
accordance with
FINRA’s specific
instructions, starting
21 cal. days after
notified.
Includes free writing
prospectus that has
been filed with the
SEC (see below).
2210(c)(1)(B)
2215
2210(c)(3)(A)
2212
If material includes
or incorporates a
performance ranking
or comparison, filing
must include copy of
the ranking or
comparison used.
Includes material from
annual/semi-annual reports
and Mgmt’s Discussion of
Fund Performance, if used
in marketing.
All materials should
conform to Rule
2212.
Retail communications
concerning public DPPs
Retail communications
concerning an investment
analysis tool or a template
for written reports produced
by an investment analysis
tool
Retail communications
concerning CMOs
registered with SEC
Retail communications
concerning publicly offered
structured or derivative
products:
registered securities derived
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2210(c)(3)(B)
Materials that
contain only
incidental
references to the
tool and do not
provide the tool.
Those materials
already subject to
a separate filing
requirement (Preor Post-Use—see
All materials should
conform to Rule
2214.
Access to the tool
itself must be
provided to FINRA,
too.
All materials should
conform to Rule
2216.
2310
2210(c)(3)(C)
2214
2210(c)(3)(D)
2216
2210(c)(3)(E)
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TYPE of
FILING
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
COMMUNICATION FILED
(see exclusions, below, that apply to all filings
listed here except spot-checks)
CONTENT/TYPE
from or based on a single
security, a basket of
securities, an index, a
commodity, a debt issuance
or a foreign currency.
Final version of TV or video
piece previously filed as
draft or storyboard
All or any communications
if instructed by FINRA
OTHER
RULE REF.
BUT NOT
INCLUDING
above) .
Also not included:
options—see Rule
2220 for filing
requirements.
Within 10 days of
first use or broadcast
2210(c)(4)
Material to be sent
2210(c)(6)
to FINRA upon
spot-check request.
ANY communication filed with FINRA must be approved by an appropriately qualified Principal
prior to filing. Filings must include:
1. Actual or anticipated date of first use,
2. Name, title & CRD # of registered principal who approved the material
3. Date approval was given.
Materials may not be used until any and all changes indicated by FINRA are made; materials not
approved may not be used.
SPOTCHECK
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Retail communications:
• previously filed with FINRA to be used without material change
• based on templates previously filed with FINRA, and changed only to include
updated statistical or other non-narrative information
• that do not make any financial or investment recommendation or otherwise
promote a product or service of the Company (such as those relating to
recruitment or administrative/ownership changes at the Company).
• that do no more than identify a national securities exchange symbol of the
Company or identify a security for which the Company is a registered market
maker
• that do no more than identify the Company or offer a specific security at a stated
price
• announcing as a matter of record that the Company has participated in a private
placement (“tombstone ads”), unless they relate to direct participation programs
or securities issued by registered investment companies
• posted in an online interactive electronic forum, such as postings on social media
sites that are available to retail investors
RULE REF.
2210(c)(7)(A)(E), (G) and
(M)
Prospectuses, preliminary prospectuses, fund profiles, offering circulars and similar
documents that have been filed with the SEC or any state, or that are exempt from such
registration.
Except that an investment company prospectus published pursuant to Securities
Act Rule 482 and a free writing prospectus that has been filed with the SEC
pursuant to Securities Act Rule 433(d)(1)(ii) are NOT excluded from filing
requirements. (However, free writing prospectuses prepared by or on behalf of the
issuer are excluded from the filing requirements.)
Press releases that are made available only to members of the media, unless they qualify as
free writing prospectuses regarding the issuer or the associated offering.
Reprints or excerpts of independently prepared articles or reports meeting the standards in
the Rule (not affiliate or underwriter/not commissioned/not materially altered—see Rule).
2210(c)(7)(F)
Revised: June 2014
2210(c)(7)(H)
Notice 10-52
2210(c)(7)(I)
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EXCLUSIONS FROM FILING REQUIREMENTS
Correspondence
Institutional communications
Communications that refer to types of investments solely as part of a listing of products or
services offered by the Company
Press releases issued by closed-end investment companies listed on NYSE that are subject
to the ‘immediate release policy” under section 202.06 of the NYSE Listed Company
Manual (or any successor provision); information typically includes dividend
announcements.
Communications to participants and beneficiaries in participant-directed individual account
plans (per DOL Rule 404a-5) that comply with the disclosure requirements in the DOL rule
(unless the material also includes non-required information that would trigger an ARU
filing requirement).
11.4
RULE REF.
2210(c)(7)(J)
2210(c)(7)(K)
2210(c)(7)(L)
2210(c)(7)(N)
Notice 12-02
Reminders and Certain Clarifications
Principals designated to review and approve communications must be properly licensed
and qualified, and have technical expertise in the respective product area. Series 16-licensed
persons may review research reports on debt and equity securities and items not meeting the
definition of ‘research report’ as included in Rule 2711 (such as market letters or other
items), as long as they have the requisite expertise. Certain designated principals will
require specific registrations—for instance, those reviewing options or futures
communications.
When prior approval is withheld, the designated Principal will return the item to the
preparer with an explanation as to disapproval and will include recommended changes, if
any, required to bring the item into compliance. The final revised item must be again
forwarded to the designated Principal for final review and approval. No unapproved items
must be used or distributed, and altered versions of previously approved materials may not
be used without Principal approval of the alterations.
Spot-checked or post-use reviewed items should be revised when the designated Principal
has determined changes are necessary. Continued use and distribution without required
changes could lead to disciplinary action.
Evidence of review and approval (if required) generally consists of the reviewer’s initials or
signature and date of review notated on the file copy of the material. If performed on-screen
(electronically), evidence may consist of a separate log referencing each specific piece or
electronic notation on the electronic document itself.
Institutional Communications: As indicated above, institutional communications are those
sent to institutions only. Company personnel may NOT treat a communication as having
been distributed to an institutional investor if they have reason to believe that the
communication or any excerpt thereof will be forwarded or made available to any retail
investor. The Company requires that these communications include a legend or signature
language warning the recipient of the limited use of such items, for instance, by including
“For institutional investor use only.” Should any registered person, when dealing with
institutional investors, become aware of re-distribution of these communications, all
subsequent communication must be ceased or communications must be treated as retail
communications and thus be subjected to the applicable review/filing requirements in this
Section. Likewise, should Company personnel encounter red flags indicative of redistribution, they should consult the designated Principal, who will follow-up to determine
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appropriate action. “For broker-dealer use only” material is included in the definition of
institutional communications. Any material marked “broker-dealer use only” should
NEVER be given to customers as it may contain information which would not be allowed in
a prospectus or under FINRA or SEC advertising rules. Failure to observe these rules could
void any sales made and led to severe discipline and penalties.
Associated persons producing and distributing institutional communications must be trained
in this subject area. Such training will generally be provided as part of the Company’s
annual C/E firm element training. As with all firm element training, records will be kept of
completion in order to ensure implementation/rule compliance.
Media Contact is limited to authorized personnel only. If any employee or associated
person is contacted by members of the media (TV, radio, print or online
magazines/newspapers, and all other types of media), he or she must not comment; rather,
the request should be forwarded to the CCO of the Company. This individual may authorize
other personnel to speak on behalf of the Company.
Sales Scripts used to market to retail investors, while not distributed to investors, are still
considered retail communications. That is, these scripts are not internal communications;
instead, they require adherence to retail communications review and approval procedures as
outlined above.
Research Reports, if distributed to more than 25 retail investors in 30 days, are retail
communications. All applicable requirements under Rule 2711 apply, as do the retail
communications requirements listed above. If research reports are distributed to only
institutional investors, they must meet the review/approval requirements for institutional
communications as well as any requirements under Rule 2711; likewise if the reports are
distributed to 25 or fewer retail investors in 30 days, they meet the definition of
correspondence and should be subjected to those respective procedures. See the Research
Reports section for procedures on third party research reports.
Market letters are those items that are excluded from the definition of “research report”
(see Section 11.6, below), such as daily e-mail blasts or summaries that include: discussions
of broad-based indices; commentaries on economic, political or market conditions; technical
analyses concerning the demand and supply for a sector, index or industry based on trading
volume and price; statistical summaries of multiple companies’ financial data, including
listings of current ratings; recommendations regarding increasing or decreasing holdings in
particular industries or sectors; and notices of ratings or price target changes (subject to
certain disclosure requirements). As indicated above, if they are distributed to retail
investors in the indicated numbers/time frame, they are retail communications;—however, if
they do not contain recommendations, they are treated as correspondence for the purposes
of review/approval/filing. That is, they do not require pre-approval or filing. See the tables
in this Section for specifics.
Newsletters, if meeting the definition of retail communications, must be subjected to all
applicable procedures. If newsletters are written by RR’s, and if they contain enough
information on which to make an investment decision, they may be deemed ‘research
reports’ and would thus be subject to many restrictions and requirements under Rule 2711
and Reg. AC (see “Research Reports” for information). The designated Principal should
carefully review all newsletters to determine related requirements. (Note: communications
about investment products, such as insurance products, may also be subject to review and
approval, if, by virtue of distributing such materials, the intention is to sell securities.)
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Free writing prospectus (“FRP”) is defined in Securities Act Rule 405 as a written
communication, including an electronic communication that constitutes an offer to sell or a
solicitation to buy securities in a registered offering by means other than the statutory
prospectus. Notice 10-52 explains, and Notice 12-29 reiterates, that when the Company
distributes this type of communication in a manner that leads to broad, unrestricted
dissemination, it must apply all standards applicable under the Communications with the
Public Rule. Examples include: live television or radio programs, press releases, audiotapes,
videotapes, facsimiles, Internet Web sites, pre-recorded “blast” voice messages and
electronic mail, among others. Examples of FRPs not broadly disseminated include posting
to a restricted access website or sent directly to customers. Therefore, the applicability of
respective procedures outlined in this Section will depend on what form the free writing
prospectus takes. As with all communications, how many, in what time period, and in what
manner the material is distributed are factors that must be considered when determining
review/approval and filing requirements. (Note that a free writing prospectus concerning an
ETF that is a registered investment company must comply with the post-use filing
requirement described above; such a communication for an ETF that is not a registered
investment company is exempt from the filing requirement.)
A public appearance is a communication with the public that does not fall into the other
categories listed in the table above. When sponsoring or participating in a seminar, forum,
radio or television interview, or when otherwise engaged in public appearances or speaking
activities that are unscripted—including in an interactive electronic forum--associated
persons must meet the Principal review/approval requirements in the table above and
general content guidelines referenced in the table above. In addition:
• All materials used in the appearance, such as scripts, slides, handouts, etc., must be
treated according to the applicable category of communications. For instance, if the
appearance is before more than 25 retail investors, those materials would be retail
communications and therefore subject to the review/approval and filing
requirements outlined herein;
• Likewise for all announcements or other publicity leading up to the event; these
items will be reviewed/approved and subject to filing requirements depending on
their numbers, audience and content. All applicable requirements described herein
must be met;
• RRs and the designated Principal should consult rules and regulations of the state in
which the presentation will occur to determine if state registration is required (many
states have held that conducting public forums in which generic investment
information is presented may be considered an investment advisory activity);
• Only products or services approved by the Company for sale by RRs may be
presented by those RRs during public appearances;
• Prospectuses, other offering circulars and approved sales material for approved
products and services must be available physically or electronically for participants;
• When making recommendations in a public appearance, certain disclosures must be
made, with exceptions—see table above for details;
• In retail communications and correspondence used in conjunction with a public
appearance, RRs must clearly identify the Company’s name and meet the other
disclosure requirements listed in the table above; however, disclosure of the
Company’s name is not required in non-scripted, extemporaneous remarks made
during a public appearance;
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•
•
•
•
•
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Participation by associated persons in online interactive forums may constitute
‘public appearances’ and thus be subject to these restrictions and procedures. See
the Section on Interactive Forums/Social Networking Sites, herein, for important
procedures;
Seminars targeting senior citizens (e.g., ‘free lunch seminars”) must not use highpressure sales tactics, such as: inaccurate or exaggerated claims regarding the
safety, liquidity or expected returns of the investment or strategy being touted; scare
tactics; misrepresentations or material omissions about the product or strategy; or
misleading credentials used by persons sponsoring or participating in the seminar;
The designated Principal must ensure that all general content standards and
guidelines described herein and contained in applicable FINRA and SEC Rules are
adhered to in all public appearance statements and materials;
Public appearances by Research Analysts are subject to certain restrictions. See
Section 11.6 for specifics, if applicable;
It is the responsibility of the RR involved to make sure that the Company has a
complete record of the event in its files including a list of participants.
Associated persons making public appearances must be trained in this subject area. Such
training will generally be provided as part of the Company’s annual C/E firm element
training. As with all firm element training, records will be kept of completion in order to
ensure implementation/rule compliance.
11.5
Correspondence
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
Designated E-mail Reviewer: Joseph Englert
In daily course of business; Random and regular
How Conducted:
Review correspondence, either before or after distribution, as described
below; Review and approval of internal standard stationery items and
outside stationery items upon request.
Initial or electronically notate reviewed file copies
Copies of approved stationery items, initialed and dated.
Rule 3010(d); Consol. FINRA Rule 2210; Notices 03-33, 03-38, 09-10,
12-29; SEA Rule 17a-4(6)(4); 17a-4(b)(4)
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
The Company requires that business related correspondence sent or received by its
employees be subject to various retention, review and approval procedures. Different types
of correspondence require different procedures. This section addresses communications
with the retail public considered that constitute correspondence, including outgoing and
incoming. See above for procedures for other types of communications, as well as certain
requirements that also apply to correspondence.
All business related correspondence shall be retained for a period of not fewer than three (3)
years after use and shall be readily accessible to examiners during exams or upon request.
The Company maintains its correspondence records in hard copy and electronically—see
Section 16.17 for a description of the Company’s preservation of required records.
Following receipt of a written request by FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Department, the
designated Principal must provide requested correspondence within the specified time
frame. All staff are required to cooperate with all spot-check procedures conducted by
FINRA.Correspondence of a personal nature, not concerning Company business, is
generally not considered ‘correspondence’ for regulatory purposes.
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On an on-going basis, the designated Principal or other personnel charged with conducting
periodic reviews of the Company’s supervisory system (for instance, when conducting
office inspections or “3012” testing and verification) will review the efficacy of the
correspondence review techniques and will make suggestions for improvement, if deemed
necessary.
It is the responsibility of each Registered Representative of the Company to (a) attend
Company education sessions on Correspondence/advertising or otherwise to educate
him/herself on these rules and (b) bring any Correspondence to the attention of his/her
supervising Principal in a timely manner so that it may receive the necessary
review/approval.
11.5.1 Outgoing Correspondence
“Correspondence” is defined by FINRA as including any written (including
electronic) communication that is distributed or made available to 25 or fewer retail
investors within any 30 calendar-day period. Retail investor means any person other
than an institutional investor, whether or not that person has an account with the
Company (thus, both current and prospective customers).
Correspondence may include various categories, such as market letters that do not
make recommendations, hard copy letters, faxes, e-mails, IM’s, texts, social media
site private messages, public appearance/seminar handouts, and form letters (not all
inclusive). The determining factors are how many of such communications were
sent out and in what time frame--and to whom. For instance, if a RR sends the same
letter to 25 potential retail investors in a 30 day period, that communication is
correspondence for the purpose of these procedures. If that RR sent the same letter
to 26 people in the same period, it would be deemed ‘retail communication’—and
Section 11 procedures would apply. Likewise for materials provided to groups of
investors—such as during seminars—as long as the limits (25 recipients/30 days)
are not breached. Letters, etc. sent to institutional investors are NOT included in
these correspondence procedures: see Section 11.4 for details.
Certain items that are distributed or made available to more than 25 retail investors
in 30 days, and would otherwise be considered retail communications, are treated as
correspondence for review/approval and filing purposes. These categories include:
o All market letters that do not contain recommendations;
o Posts to online interactive forums (like Facebook or Twitter); and
o Materials that do not make any financial or investment
recommendation or otherwise promote a product or service of the
Company—such as administrative or informational materials.
All such materials must be subject to the review and approval procures in this
Section. None require filing with FINRA, as described in Section 11.3.
Content Standards: All correspondence must conform to the content standards
under Consolidated FINRA Rule 2210(d). Those standards are summarized above.
In general, correspondence must be based on principles of fair dealing and good
faith and provide a sound basis for evaluating the facts in regard to any particular
security or securities, type of security, industry discussed or service offered and not
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omit any material facts. Exaggerated and unwarranted or misleading statements or
claims are prohibited. Communications should be clear, balanced and fair in light of
the person addressed, the detail of the matter communicated and the context of the
communication.
Content standards also address: testimonials, recommendations, tax considerations,
predictions, and use of: footnotes, FINRA’s name, professional or senior
designations. Correspondence concerning registered investment company securities
is subject to the content standards described in Consolidated FINRA Rule
2210(d)(5) concerning disclosure of fees, expenses and performance information.
Personnel are directed to review applicable text above in order to understand their
responsibilities when drafting correspondence.
Besides general content standards, outgoing communications must adhere to the
respective procedures herein and FINRA/SEC rules concerning, for example, the
use of confidential, proprietary and inside information; anti-money laundering
issues; gifts and gratuities; private securities transactions; customer complaints;
front-running; and rumor spreading. The designated reviewer will take note of
perceived failures to adhere to Company policies, as evidenced in written
correspondence.
Inappropriate language or content not in compliance with applicable standards
discovered in this review process will be brought to the attention of the author and
subsequent pre-reviews of such person’s Correspondence may take place to ensure
adherence to Correspondence rules. Any heightened supervision regarding
correspondence will be documented and the plan of action will be retained in the
individual’s registration or personnel file.
As described above, all correspondence, including business cards and letterhead,
must:
• prominently disclose the name of the Company (or approved d/b/a);
• reflect any relationship between the Company and any non-member or
individual who is also named; and
• if it includes other names, reflect which products or services are being offered
by the Company.
Letterhead and Business Cards: In all written Correspondence, Company
personnel must use pre-approved letterhead and business cards.
Stationery items used by Representatives in non-branch offices must include the
address of the registered branch or OSJ office overseeing such office. The
designated Principal must ensure compliance with all applicable regularly standards
and with Company guidelines. Use of unapproved stationery may result in
disciplinary action.
See procedures below for requirements re: e-mail signature text.
11.5.2 Electronic Correspondence/E-Mail
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Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
E-Mail Reviewer: Joseph Englert
Correspondence designated Principal (above)
Designated Branch Office Managers and Producing Managers’
Supervisors (see Section 3.2 and 3.5)
Review a sampling of incoming and outgoing e-mail
correspondence.
Refer inappropriate communications to supervisor.
Designate approval on computer files; Initial hard copies.
Retain in correspondence files
3010(d); Consolidated FINRA Rule 2210; Notices 03-33, 05-49, 0759; SEA Rule 17a-4(6)(4), Reg. S-P
Electronic correspondence in any form related to securities or the business of the
broker-dealer that is not subject to retention and review by the Company IS
PROHIBITED.
All policies related to the content of customer correspondence in general apply to email correspondence. Please refer to “Use of Electronic Media” and this entire
Section 11 for additional policies related to the Company’s use of electronic
communications, including pre-approval policies on certain retail communications,
including group e-mails.
Approved E-Mail Accounts The Company has established an e-mail system
through which business and internal electronic communications should be sent. Email addresses will be assigned by the Company upon hire and must be utilized for
all business-related communications, unless otherwise permitted, under these
procedures.
Personal E-Mail Accounts: The Company prohibits registered persons from using
personal e-mail accounts or accounts of other entities to communicate with
customers or prospects. During his reviews the designated Principal shall attempt to
determine if any such communications have occurred by reviewing customer files
and other communications records. If such communications are discovered, the
designated Principal shall take steps to research the facts and circumstances and will
take appropriate disciplinary actions, if warranted.
Retention and Review: The CCO has appointed an E-Mail Reviewer, who will
review a sampling of e-mail transmissions. All incoming and outgoing e-mail
messages will be automatically saved via electronic storage software. The E-Mail
Reviewer will access the saved messages and review a sampling of them weekly.
The sample shall be chosen at random and based on key words or phrases as
identified by the designated Principal that are relevant to the Company’s business.
This sample may be adjusted as business needs change or if it is determined that
additional supervision of all or certain registered person is required. The sampling
shall be reviewed at least weekly. Evidence of this review will be recorded via the
reviewer’s initials and date of review or by electronic means.
All business-related e-mail correspondence will be retained in accordance with the
retention guidelines described above.
In order to meet SEC books and records requirements, the Company stores and
backs up its e-mail correspondence records using a third-party. See Section 16.17,
Preservation of Required Records, for details.
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Content Reminders: All correspondence must conform to the content standards
under Consolidated FINRA Rule 2210(d) as summarized herein. All originating
outgoing e-mail must include the following: name of the Company, name of
sender, department/branch address, phone number and e-mail address of the sender.
Certain restrictions apply, including the following:
 Securities licensing requirements necessary for public communications apply to
electronic communications;
 Recommendations or communications that require an accompanying prospectus
must be accompanied by such—extracts or references to terms from an offering
should not be duplicated in an e-mail communication (full disclosure of offering
terms must be made); and
 Any requests to not be contacted should be forwarded to Compliance such that
the person may be added to the Do Not Call List.
Should the E-Mail Reviewer deem any correspondence inappropriate or not in
compliance with applicable standards, he/she will bring it to the attention of the
designated Principal. Any action taken, including notifying and disciplining the
author, will be recorded in that individual’s registration or personnel files. Where
there is a history of violations, Compliance may conduct an electronic audit to
determine content of information being retained and require pre-review of all
outgoing e-mails.
Devices: Securities or investment banking-related e-mail communication with the
public or the Company’s customers may be permitted from alternate computers or
devices. Personnel wishing to correspond with the public or existing customers via
e-mail from devices other than Company-owned or managed computer equipment
located in the main office or in branch offices must request and obtain prior
approval from the Correspondence Principal (see above). The following may be
considered acceptable:
• Home computers,
• Laptop computers used during business travel,
• Hand-held devices, such as “Blackberries,” and
• Mobile phones with Internet access.
These alternate work stations may or may not require wireless networks for Internet
access. The designated Principal, when considering requests for approval, must
determine whether or not the corporate network’s protective measures (e.g.,
firewalls and similar defensive software) may be installed locally in the remote
device in order to ensure protection of customer information. Regardless of the
protective methods employed or the nature of the connection (Wi-Fi or hard-wire),
the designated Principal must consider the protection of customer information when
determining whether to allow associated persons to use remote devices for
communication. Additionally, approval will be granted only if the Registered
Representative or associated person makes use of the Company’s e-mail server to
send and receive messages at home or at other locations and/or such
communications are archived and monitored according to the e-mail review policies
described herein.
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E-Faxes: Faxes received via e-mail or through other computer messaging
technology, also known as e-faxes, are considered to by electronic communications
by FINRA and other regulators. Therefore, the receipt or sending of e-faxes will be
monitored and supervised the same as e-mail communications and must be captured
and retained by the Company. Personnel using e-fax technology must consult the
designated Principal to ensure that such communications are being maintained in
accordance with Company policy.
Handouts, Form Letters and Market Letters that are deemed correspondence
must be saved according to the format procedures described above (whether sent by
hard copy, fax machine, or e-mail/e-fax) and are subject to the same review and
approval procedures as described above (depending on format.
Posts to Online Interactive Forums are treated as correspondence and will be
reviewed and maintained in accordance with the e-mail procedures and with the
procedures outlined in the “Interactive Forums/Social Networking Sites” Section
herein.
11.5.3 Incoming Correspondence
The Company may receive correspondence from customers or the public in hard
copy, via fax, and in the electronic formats permitted for use by Company personnel
(such as e-mails, IM’s, etc.—see above). The recordkeeping requirements outlined
in “Outgoing Correspondence” also apply to incoming: it must be kept and readily
available for examiner review for three years from receipt. The storage format will
depend on the method of delivery: hard copy letters and faxes must be stored in
hard copy, of, if scanned, in accordance with the Company’s electronic storage
procedures; e-mails and IM’s must be maintained and subjected to the same storage
requirements as outgoing e-mails and IM’s; and incoming messages through other
means, such as text and third-party systems, must also be maintained, archived and
available for review as are their outgoing counterparts. No incoming
correspondence from the Company’s customers or the public must be destroyed.
All non-electronic incoming correspondence will be opened and reviewed
immediately upon receipt by a Principal or his/her designee to assure that all
securities and checks are properly processed and that the designated Principal is
notified of any customer complaints or irregularities.
Unregistered persons and registered representatives who have received sufficient
training to enable them to identify complaints, checks/securities and Do Not Call
requests and are properly supervised are permitted to open and handle incoming
correspondence. Any questions or irregularities must be immediately brought to the
attention of the designated Principal.
Reviews of incoming, electronic correspondence will coincide with the designated
reviewer’s review of outgoing, electronic correspondence. As e-mail, IM and other
electronic communications are generally two-way, the reviewer’s reviews will
encompass incoming messages, as well.
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All mail addressed to the Company’s offices is deemed to be related to the
Company’s business, even if marked to the attention of a particular associated
person. Employees, Registered Representatives and associated persons who do not
wish their personal mail opened and reviewed should not have it addressed to them
at the Company.
In accordance with SEA Rule 17a-4(b)(4), originals of all Communications
received by the Company relating to its business as such shall be preserved for not
less than three years. See the section on "Recordkeeping and Reporting" below.
11.6
Research Reports – Not Applicable
11.7
Use of Electronic Media
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
Principals designated above under “Correspondence” and “Communications
with the Public”
During review of electronic correspondence; Upon approval of original or
changed websites, electronic advertising and sales material; Periodic (as
determined) reviews of IT functionality; Periodic review of RR websites.
Pre-approval of electronic communication devices used for business activity,
review of websites/Internet communication.
Review and approval of Company and RR websites.
Review of website for unapproved material. Review posted prospectuses to
confirm authenticity and confirm version is most recent.
Meetings with IT staff or vendors; status reports if necessary.
Website approval files; ad approval files; evidence of e-mail reviews;
records of customer consent records.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 2210; MSRB G-21; Notices 95-74, 96-50, 98-3,
05-49, 07-02, 10-06, 11-39, 12-29; SEC Release No. 33-7233 and Reg. S-P;
SIPC By-laws, Article 11, Section 4
Company employees should refer to all available IT manuals, technical
manuals, or other electronic communication instruction manuals currently in
use. Some of these obligations are met by Principal designated to supervise
retail communications.
The Company makes use of electronic devices in the normal conduct of its business. It may
rely on electronic media to perform functions such as: record storage, order entry,
information management and analysis, computing, communications and advertising, among
others. The Company has internal staff and/or outside service providers who maintain,
repair and update the Company’s computer systems. This WSP Manual is not a substitute
for the Company’s instruction, technological, or operations manuals that provide specific
operating and technical guidance with regard to employed hardware and software. In
addition, certain sections of this Manual address related topics, such as online accounts and
transactions, e-mail correspondence, electronic storage of required records, order entry
systems and protection of customer information. Personnel should see the Table of
Contents to locate these important procedures.
11.7.1 General Guidelines
In Notice 98-3 outlined the general guidelines as to the use of electronic media for
delivery of information to customers. The guidelines include required notice, access
and evidence of delivery, as well as, for delivery of personal financial information,
confidentiality and security and customer consent.
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Notice: The Company, by virtue of sending and receiving communications to and
from its clients in electronic format, considers itself to have notified clients of the
electronic availability of information.
Access: All electronic communication must provide the customer with full access to
the kind of information that the customer would otherwise have obtained if the
communication had been written, including order of presentation. Also, the
electronic delivery medium should not be so burdensome that customers cannot
effectively access the information provided. Customers, upon request, may receive
information in a format other than electronic.
Evidence of Delivery: When delivering information electronically, the Company
is required to ensure the delivery was successful (thus ensuring that acceptable
delivery obligations were met). In the Company’s dealings with institutional
clientele, informed consent is assumed, given that electronic communications are
the industry standard. In its dealings with retail customers, informed consent is
assumed to have been received upon successful exchanges of electronic information
or by signature on new account documents that include consent language
Confidentiality and Security: When delivering personal financial information via
electronic means, it is imperative that the information be secure from tampering or
alteration. See below for system protection procedures.
Customer Consent: The SEC requires, for delivery of personal financial
information (including account statements and confirmations) that the customer
provide informed consent and acknowledge the consent by manual or electronic
signature. The customer must be given the option of refusing this form of
communication and information delivery (presently or in the future) and a record of
the customer’s choice must be maintained in its respective file.
While the Company will not normally deliver personal financial information
electronically to its customers, its NAF or other such account agreement includes
informed consent language that is approved by the customer when signing the
document and that applies to all electronically-provided information, including
personal financial information.
Electronic Signatures: Electronic signatures may be used by designated
supervisors to indicate approval/review of new accounts, orders, and other ongoing
supervisory reviews. Supervisors will use passwords, which will be changed
periodically, to protect the security of their electronic signatures.
PLEASE NOTE: "Broker-dealer use only" material should never be sent over the
Internet unless to a clearly designated broker-dealer or Registered Representative
under confidential protection.
11.7.2 Hyperlinks
When electronic delivery is used it is often difficult to establish whether multiple
documents may be considered delivered together. It should be understood that
documents in close proximity on the same website menu are considered delivered
together and documents hyperlinked to each other are considered delivered together
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as if they were in the same paper envelope. Therefore, by linking documents via
hyperlinks, issuers and intermediaries are delivering multiple documents
simultaneously to investors when so required by the federal securities laws.
When providing prospectuses to customers electronically, the following distinctions
should be understood. According to the SEC, information on a website is part of a
prospectus only if an issuer (or person acting on behalf of the issuer, including an
intermediary with delivery obligations) acts to make it part of the prospectus. For
example, if an issuer includes a hyperlink within a prospectus, the hyperlinked
information would become a part of that prospectus. When embedded hyperlinks
are used, the hyperlinked information must be filed as part of the prospectus in the
effective registration statement and will be subject to liability under Section 11 of
the Securities Act. In contrast, a hyperlink from an external document to a
prospectus would result in both documents being delivered together, but would not
result in the non-prospectus document being deemed part of the prospectus. When
the Company is responsible for prospectus content, the designated Principal will
ensure proper use of hyperlinks in electronic information delivery.
When the Company provides links to third party sites, it is not generally responsible
for the hyperlinked content unless it assisted in the preparation of the content, or it
or its personnel explicitly or implicitly endorse or approve of the linked content. In
this case, all approval and filing requirements that apply to retail communications
must be met.
Municipal securities market participants involved in offering and selling municipal
securities face similar issues under Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12 in connection with
their use of electronic media. Please see Section 15.4 for related information.
11.7.3 Protection of Information
The Company is also committed to complying with Reg. S-P, as described in
“Privacy of Customer Information.” The designated Principal must ensure that IT
staff and outside vendors, if any, are aware of the importance of protecting the
integrity and confidentiality of customer information. This Principal must attempt to
meet regularly with IT staff and/or outside vendors in order to assess the security of
the Company’s systems, as well as to judge the adequacy of compliance with
various, applicable Rules (i.e., maintenance of records in correct format for required
amount of time). While IT staff or vendors may be charged with implementing
restrictions and technical applications, they may not remain aware of changing
regulatory requirements or failures in the systems to meet those requirements. It is
therefore important that compliance personnel monitor IT personnel’s performance
of their duties. In addition, the designated Principal is responsible for reviewing
these procedures and others in this Manual concerning electronic information and
communication systems, in order to determine their adequacy in light of changing
technologies and regulatory guidelines.
All electronic communication with customers shall be subject to the following
policies and procedures designed to safeguard generally the integrity and
confidentiality of electronic information, including restricted access, passwords,
systems to detect and thwart a security breach, etc.:
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The Company and/or the Registered Representative(s) or associated person(s)
utilizing any system of electronic communication shall password-protect access
to such system so that unauthorized persons can neither (a) access the system to
communicate or (b) access the system's records to pull up confidential
information.
The Company’s designated IT personnel shall have in place programs to detect
and deter security breaches of the Company’s electronic communications
systems and to assess system capacity and augment it, if required. The CCO or
other authorized compliance personnel may impose periodic audits of the
Company’s systems to detect vulnerabilities and to ensure adequate protection
of information.
Before allowing remote access to the Company’s information networks
(whether via Wi-Fi or physical means), for instance, from home or other
computers, measures must be taken to guard against intrusion, such as the use
of firewalls, routers, filters, encryption and other means.
The Company’s IT staff or outside vendor will monitor changes in technology
used by Company personnel and will ensure that these changes do not result in
gaps in information protection; training in new technologies or new electronic
systems will be required when necessary to ensure continued customer
information protection.
The designated Principal should make sure all personnel making use of electronic
systems are given training as to their use and protection of information.
11.7.4 Websites (Company and RR Maintained Sites)
The Company maintains a website that provides information on its services and also
provides a link to its clearing firm’s account access system. Pre-approved customers
may use the clearing firm’s online trading system to conduct trading activity.
The SEC, FINRA and other regulators have made it clear that websites fall in the
category of advertising and must be pre-approved by a Company principal and may
require review by FINRA’s Advertising Department. Similar forms of Internet
communications, such as contributions to interactive forums, are considered retail
communications but are reviewed as correspondence. Websites are, therefore,
required to undergo the same kind of review and approval procedures set forth
above.
The designated Principal will monitor all websites on a regular basis to identify and
correct any variances from Company policies and procedures. Registered
Representatives and other Company personnel operating websites are reminded of
the following; these procedures relate to content posted by the Company and its
RR’s:
• The identity, content, sample format and operating mechanics of each website
must be presented to the designated Principal for review and approval before it
is used. Failure to obtain pre-approval is grounds for remedial action, including
shutting down the site.
• Any material changes in the content, format or mechanics of the website must
be similarly approved before they are implemented.
• The Company must meet State registration requirements when providing online
trading accounts. The Company and/or its clearing firm must post legends on its
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website and maintain gateways that will block transactions with residents of
States where the Company is not registered (unless the Company is registered
in all jurisdictions).
Static (non-interactive) blog or other postings provided by Company personnel
constitute retail communications, but are subject to the Company’s
correspondence review/approval standards. In certain instances, the Company
may have pre-approved ‘template’ material that may be posted without separate
pre-approval. Associated persons should consult the designated Principal to
understand their specific responsibilities.
Neither the Company nor any RR may establish a link to any third-party site
that it, he or she knows or has reason to know contains false or misleading
content. Red flags indicative of false or misleading content may not be ignored.
If offering online trading accounts, the Company must disclose on its website
statements warning of potential delayed execution and/or market losses due to
Internet overload during periods of market volatility.
Because of the global nature of the Internet and the inability of the Company
and Representatives to control access by visitors in locations where the
Company or the Representatives may not be licensed, unless the website is
password protected and not available through search engines, specific
disclosure regarding the ability of the Company and the Representative to
conduct business in various locales must be included.
Any recommendations for "new issue" securities (including mutual funds) must
be pre-approved by the Principal designated to oversee new issues.
The designated Principal shall maintain a comprehensive address list of all
websites in use for the business of the Company and its Registered
Representatives (including associated entities such as registered investment
advisors, insurance agencies, etc.).
When approving Internet advertising, the designated Principal must consider
certain important risks concerning the use of key words by contracted search
engines. Key words may be used to post ads in the following ways: 1) the
search engine pushes the ad out to relevant web pages (for instance, the
Company’s ad ends up a banner ad on a website advertising a certain securities
product or service); and 2) the search engine lists the Company on the
‘sponsored links’ panel of the search page itself (placement determined by
bidding process). This first type of placement may result in unplanned and
unwanted advertising, for instance, on scam websites designed for the site
owner’s illegal profit. While the designated Principal cannot ensure a foolproof
solution to this potentiality, s/he should work with the search engine provider to
wisely choose key words in order to minimize the risk of improper placement.
Company personnel knowing of any instances of inappropriate ad postings as a
result of key word placement should contact the designated advertising
Principal immediately, who must then take steps to eliminate such placement.
Registered Representatives must obtain advance approval from the designated
Principal before they initiate or change their own websites, whether or not
involving the securities business. Included in such approval would be (a) any
hyperlinks to other sites such as the Company’s site and (b) hyperlinks allowed
on to the Registered Representative website. See procedures herein for a
requirement relating to the Company’s or its Reps’ references to FINRA
membership.
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Should any Company personnel discover the apparent use of stolen (“scraped”)
Company ads on web pages (for instance, on scam “pump and dump” sites),
s/he should immediate report such to the designated advertising Principal for
follow up action. While the Company cannot control the illegal use of scraped
ads, it should report all those discovered to FINRA or SEC for investigation and
enforcement action.
Broker dealers are responsible for the accuracy of their statements that
reasonably can be expected to reach investors or the securities markets
regardless of the medium through which the statements are made, including the
Internet—and including social networking sites (see below). According to the
SEC, broker dealers are responsible if they have involved themselves in the
preparation of the information or explicitly or implicitly endorsed or approved
the information. In the case of site owner liability for statements by third
parties such as analysts, the courts and the SEC have referred to the first line of
inquiry as the "entanglement" theory and the second as the "adoption" theory.
Should the Company’s logo appear prominently on a third-party site, the
Company is considered to have adopted the site and is responsible for its
content. In view of the potential liabilities related to the use of hyperlinks, the
Company requires that the Compliance department review and approve in
advance the use of each hyperlink posted by the Company or its representatives.
See above for more information on hyperlinks.
The website should conform to all disclosure rules, such as those relating to the
use FINRA and SIPC membership, BCP summary, day trading disclosures, etc.
Regulatory Links: If the Company makes reference to its FINRA membership on
its internet Web site it must provide a link to FINRA’s internet home page,
www.FINRA.org, in close proximity to the member’s indication of FINRA
membership. A member is not required to provide more than one such hyperlink on
its Web site. If the member’s Web site contains more than one indication of FINRA
membership, the member may elect to provide any one hyperlink in close proximity
to any reference reasonably designed to draw the public’s attention to FINRA
membership. This provision also shall apply to an internet Web site relating to the
member’s investment banking or securities business maintained by or on behalf of
any person associated with a member.
11.7.5 Online Offering Materials
The Company requires that before any securities sales literature is used by a
Registered Representative, the Compliance Department must have offered
confirmation that this literature has been approved for use by FINRA. All
communications with the public, including information posted on a website, must
be subjected to the procedures outlined in Section 11. Designated Principals
supervising specific securities sales will conduct periodic (no less often than
monthly) reviews to ensure compliance with website standards. Violations will be
reported to the Chief Compliance Officer, who will ensure that steps are taken to
correct the problem by changing or deleting unapproved website material.
Except in certain controlled circumstances, posting a mutual fund or other securities
offering on a website or utilizing e-mail or other means of communication in
interstate commerce to publicize such a securities offering is a "public offering"
requiring an SEC registration before it may be made. Similarly FINRA requires
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pre-offering review of sales materials. The SEC recently issued a private ruling in
which it takes the position that merely posting a website is not in itself the making
of a securities offering. This is generally taken to mean that "unsolicited" orders to
purchase may be routed through the website. In certain circumstances the SEC has
allowed password-protected offerings to be made "privately" over the Internet to
pre-qualified groups of "accredited" investors. Great care should be taken before
becoming involved in any electronic securities offerings and all offerings must be
pre-approved by the appropriate designated Principal.
At the state level, the North American Securities Administrators Association
(NASAA) has adopted model regulations now followed by most states which allow
issuers to distribute offering information over the Internet as long as the offer is not
directed to the residents of any particular state or to any person in a state. However,
no sales of securities shall be made unless the offering has been registered (or is
exempt) and a final prospectus has been delivered to the investor.
Many issuers display their final prospectus on their website and direct Registered
Representatives, customers and others to "download" the prospectus. The Company
does not forbid this practice as long as (a) the Registered Representative has
carefully checked to make sure that the website version is the current version and
(b) the other conditions of electronic communication with customers are observed
(see below). Registered Representatives will keep records of prospectuses
forwarded to customers for supervisory review.
SECTION 12: TRADE DESK
The Company does not a have a “Trade Desk,” per se; however, because it receives and transmits
customer orders to its clearing firm and various product sponsors and issuers, certain sections herein
are considered applicable. In some cases, “Trade Desk” functions, as described, are completed by
the clearing firm’s trade desk.
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Director of Operations
Continuous; daily
Trade Approvals; Trade Reports; Reviews of large orders to confirm “refrain”
and “disclose” compliance
Initials on Orders Blotters; Investigation and Trade Reports; Required hedging
and compensation disclosures in customer files (for large orders).
Consolidated FINRA Rules 5210, 5220, 5230, 5240, 5270, 5280, 5310, 5320,
6000 series, 11890 series; SEA Rule 11Ac1-1; Notices 03-28, 03-69, 04-66, 0564, 05-69, 08-49, 08-57, 09-08, 09-11, 09-20, 09-28, 09-60, 09-72, 10-04, 1026, 10-42, 10-43, 11-24, 12-13, 12-50, 12-52
The Trade Desk operations of BCG will be conducted in accordance with policies and procedures
discussed throughout this WSP, including those related to orders, transactions, insider trading,
prohibited activities, specific products, etc. Representative and traders with questions should consult
their supervisors or the Trade Desk Supervisor for assistance.
When conducting customer trading, Company personnel must adhere just and equitable principles of
trade. The Trade Desk Supervisor and other supervisors are required to review activity for failure to
adhere to these principles. Associated persons with knowledge of such improper practices, including
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harassment, threats or attempts at coercion, must report them the Trade Desk Supervisor who will
escalate the issue within Compliance.
The Company may not publish or circulate or cause to be published or circulated, by any means
whatsoever any report of any securities transaction or of any purchase or sale of any security unless
it knows or has reason to believe that such transaction was a bona fide transaction, purchase or sale,
or any quotation for any security without having reasonable cause to believe that such quotation is a
bona fide quotation, is not fictitious and is not published or circulated or caused to be published or
circulated for any fraudulent, deceptive or manipulative purpose.
The clearing firm has automated compliance systems that permit it to monitor trading activity for
the purpose of ensuring adherence to all applicable regulatory and in-house rules. Proven violations
of rule or policies, such as those listed above, will be met with disciplinary action, regulatory
reporting, and/or termination if deemed necessary.
12.1
Trading Systems and Risk Management
With regard to all trading systems used by the Company, including, if applicable, outside
vendors, automated trading systems, electronic communications networks, or other market
centers, and including those systems described in the sub-sections to follow, the Company is
committed to preventing errors in data input, such as incorrect quantities of shares or prices.
The Company requires compliance in all respects with Consolidated FINRA Rule 5210
when using trading systems for order entry, routing and/or execution. Company personnel
must also comply with all terms of the respective subscriber agreements with outside
systems, where applicable. The designated Principal, in his or her reviews of trading and
order activity, will ensure that the following compliance guidelines are followed:
• The use of trading systems is limited to authorized persons through the use of
password protection software; orders must be checked for accuracy prior to
submission; orders that exceed preset credit and/or order-size parameters must not
be transmitted to a trading system; and each trading system must have controls in
place to prevent the unwanted generation, cancellation, repricing, resizing,
duplication, or re-transmission of orders.
• When testing or conducting maintenance on the Company’s trading systems,
extreme caution must be taken in order to avoid the inadvertent disabling of the
applicable trading system, mistaken executions, errors, or other trading problems.
• Trading and order entry personnel must try to avoid and prevent order entry errors.
Although errors can be corrected, personnel should endeavor to avoid committing
them, rather than relying on the correction process. The Principal designated below
will adjudicate clearly erroneous errors; however patterns of errors determined to be
the result of inattention to procedures or lack of concentration or effort will result in
investigations and possible disciplinary action. See below for specific error
procedures.
12.1.1 Indications of Interest
The Company may choose to disseminate indications of interest to inform other
market participants that it seeks to, or represents trading interest that seeks to,
interact with other order flow in the security. When disseminating indications of
interest, whether through its own system or through a service provider, Company
personnel must adhere to the guidance provided in Notice 09-28. All indications of
interest must be truthful, accurate and not misleading.
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When dissemination systems refer to indications of interest as ‘natural,’ the
Company must ensure that the term is being used to represent either interest on an
agency basis (i.e., for a customer order) or the Company’s interest on a proprietary
basis. There must be continued, current interest to continue to characterize the
indications as ‘natural’: use of such term after the Company no longer has interest
for its own account or represents interest of a customer is not permitted and will be
deemed misleading or otherwise inaccurate/untruthful. Also, disclosures made by
the Company about the nature of the interest—whether agency or proprietary—
should not be contradictory; otherwise, they, too, may be deemed misleading.
If the Company uses an outside service provider to disseminate indications of
interest the Trade Desk Supervisor or CCO will ensure the provider’s policies
and/or user guidelines specifically address how entries are characterized, including
the input of ‘natural’ indications of interest. Trading personnel are required to have
access to, or training in, these policies for the sake of ensuring proper input and use
of the system.
12.1.2 Erroneous Transactions
Order Entry Errors: Trading and order entry personnel must try to avoid and
prevent order entry errors. Although errors can be corrected, personnel should
endeavor to avoid committing them, rather than relying on the correction process.
The Operations Manager will adjudicate clearly erroneous transactions.
Escalation: Trading and order entry personnel should not attempt to resolve errors
by themselves. There should be immediate and swift corrective action to minimize
any negative impact. Trading errors should immediately be escalated to the
Operations Manager for proper resolution. The erroneous trade cannot be covered
without approval of the Chief Compliance Officer. Trade tickets reflecting errors
should be maintained and new trade tickets will prepared if additional trading is
necessary to resolve the error.
Any failure to properly escalate a trading error can result in disciplinary action.
Reporting: After the error has been resolved, the designated Principal (above) will
fill out an Error Form, which documents the error. The Operations Manager then
reviews and approves the form.
Remuneration for errors should be made by BCG via check/wire to the appropriate
party. Prime Brokers/Clearing Firms should not pay errors on behalf of the
Company. No payment is to be made without an approved Error Form on file.
Clearly Erroneous Transactions: Consolidated FINRA Rule 11891 specifies that
“the terms of a transaction are ‘clearly erroneous’ when there is an obvious error in
any term, such as price, number of shares or other unit of trading, or identification
of the security.” The Company must enforce its internal controls in order to
minimize or eliminate the risk of account intrusion resulting in unauthorized trading
or manipulative activities.
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Under Consolidated FINRA Rules 11892 and 11983, a FINRA officer may, on his
or her own motion, review any transaction arising out of or reported through any
FINRA facility and may make a determination that either exchange-listed or OTC
Equity Securities transactions are clearly erroneous. In such cases, FINRA officers
may declare transactions null and void (thus “breaking the trade”). A FINRA
determination will generally result from a systemic problem that involves large
numbers of parties or trades, or conditions where it would be in the best interests of
the market. Further, extraordinary market conditions may include situations where
an extraordinary event has occurred or is ongoing that has had a material effect on
the market for a security traded over the counter or has caused major disruption to
the marketplace. As amended, the Rule addresses multi-stock events involving 20
or more securities. FINRA relies on published guidelines and other criteria for
breaking trades: see Consolidated FINRA Rule Series 11890 and Notices 10-04 and
-43 for details. For the sake of market consistency, for OTC trades in exchange
listed securities, such as Trade Reporting Facility (TRF) and Alternative Display
Facility (ADF) trades, FINRA will follow the determinations made by national
securities exchanges.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 11892 makes it clear that the Rule also applies to
transactions in NMS stocks subject to Regulation NMS Plan to Address
Extraordinary Market Volatility (with exceptions in 11892.03). Transactions that
occur within LULD price bands could be deemed clearly erroneous to the extent
they fall within the existing clearly erroneous thresholds.
The Company must abide by any and all clearly erroneous determinations (broker
trades) made by FINRA: to fail to do so is a Rule violation. The Trade Desk
Supervisor will disseminate information to traders when received and must ensure
compliance with all determinations. In certain cases, the Firm or its associated
persons may appeal a determination to the UPC Committee—see Consolidated
FINRA Rule 11894.
12.1.3 Market Access
SEC Rule 15c3-5 regulates “market access,” defined as “access to trading in
securities on an exchange or ATS as a result of being a member or subscriber of the
exchange or ATS, respectively.” The Company does not have direct market access
through an exchange or ATS. The Company routes all of its orders to its clearing
firm or another broker-dealer that has direct market access. The Company grants
certain pre-qualified customers access to the clearing firm’s (or a proprietary)
trading platform that routes orders to a third-party with direct market access.
Neither the Company nor its customers may submit orders directly to an exchange,
ATS or dark pool. The Company has developed policies and procedures as
described through this Manual to monitor order activity and to ensure trades are
done properly and accurately. The CCO reviews exception reports and other
information provided by the executing dealer to ensure that trading is done in
accordance with the Company’s policies.
12.2
Best Execution and Related Rules
The Company does not execute customer transactions: rather, it receives customer orders
and routes them to its clearing firm or third party firm for handling and execution. Company
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personnel do not have any discretion when it comes to determining or receiving best prices
for customer purchases. The Company expects that its clearing firm and other firms utilized
for execution services (if any) will periodically assess the quality of competing markets to
assure that order flow is directed to markets providing the most beneficial terms for the
Company’s customers' orders (“best execution”).
12.3
The Order Record
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Trade Desk Supervisor
Daily review of orders or trade blotter; daily approval of orders requiring
approval such as discretionary accounts (see below).
Order and/or blotter review
Review for completeness, suitability of transactions, discretionary authority,
orders requiring pre-approval and prohibited orders.
Initial individual order tickets or wrapper for the day’s order records.
Initials on applicable documents (see below)
Consolidated FINRA Rules 4515, 5210, 5310, 5340, 5350, 6622, SEA Rule
17a-3(b), SEC Emergency Orders, Notices 08-38, 09-08, 11-19, 12-13
In order to ensure accurate order transmission and compliance with SEC regulations and
certain rules of the various SRO’S, BCG and its Registered Representatives shall take great
care in preparing orders. Where orders are prepared electronically, the order entry system
recognizes the user (who has access by password entry only) and the electronic ‘record’ is
notated to show the registered person entering the order—and therefore no physical notation
by the RR is entered. For paper order records, the RR will note his or her name or initials on
each.
The order record shall contain all details of the order (where applicable), including the
following information:
• Customer name;
• Account for which the trade was ordered (account number);
• Date and time of order (received from the customer);
• Location of security;
• Name of security;
• Amount/Quantity;
• Buy or sell instruction and, if selling, indication of long or short (the preparer shall
“short” except that this shall not apply to transactions in corporate debt securities);
• Price or instructions with regard to price;
• Whether transaction is solicited or unsolicited;
• Time order was forwarded to Clearing Firm or other entity for execution;
• Time order is executed, if known or easily ascertained;
• Other terms of the order (fill or kill, stop limit, etc.);
• The name of the Registered Representative responsible for the account and any other
person who took the order on behalf of the customer (or a notation indicating that the
customer entered the order on an electronic system, if so).
Consolidated FINRA Rule 5340 prohibits pre-time stamping of order tickets in connection
with block positioning.
The following additional information should be provided in the kinds of transactions or
situations listed below:
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Discretionary Trades - Should be identified by checking the box marked “discretion” or
by marking the order slip “DISC.” (This includes one-day time and price discretionary
orders.) Approval signature of designated Principal required.
Margin Trades - Pre-approval signature of designated Principal required if customer is
in a call position in the subject security.[OPTIONAL]
“Penny Stock” Trades - Customers must sign forms where required (see “Microcap
Securities” and “Penny Stocks” above).
Short Sales - Indication of whether the Company is able to borrow the security and
satisfy the requirements for an “affirmative determination” as defined in the Conduct
Rules; indication if ‘short exempt’ per the Circuit Breaker Rule.
Short Sales subject to Emergency Orders – Documentation evidencing compliance with
“pre-borrow” or other requirements under any current and relevant SEC emergency
orders (originally issued July 2008).
Name Changes – Order must show evidence of Principal’s approval (i.e., initials) if
name or designation of account was changed.
Stop Orders – For orders that are other than “not held” orders, properly differentiate
between and label “stop orders,” “stop limit orders” and other such order types that
activate a market or limit order using a trigger other than stop price (for instance, “stop
quote order” for stop orders that are triggered by a quotation (not transaction) at the stop
price). Prior to placing such orders, such as at account opening, the Company must
provide customers with a description of each type of such orders, including the
respective triggering event.
Transactions Requiring Written Explanations - In those instances where a trade may
appear to be in conflict with the Company’s research recommendations, is being
executed for personal/related accounts or discretionary accounts, or is in opposition to
any Company policy, the Registered Representative entering the order should indicate
the explanation for such trade in writing on the order ticket and submit to the designated
Principal for his or her pre-approval a contemporaneous memorandum that documents
the circumstances which permitted such trade.
Orders Involving Securities with Limited Quotations or Pricing Information —records
to justify best execution when limited information and quotes are available.
The designated Principal shall conduct a daily review of all orders: either by reviewing the
physical order records prepared by Registered Representatives or the blotter describing
these orders. He or she will evidence the review by signing or initialing the records/blotter.
This review shall confirm the completeness of the order records as required by the
governing Rules in each transaction, including Consolidated FINRA Rule 4515 and SEA
Rule 17a-3. Incomplete records will be brought to the attention of the respective
Representative and will be corrected/completed as necessary.
12.4
Order Processing
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
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Trade Desk Supervisor
Daily
Review of order tickets
Review for consistency and completeness.
Order tickets, trade records: Initials on applicable documents
FINRA Rules 5330, UPC Rule Series1100.
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Only authorized personnel may enter orders on the Company’s order entry system, and/or
call in orders to the clearing firm, if applicable. The Company’s electronic order entry
system is password-protected and each terminal requires pre-approved users to log on using
confidential passwords. Passwords are regularly changed in order to prevent unauthorized
information entry.
Where there are multiple executions on one order, the amount and price at which each
execution is transacted should be entered on the order ticket and the ticket shall be clocked
for each trade at the time of each execution. This provision shall apply as well to all
negotiated trades.
Following execution, the clearing firm prepares an Execution Report that contains the
following information:
• Name of security;
• Amount;
• Price;
• Account number or customer name when no account number has been issued;
• Registered Representative’s number;
• Indication that the entire order is filled;
• Date and place of execution;
• Clearing broker; and
• Settlement date.
It is the responsibility of the individual Registered Representative to provide sufficient
funds/securities to accomplish settlement. Excessive delays or extensions in client accounts
will lead to disciplinary action.
Trade Reporting: The CCO must determine the Company’s transaction reporting
obligations and the appropriate reporting party, based on the types of securities traded (i.e.,
exchange-listed, OTC, Restricted Equity Securities, DPP, Foreign, ADR, etc.) and nature of
trading parties (i.e., market makers, order entry firm). See sub-section below for details.
SEA Rule
12.4.1 Order Adjustments
Consolidated FINRA Rule 5330 applies to open orders and certain other orders. The
term "open order" means an order to buy or an open stop order to sell, including but
not limited to "good 'til cancelled," "limit" or "stop limit" orders which remain in
effect for a definite or indefinite period until executed, cancelled or expired.
Open orders from a customer or another broker-dealer must be reduced, increased
or adjusted by an amount equal to the dividend, payment or distribution, on the day
that the security is quoted ex-dividend, ex-rights, ex-distribution or ex-interest,
except where a cash dividend or distribution is less than one cent. Consolidated
FINRA Rule 5330 sets forth the following:.
• Adjustment of an order in the case of a stock dividend or split now requires
that the order be rounded down to the next lowest share, rather than the next
lowest round lot.
• For orders subject to a combined cash and stock dividend/split, the
Company should calculate the cash portion of the adjustment using the
existing formula for cash dividend adjustments and should calculate the
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•
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stock portion of the adjustment using the existing formula for stock
dividends/split adjustments (these formulas as in Rule 5330).
The Company must cancel all orders (not just open orders) involving
securities subject to a reverse split.
The Company must notify customers who have pending orders of any stock
splits in the security—even customers with orders that are not otherwise
required to be adjusted under the rule.
The Trade Desk Supervisor is responsible for compliance with these procedures and
the Rule to ensure that accurate adjustments, necessary cancellations, and required
notifications are made. Adjustments should be periodically reviewed for accuracy;
corrections should be authorized by the Trade Desk Supervisor or authorized
operations supervisor.
12.4.2 Fail to Deliver
When failure to deliver occurs, either the party with the long position does not have
enough money to pay for the transaction, or the party in the short position does not
own the underlying assets that are to be delivered. Failure to deliver can occur in
both equity and derivatives markets. A fail to deliver (FTD) normally refers to when
the seller of a security does not deliver that security to the buyer within the standard
three-day settlement period. Naked short selling is one way that this can occur.
FTDs can also arise from various processing errors, delays in obtaining physical
stock certificates or human error in entering the incorrect stock symbol.
All operations or trade desk personnel with knowledge of fails must immediately
seek resolution. When a fail to deliver is identified by operations or other staff at the
Company or clearing firm, an investigation will commence to determine if the fail
was caused by an internal or processing error such as an incorrect contra party
identifier, incorrect account number, DTCC number, CUSIP number or stock
symbol, or another error made in coding the trade. Any such administrative error
will be corrected by properly notating the trade instructions and resubmitting for
processing. The FinOp must be notified of fails to deliver in order to review net
capital and properly account for them.
When not attributable to processing errors, FTD must be remedied by more formal
means, such as buy-ins. Customers who fail to deliver securities may face
liquidations of other assets to meet settlement obligations; where the Company or
its clearing firm is required to remedy the situation through buy-ins or sell-outs, the
customer will be charged for any losses incurred.
The following practices may be used by the Company or its clearing firm to prevent
FTD:
• Borrowing. Borrowing and obtaining control of the securities before
settlement, rather than entering into an agreement to borrow such securities.
• Arrangement to borrow. Entering into a bona fide agreement to borrow
securities, especially in transactions in hard-to-borrow securities, in order to
ensure that the will be able to settle the transaction on T + 3. This practice
provides assurance that the shares will be available upon settlement and that
the trade will not fail.
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•
Earmarking. If the firm enters into an arrangement to pre-borrow shares
without obtaining control, determining that the source of shares for the preborrow will be available on T + 3. Shares may be specifically earmarked for
each arrangement to borrow.
In general, the Company relies on its clearing firm for the confirmation and
affirmation of trades leading up to settlement and timely delivery of funds and
securities. The Trade Desk Supervisor will review all FTD reports provided by its
clearing firm in order to assure proper resolution and to identify manipulative or
violative behavior.
12.4.3 Close-Out Procedures and Other UPC Requirements
The Consolidated FINRA Rule Series 11800 addresses requirements for buying-in,
selling-out, rights and warrants, acceptance and settlement of COD orders, customer
account transfer contracts (see “ACATS and Other Account Transfers”), settlement
of syndicate accounts, clearly erroneous transactions and clearance of corporate
debt securities. For example, Rule 11820 clarifies that the party executing a “sellout” must notify the buyer on the day of execution later than 6:00 p.m. ET.
Notification must be in written or electronic form and a formal confirmation of such
sale must be forwarded as promptly as possible after execution. Buy-in
requirements for securities contracts that are not subject to the requirements of a
national securities exchange or a registered clearing agency are addressed in Rule
11810, and sample buy-in forms are included. Notification of a buy-in is required
by 6:00 p.m. ET. Other specific requirements relating to notification, confirmation
of receipt, failed obligations, passive acceptance, re-transmissions, and securities
delivery deadlines, among others, are detailed in this Rule. When applicable to the
Company’s business and not assumed by another party, such as the Company’s
clearing firm, the Trade Desk Supervisor and designated operations staff must
ensure compliance with these requirements, including those relating to proper
delivery of liability notices (Notices 08-06, 10-04, 10-49).
12.5
Volatile Securities
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Trade Desk Supervisor
And assigned supervisors/designated Branch Office Managers if applicable
(see Section 3.5)
Daily
How Conducted:
Transaction review and approval
How Documented:
Limitations procedures; Trade records notated
3010 Checklist:
Consolidated FINRA Rules 5131, 5260, 6120, 6121, 6190, 6435, 6440,
6181, 6623; Regulation M; Regulation NMS Plan to Address Extraordinary
Market Volatility; Notices 99-11, 99-12, 03-16, 08-57, 08-74, 09-60, 10-30,
10-43, 11-37, 13-12, 13-13
12.5.1 Volatile Conditions
Conditions of extreme volatility can suddenly be experienced in one or more
securities. The treatment of customer orders under these circumstances must remain
fair, consistent and reasonable. When deemed necessary, the Trade Desk Supervisor
will inform all Trade Desk Personnel that an extreme volatility condition exists in a
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particular security. This condition may exist where the Company is experiencing a
volume of orders more than 50% above its normal levels in the security,
accompanied by general volume and price changes in the security more than 50%
above its normal range.
12.5.2 Disclosures to Customers
The Company is committed to providing customers with adequate and clear
disclosures about the risks of volatility and potential constraints on the Company’s
ability to process orders in a normal manner. If applicable to the Company’s
business, either the Company or its clearing firm will provide disclosures to all
customers who trade securities. Such disclosures should include the following when
applicable:
• High volumes of trading in a particular security or groups of securities at the
opening or during the day may cause delays in execution or executions at prices
significantly away from the market prices quoted;
• Normal automated execution processes are quite likely to be overridden during
periods of high volatility, including manual executions and reductions of order
size guarantees;
• Market orders must be executed promptly and therefore may be at prices and
quantities that differ significantly from those expected or displayed;
• While limit orders must be executed at the required price and size, significant
delays and even failures of execution may occur if limits are not reached;
• Computerized or other electronic direct access by a customer to an account or
trading system do not guarantee that orders will be promptly processed or
executed and customers should be aware of the risks of substantial halts or
delays and lack of access during periods of extreme volatility, including lack of
telephone access;
• While the Company believes that its systems and those of its clearing
organization, if applicable are adequate to service all customers promptly
during periods of extreme volatility, there is no guarantee that these systems
will not be overloaded on occasion and therefore less effective than normal in
providing required service;
• Initial Public Offering (IPO) securities are particularly likely to experience
conditions of extreme volatility and investors in these issues should be
particularly aware of the risks described above, including specifically the risk
that the investor's order may be executed at a "top" from which the price
thereafter experiences a precipitous decline. The Company has a policy of
requiring all purchases of new issue stocks to be made only through a
Registered Representative;
• The customer may experience that the Company has raised maintenance margin
requirements in his or her account to make sure that there is enough liquidity to
absorb volatile price changes, or eliminating margin altogether for certain
securities; and
• The entering of duplicate "cancellation" or "replacement" orders by a customer
in order to achieve better execution may lead to the customer being responsible
for ALL orders entered.
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The clearing firm has written disclosure information available and provides them to
customers when their account is opened and annually with other important
information about their account.
The designated Principal, during his/her review, shall review notes in customer files
and related correspondence to ensure that disclosure is taking place and shall meet
with registered representative to discuss circumstances where disclosure should
have been made and there is no evidence in the file and will make notes regarding
this discussion in the client file. Failure to provide required disclosure could result
in disciplinary action against the representative, including heightened supervision.
12.5.3 Market-Wide Trading Halts: Procedural Reminders
During market-wide trading halts resulting from the triggering of circuit breakers,
customer orders should be handled in the same manner as they would have been
handled during other regulatory trading halts concerning only individual stocks.
During market-wide trading halts of durations that will allow trading to resume on
that same trading day, pending and new customer orders should be forwarded to the
appropriate market for execution upon the resumption of trading. This should be
done unless the member receives contrary instructions from the customer during the
halt.
During market-wide trading halts with durations that will close the market for the
remainder of the trading day, pending and new customer orders should be treated as
follows:
• Absent customer instructions to the contrary, orders that are pending at the time
of the halt, and new orders received after the halt has commenced, should be
treated as "Good Till Cancelled" orders and be held by the Company for
execution at the reopening of the next trading session.
• "At-the-Close" orders (including "Market at Close" orders) pending at the time
trading is halted should be treated as cancelled orders. The Company should not
accept, or forward to a market, any new orders related to closing prices received
during a trading halt.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 5260 generally prohibits transacting in securities subject
to a trading halt or trading pause. Neither the Company nor any of its associated
persons will, directly or indirectly, effect any transaction or publish a quotation, a
priced bid and/or offer, an unpriced indication of interest (including “bid wanted”
and “offer wanted” and name only indications), or a bid or offer accompanied by a
modifier to reflect unsolicited customer interest, in any security as to which a
trading halt is currently in effect (there is an exception for certain displays of bids
and offers under Reg. NMS Plan). These restrictions also apply to any future on a
single stock when the underlying stock is subject to a regulatory trading halt and
any future on a narrow-based securities index when one or more underlying
securities that constitute 50% or more of the market capitalization of the index are
subject to a regulatory trading halt. However, if FINRA halts OTC trading and
quoting in NMS stocks due to real-time transmission problems with ADF or TRF,
traders may trade through other markets where trading is not halted. The designated
Principal will supervise and review trading activity during trading halts to ensure
compliance with this Rule during trading halts.
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12.5.4 OTC Halts
Under Consolidated FINRA Rule 6440, FINRA may also halt trading and quoting
in OTC securities. Announced halts will be designed to protect investors and ensure
a fair and orderly marketplace and may last up to 10 business days. During trading
halts, Company trading personnel are prohibited from effecting, directly or
indirectly, trades in any such security or from publishing a quotation, a priced bid
and/or offer, an unpriced indication of interest (including "bid wanted" and "offer
wanted" indications), or a bid or offer accompanied by a modifier to reflect
unsolicited customer interest, in any quotation medium. The designated Principal
will ensure compliance with this Rule during trading halts.
If the OTC equity security or the OTC ADR is listed on or registered with a foreign
securities exchange or market, FINRA may impose halts in trading those securities
when foreign exchanges, markets or regulators impose trading halts. FINRA may
also halt trading and quotation in OTC equity securities if the security or ADR is a
derivative or component of a security listed on or registered with a national
securities exchange or foreign securities exchange or market (listed security) and
that exchange or market imposes a trading halt in the listed security. Lastly, FINRA
may impose a halt after learning from a reliable third party that an extraordinary
event has occurred. In all of these cases, the halt may last longer than 10 business
days.
Trading halts will be posted to the Trade Halt section of FINRA’s website and will
be coded using established reason codes: it is the responsibility of the Trade Desk
Supervisor to ensure dissemination of all relevant trade halt information to traders
and to monitor trading and quoting activities for adherence to limitations.
12.5.5 Halts, Pauses and Circuit Breakers in NMS Stocks
FINRA Halts: Under Consolidated FINRA Rule 6120, FINRA may close the ADF
or TRF or halt trading otherwise than on an exchange in NMS stocks based on its
own determinations or those of other major securities markets or the SEC, such as
in the case of extraordinary market conditions. Halts will commence when
announced by FINRA: trading may resume after notice is provided by FINRA and
made known to Company traders.
Trading Pauses under Regulation NMS: A pilot plan (Regulation Plan NMS to
Address Extraordinary Market Volatility, or the “Plan”) is currently in effect.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 6190 requires the Company to comply with the Plan if it
is a “trading center” (a national securities exchange or national securities
association that operates an SRO trading facility, an alternative trading system, an
exchange market maker, an OTC market maker, or any other broker or dealer that
executes orders internally by trading as principal or crossing orders as agent). The
Company is not a “trading center” by definition and therefore procedures for
compliance with the Plan are not included herein.
Market-Wide Circuit Breakers: During a pilot period coinciding with the Plan’s
pilot period, FINRA may halt trading in the event of certain Market Declines (level
1, 2 or 3) as described in Consolidated FINRA Rule 6121.02. A Market Decline
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means a decline in the value of the S&P 500 Index between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
on a trading day as compared to the closing value of the S&P 500 Index for the
immediately preceding trading day. For level 1 or 2 declines, trading will generally
resume on the same trading day; for level 3 declines, trading will resume the next
trading day. The Rule should be consulted for details on FINRA’s authority to
permit resumption of trading. As with all trading halts, the Trade Desk Supervisor
will ensure proper dissemination of relevant information and will monitor activities
for compliance.
12.5.6 Withdrawal of Quotes, per SEC Regulation M – Not Applicable
12.5.7 New Issues
New issues are inherently more volatile than securities with an established public
trading history. Given the absence of an established trading market, the potential
exists for a wide variance between the public offering price of a new issue and the
price at which trading on the secondary market commences. As a result, investors
who place market orders for an IPO may find their orders filled at prices beyond
their reasonable expectations, and such transactions may further contribute to the
unconstrained increase in the price of a new issue in the secondary market.
Market orders for new issue securities may not be accepted by the Company prior to
the commencement of trading in such shares in the secondary market; such orders
must be rejected prior to executing or routing them. Note:
• This restriction applies to both OTC Equity Securities and NMS stocks and
applies to the acceptance of any market order—whether from a customer of the
Company or of another BD, or from another BD itself;
• Company proprietary market orders sent to an exchange (not accepted by
another BD) are not prohibited under this rule;
• ‘Commencement of trading’ in the secondary market of shares of a new issue
that is an NMS Stock would be evidenced by the first trade on the national
securities exchange listing the security, as indicated by the dissemination of an
opening transaction in the security by that exchange. For OTC Equity
Securities, commencement of trading in the secondary market would be
evidenced by the first regular way, disseminated trade reported to the OTC
Reporting Facility during normal market hours.
• “Not Held” orders (unpriced, discretionary orders voluntarily categorized as
such by the customer, where he has granted the Company price and time
discretion) are not considered ‘market orders’ under this rule; and
• Priced orders, such as limit orders, are not subject to this prohibition.
In addition, should any new issue shares be returned to the Company (as syndicate
member), they must be disposed of properly, in accordance with the requirements of
the Agreement among Underwriters (see the “Public Offering” section if
applicable).
12.6
Margin Requirements
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
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Frequency of Review:
Daily and periodically
How Conducted:
Review of customer account documentation; Review of daily reports; Review
net capital deduction requirements, when applicable
Initial account documents; automated reports, including exception reports.
Evaluations of risk management
Reg. T, Consolidated FINRA Rules 4210, 4220, 4230. Notices 01-11, 03-66,
05-47, 08-32, 08-60, 08-65, 09-30, 09-53/65, 10-08, 10-28, 10-45, 10-53, 1115, 11-16, 11-20, 11-31, 12-44, 12-58
See this link for FINRA’s published margin interpretations:
http:[email protected][email protected][email protected]/documents/indust
ry/p122203.pdf
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
See Section 9.6 for Margin Accounts procedures.
12.6.1 Initial and Maintenance Margin Requirements and Other Obligations
The Company offers margin accounts to its customers, however, as it is a fullydisclosed introducing firm, it is the Company’s clearing firm that is extending credit
to its customers.
Initial and Maintenance Margin: Federal Reserve Board Regulation T governs
the extension of credit to customers by broker-dealers and includes provisions
concerning the initial margin requirements for most types of securities transactions.
In general, Regulation T requires 50% initial margin for long purchases of
marginable equity securities. In addition, Regulation T requires 150% margin for
short sales of equity securities, of which 100% can be from sales proceeds.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4210(g) permits approved broker-dealers to margin
certain products according to a prescribed portfolio margin methodology (see below
for details).
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4210 imposes margin requirements on securities in
customer accounts including those that do not meet the definition of ‘margin equity
security’ (“non-margin eligible”) under Reg. T: the Company must adhere to the
requirements of this Rule or Regulation T, whichever is greater (if Reg. T requires
‘good faith’ margin or has no requirements, then this FINRA Rule applies). Initial
margin requirements vary depending on the type of account and securities in the
account. In general, the minimum initial margin is $2,000; minimum equity levels
must be maintained; however, in certain cases, they do not apply. Consolidated
FINRA Rule 4210 and FINRA’s interpretations of the Rule should be referenced for
specific, detailed initial and maintenance margin requirements.
The margin which must be maintained in all accounts of customers, except for cash
accounts subject to other provisions of this Rule, is as follows:
(1) 25% of the current market value of all Reg. T margin securities, except
for security futures contracts, “long” in the account.
(2) $2.50 per share or 100% of the current market value, whichever amount
is greater, of each stock “short” in the account selling at less than $5.00 per
share.
(3) $5.00 per share or 30% of the current market value, whichever amount
is greater, of each stock “short” in the account selling at $5.00 per share or
above.
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(4) 5% of the principal amount or 30% of the current market value,
whichever amount is greater, of each bond “short” in the account.
(5) The minimum maintenance margin levels for security futures contracts,
long and short, shall be 20% of the current market value of such contract.
(See paragraph (f)(10)) of this Rule for other provisions pertaining to
security futures contracts.)
(6) 100% of the current market value for each non-margin eligible equity
security held "long" in the account.
Extensions: Under SEA Rule 15c3-3(n) and Consolidated FINRA Rule 4230, firms
may request extensions of time for customers to buy-in or otherwise obtain
possession or control of margined securities. Company personnel, if preparing
extensions of time requests, should obtain supporting documentation. Customers are
not entitled to such extensions; rather, extensions should only be requested in
exceptional circumstances and should be deemed appropriate before requests are
made. Reg. T extension requests must be submitted to FINRA via its online system
(“REX” system). Since the clearing firm holds the Company’s margin accounts, it
submits extension requests on behalf of the Company for its customers. The
clearing firm is responsible for reviewing the daily reports available on the REX
system that contain data on submitted extensions.
The Company’s clearing firm is also required under Consolidated FINRA Rule
4230 to file monthly reports indicating all broker-dealers for which it clears that
have overall ratios of requested extensions of time to total transactions for the
month that exceed a percentage designated by FINRA. The Company expects its
clearing firm to comply with the specific requirements under this Rule, when
required.
Daily Margin Record and Reporting: Under Consolidated FINRA Rule 4220, the
Company, if it carries margin accounts for customers, is required to establish
records of initial and additional margin obtained in each customer’s account. The
record must show the amount of margin required and the date when and manner in
which cash or securities are deposited or the margin requirements were otherwise
complied with. Individual entries constitute “records” and such entries need not be
combined and kept as a separate record.
Also, under FINRA Rule 4521(d), the Company, if it carries margin accounts for
customers, is required to submit, on a settlement date basis, as of the last business
day of the month: (A) the total of all debit balances in securities margin accounts;
and (B) the total of all free credit balances in all cash accounts and all securities
margin accounts. This information must be filed through the Firm Gateway on the
Customer Margin Balance Form and is due by the sixth business day of the
following month. Penalties for late filings apply.
The Company’s clearing firm will make all required margin records and submit all
required information on its behalf, since the clearing firm carries the Company’s
customer margin accounts.
Net Capital Reminders: The Company’s’ clearing firm monitors all margin
accounts and its automated programs are designed to ensure proper calculations and
enforcement of margin requirements. The Company, because it is an introducing
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broker, does not mark to market, nor does it take capital charges related to its
margin customers’ accounts.
12.6.2 Risk Management
The Company has established the following risk management policies for the
purpose of controlling its risk in offering margin accounts to its customers. The
goal of these policies is to effectively identify, measure, monitor and modify credit
risk associated with margin accounts. This methodology must be applied by the
Trade Desk Supervisor or other designated personnel in approving and maintaining
margin accounts:
• On an individual customer basis:
• Trade Desk personnel should obtain, review and forward to the clearing
firm the appropriate customer account documentation and the customer
financial information necessary to determine suitability and eligibility for
extension of credit.
• The Trade Desk Supervisor will enforce and Trade Desk personnel will
observe special written procedures and guidelines established by the
Company’s clearing firm for the determination, review and approval of
credit limits to customers, across all customers who qualify for margin
accounts.
• The Trade Desk Supervisor will monitor active margin accounts, reviewing
them periodically in order to manage risk exposure. Margin calls,
liquidations, higher margin requirements or any other actions allowable
under the terms of the Margin Disclosure Statement will be applied when
necessary to mitigate or modify risk. Margin rights may be withdrawn if
there are changes in the account owner’s financial status or trading patterns
that would increase the credit risk associated with the extension of margin
credit for the Company (or clearing firm) or the account owner. Account
and credit risk monitoring will be accomplished by making use of
automated reports generated daily and periodically, tracking price volatility,
trade activity, equity levels, specific account parameters, and other factors
useful in analyzing risk. Such reports may include, but are not limited to,
exception reports that show accounts near or at position limits, accounts
experiencing calls, and call history. The Company relies on its clearing firm
to provide and analyze such reports and to take action when necessary to
mitigate or modify credit risk.
Non-Purpose Loans: Reg. T allows non-purpose loans to be executed in a good
faith account in accordance with its requirements. The Company may extend
maintenance loan value on non-margin eligible equity securities when used to
collateralize non-purpose loans; any debit balances are not to be included in the
Reserve Formula computation.
The Chief Financial Officer shall arrange for the regular review and testing of these
risk management procedures by an independent party such as internal auditor, risk
manager or other comparable group, and must ensure that recommended policy
and/or procedural changes are implemented.
12.6.3 Day Trading Margin Requirements
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Day trading is recognized by Consolidated FINRA Rule 4210 through the
definitions of "day trading," "day trader," and certain specified margin
requirements. Under these provisions, a day trader may need to deposit additional
equity in his or her account to satisfy a day trade margin call. Members also may
establish their own margin requirements (referred to as "house" requirements),
provided that they are at least as stringent as the requirements under Regulation T
and Consolidated FINRA Rule 4210. Members also may temporarily raise their
margin requirements in response to market conditions. The Trade Desk Supervisor
of the Company maintains and disseminates the current Company margin
requirements.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4210(f)(8)(B) includes margin requirements for day
traders. Requirements have been amended to:
• Define "pattern day trader" to include any customer who executes four or more
day trades within five business days. However, if the number of day trades is
6% or less of total trades for the five business day period, the customer will not
be considered a pattern day trader and the special requirements of the new Rule
will not apply.
• Require minimum equity of $25,000 to be in an account on any day in which
the customer day trades. Funds deposited into a day trader’s account to meet
the minimum equity or maintenance margin requirements would have to remain
in the account for a minimum of two business days following the close of
business on the day of deposit;
• In cases where a customer seeks to open an account or to resume day trading at
the Company, and the Company knows or has a reasonable basis to believe that
the customer will engage in pattern day trading, then the special requirements of
the Rule will apply. In addition, in such a case, the minimum equity
requirement of $25,000 must be deposited in the account prior to
commencement of day trading;
• Require special maintenance margin, based on the cost of all the day trades
made during the day, of 25% for margin eligible securities;
• Permit day-trading buying power of up to four times maintenance margin
excess; day-trading buying power for non-equity securities may be computed
using the applicable special maintenance margin requirements pursuant to other
provisions of the margin rule (Consolidated FINRA 4210);
• Impose a day-trading margin call on any customer who exceeds his or her daytrading buying power and limit the customer to two times maintenance margin
excess based on daily total trading commitment until the call is met. If the call
is not met by the fifth business day, the day trader would be limited to trading
on a cash available basis for 90 days or until the call is met; in such an instance
(when applicable), on the sixth business day, the Company is required to deduct
from net capital the amount of the unmet special margin maintenance call
pursuant to SEC’s Net Capital Rule and, if applicable, Rule 4110(a);
• Prohibit withdrawal, for a minimum of two business days following the close of
business on the day of the deposit; of funds deposited into a pattern day trader’s
account to meet minimum equity or maintenance margin;
• Prohibit the use of cross-guarantees to meet day-trading minimum equity
requirements or day-trading margin calls; and
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Revise the current interpretation that requires the sale and repurchase on the
same day of a position held from the previous day to be treated as a day trade.
Instead, the sale of the position would be treated as a liquidation of the existing
position and the subsequent repurchase as the establishment of a new position
not subject to the rules affecting day trades.
The day trading restrictions under Consolidated FINRA Rule 4210(f)(8)(B) do not
apply to portfolio margin accounts that establish and maintain at least five million
dollars in equity, if the Company monitors the intra-day risk associated with day
trading. If positions day traded are part of a hedge strategy, the day trading
restrictions will likewise not apply. A “hedge strategy” for purposes of this Rule
means a transaction or a series of transactions that reduces or offsets a material
portion of the risk in a portfolio. The designated Principal must monitor these
portfolio margin accounts to detect and prevent circumvention of the day trading
requirements. When day trades executed in a portfolio margin account exceed the
day trading buying power, the day trade margin deficiency that is created must be
met by the deposit of cash and/or securities within three business days.
Registered Reps and traders monitoring day trading accounts must scrutinize
activities in cash accounts. If a customer plans on selling securities before making
full cash payment for them, the transactions must be recorded in a margin account
(and are thus subject to Consolidated FINRA Rule 4210 and Reg. T). In this
situation, the customer, by selling a security on trade date to pay for another
security purchased on that day, does not have “sufficient funds in the account” on
trade date, as required for cash accounts. Transactions by pattern day traders must
be in margin accounts; any attempt to avoid compliance with the minimum equity
requirements, free-riding prohibition and other requirements of Consolidated
FINRA Rule 4210 by shifting transactions to a cash account is a violation and will
be met with disciplinary action if deemed deliberate by the designated Principal.
Non-margin eligible accounts. Customers who day trade in a Regulation T margin
account have a special maintenance margin requirement for non-margin eligible
equity securities of 100% (see FINRA Rule 4210(f)(8)(B)(iii)). In addition, the
Company cannot extend maintenance loan value for the purpose of calculating daytrading buying power. Customers will be permitted to day trade a non-margin
eligible equity security in such accounts, provided the special maintenance margin
requirement of 100% does not exceed one times the regulatory maintenance excess
(equity in the account after the maintenance margin requirement is met). In the
event a customer does day trade in excess of this limit, the Company is required to
issue a day-trade call. If the day-trade call is not met as required in Rule
4210(f)(8)(B)(iii) or 4210(g)(13), then the Company has to restrict all day-trading
activity for the customer to one times the regulatory maintenance excess for a
period of 90 calendar days. The designated Principal will establish monitoring
procedures in such instances to ensure that customers do not continue to day trade
without sufficient funds.
The designated Principal, in his or her reviews of the Company’s customers’ day
trading activity, must ensure compliance with all requirements, as amended. See
Notices 08-41, 10-45, 11-16 and 11-20.
12.6.4 Joint Back Office – Not Applicable
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12.6.5 Higher Margin Securities List – Not Applicable
12.6.6 Disclosure
Personnel involved with extending margin credit to customers are responsible for
providing appropriate disclosure of credit terms. Under the federal securities laws,
brokers that extend credit to customers to finance securities transactions are
required to furnish, in writing, specified information regarding the terms of the loan.
These disclosures must be made on both an initial and periodic basis. At the time a
customer opens a margin account, the Company provides the customer with a
written statement disclosing, among other things, the annual rate of interest, the
method of computing interest, and what other credit charges may be imposed.
These initial disclosures help to ensure that the customer understands the terms and
conditions of the margin loan and allow the customer to compare available credit
terms. The Company (or its clearing firm) provides periodic (at least quarterly)
written statements to the customer, which disclose such information as opening and
closing balances, total interest charges, and other charges resulting from the
extension of credit. The Company has forms which must be provided to customers
containing these disclosures, copies of which are to be placed in the customer’s file.
12.6.7 Margining Credit Default Swaps – Not Applicable
12.6.8 Portfolio Margin Methodology – Not Applicable
12.7
Confirmations
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal: CCO
How Conducted:
Spot checks of confirmations
How Documented:
Written procedures related to confirmation preparation (if applicable)
Records of spot checks retained
Records of any action taken, including discussions with RR’s about faulty or
deficient confirmation preparation.
SEA Rule 10b-10, 17a-4(b)(1), Consolidated FINRA Rule 2232, MSRB G15, MSRB Notice 2009-49, Notice 95-2, 10-62
No-action letter for prime broker accounts:
http://www.sec.gov/divisions/marketreg/mr-noaction/pbroker012594-out.pdf
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
Daily, per transaction
At or before completion of any transaction (as defined) in any security effected for or with
an account of a customer (not another broker-dealer), the clearing firm, must give or send to
the customer a confirmation meeting all requirements of SEA Rule 10b-10. Confirmations
must include the following:
• The date and time of the transaction;
• The identity, price and number of shares or units (or principal amount) of such security
purchased or sold;
• Whether the Company is acting as agent for the customer, or agent for some other
person or for both;
• If the Company is acting as agent:
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the name of the person from whom the security was purchased or to whom is was
sold or that it will be furnished on request;
 the remuneration received by the Company from the customer, unless remuneration
is determined pursuant to written agreement (which may be the customer account
form), otherwise than on a transaction basis;
 a statement as to whether payment for order flow is received by the Company for
transactions in such securities and that the source and nature of the compensation
received in connection with the particular transaction will be furnished on request;
 the source and amount of any other remuneration received or to be received by the
broker in connection with the transaction (with exceptions: see SEA Rule 10b-10);
For odd-lot orders, whether any odd-lot differential or equivalent fee has been paid and
that such fees will be furnished upon oral or written request unless already included in
remuneration disclosure or exempt (see the Rule);
For transactions in debt securities:
 That are callable bonds: a statement to the effect that such bond may be redeemed
in whole or in part before maturity, and that such a redemption could affect the
yield represented and the fact that additional information is available upon request;
 Done on a dollar price basis: the dollar price; and the yield to maturity calculated
from the dollar price (with exceptions for certain bonds—see the Rule):
 Done on a yield basis: the yield, including the percentage amount and its
characterization (e.g., current yield, yield to maturity, or yield to call) and if
effected at yield to call, the type of call, the call date and call price; the dollar price
calculated from the yield; if effected on a basis other than yield to maturity and the
yield to maturity is lower than the represented yield, the yield to maturity as well as
the represented yield (with exceptions for certain bonds—see the Rule):
 That are asset-backed securities backed by receivables or subject to continuous
prepayment: statements about the variability of actual yield and providing, upon
request, information on factors that affect yield;
 Other than government securities: disclosure that the security, if such is the case, is
unrated by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization;
In addition, Consolidated FINRA Rule 2232(b), requires the Company to include on
confirmations:
• For trades in any NMS stock or any security subject to the reporting requirements of
the FINRA Rule 6600 Series, other than DPP’s as defined in FINRA Rule 6420:
the settlement date; and
• For any transaction in a callable equity security: that the security is a callable equity
security and that the customer may contact the Company for more information
concerning the security.
The Company does not have to send confirmations to customers if it's business with
customers whose transactions are done according to a periodic plan or investment company
plan, or made in registered investment company shares (‘mutual funds’) at NAV (as long no
sales load is deducted), AND if statements are issued by the Company to such customers in
accordance with SEA Rule 10b-10. Certain other requirements relating mutual fund
confirms are included in the mutual fund procedures, herein.
See the procedures herein for confirmation requirements for options and futures
transactions. Also, municipal securities have their own confirmation requirements under G15, including those on DVP/RVP business, electronic delivery and certain yield
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computations. For institutional clients with prime broker accounts, the Company may rely
on a 1994 SEC No-Action letter when not sending confirms to clients. In such a case, the
prime broker will provide confirms to the client in lieu of the Company or its clearing firm.
The Company will receive and maintain written notification from its client of its prime
brokerage agreement and intention to receive confirms from its prime broker.
The Company’s clearing firm prepares and sends to customers all required customer
confirmations. The Company receives copies of these confirmations and maintains them in
accordance with recordkeeping rules under SEC 17a-3 and -4.
The designated Principal will conduct periodic spot checks of confirmations in order to
determine if the Company is in full compliance with Rule 10b-10 and other applicable
confirmation rules. Any discrepancies found will be brought to the attention of the
respective personnel preparing confirms or the clearing firm, if applicable, with the
intention of improving confirmation preparation.
12.8
Large Orders – Not Applicable
12.9
Solicited/Unsolicited Transactions
An “unsolicited” transaction is one initiated by the customer with no recommendation,
prompting or other urging by the Registered Representative. While not universally true, in
general transactions that are “unsolicited” are thought of as not requiring the same level of
“suitability” inquiry as those that are “solicited” since the customer has taken the
responsibility to initiate the trade. For this reason it is thought important to record the
source of each trade. Section 7 should be reviewed for a discussion of suitability in the
context of recommendations to institutional investors.
Trade tickets will be marked to indicate whether the transaction was “unsolicited.” The
Registered Representative is responsible for providing this information. Compliance
reviews of each Representative’s activities in customer accounts are designed to verify that
trades were in fact “unsolicited” especially where a large number of such transactions
repeatedly appear.
12.10
Trade Reporting
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Trade Desk Supervisor
How Conducted:
Daily management of trade reporting; review of trade reporting if done by third
party.
Review for consistency and completeness.
Order tickets, trade records; reporting records, Notices to FINRA: Initials on
applicable documents
FINRA Rules 6180, 6280, 6400 series, 6550, 6600 series, 6730, 7130, 7320,
7330; UPC Rule Series11000; Notices 08-38, 09-08, 09-21, 09-46, 09-52, 0954, 10-07, 10-10, 10-24, 10-26, 10-29, 10-48, 10-49, 11-03, 11-40, 12-19, 1319. Trade Reporting Notices 2/8/10, 8/19/10 and 3/25/13
ALL TIME WILL BE EXPRESSED AS EASTERN STANDARD TIME
(EST)
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
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The Trade Desk Supervisor must determine the Company’s transaction reporting
obligations and the appropriate reporting party, based on the types of securities traded (i.e.,
exchange-listed, OTC, Restricted Equity Securities, DPP, Foreign, ADR, etc.) and nature of
trading parties (i.e., market makers, order entry firm). Consolidated FINRA Rule series
6000 and 7000 contain trade reporting requirements. These FINRA Rules and related
Notices should be consulted by operations and other appointed staff to determine correct
reporting parties and requirements. All reporting is done by the firm’s clearing firm,
Pershing, LLC.
OATS procedures are in a dedicated sub-section, below.
When a third party is used for clearing, reporting or locking-in trades, whether under an
Automated Give Up (AGU), Qualified Service Representative (QSR) or other arrangement,
the Trade Desk supervisor will ensure that an acceptable agreement is executed and that the
Company establishes a system for periodically reviewing the third party’s compliance with
requirements. Currently the Company relies on its clearing firm to conduct trade reporting
on its behalf.
The Company as a FINRA member must use the OTC Reporting Facility (ORF) to report
transactions in OTC Equity Securities and Restricted Equity Securities. Other trade
reporting facilities exist for the collection and display of quotations and transactions,
including the TRF, ADF, OATS and TRACE. The following trade reporting rules govern
trade reporting to FINRA facilities:
Rule Series
6200 and 7100 Series
6300A and 7200A Series
6300B and 7200B Series
FINRA Facility
ADF (using TRACS)
FINRA/NASDAQ TRF
FINRA/NYSE TRF
6600 and 7300 Series
ORF
6700 Series
TRACE
7400 Series
OATS
Type of Trades
OTC transactions in NMS stocks
OTC transactions in NMS stocks
OTC transactions in NMS stocks
Transactions in OTC Equity
Securities (including OTCBB
securities, Pink Sheets securities,
ADRs, Canadian issues, foreign
securities and certain others) and
secondary market transactions in
DPP’s and Restricted Equity
Securities (144A resales)
Transactions in TRACE-eligible
fixed- income securities
OTC Equity Securities, equities
listed and traded on NASDAQ, and,
as of 10-3-11, NMS stocks
See sub-section, below.
This WSP Manual does not include reference to every rule and requirement vis-à-vis trade
reporting. Designated operations and trade desk staff are expected to review FINRA Rules,
Notices and other published guidance for the purpose of knowing the current status of these
ever-changing rules. To follow are some reminders about equity reporting: this list is by all
means NOT exhaustive. See the sections in this Manual on OATS, TRACE, and ATS for
information on other reporting obligations.
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The Company must have an assigned MPID for purposes of reporting trades to a
TRF. The same MPID must be used for posted quotes and subsequently reported
trades in the same security.
A “trade” or “transaction” is a purchase or sale of securities in which the Company
as a FINRA member participates; the term “customer” used in the Rules does not
include a broker-dealer.
In general, the following applies:
o In transactions between two members, the executing party shall report the
transaction.
o In transactions between a member and a non-member or customer, the
member shall report the transaction.
"Executing party" means the member that receives an order for handling or
execution or is presented an order against its quote, does not subsequently re-route
the order, and executes the transaction. In a transaction between two members
where both members may satisfy the definition of executing party (e.g., manually
negotiated transactions via the telephone), the member representing the sell-side
shall report the transaction, unless the parties agree otherwise and the member
representing the sell-side contemporaneously documents such agreement. (Give-up
agreements may satisfy this documentation requirement if the agreement expressly
states that in a manually negotiated trade between the firms, the sell-side has the
reporting obligation but the buy-side will assume that obligation.)
Trades otherwise eligible as reportable to ORF that are reported on or through an
exchange are not required to be reported to ORF (6622(e)); likewise for trades
otherwise reportable to TRF (6380A and B) or ADF/TRACS (6282(i)).
Each reported transaction must include the correct modifier as provided by the
respective reporting facility in its technical specifications.
A tape or media report (also called “for publication” report) is a trade report that is
submitted to a FINRA Facility and is publicly disseminated. In certain limited
circumstances, trade reports submitted for publication may be suppressed from
public dissemination (e.g., reports of odd-lot transactions).
Last sale reports of OTC transactions in equity securities for which electronic
submission is not possible must be submitted as soon as practicable to FINRA on
the Form T Equity Trade Reporting Form via Firm Gateway (see Trade Reporting
Notice 6-3-11).
A non-tape report can be either a "regulatory" report or a "clearing" report, neither
of which is publicly disseminated. A regulatory report, (also "non-tape, nonclearing" report) is submitted to FINRA solely to fulfill a regulatory requirement
(e.g., to report certain transactions subject to a regulatory transaction fee or, where
applicable, to report the offsetting "riskless" leg of a riskless principal transaction).
A clearing report, sometimes referred to in the trade reporting rules as a "clearingonly" report, is used by members to clear and settle transactions; information
reported to FINRA in a clearing report is transmitted by FINRA to the National
Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC). Clearing reports also can be used to
satisfy the Company’s obligation to provide regulatory information to FINRA, if
applicable.
The Rules prohibit the Company from submitting to a FINRA Facility any
report (including but not limited to reports of step-outs and reversals) associated
with a previously executed trade that was not reported to that FINRA Facility—for
instance, the Company cannot use a FINRA Facility to step-out of an exchange
trade. (Exceptions include where such reports are submitted to reflect the offsetting
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portion of a riskless principal transaction or an agency transaction where the
Company acts as agent on behalf of another member firm.)
Transactions in OTC equities executed during the hours that the FINRA trade
reporting facilities are open (normal market hours are 9:30 am to 4:00 pm) must be
reported as soon as practicable but not later than 10 seconds after execution;
transactions outside normal market hours, executed between 8:00 am and 9:30 am
or between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm (6:30 pm for ADF) must also be reported with 10
seconds and require an extended hours/sold modifier in trade reports.
Transactions not reported as soon as practicable but not later than 10 seconds after
execution shall be designated as late. Trades outside normal market hours during
system closed hours (occurring between 8 pm (6:30 for ADF) and 8:00 am the next
day) must be reported within 15 minutes of the system open (by 8:15 am) and must
include the respective extended hours/sold modifier and a late modifier if late (see
Notice 09-52 for specific requirements).
Secondary market transactions in non-exchange-listed direct participation program
securities (DPPs) must be reported as any other OTC security. For purposes of the
10-second reporting requirement, the “date of execution” and the “time of
execution” are defined as the date and time, respectively, when the parties to a
transaction in a DPP have agreed to all of the essential terms of the transaction,
including the price and number of units to be traded.
Different deadlines may apply to reporting transactions outside normal market
hours—see the various Rule Series listed above for specifics.
Transactions in foreign securities are subject to the same requirements, and
FINRA disseminates last sale information for transactions in foreign securities,
ADRs and Canadian issues on a real-time basis. Foreign securities transactions
executed on and reported to a foreign securities exchange (or executed OTC in a
foreign country and reported to a foreign regulator) do not require reporting to a
FINRA facility.
The Company must report cancellations and reversals of OTC trades previously
reported: they must be reported to the same FINRA facility to which the trade was
originally reported (TRF, ORF or ADF). If the trade is cancelled during normal
market hours, the Company must report it as soon as practicable but not later than
10 seconds after cancellation; if the trade is canceled after 4 p.m. and before the
FINRA facility closes, the Company must attempt to report it on the date of
execution—if not possible, it must report on the following business day; and if the
trade is cancelled after the FINRA facility closes, the Company must report the
cancellation on the following business day. Reference: Notice 10-07 and 10-24. For
reversals, as of July 29, 2013, the Company must no longer “switch” the sides of the
market on reversal reports; instead, the same sides of the market, i.e., the buy and
sell sides, should appear on both the original trade report and the reversal report.
Ref: T.R. Notice 3-25-13.
The Company must report to ORF cancellations of Restricted Equity Security trades
previously reported. If the trade is canceled on the same day before 8 pm, the
Company must report the cancellation by 8 pm; if the trade is canceled after 8pm, it
must be reported the following business day by 8 pm. For a trade cancelled after
the date of execution, the Company must report the cancellation by 8pm on the day
the cancellation was received, unless received after 8 pm, in which case the
cancellation is reported the next business day by 8 pm. Reference: 6622(f) and
Notice 10-26.
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The Company is not required to submit non-tape reports to FINRA within the time
frames above; however, regulatory reports generally are required to be submitted
within specified time frames. For example, the Company must submit the non-tape
report for the offsetting "riskless" leg of a riskless principal transaction as soon as
practicable after the offsetting leg is executed, but no later than the time the FINRA
Facility closes for the trading day. See Notice 09-08. However, to avoid a Trading
Ahead of Customer Orders violation the Company must submit, contemporaneously
(within one minute) with the execution of the facilitated order, a non-tape report
reflecting the offsetting "riskless" leg of the transaction. See Consolidated FINRA
Rule 5320.03.
Non-tape reports of away from the market sales and exercises of OTC options that
are submitted pursuant to Section 3 of Schedule A to the By-Laws must be
submitted by the end of the reporting session for the designated FINRA Facility.
See Rules 7130(c) and 7230A(g). Transfers of proprietary positions in corporate
control transactions, like mergers/acquisitions of member or non-member BD’s, are
also in this category—see Notice 09-21 for guidance.
An OTC riskless principal transaction can be reported to FINRA in a single tape
report properly marked as riskless principal, or in two separate reports: (1) a tape
report to reflect the initial leg of the transaction and (2) a non-tape report to reflect
the offsetting, “riskless” leg of the transaction, with the correct capacity of riskless
principal. See FINRA Rules 6282(e)(1)(C)(ii), 6380A(d)(3)(B), 6380B(d)(3)(B) and
6622(d)(3)(B) and Notice 09-08.
Where the Company submits a non-tape report to a FINRA facility that is
associated with a previously executed trade that was not reported to that same
facility, it must identify the related market center (non-FINRA facility) where the
associated trade was reported. See Notice 09-54 and Trade Reporting Notice 2/8/10
for specifics on the report indicators and other guidance.
All trade reports submitted to a FINRA Facility must include the time of execution
based on Eastern Time, except where another time is expressly required by rule.
These exceptions include Stop Stock transactions (the trade report must include the
time at which the Company and the other party agreed to the Stop Stock Price in
lieu of the actual time the trade was executed) and transactions that reflect a price
different from the current market when the execution price is based on a prior
reference point in time (the trade report must include the prior reference time in lieu
of the actual time the trade was executed). Note: If a Stop Stock trade is executed
within 10 seconds of the time the parties agree to the stop stock price, the stop stock
modifier should not be used; likewise, if a prior reference price trade is executed
within 10 seconds of the prior reference point in time, the Company should not use
the prior reference price modifier. See Rules 6282(a), 6380A(a), 6380B(a) and
6622(a). When executing a block transaction using the Intermarket Sweep Order
(ISO) exception (outbound), pursuant to SEA Rule 611(b)(6) of Regulation NMS,
execution time may differ. In all cases, the reported time must be in military format.
A give-up agreement, in the form specified by FINRA (The Uniform Service
Bureau/Executing Broker Agreement), is required any time a member is reporting
trade information to a FINRA Facility on behalf of another member and acceptance
by the other member is not otherwise required to lock-in the trade. For example,
where the Company executes a trade with another BD and under the trade reporting
rules, the Company has the reporting obligation, for the other BD to report the trade
on the Company’s behalf, a valid, executed give-up agreement must be in place.
Similarly, for the Company to report the trade as locked-in and identify the other
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BD as the contra party to the trade, a valid, executed give-up agreement must be in
place (even if a qualified service representative agreement is in place with NSCC).
Where a tape only report is being submitted to a FINRA Facility, a give-up
agreement is not required for the member with the reporting obligation to identify
the contra party to the trade on the trade report.
For trades reported to a FINRA Facility, the respective, required trade information
must be provided for each transaction that is reported to the facility. Unless the
contra side will have an opportunity to provide its own trade information (e.g., the
contra side is a FINRA member using the trade comparison functionality of the
facility), the Company is responsible for the complete and accurate submission of
information for both sides of the trade, including information from the contra side
perspective such as sell short and sell short exempt, as applicable.
Under Consolidated FINRA Rules 6182 (Trade Reporting of Short Sales), 6282
(Alternative Display Facility), 6380A (FINRA/Nasdaq TRF), 6380B
(FINRA/NYSE TRF), 7230A (FINRA/Nasdaq TRF), and 7230B (FINRA/NYSE
TRF), the Company is required to designate all short sale and short sale exempt
transactions in NMS stocks when reporting trades to FINRA. These short/short
exempt sale reporting requirements apply to transactions in all NMS stocks, as
defined in SEA Rule 600(b)(47) of Regulation NMS.
All short sales in OTC equity securities (non-NMS) must be reported as such, per
Consolidated FINRA Rule 6622; the short sale indicator is required on reports of a
‘cross’ as well as reports of a ‘sell.’
The Company may also be required, upon regulatory request, to submit trade data
electronically via the Electronic Blue Sheet system. Supervision of these
submissions is described in “Investigation Records and Submission of Trade Data,”
below.
The Company no longer has to use the .RO modifier on reports of odd-lot
transactions; rather, the Company should mark reports of odd-lot transactions as
“tape eligible.” These trades will be included in the aggregate dollar amount of the
Company’s covered sales for purposes of calculating Section 3 fees, but they will be
suppressed by FINRA from public dissemination. FINRA disseminates last-sale
information for all transactions in certain, high-priced OTC securities (over
$175/share during 4Q07)—even if trades are for fewer than 100 shares. For these
securities, listed on www.otcbb.com FINRA will designate the unit of trade as one,
such that transactions in these securities for fewer than 100 shares will no longer be
considered odd-lot transactions for dissemination purposes.
The following transactions are not reportable to TRACS, FINRA/NASDAQ TRF,
FINRA/NYSE TRF, or ORF: the transfer of equity securities for the sole purpose of
creating or redeeming an instrument that evidences ownership of or otherwise
tracks the underlying securities transferred (e.g., an American Depositary Receipt or
exchange-traded fund).
Timely Trade Reporting: Trades and cancellations must be reported as soon as practicable,
regardless of the stated deadline (e.g., 10 seconds) and trade reporting may not be withheld,
for instance, by systems programmed to delay reporting until the last permissible second.
Discoveries of any such activity perpetrated by Company personnel will be investigated and
met with disciplinary action. FINRA may charge the Company with rule violations if it
perceives of patterns or practices of unexcused late trade reporting including purposelywithheld trade reporting. In certain cases, late reporting will be excused, for instance where
there is reasonable justification or exceptional circumstances. These circumstances will be
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determined on a case-by-case basis and may include instances of system failure by the
Company or its service bureau, complexity or manual nature of the trade, or unusual market
conditions, such as extreme volatility in a security, or in the market as a whole. When
applicable, the Company must maintain, and provide to FINRA upon request,
documentation demonstrating that a trade was reported late due to the manual nature of the
trade entry process following execution. The Trade Desk Supervisor will periodically assess
automated and manual systems and processes to ensure that the Company has implemented
the most efficient means of timely trade reporting.
The Trade Desk Supervisor shall ensure that all required reporting is completed either by a
designated person at the Company, by its clearing firm or by a third party, if so designated.
The Trade Desk Supervisor shall review documentation provided by the clearing firm or
other third-party, if applicable, or generated from the applicable trade reporting systems
where the Company is self-reporting, to ensure that reporting is being done in compliance
with applicable time requirements and that all trades have been reported as required. The
Trade Desk Supervisor shall also review report cards provided by FINRA or MSRB, if
applicable, and will evidence his/her review of trade reporting documentation using physical
initials or electronic notation; records of reviews will be maintained in accordance with the
Company’s recordkeeping policies.
12.10.1 Order Audit Trail System (“OATS”)
The Order Audit Trail System (OATS) Rules impose obligations on FINRA
members to record in electronic form and report daily to FINRA certain information
about orders originated, received, transmitted, modified, canceled or executed by
firms. The Rules were established to allow for the reporting and dissemination of
over-the-counter transactions in OTC equity securities; they now apply to
transactions in:
• OTC equity securities,
• Equity securities listed and traded on NASDAQ, and
• (As of 10-3-11) All NMS stocks (those listed on markets other than
NASDAQ, such as NYSE, NYSE Amex and NYSE Arca).
The use of a routed order identifier reported through OATS permits FINRA to track
the history of orders from customer initiation through execution. Member firms and
ECNs that receive or originate orders must record in electronic form and report to
FINRA on a daily basis certain information with respect to those orders. FINRA
combines this reported information with the Automated Confirmation Transaction
System (ACT) and quotations provided by members to provide an integrated audit
trail of quotation, transaction and order data.
Note that certain securities are NOT reportable under the OATS rules, including:
IPO’s, Restricted Equity Securities under Rule 144(a)(3) of the ‘33 Act, TRACEreportable debt, mutual funds, municipal bonds, DPP’s as defined in Consolidated
FINRA Rule 6420 and private placement offerings.
The Company is not required to report OATS data and has not registered as a
Reporting Member since it qualifies for exclusion from the definition of Reporting
Member (under Consolidated FINRA Rule 7410(o), as follows:
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(1) it engages in a non-discretionary order routing process, pursuant to
which it immediately routes, by electronic or other means, all of its orders
to a single receiving Reporting Member;
(2) it does not direct and does not maintain control over subsequent routing
or execution by the receiving Reporting Member;
(3) the receiving Reporting Member records and reports all information
required under Consolidated FINRA Rules 7440 and 7450 with respect to
the Company’s orders; and
(4) the Company has a written agreement with the receiving Reporting
Member specifying the respective functions and responsibilities of each
party to effect full compliance with the requirements of Consolidated
FINRA Rules 7440 and 7450.
Currently, all the Company’s OATS-eligible securities are routed to its clearing
firm for execution and subsequent reporting (this firm is referred to as “receiving
Reporting Member”). No orders are routed elsewhere and the Company does not
accommodate customer requests for routing outside the receiving Reporting
Member. The Company relies on the receiving Reporting Member to synchronize
its clocks daily to within three seconds of the National Institute of Standards and
Technology's atomic clock. The Trade Desk Supervisor periodically compares the
Company’s clocks to that of the receiving Reporting Member and makes
adjustments necessary to ensure synchronization. In addition, the OATS Principal
will ensure that the written agreement with the receiving Reporting Member is
maintained and readily available for inspection by regulatory bodies.
The receiving Reporting Member will be required to identify the Company as
sending member in each New Order Report and include a code indicating the
Company is a member that qualifies for exclusion from the definition of OATS
Reporting Member under Consolidated FINRA Rule 7410(o). This code indicating
the exclusion should be included in the Member Type Code Field on the New
Order, Combined Order/Route and Combined Order/Execution Reports.
Trading personnel routing orders subject to OATS reporting must provide the
Company’s receiving Reporting Member with all order information required under
their mutual written agreement. The designated Principal, in his or her review of
daily trades, will attempt to verify that orders contain information sufficient to meet
these requirements. The OATS Principal, through regular reviews, must ensure that
required records are maintained in accordance with effective Rules, including SEC
books and records rules, and that evidence of supervision with these limited OATS
procedures is maintained to the extent it is required.
Should the Trade Desk Supervisor or other person determine that the Company does
not meet one or more of these conditions, s/he will immediately alert the CCO, who
will ensure that steps are taken to register the Company as a Reporting Member and
that these written procedures are amended to include a description of the
Company’s responsibilities, regarding, for instance, required data maintenance and
transmittal of order information to OATS.
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12.11
Proprietary Trading – Not Applicable
12.12
Payment for Order Flow – Not Applicable
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12.13
Customer Online Trading System – Not Applicable
12.14
Extended Hours Trading – Not Applicable
12.15
Alternative Trading Systems – Not Applicable
12.16
Market Center and Order Routing Reporting
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Trade Desk Supervisor
Chief Compliance Officer
Monthly and quarterly
Review of electronic and written reports
Review of corresponding trade activity
Approval notated on report
Reg. NMS; SEC Staff Legal Bulletin Nos. 12R and 13, 13A; Notices 0116, 01-30, 01-44
In an effort to increase visibility of execution quality and promote competition in the
securities markets, the SEC adopted Rules 605 and 606 under Reg. NMS. Notices 01-16
and 01-30 describe how, generally, the Rules seek to improve the ability of public investors
to monitor orders after they are submitted to a broker-dealer for execution.
The Company is not a Market Maker or “market center” and is therefore not required to
prepare the monthly, electronic reports required under SEA Rule 605.
____________
Regulation NMS, Rule 606 requires the Company, if it routes customer orders in equity
and option securities, to make publicly available quarterly reports that disclose the venues to
which it routes non-directed orders in certain covered securities, including, unlike in Rule
605, listed options. The Rule further requires the Company to disclose the nature of any
relationship it has with those venues, including any payment for order flow arrangements.
Finally, the Rule requires the Company to disclose, upon customer request, the venues to
which individual orders were sent for execution. The Rule differs from 605 in that it
includes more securities, it applies to all broker-dealers routing orders on behalf of
customers (not only those who execute orders), and it applies to all types of orders, provided
they are “non-directed.” Details of the Rule can be found in Notices 01-30 and 01-44;
additional guidance, including clarification of clearing firm responsibilities and format for
quarterly reporting, are found in SEC Staff Legal Bulletins No. 13 and 13A. Note: The
Company is not required to identify execution venues that received less than 5% of nondirected orders, as long as it identifies the top execution venues that in the aggregate
received at least 90% of the Company’s total non-directed orders. Also, if the Company
routed fewer than 500 orders in covered securities per month during the preceding quarter, it
does not have reporting obligations for the next quarter. Lastly, large orders ($200,000
equity and $50,000 options) are exempt from the reporting requirement (see SEC Staff
Legal Bulletins No. 13 and 13A).
The Trade Desk Supervisor has determined that the Company is exempt from these
reporting requirements, given the nature of its securities business. This individual will
continue to monitor the nature of the Company’s on-going routed, non-directed orders in
order to determine if this exemption no longer applies (and will establish reporting
procedures herein, when and if required).
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12.17
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Exception Reports
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Trade Desk Supervisor
Daily, weekly or monthly
Annual receipt and review of list of available exception reports from clearing
firm, if applicable.
Review of clearing firm and internal reports generated indicating exceptions to
pre-determined trade or order parameters.
Printed or electronically-stored exception or other reports.
Principal’s initials on reports or electronic notation of review.
Follow-up documentation of actions taken to investigate items or correct
errors.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4311(h); Notice 97-57, 11-26
Comments:
The Trade Desk Supervisor makes use of automated reports to assist in his or her review of
customer and firm trade activity. These reports should consider the transaction size,
location, type, number and the nature of the activity reported. Reports used by the
Company include the following:
•
•
Exception and other reports provided by the Company’s clearing firm, as required
under the Company’s written clearing agreement (see Section 13.2, below); and
Internal reports generated by Company software.
Exception reports must be run and/or received from the clearing firm, if applicable, daily,
weekly and monthly and all items appearing on such reports must be reviewed by the Trade
Desk Supervisor to determine if any further action or more in-depth reviews are warranted
in any instance. If necessary, focused reviews of subsequent customer activity should take
place to understand trading patterns or abnormalities indicated on exception reports. All
reports reviewed and records of actions taken, with notated evidence (initials and date) of
the supervisor’s review, should be maintained with other required trade records.
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12.18
Mutual Fund Pricing/Late Trading – Not Applicable
12.19
Agency Securities Lending – Not Applicable
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SECTION 13: CUSTODY AND CLEARING
13.1
Customer Funds and Securities
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
FinOp
How Conducted:
Review Cash & Securities Control Systems and respective blotters
How Documented:
Initial system reports
Initial reviewed records
Consolidated FINRA Rules 4311, 4522. Rules 2330; 3140; 3150;
3010(a)(2)(B); Notices 05-47, 05-72, 08-46, 08-76, 11-26. SEA Rule 15c3-3;
8c-1; 17a-13; 15c2-1
3010 Checklist:
Continuous, in daily course of business
Comments:
Notice 05-47 provides specific guidance on the treatment of a day on which securities
markets are unexpectedly closed (i.e., whether that day is considered a ‘business day’ vis-àvis such subjects as net capital, reserve formula, possession or control, Reg. T extensions,
margin calls, sell order extensions, day trading requirements, bookkeeping entries on the
liquidation of customers’ money market funds or on the sweep of customers’ balances into
money market funds, FOCUS reporting, and securities lending). In the event of an
unexpected closing of markets, the FinOp and Trade Desk Supervisor must ensure proper
treatment of all items detailed in the Notice, where applicable to the Company’s business.
Pursuant to SEA Rule 15c3-3, broker-dealers that physically possess or control their
customers’ securities must promptly obtain and thereafter maintain physical possession or
control of all fully-paid securities and excess margin securities carried by the broker-dealer
for the accounts of customers.
The Company operates under the “(k)(2)(ii)” exemption of this Rule, because it meets the
following condition:
The broker-dealer is an introducing broker-dealer who clears all transactions with and
for customers on a fully-disclosed basis with a clearing broker or dealer, and who
promptly transmits all customer funds and securities to the clearing broker or dealer
which carries all of the accounts of such customers and properly maintains and
preserves such books and records.
The Company shall not be in violation of the above if, for example, as a result of normal
business operations temporary lags occur between the time when a security is required to be
in the possession or control of the Company and the time it is placed in its physical
possession or control, provided that good faith steps are taken to establish prompt
possession or control.
The Company’s associated persons are required to fully understand and comply with the
following (please refer to Section 16: Record Keeping and Reporting for detailed
information on the requirements under SEA Rules 17a-3 and 4):
• The Company is not permitted to receive customer checks payable to the Company for
settlement of investment transactions or deposit to a client account. The Company may
from time to time receive checks payable to the clearing firm, escrow agent or product
sponsor. Such checks should be forwarded promptly to the proper processing area
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•
•
•
•
•
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
where they will be copied for the client file, logged in on the Checks Received and
Delivered Blotter and forwarded to the clearing firm, escrow agent or product sponsor
by no later than noon the following business day. Checks received, which are payable to
the Company, will be immediately returned to the client with written instruction on how
to properly remit payment.
Accepting cash from a client is not permitted. In the event cash is mistakenly received
from a customer, it must be recorded in the cash receipts blotter before being returned
promptly to the client. The respective RR or appointed operations staff must then notify
the client of its policy to not receive cash. The Company’s AML procedures manual
should be consulted for additional procedures, if any;
Checks in payment of customer transactions may not be written on a Registered
Representative’s own personal or business account;
The Company is not permitted to receive securities from customers for settlement of
investment transactions or deposit to a client account. Certificates received from clients
should be forwarded promptly to the proper processing area where they will be copied
for the client file, logged on the Securities Received and Delivered Blotter;
With regard to redeeming securities, there may not be a sharing in the profits and losses
of a client or an agreement to purchase a security from a client at some future date; and
Misappropriation, stealing, or conversion of customer funds is prohibited and
constitutes serious fraudulent and criminal acts. Examples of such acts include
unauthorized wire or other transfers in and out of customer accounts, borrowing
customer funds, converting customer checks that are intended to be added or debited to
existing accounts, or taking the cash values of insurance contracts or other liquidation
values of securities belonging to customers.
The Company has several procedures in place to deter conversions and misappropriations of
customer funds by Registered Representatives, employees and others:
• Proceeds from sales are only made out to the name(s) on the account title and mailed
directly to the address of the account. Only a properly executed Letter of Authorization
(LOA) signed by the customer will allow the Company to alter this procedure. An
individual LOA for each instance is required;
• All checks are mailed from the main office (or clearing firm) directly to the client and
not delivered by the Representative except under extraordinary circumstances; and
• Customers are encouraged to send funds directly to the clearing firm.
13.2
Carrying and Clearing Arrangements
The Company as Introducing Firm. The Company is an “Introducing Firm” on a fully
disclosed basis and its customer transactions are executed through, and its customer
accounts are held at, its clearing (carrying) firm, which is also a FINRA member. Certain
transactions are not put through the clearing firm, but rather, go directly to product
sponsors, where account are then held.
Allocation of Responsibilities. The FinOp or other designated management will ensure that
the Company’s clearing/carrying agreement meets all requirements under Consolidated
FINRA Rule 4311, including the allocation of the following responsibilities: (1) opening
and approving accounts, (2) acceptance of orders, (3) transmission of orders for execution,
(4) execution of orders, (5) extension of credit, (6) receipt and delivery of funds and
securities, (7) preparation and transmission of confirmations, (8) maintenance of books and
records, and (9) monitoring of accounts. If the agreement is on a fully disclosed basis, the
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clearing/carrying firm must have responsibility for safeguarding customer funds and
securities and for preparing and sending statements to customers. Any material changes to
allocated responsibilities must be pre-approved by FINRA; the clearing/carrying firm will
seek such approval.
It is important that the Company provide its clearing firm with all data pertinent to the
proper performance of the clearing/carrying firm’s responsibilities and vice versa. The Chief
Compliance Officer or other designated principal is responsible for addressing and
correcting perceived shortfalls in the information exchange.
Notification to Customers. When opening an account for a customer that will be subject to
the Company’s clearing agreement, Consolidated FINRA Rule 4311(d) requires that the
customer be notified in writing of the existence of the clearing arrangement and the
responsibilities allocated to each party. It is the clearing firm that must provide the content
of such notification language. This notification is generally provided on or with the NAF at
account opening. Should the clearing firm change or the allocated responsibilities under the
existing agreement materially change, the Company must ensure that customers are notified
of such.
Customer Complaints. It is the responsibility of the clearing firm promptly to report all
customer complaints to the introducing firm and FINRA. The clearing/carrying agreement
must contain provisions expressly authorize and direct the clearing/carrying firm to do this.
Clearing Firm Exception Reports. The Company should make use of available reports
from the clearing firm to assist in its transaction and account monitoring. The clearing firm,
at the commencement of the relationship and annually thereafter, must provide to the
Company a list of all available exception or other reports. After receiving the list, the
Company must promptly request the reports it requires. On or before July 1 of each year, the
Company’s CEO and CCO should expect to receive from the clearing a written list of
reports offered to, requested by and supplied to the Company as of the date of the notice;
FINRA will also receive this notice. The CCO, Trade Desk Supervisor and/or other
designated supervisors should review this information to determine if additional or
replacement reports should be received to assist in monitoring.
Clearing Firm Deposits; Net Capital Computation. FINRA and SEC rules govern
proprietary accounts of introducing brokers and dealers (PAIB accounts); deposits to such
accounts are generally required by the terms of the clearing agreement. These accounts on
deposit with the clearing firm have never been subject to the “custody” rules as the
introducing broker is not technically a “customer” of the clearing firm. Consequently the
clearing firm is free to count PAIB its net capital base absent FINRA and SEC rulings in
this area. For the Company’s assets that are on deposit with a clearing/carrying firm to count
as allowable net capital, the Company must have on file a PAIB Agreement specifying
which deposit assets will be allowable PAIB.
The Company is currently party to such a PAIB agreement and its clearing firm has set
aside a separate reserve account for the PAIB assets. The clearing firm must notify the SEC
and its designated examining authority immediately if the Company’s PAIB allowable
deposits fall below the designated minimums and a corrective plan must be developed
which is acceptable to all parties. The amount of the termination penalty described in the
clearing agreement is not allowable capital unless the agreement includes mandated
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language on subordinating payment of that penalty to amount owed customers under SIPA
protection. See Notice 08-46.
Deficits in Introduced Accounts. The Company may be required to deduct from its net
capital deficits in unsecured and partly secured introduced accounts. The FinOp should
review its clearing/carrying agreement for clarification. If the Company is required to take
such charges, the FinOp will do so in accordance with SEA Rule 15c3-1(c)(2)(iv)(B) and
FINRA’s interpretation described in Notice 05-38. See the Section entitled “FinOp
Responsibilities and Net Capital Requirements” for further details.
13.3
The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)
The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) was established to restore public
confidence in the securities industry and to protect customers’ assets held by members.
SIPC provides up to $500,000 protection per customer for claims of cash and securities with
a limit of $250,000 for claims of cash. The Company is currently a member of SIPC.
Membership is composed of all persons registered as brokers or dealers with the SEC as
well as all members of any national security exchange. The protection is per “separate
customer” and the SIPC account is funded by brokerage firms based on their gross sales
volume. In general, a different name should appear if it is to be considered a separate
customer.
Only bona fide customers (persons who have stock or cash in their account as a result of or
in anticipation of executing trades in the securities market) are eligible for protection under
SIPC. Persons, such as providers of services, whose claims for cash or securities are by
operation of law and are subordinated to claims of creditors of a SIPC member firm, and
persons who are associated with a firm, such as a partner or broker, are examples of persons
ineligible for protection.
The Company will not refer to SIPC membership in communications when such references
would mislead investors about the applicability of SIPC protections. For instance, SIPC
rules prohibit references to SIPC membership or protection in communications regarding
commodities, including forex. The principal(s) designated to review and approve
communications with the public will ensure proper use or omission of SIPC language.
Please see Section 11 for rules related to advertising SIPC membership.
Under Consolidated FINRA Rule 2266, the Company must advise all new customers, in
writing, at the opening of an account, that they may obtain information about SIPC,
including the SIPC brochure, by contacting SIPC. The Company also must provide SIPC’s
Web site address (www.sipc.org) and inform customers that they may contact SIPC directly
at (202) 371-8300. In addition, the Company must provide customers with the same
information, in writing, at least once each year.
The Company is required to report, on the form provided by SIPC, all gross income from
securities activities on a semi-annual basis. The FinOp will maintain copies of the
completed assessment reports in the Company's files, along with appropriate work papers
and supporting documentation. The FinOp will ensure that the Company’s auditor includes
the required ‘supplemental report’ with annual audited financial statements, as required
under SEA Rule 17a-5(e)(4) (unless exempt).
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13.4 Fidelity Bond
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4360, effective January 1, 2012, describes the Fidelity Bond
requirements of the Company. The Company’s Fidelity Bond must:
• provide against loss covering at least the following: fidelity, on premises, in transit,
forgery and alteration, securities and counterfeit currency;
• require the insurance carrier to promptly notify FINRA if the bond is cancelled,
terminated or substantially modified; and
• provide for per loss coverage without an aggregate limit of liability.
All associated persons must be covered, except directors or trustees not assuming the
normal duties of officers or employees. The amount of coverage required depends on the
Company’s required minimum net capital and must be the greater of 120% of the
Company’s required minimum net capital or $100,000; defense costs for covered losses
must be in addition to this coverage.
The bond may have a deductible provision not exceeding 25% of the coverage amount. To
the extent the deductible amount exceeds 10% of the coverage provided in the bond, a
deduction must be taken from net capital for the excess deductible.
The FinOp is charged with reviewing the Company’s Fidelity Bond coverage annually, by
the anniversary of the date of policy issuance, to determine the adequacy of coverage. He or
she must make adjustments when necessary. When determining required coverage, the
FinOp must consider the highest net capital requirement that existed during the preceding
12-month period (12 months ended 60 days before policy’s anniversary date). As described
in the section on FinOp responsibilities, the FinOp will ensure that the proper deduction is
taken from net capital to account for the deductible, when required. The FinOp must notify
FINRA in writing it the Company’s Fidelity Bond coverage is cancelled, terminated or
substantially modified.
The FinOp is responsible for keeping records to evidence the annual review of coverage, the
initial policy and renewals, net capital deductions, and any notifications made to FINRA.
13.5
NEP Surveillance – Not Applicable
13.6
Currency Transactions, “Travel Rule” and Blocked Accounts
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
AML Compliance Officer
How Conducted:
Review of Cash and Foreign Transactions
Review of client files for names/entities on SDN list
Account documentation
File necessary reports (Forms 4789, 4790)
Forward transmittal information when necessary (see below)
SEA Rule 17a-8; Bank Secrecy Act; USA Patriot Act
Notice 02-21
Refer also to Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program for detailed
description of procedures designed to deter and detect money laundering
activities by customers.
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
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Currency Transactions. The Bank Secrecy Act requires the Company to file currency
transaction reports (“CTR” or IRS Form 4789) in accordance with Treasury regulations.
These regulations require the Company to file a CTR whenever a currency transaction
exceeds $10,000 (whether in one lump sum or aggregating amounts). This form must be
filed even if the transaction is not suspicious; if it is suspicious, a Suspicious Activity
Report must be filed in addition to the CTR (see the Company’s Anti-Money Laundering
Compliance Program for details). Copies of all such files must be kept in respective
customers’ files.
Foreign Currency/Currency Transportation. Pursuant to SEA Rule 17(a)-8, it is the
policy of the Company to require the designated Principal’s approval prior to accepting any
cash payments in foreign currency or from foreign transactions for stock purchases or
amounts to be credited to the customer’s account. Furthermore, if the Company receives
any transport, mail, or shipment of currency, or other monetary instrument from outside the
U.S. in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000, the designated Principal must report the
receipt on a Currency and Monetary Instrument Transportation Report (CMIR), U.S.
Customs Form 4790, to the Commissioner of Customs. This form must be filed regardless
of the nature (suspicious or not) of the respective transaction. Additionally, foreign
currency transactions in excess of the equivalent of US$10,000 must be disclosed on the
CTR, IRS Form 4789. Copies of all forms filed must be retained in the customer’s file.
“Travel Rule.” The “Travel Rule” arises under the Treasury Department regulations issued
by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) pursuant to the 1996 amendments
to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). Where the Company is transmitting funds equal to or
greater than US$3,000 (or its foreign equivalent), it must include in its transmittal order the
following records, to be maintained for a period of five (5) years:
•
Name, address and account number of transmitter;
•
Identity of transmitter’s financial institution;
•
Amount of the transmittal order;
•
Execution date of order;
•
Identity of the recipient’s financial institution; and,
•
If received, the name, address and account number of recipient and any other
specific identifier.
Blocked Accounts. In conducting securities transactions with existing accounts, Registered
Representatives should be confident that such accounts are not “blocked” or subject to
certain controls. The Department of the Treasury issued rules under the Office of Foreign
Assets Control (OFAC). Under these regulations, the Company cannot deal in securities
issued from certain identified target countries. The designated Principal must block or
freeze accounts, assets and obligations of blocked entities and individuals when their
property is in their possession or control. “Blocking” is a legally enforceable freeze on the
utilization of any account or asset without authorization from OFAC. The Company is
prohibited from creating debits to blocked accounts although credits are authorized.
Blocked SEC securities may not be paid, withdrawn, transferred (even by book transfer),
endorsed, guaranteed or otherwise dealt in. RR’s or their supervisors can consult the OFAC
“Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” (SDN) list available through a link
on FINRA’s website or at www.ustreas.gov/ofac.
RR’s and designated Principals should consult OFAC lists in order to ascertain if existing or
new customers are listed. Where assets or accounts are identified as subject to OFAC
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regulations, the RR’s and designated Principals must inform the designated anti-money
laundering supervisor, who will then make an effort to confirm the finding. If confirmed,
this information must be given to the CCO, who will immediately inform the customer and
other appropriate parties that the assets or accounts are blocked and who will then inform
OFAC by fax (202) 622-0077. Questions may be directed to OFAC at (202) 622-2490.
SECTION 14: INVESTMENT BANKING: PUBLIC & PRIVATE OFFERINGS AND
RESALES – NOT APPLICABLE
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SECTION 15: PARTICULAR INVESTMENT PRODUCTS
15.1
Mutual Funds
Mutual funds, for purposes of these policies and procedures, refer to open-end investment
companies. The offering and distribution of shares in mutual funds by the Company are
subject to the terms and conditions of the mutual fund dealer agreement between the
principal underwriter of the respective mutual fund and the Company, as selling brokerdealer. These dealer agreements help ensure the integrity of mutual fund sales and
distribution, and thus protect the customer. The CCO or other designated person must
review all mutual fund dealer agreements to ensure that they adequately delineate the
respective responsibilities of the parties in a manner reasonably designed to help ensure that
the Company’s mutual fund sales and distribution process protects investors.
The following procedures relate generally to mutual funds sales. The Principal designated
in the table below is responsible for reviewing mutual fund transactions on a daily basis in
order to ensure that these general procedures are followed and that associated persons
comply with their obligations under respective dealer agreements. Note: UIT sales are
referenced in the Non-Conventional Investments section, below.
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Mutual Funds Principal: CCO
Principals assigned to review advertising and correspondence
Daily
How Conducted:
Review retail communications. Review order tickets or
applications, daily transaction report, and customer monthly
statements; Review for suitability with particular attention to:
Funds with high-risk objectives and purchasing multiple funds in
different families that may result in higher sales charges.
Prospectus Review; Review refund process and calculations.
Review orders for indication whether customer will sign a letter of
intent or qualify for rights of accumulation; Review Orders for
indication whether customer and representative signed the “B” and
“C” Shares Purchase Form; Review for switching; Supervise RR
activity and take note of any preferred lists or circulated
commission information.
Retain records of reviewed and/or approved communications with
the public; Initials on order ticket, applications, daily transaction
report and other transaction related records; Copies of Prospectus
Prospectus Receipt Form, if used, or other evidence of delivery
Records of refunds delivered, if any; Completed Breakpoint
Checklist and Breakpoint Worksheet forms, if used; Verify Switch
Letter on file.
Rule 2830; Consolidated FINRA Rules 2210, 2212, 2342; SEA
Rule 482 (’33 Act); Rule 34b-1 (Inv. Co. Act); Notices 95-56, 9580, 02-85, 03-38, 03-47, 03-48, 04-72, 05-04, 11-49, 12-29.
Member Alert 11-22-05.
See Section 11 for general communications guidelines.
If refunds due, FinOp must also review for correct Net Capital
calculations and customer funds segregation.
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
15.1.1 Communications with the Public
Section 11 addresses both general and specific guidelines and requirements related
to communications that concern mutual funds (registered investment companies).
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All designated Principals are required to ensure compliance with these procedures.
The following reiterates certain requirements:
• Retail communications prepared by the sponsor, underwriter or Company must
be reviewed by FINRA, be used without alteration and be free of misleading
and false information;
• Retail communications prepared by the Company must be pre-approved as
described in Section 11.1 and must be free of misleading and false information,
as well as meet all content standards described in Consolidated FINRA Rule
2210 and summarized in Section 11.2;
• Research reports published by research firms must comply with the standards in
Rule 2711 and outlined in Section 11.6, above;
• The use of rankings in all retail communications should comply with the
standards set forth in Consolidated FINRA Rule 2212 concerning permitted
types of rankings, necessary disclosures, time periods and categories (these
standards are complex and should be consulted by the designated Principal
when reviewing items such as sales literature and advertising for approval);
• “482 advertisements” are advertisements defined under SEA Rule 482 of the
33 Act that are not necessarily the statutory prospectus required to be presented
to potential investors in all investment company offerings, but that refer to such
prospectus. These advertisements must not be accompanied by an application
to purchase fund shares. 482 advertisements that contain performance data
must include the following information: (i) a statement that past performance
does not guarantee future results; (ii) a statement that current performance may
be lower or higher than the performance data quoted; and (iii) a toll-free or
collect telephone number or a website where an investor may obtain
performance data current to the most recent month-end, unless the
advertisement includes total return quotations current to the most recent month
ended seven business days prior to the date of use. These advertisements must
also include a statement that advises the investor to carefully consider the
fund’s investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses before investing;
explains that the prospectus contains this and other information about the
investment company; identifies the source from which the investor may obtain a
prospectus; and states that the prospectus should be read carefully before
investing. All these disclosures—whether in print, electronically, or on
TV/radio--must be presented prominently in accordance with the standards
imposed under Rule 482, so as not to minimize their presentation (i.e., they
must meet required type size, style, placement and emphasis guidelines). The
designated Principal must ensure that all advertisements used to promote
mutual funds meet these requirements or be revised and re-filed with FINRA.
• While Rule 482 does not require a mutual fund performance advertisement to
disclose the fund’s expense ratio, Consolidated FINRA Rule 2210(d)(5)
requires that in all retail communications and correspondence, certain
disclosures are made, including those relating to sales charges and operating
expense ratios. See summary in Section 11 and the Rule, itself for specifics;
• Mutual funds and 1940 Act ETF’s that invest primarily in treasury inflationprotected securities (TIPS) are called TIPS funds. Retail communications that
include a TIPS fund’s current yield must include certain disclosures about
monthly adjustments for inflation that cause variations in calculated yield (these
adjustments may lead to exceptionally high yields which might not be repeated
and may thus be misleading). The designated Principal should ensure that
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Notice 11-49 is referenced in order to assure proper disclosures when
applicable.
A return of principal (capital gains distributions) should never be represented as
income; and
When dealing with customers, the Company shall not mislead by implying that
the investment will provide a guaranteed income or a particular rate of return,
or that past asset values and dividends can be depended on in the future.
In addition, Consolidated FINRA Rule 2213 governs the use of bond mutual fund
volatility ratings in supplemental sales literature—that is, communications that
accompany or precede a bond mutual fund prospectus. The Company and its
associated persons may include bond mutual fund volatility ratings in supplemental
sales literature ONLY if it accompanies or precedes the prospectus and if it meets
the content and disclosure requirements in the Rule. These types of communications
must be filed with FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Department for review and
approval at least 10 days prior to use. The designated Principal, when reviewing
mutual fund retail communications for approval, should review the summary in
Section 11 and consult Consolidated FINRA Rules 2210(c)(2)(C) and 2213 to
ensure specific requirements are met.
Materials not created by the applicable fund family will be sent to the fund family
for review, if required by the Company’s selling agreement and will be filed with
FINRA Advertising for review.
Copies of the materials showing evidence of review and submission will be retained
in the Company’s Advertising/Sales Literature or Outgoing Correspondence file
depending on the nature of the material being reviewed.
15.1.2 Suitability
FINRA Rules require that Registered Representatives inquire as to the suitability of
a mutual funds transaction for a customer. The Representative should consider the
customer’s investment profile before making recommendations on particular funds.
If the customer is making a selection of funds, the Representative must ensure that
each fund, as well as all the funds in the selection, is suitable, and that the
proportions are also suitable.
15.1.3 Disclosure of Fees and Expenses
When reviewing correspondence related to mutual funds, the designated Principal
should watch for the following and investigate further any perceived violations:
• Selling dividends;
• Representing a back-end load fund as “no-load”;
• Representing a fund with an asset-based sales or service fee exceeding .25 of
1% as “no-load”;
• Representations regarding yield and performance;
• Recommendations that include switching or appear to recommend unsuitable
diversification among funds;
• Distribution of dealer-use-only material or institutional communications to
retail investors;
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Excerpts out of context from the prospectus that may be misleading; and/or
Required disclosures as included in Consolidated FINRA Rule 2210(d)(5) and
other rules about the fund’s investment profile, charges, hedging strategy, tax
consequences and other pertinent factors.
The Representative must provide the customer with a current prospectus of all
mutual funds under consideration. A copy of the fund prospectus will be sent to
each purchaser of a mutual fund. The designated Principal is responsible for
establishing procedures to ensure a prospectus is provided to each mutual fund
purchaser and that records are maintained to evidence delivery.
Materials provided by fund distributors for dealer use only may not be provided to
customers and must not be displayed in a public area such as a reception area.
Dealer-use-only material is often provided as educational material for dealers and
their Representatives. All dealer-use-only material will be marked as such with
limited distribution.
In accordance with recent FINRA interpretations it is the Representative's
responsibility to make sure that the customer is aware of ALL fees and expenses
associated with a particular investment product, particularly mutual funds. It is
inappropriate to use sales presentations or material that give the impression that
certain sales charges or "loads" do not apply without a full and fair disclosure of fee
and expense requirements that do apply. For example, the term "no load" by itself,
with no disclosure of "trails" or other fees, would be inappropriate. The customer
must be advised to review the prospectus and keep it for reference.
Any fund or combination “fund of funds” structure in the aggregate must observe a
maximum aggregate limit on asset based sales charges of 0.75% of average net
assets and service fees of 0.25% of average net assets. Aggregate front-end and
deferred sales charges in any transaction are limited to 7.25% of the amount
invested (6.25% if either the acquiring fund or any underlying fund pays a service
fee). Representatives may not sell securities of funds that impose a front end or
deferred sales charge on reinvested dividends.
15.1.4 Sales Charges: Volume Discounts and NAV Sales
Mutual funds may offer discounts, called breakpoints, on the front-end sales
charge if an investor makes a large purchase, commits to regularly purchasing the
mutual fund's shares, or already holds other mutual funds offered by the same fund
family. To determine the appropriate discounts, an investor is often allowed to
aggregate his purchases with holdings of other family members. A breakpoint can
be reached:
• In a single purchase of Class A shares,
• Over a period of 13 months, with a Letter of Intent, or
• From the time of the initial purchase, under Rights of Accumulation.
Class A shares usually impose a front-end sales charge; Class B and C shares
normally do not. Large purchases of Class A shares are normally subject to
breakpoint discounts (see discussion of share classes, below).
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Nearly all open-end funds at the time of initial purchase permit a purchaser to
execute a "Letter of Intent" stretching usually over a 13 month period. This letter
of intent, while not obligating the purchaser to make additional commitments,
nevertheless permits them to buy additional shares of the same fund(s) within 13
months at the reduced sales charge. Letters of intent vary widely between fund
managements as to the offering price paid on each purchase, the amount of the
breakpoint and methods of adjusting if the complete purchase is not made. In
addition, many investment companies permit letters of intent to be back-dated to
capture previous transactions for the purposes of fulfilling the LOI.
Aggregating purchases of a particular fund or family of funds by one investor (and
sometimes family-related purchases) may qualify for rights of accumulation. In
these cases, a lower sales charge may apply based on the total dollar amount
invested. Some funds permit members of immediate families to group their orders
in order to achieve breakpoints or to complete letters of intent. General provisions
of this grouping are found in the prospectus of the various funds and must be
consulted prior to making an offering to see if grouping is permitted and to what
extent.
In addition, some funds allow for purchases at net asset value (NAV) when:
• The amount of the purchase or aggregated purchases under a Letter of Intent or
Rights of Accumulation exceed a specific amount, generally $1 million;
• The client is reinstating previously redeemed shares of the same fund;
• The Representative is purchasing shares for himself or a direct family member;
• The transaction is being made in a fee-based advisory account.
The Representative must ensure that a customer pays the appropriate sales charge
and receives the appropriate available discount, whether by reaching breakpoints on
a single purchase, under LOIs or via rights of accumulation, or by qualifying for
purchases at NAV. To do this, Representatives must understand the terms of
offerings and reinstatements, as well as the entire scope of the customer’s mutual
fund investments. Representatives are required to gather complete information,
including values in the customer’s accounts—and in related and linked accounts-held both directly with the investment company and at other brokerage firms, as
well as the dollar size of any pending transactions, the dollar size of anticipated
transactions, and amounts previously invested in the specific fund and other related
funds, valued as specified in the prospectus.
Before recommending a share class, Representatives must consider the customer's
anticipated holding period and all costs associated with each share class including
front-end sales charges, annual expenses and contingent deferred sales charges
(CDSC), which are described in further detail below. The Representative must be
sure that customers making large purchases fully understand breakpoints and the
implications of buying “B” or “C” shares rather than “A” shares. Class A shares
typically charge a front-end sales charge and also may be subject to an asset-based
sales charge, but it generally is lower than the asset-based sales charge imposed by
Class B or Class C shares. Class B and C shares typically do not charge a front-end
sales charge, but their asset-based sales charges are typically higher and they
normally impose a CDSC, paid by the investor when s/he sells the shares.
Therefore, even though investors do not pay a front-end sales charge for Class B or
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Class C shares, the potential CDSC’s and the higher ongoing fees significantly
affect the return on mutual fund investments, particularly at higher dollar levels.
The Registered Representative, when in doubt about a customer’s suitability to
purchase “B” or “C” shares or the customer’s foregoing breakpoint advantages,
should consult his or her designated Principal for review and approval of
transactions with the customer. In addition, FINRA offers an online resource for
comparing the expenses of exchange-listed mutual funds, called “FINRA Mutual
Fund Expense Analyzer.” Representatives are encouraged to make use of this tool,
and may advise customers to consider using the analyzer. All customers purchasing
“B” or “C” shares must sign and return to the Representative a “B and C Shares
Purchase Form” (or other, similar document).
Records of transactions should include notes on discussions with the customer
about share classes and discounts, etc., especially if the customer elects to purchase
Class B or C shares instead of A shares. Customers should always be made aware of
available discounts. Mutual fund purchase records must indicate rights of
accumulation if available and the customer’s desire to aggregate purchases to
qualify for a lower sales charge. Representatives must review the prospectus and
advise clients if the LOI option is available and would benefit the client. The mutual
fund order ticket should indicate if the customer will execute a letter of intent. In
addition, Representatives must ensure that customers who are taking advantage of a
reinstatement privilege that allows for a waived or reduced sales charge are
informed of these options.
A customer must always be informed of the next available quantity discount
breakpoint at which the sales charge is reduced. RR’s may use, or recommend that
customers use, FINRA’s online resource for researching available breakpoints,
called “Mutual Fund Breakpoint Search Tool.” Should a customer refuse to take
advantage of an available breakpoint, the Representative should make note of such
refusal in the customer’s file.
Selling mutual fund shares just below the breakpoint to receive the higher sales
charge is prohibited under Consolidated FINRA Rule 2342. Such sales can be a
serious violation and have been the subject of strong penalties imposed by the SEC
and FINRA. Therefore, where a customer is purchasing funds fairly close to a
breakpoint, it is incumbent on each Registered Representative to explain where the
breakpoint takes place and how additional money could be saved and/or additional
shares could be purchased with a smaller sales charge. Where the amount of money
involved would reach a breakpoint if only one fund were purchased (rather than a
few funds), this must be pointed out even if more than one fund was recommended.
In this way the customer may then weigh the advantages of the reduced sales charge
versus that of diversification among funds.
With respect to sales at or just above the breakpoint, the Registered Representative
should determine that the fund accepts dollar orders or orders for fractional numbers
of shares. Care must be taken to ensure that the fund does not automatically convert
a dollar order to an order for a specific full number of shares, which could result in
a purchase price below the breakpoint. It is the Registered Representative's
responsibility to review his or her copy of each customer confirmation for a mutual
fund transaction involving a breakpoint to make certain that the customer received
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the benefit of the breakpoint. Any problems or discrepancies must be brought to the
immediate attention of the Mutual Fund Principal.
Recent FINRA pronouncements indicate that sales under a genuine "asset
allocation" program offered by the Company in which the size of the purchase is
determined by asset-based investment strategies will not be automatically labeled as
"breakpoint" sales, even though the customer might have gotten a lower
commission if he/she had a greater concentration of assets in a particular fund or
funds. The record must show that the customer was informed of the options and
chose not to take advantage of the "breakpoint.”
NOTE: The Company’s clearing firm has expressly assumed the obligation to
ensure that the Company’s customers are receiving all available breakpoints.
However, it is ultimately the Company’s responsibility to ensure that its clients are
not overcharged for mutual fund purchases. In addition, in some cases, mutual fund
orders will go directly to the mutual fund company, and not through the clearing
firm; in these cases, it is imperative that Registered Representatives comply with
these breakpoint procedures.
Supervisory Review. The designated Principal must review sufficient mutual fund
sales documentation to ensure that the customer is charged correct sales loads and is
receiving the most appropriate sales charge/breakpoint and that sufficient
information has been gathered to evaluate this. The Principal’s reviews may
include, if necessary, reviewing all transaction via the daily blotter report. All
accounts reviewed by the Principal will include evidence of review (initials on
reports or notes generated). If the Principal determines that a breakpoint or waiver
of the sales charges has not been applied but is applicable, the transaction will be
processed at the appropriate sales charge unless there is sufficient documentation to
support the trade as is.
The designated Principal will make changes to these procedures if deemed
necessary to reduce errors in sales charges applied. The designated Principal will
maintain records of such procedure changes.
Refunds to Customers. The Company must make prompt refunds to those
customers who were identified during a Principal’s review of trade activity (or
during a self-assessment process) as having been overcharged, as well as other
customers who come forward seeking refunds on their own and are owed a refund
based on the Company's assessment. Refunds must be made in accordance with the
following FINRA guidelines:
•
•
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Refunds should be made in cash sent to the customer, or through cash
deposits made to an existing customer's account with notice to that customer
(in some cases, within two days of determining the proper refund amount);
Refunds should be equal to the amount of the sales load overcharge plus
interest at a simple rate of at least 2.5%, for overcharges that occurred
between January 1, 2001, and the present. For transactions that took place
prior to that time, members should use a comparable interest rate; and
Refunds should be made regardless of the performance of the mutual fund
purchased by the customer.
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The Mutual Funds Principal must review records of refunds and refund requests in
order to ensure proper processing and that these guidelines have been met, when
warranted. This Principal must also ensure proper recordkeeping of all refundrelated documentation in accordance with SEC Books and Records Rules (records
should be maintained in an easily accessible place for the first two years). In
addition, the FinOp must ensure that Net Capital Computations include refunds
payable as liabilities, and that funds necessary to refund customers are segregated
correctly and in timely fashion, in accordance with the Customer Protection Rule
(see Notice 03-47 for guidance).
15.1.5 "Trails" and Other Contingent Deferred Charges
FINRA rules carefully regulate the amount of sales and other charges that can be
collected by the Company and its Registered Representatives from the sale of
mutual fund shares. The rules define a "sales charge" to include all charges or fees
that are paid to finance sales or sales promotion expenses, including front-end,
deferred and asset-based sales charges, excluding charges and fees for ministerial,
recordkeeping or administrative activities and investment management fees. A
“deferred sales charge” is any amount properly chargeable to sales or promotional
expenses that is paid by a shareholder after purchase but before or upon redemption.
Class B and C shares normally carry a Contingent Deferred Sales Charge
(“CDSC”): while the investor holds the shares, the CDSC normally declines and
eventually is eliminated after a certain number of years. After the CDSC is
eliminated, Class B shares often "convert" into Class A shares. When they convert,
they will be subject to the same, lower asset-based sales charge as the Class A
shares. Representatives may no longer sell securities or funds that carry a CDSC
unless the CDSC is calculated so that shares not subject to the CDSC are redeemed
first and other shares are then redeemed in the order purchased (FIFO redemption).
The rules also define "service fees" as payments by an investment company for
personal service and/or the maintenance of investor accounts. These fees, known
generally as "trails" are paid directly by the issuer to the broker-dealer as a
percentage of average annual net assets of the particular investment. FINRA rules
presently limit the amount of "trails" to .25 of 1% of average annual net asset value.
FINRA personnel carefully review the prospectus and selling literature of each fund
(and any updates or amendments) prior to use to make sure that the rules are being
observed and proper disclosures are made. The Company and its Registered
Representatives are generally entitled to rely on such pre-cleared material for an
accurate description of all sales and other charges.
Registered Representatives and other persons involved in the sale of mutual fund
shares should exercise extreme care in the use of the term "no load,” especially
where there are "trails" involved. If the total charges (including sales charges and
"trails") exceed .25 of 1% of net assets per annum the investment cannot be
described as "no load" under FINRA rules.
All confirms for sales of mutual fund shares with a deferred sales charge must
clearly state: “On selling shares you may pay a sales charge. For the charge and
other fees, see the prospectus." This statement must appear on the front of the
confirmation and in, at least, 8-point type. The designated Principal is responsible
for establishing procedures to ensure the presence of such language.
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15.1.6 Repurchases and Redemptions
Mutual funds may at all times be redeemed by tendering shares directly to the issuer
(with or without a charge as set forth in the prospectus) in exchange for the net asset
value (NAV) per share. The Company may also arrange for a sale by the customer
to an underwriter or the issuer at the quoted bid price plus a disclosed sales charge,
as long as the availability of a direct redemption is also disclosed. If a customer
requests liquidation of an outside open-end fund held by the fund, the Registered
Representative must obtain the customer’s signed letter of authorization. Required
signature guarantees must be obtained from operations, if required, before
forwarding the letter to the fund.
Occasionally there will be a "repurchase" transaction in which the issuer or an
underwriter voluntarily repurchases shares from the investor or from a dealer acting
as principal. Such "repurchase" transactions cannot be undertaken unless the
investor or dealer (if it is not a member of the selling group) is the record owner of
the shares tendered for repurchase.
15.1.7 Switching
Shares of one investment company cannot be exchanged for those of another
without the designated Principal’s written approval. An exception to this rule is
made in cases where funds share the same management and there is only a nominal
charge for the exchange.
Registered Reps, prior to recommending or
accommodating a switch in a customer’s account, must do the following:
• Verify that the change of funds is suitable in light of the customer’s
financial circumstances and consistent with the customer’s stated
investment objectives by assessing the customer’s current and past trade
activity, fund objectives, and investment preferences, and comparing the
features of the proposed product to those of the existing investment to
determine whether the customer will benefit from the switch (if the RR
determines that switch may disadvantage the customer, the switch must not
be accommodated);
• Try to minimize the customer’s cost by switching within the same family of
funds;
• Apprise the customer that such switch may result in shrinkage of the
customer’s capital through additional sales charges and the possibility of
capital gains tax liability; and
• Obtain a Switch Letter signed by the customer.
In the Switch Letter the customer acknowledges his understanding of the
consequences of the switch. The letter will be retained with or in at least one of the
following: the record of the order; the customer file; or a file designated for switch
letters. The designated Principal will ensure switch letters are obtained for switch
transactions and that switches are justified prior to approving any transactions
involving switches and in his periodic review of customer accounts. After
reviewing switch letters (or the lack thereof), current and past trade activity, fund
objectives and investment preferences, if the Principal determines a switch is not in
the best interest of the customer, the transaction will not be approved. In reviewing
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the customer account, if the designated Principal determines that switches made in
the customer’s account were unjustified and/or costly, the customer will be notified
and additional information will be requested. If deemed appropriate, the customer
will be provided with relief and disciplinary action will be taken against the account
Registered Representative. The Principal will maintain records of his or her review
and will evidence this review by initialing and dating reports and/or notes
generated.
15.1.8 Change in BD of Record
When the Company is named as BD of record in mutual fund accounts held directly
with the product issuer (“check and application,” “application way,” or “direct
application” accounts), the Company (or RR) generally receives fees or
commissions resulting from the customer’s transactions in the account. In these
situations, the use of negative response letters to change the BD of record is NOT
permitted. The Company (and its RR’s) must seek a customer’s affirmative consent
prior to changing the BD of record in the customer’s application way account. The
designated Principal, in his or her review of customer account documentation, must
note the attempted use of negative response letters by RR’s and must immediately
halt such use, require affirmative consent efforts, and consider disciplining
personnel if they are found to have deliberately defied this procedure. Records of
customer consent to changes in BD of record should be maintained with customer
account documentation.
When a registered representative with an established customer base changes his/her
BD, the representative will typically attempt to transfer the customer’s assets to an
account at his/her new firm or to change the BD of record if the account is held
directly with the mutual fund company. In cases where the product is proprietary to
the representative’s former BD or where the Company does not have a selling
agreement with the mutual fund company, the distributor may not permit these
assets to be transferred into the customer’s account at the new firm or for the BD of
record to be changed.
In these situations, the representative would no longer be permitted to service the
investment or receive trail compensation from the mutual fund company. In these
cases, the representative may consider liquidating and replacing such investments
with similar investments available through the Company.
The registered
representative must consult the CCO, or other designated Principal, to determine
whether it would be feasible for the Company to enter into a selling agreement with
the applicable issuer/sponsor, if available, prior to making any recommendations for
the customer to liquidate their investment.
If the Company determines that it is unable or unwilling to enter into a selling
agreement with the mutual fund, the registered representative must advise the
customer of any options the customer may have to continue to hold the investment
at the representative’s prior firm, before recommending that the customer liquidate
or surrender the investment.
The designated Principal will review each recommendation to liquidate and/or the
customer’s mutual fund holdings to ensure that is suitable for the customer based
upon the customer’s financial needs and investment objectives. Recommendations
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may not be a function of the desire of the Company or its new representative to
obtain compensation that they would not otherwise receive were the customer to
retain their current investment. The designated Principal must review and approve
all such transactions prior to processing and will evidence his/her review by
initialing and dating applicable customer account and transfer/liquidation requests.
15.1.9 Selling Dividends
“Ex dividend” mutual funds reflect that a dividend has been announced. Section
2830 of FINRA Conduct Rules specifically prohibits the practice of recommending
the purchase of mutual fund shares just prior to their going "ex dividend" unless
there are specific, clearly described tax or other advantages to the purchaser. No
Registered Representative shall represent that any capital gains distributions are part
of the income yield. No Registered Representative shall withhold placing a
customer’s order for any mutual fund so as to personally profit from such a
withholding. If the designated Principal notes any patterns of purchases just prior to
funds going "ex dividend" he or she shall contact the Representative to ascertain
that the customers understand the benefits and consequences of such purchases.
15.1.10 Selling Compensation
FINRA severely restricts promotional payments or consideration. Pursuant to Rule
2830(k) of the Conduct Rules governing mutual funds sales practices, respective
Company personnel must not:
• Favor or disfavor the shares of specific investment companies (or group of
companies) on the basis of brokerage commissions received or expected from
any source (k)(1);
• Sell the shares of, or act as an underwriter for, a fund that follows a policy of
considering sales of shares of the fund as a factor in selecting broker-dealers to
execute portfolio transactions (k)(2);
• Demand, require, or solicit brokerage commissions as a condition to the sale of
mutual fund shares (k)(3);
• Demand or accept directed brokerage business in exchange for favoring the sale
of such product (k)(4);
• Circulate information to personnel other than management as to the level of
brokerage commissions received from a particular sponsor (k)(5);
• If underwriter, suggest, encourage or sponsor any sales incentive campaigns to
other firms that are based on or financed by brokerage commissions directed or
arranged by the Company (K)(6);
• Provide incentive or additional compensation (bonuses, preferred compensation
lists, etc.) for the sale of specific investment company shares to selected
Registered Representatives, Branch Managers, or other sales personnel
(k)(7)(A);
• Establish “recommended” or “preferred” lists of specific products on the basis
of brokerage commissions received or expected (K)(7)(B);
• Allow sales personnel or Branch Managers to share in commissions received by
the Company from portfolio transactions of investment company shares that are
sold by the Company, if such commissions are directed by or identified with
such investment company (K)(7)(C); or
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Use the prospect of sales of such product as a means of negotiating favorable
concessions on price or commissions from portfolio transactions (K)(7)(D).
Company personnel should be aware of the SEC’s Rule 12b1-1, amended to
prohibit investment companies (funds) from compensating the Company for
promoting or selling fund shares by directing brokerage transactions to it and from
indirectly compensating selling brokers, such as the Company, by participation in
step-out and similar arrangements in which the selling broker receives a portion of
the commission. The ban includes any payment, including any commission, markup, mark-down, or other fee (or portion of another fee) received or to be received
from the fund's portfolio transactions effected through the Company. Company
personnel aware of payment or receipt of any such compensation should alert their
designated Principals, who must investigate and take corrective action, if required.
In addition, all cash or non-cash compensation or reimbursements to be provided
directly or indirectly by sponsors to the Company or to selected Representatives in
connection with the sale of such product shall be paid or provided directly to the
Company and not to the Representatives. These payments or benefits shall be
treated as cash compensation subject to full prospectus disclosure and to the
limitations described above. If special compensation arrangements are made with
individual dealers, which arrangements are not generally available to all dealers, the
arrangements and the identities of the dealers must also be disclosed in the current
prospectus. In all matters of compensation for investment company shares, the
designated Principal (or senior compliance staff) must ensure compliance with Rule
2830(l), the full contents of which are not included herein.
15.1.11 Late Trading
Mutual fund shares must be redeemed and sold at a price based on the net asset
value (NAV) of the fund calculated after the receipt of orders—that is, after the
close of trading. For this reason, mutual fund orders should not be accepted after
the market closing; any such orders accepted must be executed the following day.
Company personnel must not effect or facilitate after-close mutual fund purchases
or redemptions at the same day’s NAV. The Trade Desk Supervisor, if applicable,
or the Mutual Funds Principal must review time stamps on orders tickets in order to
detect and prevent deliberate late trading. Late trades must be cancelled or
corrected. The designated Principal and each respective Registered Representative
should attempt to detect repeated orders placed by customers at or just prior to the
market close: such order timing may be a deliberate attempt to have trades
executed at that day’s NAV, calculated prior to their orders. If such patterns are
suspected, the Mutual Funds Supervisor must be informed and take action to
prevent further violations. The designated Principal, in his her regular review of
order activity, must ensure compliance with these procedures. Occasional orders
executed after market close will be tolerated only in the event such orders are not
deemed to be late trades placed for advantage.
Automated trading systems must not be manipulated to accept late trades after
market closing: all Company personnel, including IT and operations staff, must
inform the Trade Desk Supervisor or CCO if such manipulation is suspected or
discovered. Also, it is the obligation of the Company to not undertake, effect or
facilitate “market timing transactions”--mutual fund trades that occur when the
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purchaser or seller believes that the fund’s NAV does not fully reflect the value of
fund’s holdings. The Mutual Funds Principal should educate personnel as to their
obligation to prevent the Company and its customers from any trading activity that
might circumvent counteractive measures described by fund companies in
prospectuses and supplemental additional information (SAI).
15.2
Variable Product
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Variable Product Principal: CCO
How Conducted:
Review and approve of new account documentation for suitability and
compliance with internal policies, suitability and sales practices; Review
and approve retail communications, including hypothetical illustrations;
Review correspondence; Periodic review of account information to
confirm proper disclosure, customer information reviews, sufficient
documentation and prospectus delivery; Review of customer account
activity and quarterly 1035 exchange reports to detect improper
replacements.
New account forms; retail communications approvals; correspondence
files; trade activity records; account documentation (including investor
profiles, risk tolerance, financial and tax status records, investment
objectives); compensation records, Variable Product Replacement Forms;
switch letters; and 1035 exchange reports, where applicable.
Sales Practice Investigation Reports.
Consolidated FINRA Rules 2111, 2320, 2330, 4511, 4512. NASD 3010.
Notices 94-36, 96-86, 99-35, 00-44; 04-72, 09-32, 09-50, 09-60, 09-72,
10-05, 11-02, 11-19. Member Alert, May 2004
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Daily and periodically as required
Comments:
A variable annuity is an insurance contract that is subject to regulation under state insurance
and securities laws. Although variable annuities offer investment features similar in many
respects to mutual funds, a typical variable annuity offers three basic features not commonly
found in mutual funds: (1) tax deferred treatment of earnings; (2) a death benefit; and (3)
annuity payout options that can provide guaranteed income for life. A customer's premium
payments to purchase a variable annuity are allocated to underlying investment portfolios,
often termed sub accounts. The variable annuity contract may also include a guaranteed
fixed interest sub account that is part of the general account of the insurer. The general
account is composed of the assets of the insurance company issuing the contract. The value
of the underlying sub accounts that are not guaranteed will fluctuate in response to market
changes and other factors. Because the contract owners assume these investment risks,
variable annuities are securities and generally must be registered under the Securities Act of
1933. NOTE: Equity-indexed annuities and variable life settlements are discussed in the
NCI section, below.
Underlying sub-accounts that are not guaranteed are funded by a separate account of a life
insurance company that, absent an exemption, is required to be registered as an investment
company under the Investment Company Act of 1940. Variable annuities assess various
fees including fees related to insurance features, for example, lifetime annuitization and the
death benefit. The fees are typically deducted from customer assets in the separate account.
Typically, variable annuities are designed to be long term investments for retirement.
Withdrawals before a customer reaches the age of 59 1/2 are generally subject to a 10%
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penalty under the Internal Revenue Code. In addition, many variable annuities assess
surrender charges for withdrawals within a specified time period after purchase. Generally,
variable annuities have two phases: the "accumulation" phase when customer contributions
are allocated among the underlying investment options and earnings accumulate; and the
"distribution" phase when the customer withdraws money, typically as a lump sum or
through various annuity payment options.
The myriad features of variable insurance products make the suitability analysis required
under FINRA rules particularly complex. Personnel should review Notices 96-86, 99-35 and
07-53 for discussions on this subject. Suitability requirements are described below.
Retention of this customer information can be made in conjunction with the maintenance of
basic customer account information that is required in Consolidated FINRA Rule 4512;
records may be created, stored and transmitted in electronic or paper form; electronic
signatures are permitted.
All contracts, liquidations and transfers require the approval signature of the designated
Principal as described below.
In the sub sections to follow, RR’s are reminded of the many factors that must be considered in
each variable product transaction. These sub-sections must be read carefully and the guidelines
and requirements therein must be followed. In summary, each Representative must attempt to
confirm the following when offering variable products to their customers.
• The customer understands the type of product they are purchasing, including fees,
charges and risks, such as loss of principal;
• The customer has signed a variable products disclosure form and received a
current prospectus for the product being offered;
• The customer’s investment objective is long-term and that he/she would not have
a need to liquidate the contract in the short-term to meet income or expense
needs;
• The customer’s age does not exceed the limitations allowed by the contract issuer
and that elderly individuals understand the long-term nature of the contract and
the risks involved;
• The customer does not have a physical or mental disability that might hinder their
ability to assess the risks associated with these contracts and that such disabilities
do not disqualify them for the insurance benefits; and
• The customer’s needs and objectives include a need for insurance as provided
under these contracts.
The Company requires that its Registered Representatives submit the following completed
forms for each variable product application:
• Customer account information or New Account Form;
• Product Application;
• Replacement form, if applicable;
• Variable Life, or Variable Annuity, Disclosure Form;
• Switch Letter, if applicable; and
• Any additional forms required by the issuer.
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The Registered Representative should forward the above documents, if applicable and any
additional information provided by the customer to the designated Principal for review, as
described in “Supervisory Review and Approval,” below.
15.2.1 Product Identification
In order to assure that customers of the Company understand what security is being
discussed, all communications with the public should clearly describe the product as
either a variable life insurance product or variable annuity, as applicable. Company
materials may use proprietary names in addition to this description. In cases where
the proprietary name includes a description of the type of security being offered,
there is no requirement to include a generalized description.
Any communication discussing the tax-deferral benefits of variable life insurance
should not obscure or diminish the importance of the life insurance features of the
product. Any variable life insurance communication that overemphasizes the
investment aspects of the policy or potential performance of the sub-accounts may
be misleading.
Considering the significant differences between mutual funds and variable products,
the presentation should not represent or imply that the product being offered or its
underlying account is a mutual fund.
15.2.2 Suitability
Suitability in General: The investment profile factors outlined in Section 7.2,
“Suitability,” must be considered, including those relating to a customer’s age, life
stage and liquidity needs. These factors are especially important to consider when
dealing with senior customers. The following topics should be considered by RR’s
and supervising principals when considering V/A transactions for customers:
• Whether the customer represents that his or her life insurance needs have been
adequately met;
• Whether the customer has an express preference for an investment other than an
insurance product;
• Whether the customer adequately appreciates how much of the purchase
payment or premium is allocated to cover insurance or other costs;
• The customer’s ability to understand the complexity of variable product
generally;
• The customer’s willingness to invest a set amount on a yearly basis;
• The customer’s need for liquidity and short term investment;
• The customer’s immediate need for retirement income;
• The customer’s investment sophistication; and
• Whether the customer is able to monitor the investment experience of the
separate account.
In accordance with Consolidated FINRA Rule 2330, when recommending either a
purchase or an exchange of a deferred variable annuity, the RR must
1. reasonably try to obtain and consider information about the customer,
including:
a. age
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b. annual income
c. financial situation and needs
d. investment experience
e. investment objectives
f. intended use of the deferred variable annuity
g. investment time horizon
h. existing assets (e.g., investment and life insurance holdings)
i. liquidity needs
j. liquid net worth
k. risk tolerance
l. tax status
2. reasonably believe that the purchase or exchange is suitable, based on a
variety of factors, including
a. the customer has been informed, in general terms, of the material
features of deferred variable annuities, such as
• potential surrender period and surrender charge
• charges for and features of enhanced riders, if any
• potential tax penalty components
• insurance and investment
• mortality and expense fees
• market risk
b. the customer would benefit from one or more features of deferred
variable annuities, such as
• tax-deferred growth
• a death or living benefit
• annuitization
c. the particular deferred variable annuity as a whole, underlying subaccounts, and riders and similar product enhancements, if any, are
suitable
This procedure applies to purchases of deferred variable annuities; exchanges of a
deferred variable annuity for another deferred variable annuity, and exchanges from
another product (such as fixed annuity) to a deferred variable annuity (considered a
‘purchase’), as well as recommended initial (not subsequent) subaccount
allocations. See “Switching/Replacement/Exchanges,” below for additional
considerations in product exchanges.
In instances where deferred variable annuity transactions are not recommended, but
are instead initiated and requested by the customer, RR’s should be able to evidence
the absence of a recommendation, for instance, via notes to the customer’s files.
RR’s are prohibited from mischaracterizing recommended transactions as nonrecommended; supervising principals, when approving V/A transactions should
monitor for perceived violations of this procedure. Violators may be subject to
internal disciplinary action.
The RR must document his/her suitability determinations, making use of internal
forms or other notes/documents that will evidence the process. A complete and
accurate application package must be provided promptly (immediately after
completion) to the designated Principal in an OSJ for review, as described below
under Supervisory Review. Incomplete applications will be returned to the
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Registered Representative for more information. Non-recommended exchanges
must be presented for approval as are other unsolicited transactions.
Additional Firm Suitability Requirements: For each specific variable product
offered, the Company follows guidelines established by the respective product
sponsor, determining limitations and parameters on transactions with customers.
These limitations may include maximum age or percentage of net worth or
household income, for instance, and are designed to assist in the review of variable
life insurance affordability and excessive amounts of coverage. These guidelines
are included in the Company’s contract with each product sponsor and must not be
violated. Registered Representatives should consult their supervisors to obtain this
information on a current basis.
If parameters are exceeded, Registered
Representatives must submit additional supporting documentation and a written
explanation to the designated Principal. If acceptable to the Principal and the
sponsor, such exceptions may warrant extra supervision and review, as determined
by the designated Principal.
The Company has established internal percentage ratio guidelines, such as the ratio
of scheduled or target premium to income or household income, or percentage
scheduled or target premium to liquid net worth, to assist in the review of variable
life insurance affordability and excessive amounts of coverage. Registered
Representatives should consult their supervisors to obtain this information on a
current basis. If a customer’s ratio exceeds the parameters, an extra level of
supervision and review may be warranted. If parameters are exceeded, Registered
Representatives should submit additional supporting documentation or a written
explanation. Any variable annuity investment which exceeds 50% of the
customer’s net worth must be pre-approved by the designated Principal.
Suitability of Financing: Registered Representatives should not recommend that a
customer finance a variable life insurance policy from the value of another life
insurance policy or annuity, such as through the use of loans or cash values, unless
the transaction is otherwise suitable for the customer. Such financing raises the risk
that the required premium for the new variable life insurance policy will exceed the
dividend stream or cash value of the original policy. When financing is
recommended, Registered Representatives should disclose to the policy owner the
potential consequences to both the existing and new policy. The Registered
Representative must document the customer’s informed consent to the financing.
The form should include the customer’s acknowledgment, the Registered
Representative’s signature, and the designated Principal’s signature.
Please refer to procedures herein for considerations regarding online suitability, if
applicable.
15.2.3 Disclosures in Communications with the Public
Company representatives should have a thorough knowledge of the specific
characteristics of each variable annuity that is recommended and must discuss all
relevant facts with the customer, including liquidity issues such as potential
surrender charges and the Internal Revenue Service penalty; fees, including
mortality and expense charges, administrative charges, and investment advisory
fees; any applicable state and local government premium taxes; death benefits;
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subaccount choices; withdrawal privileges; and market risk. The RR should
provide access to the product’s current prospectus and should assist the customer, if
necessary, to understand the terms described therein.
For registered investment companies (including variable contracts) representing
investments in pools of securities, retail communications containing certain
statements related to performance, investment objectives, experience, benefits and
risks, and/or fees must be reviewed and filed in accordance with Consolidated
FINRA Rule 2210 (see Notices 03-17 and 12-29 for specifics). Under the Rule, the
designated Principal or designee must file with FINRA Advertising Regulation
Department all variable contract retail communications within 10 days of first use
or publication. As described in Section 11, certain items produced and filed by
another member firm do not require principal review and filing; see that section for
details. Appointed personnel are also required to file the format for hypothetical
illustrations used in the promotion of variable life insurance policies, since these
formats qualify as retail communications. The Company requires compliance with
the review/approval and filing requirements detailed in Section 11.
“482 advertisements” are advertisements defined under SEA Rules 482 of the 33
Act that are not necessarily the statutory prospectuses required to be presented to
potential investors in all investment company offerings, but that refer to such
prospectuses. Contract prospectuses qualify as 482 advertisements yet may be
accompanied by contract applications (that provide for investor allocation of
purchase payments to specific underlying funds). 482 advertisements that contain
performance data must include the following information: (i) a statement that past
performance does not guarantee future results; (ii) a statement that current
performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted; and (iii) a
toll-free or collect telephone number or a website where an investor may obtain
performance data current to the most recent month-end, unless the advertisement
includes total return quotations current to the most recent month ended seven
business days prior to the date of use. These advertisements must also include a
statement that advises the investor to carefully consider each underlying fund’s
investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses before investing; explains
that the contract prospectus and each respective fund prospectus contain this and
other information; identifies the source from which the investor may obtain a
contract prospectus and the underlying fund prospectuses; and states that these
prospectuses should be read carefully before investing. All these disclosures—
whether in print, electronically, or on TV/radio, must be presented prominently in
accordance with the standards imposed under Rule 482, so as to not minimize their
presentation (i.e., they must meet required type size, style, placement and emphasis
guidelines). The designated Principal must ensure that all advertisements used to
promote variable product meet these requirements or be revised and re-filed with
FINRA.
NASD IM-2210-2 provides interpretive guidance regarding communications with
the public about variable life insurance and variable annuities. It is important to
note that these guidelines apply to not only sales literature and advertisements, but
also to individualized communications such as personalized letters and computer
generated illustrations, whether printed or made available on screen. The
Company’s Representatives, in conducting sales of these products, must comply
with the restrictions noted in IM-2210-2, including those related to claims about
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guarantees, performance reporting, product comparisons, use of rankings,
investment features and hypothetical illustrations of rates of return. In his or her
review of documentation of sales activities, the designated Principal will make an
effort to detect and halt non-compliant communications with the public.
When preparing hypothetical illustrations that are designed to depict the tax-deferral
feature of variable annuities, the designated Principal must ensure that (1)
illustrations designed to show the comparative tax benefits of variable annuities are
based upon tax rate and investment return assumptions that are consistent, fair and
reasonable at all times while the communication is in use, and (2) the tax rate
assumptions in such illustrations are accurate in all respects as of both the date the
material is prepared and throughout the period during which the material is in use.
Such illustrations must also fully and fairly disclose all underlying assumptions as
well as the fact that changes in tax rates and tax treatment of investment earnings
may impact the comparative results. The designated Principal must routinely review
these marketing communications to ensure compliance with these guidelines.
Preparers and reviewers of illustrations are encouraged to consult FINRA’s Member
Alert dated May 10, 2004 for specific reminders.
Lack of liquidity, which may be caused by surrender charges or penalties for early
withdrawal under the Internal Revenue Code, may make a variable annuity an
unsuitable investment for customers who have short term investment objectives.
Moreover, although a benefit of a variable annuity investment is that earnings
accrue on a tax deferred basis, a minimum holding period is often necessary before
the tax benefits are likely to outweigh the often higher fees imposed on variable
annuities relative to alternative investments, such as mutual funds.
The Registered Representative should inquire about whether the customer has a
long term investment objective and typically should recommend a variable annuity
only if the answer to that question, with consideration of other product attributes, is
affirmative. In general, the Registered Representative should make sure that the
customer understands the effect of surrender charges on redemptions and that a
withdrawal prior to the age of 59 1/2 could result in a withdrawal tax penalty. In
addition, the Registered Representative should make sure that customers who are 59
1/2 or older are informed when surrender charges apply to withdrawals.
Some tax qualified retirement plans (e.g., 401(k) plans) provide customers with an
option to make investment choices only among several variable annuities.
Customers should be made aware that while these variable annuities provide most
of the same benefits to investors as variable annuities offered outside of a tax
qualified retirement plan, they do not provide any additional tax deferred treatment
of earnings beyond the treatment provided by the tax qualified retirement plan
itself. Registered Representatives recommending the purchase of variable annuities
for any tax qualified retirement account (e.g., 401(k) plan, IRA) should disclose to
the customer that the tax deferred accrual feature is provided by the tax qualified
retirement plan and that the tax deferred accrual feature of the variable annuity is
unnecessary. The Registered Representative should recommend a variable annuity
only when its other benefits such as lifetime income payments, family protection
through the death benefit, and guaranteed fees, support the recommendation. The
suitability analysis and principal approval requirements under Consolidated FINRA
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Rule 2330 do NOT apply to qualified retirement plan accounts, unless the RR
makes recommendations only to an individual plan participant.
15.2.4 Switching and Replacement
RR’s are prohibited from recommending variable annuity exchanges that do not
materially improve the customer’s existing position but, instead, merely generate a
new sales commission. Registered Reps, prior to recommending a switch of a
customer’s variable product, must do the following:
• Verify that the change of product is suitable in light of the customer’s
financial circumstances and consistent with the customer’s stated
investment objectives by assessing the customer’s current and past
replacement activity and investment objectives, and comparing the features
of the proposed contract to those of the existing contract to determine
whether the customer will benefit from the switch (if the RR determines
that switch may disadvantage the customer, the switch must not be
accommodated);
• Apprise the customer that such switch may result in shrinkage of the
customer’s capital through additional sales charges; and
• Complete a Variable Product Replacement Form, as described below.
Representatives should not recommend the switching or replacement of an existing
variable contract unless it is in the best interest of the customer because:
• the new contract offers the customer features not available in their
existing contract;
• the customer’s investment objectives have changed and cannot be met
by the existing contract;
• the existing issuer is experiencing some type of difficulties, such as
financial or regulatory, that could place the customer’s contract at risk;
• the customer no longer has the need for the insurance coverage afforded
by the existing contract and wishes to switch to another type of
investment vehicle; and/or
• the performance of the existing contract does not meet the customer’s
expectations.
Representatives, when determining suitability for a recommended exchange of a
deferred variable annuity, also must consider whether the customer:
1. would incur a surrender charge, be subject to a new surrender period,
lose existing benefits or be subject to increased fees or charges
2. would benefit from product enhancements and improvements
3. has exchanged a deferred variable annuity within the last 36 months,
whether at the Company or at another broker-dealer (RR’s should
review Company records for exchanges at the Company; they may rely
on the customer to inform them of exchanges at other BD’s.)
A suitability determination considering these factors and the factors listed above
under “Suitability” must be documented by the RR making use of internal forms or
other notes/documents that will evidence the process. This procedure applies to
exchanges of a deferred variable annuity for another deferred variable annuity, but
not exchanges for another product (such as fixed annuity). It applies only to
recommended exchanges, however, in instances where the customer initiates and
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requests an exchange independent of a RR’s recommendation, the RR must have
documentation to evidence the lack of recommendation, as described above under
Suitability. Mischaracterized non-recommendations will be investigated and met
with disciplinary action.
A complete and accurate application package documenting the exchange must be
provided promptly (immediately after completion) to the designated Principal in an
OSJ for review, as described below under “Supervisory Review.” Incomplete
applications will be returned to the Registered Representative for more information.
Associated persons are required to make reasonable efforts to deliver a complete
and correct copy of these applications: the Company will not tolerate unreasonable
delays. Non-recommended exchanges must be presented for approved as are other
unsolicited transactions, within one day of receipt of completed applications.
For all variable annuity product exchanges, the Company requires completion of its
internal exchange form and a signed ‘switch letter’ from the customer.
High Rates of Exchanges: FINRA has made it clear in Notice 07-06 and
Consolidated FINRA Rule 2330 that suitability determinations or recommendations
may not be made on the basis that a variable product switch will yield greater
compensation for the Rep or the Company. The designated Principal or his/her
designee will periodically review the Company’s variable annuity business in an
attempt to discern high rates of exchanges. The Company makes use of automated
transaction reports and/or manual transaction blotters to track replacement activity.
The Company also flags unacknowledged replacement activity by utilizing
background information such as surrenders, reduced face amounts, lapses, and
modified surrenders. To assist in this review, the designated Principal makes use of
quarterly 1035 exchange reports provided by a number of insurance companies. (A
1035 exchange refers to a section of the IRS code that allows for the non-taxable
exchange of non-qualified funds from one insurance carrier to another. 1035
exchanges are not allowed for liquidations from annuity contracts to purchase life
insurance contracts.)
Should high rates of exchanges be perceived for any given Representative or
business unit, the reviewer will report such to the CCO for investigation.
Registered Representatives whose clients have a particularly high rate of variable
annuity replacements or rollovers will be subject to further training in product
characteristics, firm procedures and regulatory guidance. Representatives deemed to
be deliberately encouraging product exchanges for the purpose of increased
compensation will be subjected to disciplinary action, Special Supervision and/or
eventual termination.
Records of all reviews, findings and follow-up actions will be maintained by the
Company in accordance with its retention procedures.
15.2.5 Changes in BD of Record.
When the Company is named as BD of record in variable annuity accounts held
directly with the product issuer (“check and application,” “application way,” or
“direct application” accounts), the Company (or RR) generally receives fees or
commissions resulting from the customer’s activity in the account. In these
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situations, the use of negative response letters to change the BD of record is NOT
permitted. The Company (and its RR’s) must seek a customer’s affirmative consent
prior to changing the BD of record in the customer’s application way variable
annuity account. The designated Principal, in his or her review of customer account
documentation, must note the attempted use of negative response letters by RR’s
and must immediately halt such use, require affirmative consent efforts, and
consider disciplining personnel if they are found to have deliberately defied this
procedure. Records of customer consent to changes in BD of record should be
maintained with customer account documentation.
When a registered representative with an established customer base changes his/her
BD, the representative will typically attempt to transfer the customer’s assets to an
account at his/her new firm or to change the BD of record if the contract is held
directly with the issuer/sponsor. In cases where the product is proprietary to the
representative’s former BD or where the Company does not have a selling
agreement with the issuer, the product sponsor/distributor may not permit these
assets to be transferred into the customer’s account at the new firm or for the BD of
record to be changed.
In these situations, the representative would no longer be permitted to service the
investment or receive trail compensation from the product sponsor/distributor. In
these cases, the representative may consider liquidating and replacing such
investments with similar investments available through the Company. The
registered representative must consult the CCO, or other designated Principal, to
determine whether it would be feasible for the Company to enter into a selling
agreement with the applicable issuer/sponsor, if available, prior to making any
recommendations for the customer to liquidate their investment.
If the Company determines that it is unable or unwilling to enter into a selling
agreement with the issuer/sponsor, the registered representative must advise the
customer of any options the customer may have to continue to hold the investment
at the representative’s prior firm, before recommending that the customer liquidate
or surrender the investment.
The designated Principal will review each recommendation to liquidate, replace or
surrender a variable contract to ensure that is suitable for the customer based upon
the customer’s financial needs and investment objectives. Recommendations may
not be a function of the desire of the Company or its new representative to obtain
compensation that it would not otherwise receive were the customer to retain their
current investment. The designated Principal must review and approve all such
transactions prior to processing and will evidence his/her review by initialing and
dating applicable customer account and transfer/liquidation requests as described in
this section.
15.2.6 Liquidity
Considering that variable life insurance and variable annuities frequently involve
substantial charges and/or tax penalties for early withdrawals, the Company should
not make any representation or implication that these are short-term, liquid
investments. Presentations regarding liquidity or ease of access to investment
values must be balanced by clear language describing the negative impact of early
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redemption. With respect to variable life insurance, discussions of loans and
withdrawals must explain their impact on cash values and death benefits. In
reviewing advertisements, sales literature and other communications, as described
above, the designated Principal will seek to ensure descriptions of liquidity are
appropriate and correct.
15.2.7 Sales Charges; Promotional Payments
The Company will not accept compensation in excess of those amounts outlined in
the prospectus. All compensation relative to the sales of variable insurance products
must be received by the Company and registered representatives are strictly
prohibited from receiving any compensation relating to the sale of these products
directly (certain exceptions exist for promotional and other payments). The
Company shall maintain records of all compensation received in conjunction with
these sales and will appropriately account for them in their financial statements.
FINRA severely restricts promotional payments or consideration. Consolidated
FINRA Rule 2320 governs sales practices in the sale of variable product. The
Company and its associated persons may not:
• Demand or accept directed brokerage business in exchange for favoring the sale
of such product;
• Use the prospect of sales of such product as a means of negotiating favorable
concessions on price or commissions from portfolio transactions;
• Provide incentive or additional compensation for the sale of specific variable
product to selected Registered Representatives;
• Establish “recommended” or “preferred” lists of such product on the basis of
brokerage commissions received or expected; or
• Circulate information as to the level of brokerage commissions received from a
particular sponsor.
In addition, should cash or non-cash compensation or reimbursements be provided
directly or indirectly by sponsors to the Company or to selected Representatives in
connection with the sale of variable product, such compensation or reimbursements
shall be treated as cash compensation subject to full prospectus disclosure and to the
limitations and in Consolidated FINRA Rule 2320. The Company will maintain
records of all compensation received from offerors, including:
• The name of the offeror,
• The names of the associated persons
• The amount of cash
• The nature and value of non-cash compensation received (may be estimated
if Company doesn’t have records to evidence exact value).
The designated Principal in his/her reviews shall seek to determine if any
commission has been received that is outside the amounts allowed in the prospectus
or if compensation has been received directly by the registered representative. In the
event such payments are detected, the designated Principal shall investigate the
circumstances, including contacting the issuer/sponsor, to determine why such
payments were made and will take appropriate action as required.
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Refer to Section 6.7 on receipt of non-cash compensation for additional information
related to receipt of non-cash compensation, sales incentives, gifts and gratuities.
15.2.8 Contract Delivery
If the contract issued by the insurance company for a variable policy is delivered to
the representative or the Company instead of the client, the designated Principal
must ensure that the contract is delivered promptly to the customer and that a record
of the delivery is maintained in the customer’s file. Failure to promptly deliver a
contract could result in issues with the free-look period or other statutory
requirements. If the designated Principal in his/her reviews determines that a
registered representative has received contracts that were not promptly delivered,
he/she will take appropriate disciplinary action and provide written notification to
the insurance companies that all future contracts must be delivered directly to the
customer or to the Main Office.
15.2.9 Training
Registered representatives who sell variable annuity products, their supervisors and
any Principals responsible for reviewing and approving variable product
transactions will undergo training regarding product features, suitability issues and
applicable regulatory requirements as outlined in Consolidated FINRA Rule 2330
regarding deferred variable annuities. This training will conducted in conjunction
with the Company’s firm element program.
The Continuing Education Principal shall maintain records of all persons required
to participate in such training, the course or materials used in the training and
evidence that each “covered” person has completed his/her assigned training
program.
Failure to complete training may result in disciplinary action including the
suspension of the representative’s ability to offer variable annuities to his/her
clients, fines or termination.
15.2.10 Supervisory Review
As described throughout this section, the principal designated in the table above is
required to review and approve of transactions in variable products. The specific
review procedures described above must be followed and documentation of
approvals must be maintained in accordance with Consolidated FINRA Rules 2330,
4511 and 4512 and SEC books and records rules. Reviews should verify that the
recommendation of both the policy and the subaccount allocation is consistent with
the customer’s investment objectives and risk tolerance.
Reviews of variable product transactions other than recommended deferred variable
annuity purchases and exchanges must be completed within one business day and
customer checks must be forwarded as described in the section below.
Under Consolidated FINRA Rule 2330, reviews of recommended deferred variable
annuity purchases and exchanges must be completed within seven business days
after a complete and accurate application package has been received at an OSJ.
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The designated Principal will review account applications and other account
documentation, if necessary, prior to approving or rejecting variable annuity
transactions. With regard to recommended deferred variable annuity purchases and
exchanges, the designated Principal:
1. must review each purchase and exchange and determine whether to approve
the transaction before sending the customer’s application to the insurer for
processing, but no later than seven business days after his/her OSJ has
received the complete application. The designated Principal must record the
date he/she received the complete application for review;
2. can approve the transaction only if he or she reasonably believes that it is
suitable based on the suitability factors described above;
3. must document and sign all determinations , making use of in-house forms
or other documents.
Applications (and customer checks) may be held up to seven days ONLY for the
purpose of allowing principal review as described herein.
15.2.11 Processing Customer Funds
The designated Principal will ensure that the Company maintains a copy of each
customer check and creates a record of the date the check was received from the
customer and the date the check was transmitted to the insurance company (or other
location, as applicable) if approved, or returned to the customer if rejected.
For variable product transactions other than recommended deferred variable annuity
purchases and exchanges, customer checks must be forwarded to product sponsors,
the designated bank account or the Company’s clearing firm, as applicable, by noon
the day after the day the check was received (see Consolidated FINRA Rule 2320).
For recommended deferred variable annuity purchases and exchanges, the following
procedures apply to customer funds received in payment for the transaction. These
procedures are designed to ensure proper handling of customer funds during the
period between receipt of the funds (i.e., with the application) and approval by the
designated Principal (up to 7 days after delivery to the OSJ of the application).
• If the Company is approved to maintain customer funds, it may deposit the
transaction funds into its designated, segregated account prior to principal
approval of the application.
• Lump sum checks made to the Company or its clearing firm in payment of
the V/A transaction and other securities may be deposited into the
Company’s designated account or clearing firm account, respectively, and
the Company or clearing firm may apply the portion of the funds designated
for purchasing the other securities, while holding the balance until the V/A
transaction is approved or rejected.
• Customer checks made out to the insurance company/sponsor (or customer
funds, if the Company receives them) may be forwarded to the insurance
company IF:
o The Rep or other, designated personnel informs he customer of the
funds transfer;
o The Company has a written agreement with the insurance company
requiring it to: segregate the funds in a special account (such as a
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“(k)(2)(i)” account); not issue the V/A until notified of Principal
approval; and return the funds to customers at the customer’s
request (prior to Principal approval/rejection) or upon Principal
rejection.
Customer checks made payable to an IRA custodian (or customer funds, if
the Company receives them) may be forwarded to the custodian IF:
o The Company has a written agreement with the custodian requiring
it to: forward the funds to the insurance company only after it has
been informed of Principal approval; and, if the transaction is not
approved, inform the customer of such and seek instructions
regarding disposition of the funds (put into another investment,
forward to another custodian, return the funds, etc.).
In any event, following approval, funds must be forwarded to the insurance
company/sponsor or ‘released’ for payment of the transaction. If the transaction is
rejected by the designated Principal, funds must be returned to the customer or
processed as described above. In all instances, the variable annuity must not be
issued prior to the insurance company receiving notification of Principal approval.
15.3
Direct Participation Programs and Unlisted REITs
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Chief Compliance Officer
How Conducted:
Review of Offering Material, correspondence, customer account
information (suitability forms)
How Documented:
Offering material; Due diligence files; Correspondence
Approval noted by Principal initials or signature
3010 Checklist:
NASD 2340, 11580, IM-11580; Consolidated FINRA Rules 2310,
5110 and 6620 series; SEA Rule 10b-5; Notice 96-14, 01-08, 0450, 08-35, 08-57, 09-09, 09-33, 13-18
In course of conducting transactions
The Company may offer unlisted real estate investment trusts (REITs) or direct participation
programs (DPPs). REITs are pass-through entities that offer investors an equity interest in a
pool of real estate assets, including land, buildings, shopping centers, hotels and office
properties, and, in some cases, mortgages secured by real estate. DPPs are programs which
provide for flow-through tax consequences regardless of the structure of the legal entity or
vehicle for distribution, including, but not limited to, oil and gas programs, real estate
programs, agricultural programs, cattle programs, condominium securities, Subchapter S
corporate offerings and all other programs of a similar nature, regardless of the industry
represented by the program, or any combination thereof. DPP’s are excluded from the
definition of “new issue” under Consolidated FINRA Rule 5130, which describes
restrictions on offerings of new issues. Rule 2310 governs the underwriting terms and
arrangements of DPP’s and REITS, whether registered or unregistered, but which are not
listed on a national securities exchange.
Representatives and their supervisors must examine carefully the suitability of these
investments since they may not be appropriate if an individual does not meet certain
accredited or sophisticated investor requirements. These securities may be offered in public
offerings, and also via a direct placement process, similar to private placements. Unlike
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mutual funds and annuities, direct participation programs are not extremely liquid
investments. Thus, Representatives should view these as more long-term investments.
Final approval of all DPP and REIT accounts must be given by the designated Principal.
15.3.1
Prospectus and Disclosures
The current prospectus or other offering memorandum of each DPP/REIT should be
delivered to the customer prior to, or at the time of, the sales presentation. The
customer should be encouraged to read the prospectus prior to making an investment
decision and should be reminded that there is no assurance that the program’s
objectives will be met. Outdated prospectuses should not be used and amendments
to prospectuses should be provided promptly to customers. Information and
objectives provided outside of the prospectus should not conflict with those in the
prospectus.
Registered representatives are required to disclose all pertinent facts regarding the
liquidity and marketability of the DPP or REIT during the term of the investment,
including whether the sponsor has offered prior programs and if so, whether;
•
•
the prior program included a date or time period when it might be
liquidated; and
the program was indeed liquidated on or about the published dates or
time period.
(This prior program information is not required for certain DPPs that are either listed
or reasonably expected to be listed on a national securities exchange.)
The designated Principal must ensure that the communications procedures herein on
review, approval, filing and record keeping are followed when required, for instance,
in the event the Company broadly distributes free writing prospectuses. Such
materials may require filing with FINRA’s advertising review unit.
15.3.2
Suitability Requirements
In recommending to a customer the purchase, sale or exchange of any direct
participation program security, including unlisted REITs, Registered
Representatives must have reasonable grounds for believing that the
recommendation is suitable for such customer upon the basis of the facts, if any,
disclosed by such customer as to his or her other security holdings and as to his
financial situation and needs, among other criteria.
Prior to the execution of a transaction recommended to a non-institutional customer,
Registered Representatives of the Company shall make reasonable efforts to obtain
information concerning:
•
•
•
•
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The customers tax status,
The customers investment objectives, and
Such other information used or considered to be reasonable by the Company or
Registered Representative in making recommendations to the customer.
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15.3.3 Investor Representations and Warranties
As a general investor suitability standard, it will be the policy of the Company to
require that prospective subscribers for DPP/REIT investments make certain written
representations and warranties including, but not limited to, the following: (i) the
subscriber is acquiring the investment for the subscriber’s own account, for
investment only, and not with a view toward the resale or distribution thereof; (ii)
the subscriber possesses sufficient knowledge of business, finance, securities and
investments, and sufficient experience and skill in investments based on actual
participation, to evaluate the risks and merits of an investment in the investment;
(iii) the subscriber has no need for liquidity with respect to this investment; and (iv)
the subscriber’s DPP/REIT investment will not exceed 20% of the subscriber’s net
worth (or joint net worth with the subscriber’s spouse).
Each prospective purchaser of a DPP/REIT investment will be required to make
certain representations and supply information in order to establish his or her
suitability. The suitability standards referred to above, however, represent
minimum suitability requirements for a prospective purchaser, and the satisfaction
of such standards by a prospective purchaser does not necessarily mean that the
purchase is a suitable investment for the purchaser. Accordingly, each prospective
purchaser must rely on his or her own judgment and advisors in making a decision
to invest.
Purchaser Representative: The Company encourages each Representative to ask
prospective investors to consult a qualified financial and tax advisor and an attorney
in connection with an investment in DPPs or REITs. Special consideration and
attention should be given to the limited liquidity of, and risks associated with, these
investments. Each prospective investor must consider the investment in light of his
or her individual investment objectives and present and expected future financial
and tax position.
15.3.4 Due Diligence Procedures
Prior to participating in a public or private offering of a direct participation program
or unlisted REIT, the designated Principal shall have reasonable grounds to believe,
based on information provided by the sponsor through a prospectus or other
materials, that all material facts are adequately and accurately disclosed and provide
a basis for evaluating the program. Further, the Company shall make a reasonable
effort to determine that the organization and offering expenses in connection with
the distribution of the public offering, as defined in Consolidated FINRA Rule
2310(b)(4)(C), are fair and reasonable and will not participate in any offering where
these expenses are found to be unfair or unreasonable (see below).
In determining the adequacy of disclosed facts, the designated Principal or designee
shall obtain information on material facts relating, at a minimum, to the following,
if relevant in view of the nature of the program:
• Items of compensation,
• Physical properties,
• Tax aspects,
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•
•
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Financial stability and experience of sponsor,
The program’s conflicts and risk factors, and
Appraisals and other pertinent reports.
An important risk factor in REITs concerns dividend distributions. The Company’s
due diligence process should include an analysis of the amount of distributions that
represents a return of investors’ capital and whether that amount is changing. The
Company should consider whether there are impairments to the REIT’s assets or
other material events that would affect the distributions and whether disclosure
regarding dividend distributions needs to be updated to reflect these events.
Examples of pertinent information include unscheduled cancellations of existing
leases that impair the program’s operating cash flows. Declining cash flows may be
an indicator of unsustainable dividend payments: this risk to future returns and
viability of the program must be assessed and communicated to potential investors.
In the case of private offerings, the designated Principal or designee will review the
facts and make sufficient inquiries, including the following, to test for possible
integration:
• Is there more than one offering being conducted at one time?
• Are the offerings a part of a single part of financing?
• Do the offerings involve issuance of the same class of security?
• Are the offerings made at or about the same time?
• Is the same type of consideration to be received?
• Are the offerings made for the same general purpose?
The designated Principal or designee will adequately review and make sufficient
inquiries into the possible disqualification of the issuer and other sellers to the
Regulation D exemption. The designated Principal or designee should make the
following inquiries:
• Is there more than one offering under Reg D—Rule 505 exemption being
conducted at one time?
• When was the last offering under Reg D—Rule 505 exemption conducted?
• What was the total amount raised in the last offering under Reg D—Rule 505
exemption?
• How many non-accredited investors purchased an interest in the last offering
under Reg D—Rule 505 exemption?
The designated Principal will adequately review the results of the inquiries and
document them in a due diligence file. The due diligence file will be maintained
with the other records of the Company and must be made available to all RR’s
offering such securities (these RR’s must understand the above-named issues and
characteristics).
The Company or any person associated with it may rely upon the results of an
inquiry conducted by another member or members provided that:
• The Company or the associated person has reasonable grounds to believe that
such inquiry was conducted with due care;
• The results of the inquiry were provided to the Company or associated person
with the consent of the member or members conducting or directing the inquiry;
and
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No member that participated in the inquiry is a sponsor of the program or an
affiliate of such sponsor.
The designated Principal will conduct periodic reviews of Representative activity in
DPP/REIT sales to ensure that all necessary requirements and procedures are
adhered to.
15.3.5 Rollups
FINRA Rules prohibit the Company from participating in a "limited partnership
rollup transaction" unless in conformity with the Rules. A "rollup" is a transaction
in which limited partners of Partnership A are solicited to vote to "roll up" the
partnership into Partnership B or some other entity in which they will receive
substitute securities. The structure of the transaction can take any number of
different forms, whether a sale of assets, exchange of interests, combination into a
new entity, etc. The Rules are complex and designed to ensure that the terms and
conditions of the "rollup" are fair and properly disclosed to the partners.
Compensation to participating broker-dealers is subject to stated limits.
Any proposals for the Company or any of its Registered Representatives to engage
or participate in a "rollup" must be carefully reviewed in advance by the designated
Principal and the Compliance Department to determine that the transaction
complies with the Rules.
15.3.6 Secondary Market Trading
Many DPP investments are quoted and traded on the “secondary market.” FINRA
has established a quotation system for such trades. Transactions in non-exchangelisted DPPs must be reported as any other OTC security: see the section on “Trade
Reporting” herein for details. See Notice 97-8 for a complete discussion of
procedures.
The Company, when it participates in the transfer of limited partnership securities
in secondary market transactions, must use the standardized Limited Partnership
Transfer Form under the Uniform Practice Code (See Notice 96-14 for the form).
This requirement does not apply to limited partnership securities that are traded on a
national securities exchange, or are on deposit in a registered securities depository
and settle regular way.
15.3.7 Valuation of DPP/REIT Units for Reporting Purposes
NASD Rule 2340 requires general securities members to provide valuations and
disclosures relating to DPPs and REITs on customer account statements under
certain circumstances. The requirement does not apply to members that do not
carry customer accounts and do not hold customer funds and securities; it does
apply to members that self-clear or clear for other members ("general securities
members"). The Rule covers securities that are sold in a public offering and
excludes securities listed on a national securities exchange, as well as securities that
are in a depository and settle regular way.
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Estimated values must be included if the annual report of the security that is held in
the customer’s account includes a per-share estimated value (“par value”). In
summary, investors must be provided reasonably current valuations: the Company
may not use a per-share estimated value that is calculated on data older than 18
months. The Company must not use par value in a customer account statement more
than 18 months following the conclusion of an offering, unless an appraisal of the
program’s assets and operations yields the same value. Notice 01-08 defines and
describes the estimated value necessary to be reported, in addition to disclosures
required in conjunction with the reported value; Notice 09-09 clarifies allowed use
of estimated values. The designated Principal is responsible for determining the
Company’s reporting requirements, if any, in order to ensure compliance with Rule
2340.
FINRA has also adopted amendments to Consolidated FINRA Rule 5110,
"Corporate Financing Rule--Underwriting Terms and Arrangements,” and 2310
“Direct Participation Programs,” that are intended to help ensure that DPP general
partners or sponsors and REIT trustees provide estimated per share values in their
annual reports. These Rules, as amended, prohibit a member or associated person
from participating in a public offering of DPP or REIT securities unless the general
partner or trustee, as applicable, agrees to disclose in each annual report distributed
to investors pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 a per
share estimated value of the securities, the method by which it was developed, and
the date of the data used to develop the estimated value. The designated Principal,
in his or her review of Company DPP offerings, will assure compliance with these
Rules, as amended.
15.3.8 Compensation in Public Offerings
Consolidated FINRA Rule 2310 includes definitions of and limitations on
compensation paid to participating members in public DPP/REIT offerings. The
Rule limits the amount of organization and offering (O&O) expenses for an
investment program to 15% of the gross proceeds of the offering. O&O expenses
have three components: (1) issuer expenses that are reimbursed or paid for with
offering proceeds; (2) underwriting compensation; and (3) due diligence expenses.
The Rule also addresses the allocation of compensation for dual employees of the
issuer/sponsor and an affiliated broker-dealer and in connection with multiple
offerings.
Underwriting compensation may never exceed 10% of the gross proceeds. This
limit includes all items of compensation, paid from whatever source, such as
amounts deducted from the offering proceeds or amounts paid to member firms,
underwriters or affiliated in the form of trail commissions. Underwriting
compensation includes payments to wholesaling or retailing firms engaged in the
solicitation, marketing, distribution or sales of investment program securities
(DPPs/REITs). It also includes payments for training and education meetings,
contributions to conferences and meetings held by non-affiliated broker-dealers for
their RRs, and payments for legal services provided to BDs. The designated
Principal will ensure that the Company’s compensation in public DPP/REIT
offerings does not exceed the limitations described in this Rule.
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The following types of non-cash compensation are allowed, provided they are not
preconditioned on achieving a sales goal:
• Gifts amounting in aggregate value not exceeding $100 annually, per person.
All gifts must be reported to Compliance under the Company’s gifts and
gratuities policy.
• An occasional meal, ticket to a sporting event or show, or comparable
entertainment that is not so frequent, nor so extensive, as to raise any question
of propriety.
• Payment or reimbursement in connection with training or educational meetings,
subject to several conditions. Note: Prior approval must be obtained from the
designated Principal before participating in such meetings. The location of the
meeting must be appropriate for its purpose, e.g., a U.S. office of the offeror or
broker-dealer holding the meeting, or a facility located in the vicinity of such
office, or a U.S. regional location with respect to meetings of associated persons
who work within that region or where a significant or representative asset of a
DPP or REIT is located (i.e., for inspection of real estate, oil and gas production
facilities, and other types of assets that will be held and managed by the
program). The designated Principal will determine the appropriateness of the
meeting.
• Only expenses incurred by the Company or its employees are eligible for
payment. Expenses for guests of employees (spouse, etc.) will not be
reimbursed.
The designated Principal must review all forms of compensation and will ensure
that the Company’s compensation in public DPP/REIT offerings does not exceed
the limitations described in this Rule.
The designated Principal must file, or have another member file on the Company’s
behalf, with FINRA’s Corporate Financing Department information on a proposed
public DPP offering, describing the proposed terms of the offerings, including
compensation. Prior to commencing the offering, a “no objections” opinion must
be received by the Company. The designated Principal will ensure that this opinion
is received in all underwritings in which it participates.
15.3.9 Communications Concerning Real Estate Investment Programs
The Company offers real estate investment programs in the form of either unlisted
REITs or unlisted DPPs. The procedures earlier in this section apply to these types
of offerings, as does the following specific guidance on communications with the
public, announced in Notice 13-18:
Required General Disclosures:
• Participation in the real estate program is an investment in the program and
not a direct investment in real estate or any other assets owned by the
program;
• If the real estate program has not yet qualified under the U.S. tax code as a
REIT, but is being marketed as a REIT, disclosure of this fact and the
possibility that the real estate program may not qualify as a REIT in the
future; and
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The risks of the investment, presented in a clear and prominent manner,
commensurate with the discussion of benefits, and not relegated to a
footnote or a separate document (including the prospectus);
Required Disclosures re: Distribution Rates:
• Distribution payments are not guaranteed and may be modified at the
program’s discretion;
• If the distribution rate consists of return of principal (including offering
proceeds) or borrowings, a breakdown of the components of the distribution
rate showing what portion of the quoted percentage represents cash flows
from the program’s investments or operations, what portion represents
return of principal and what portion represents borrowings;
• The time period during which the distributions have been funded from
return of principal (including offering proceeds), borrowings or any sources
other than cash flows from investment or operations;
• If the distributions include a return of principal, that by returning principal
to investors, the program will have less money to invest, which may lower
its overall return; and
• If the distributions include borrowed funds, that because borrowed funds
were used to pay distributions, the distribution rate may not be sustainable.
The following must not be included in communications about real estate
programs:
• A statement or implication that a distribution rate is a “yield” or “current
yield” or that investment in the program is comparable to a fixed income
investment such as a bond or note; or
• An annualized distribution rate before the program has paid distributions
that are, on an annualized basis, at a minimum equal to that rate for at least
two consecutive full quarterly periods.
Required Disclosures re: Suitability/Volatility Claims:
• Any assertion or implication that the value of a real estate program is stable
or that its volatility is limited must be accompanied by a sound basis to
evaluate this claim (the fact that a program offers its securities at par value,
or at another relatively stable price, does not evidence stability in the value
of the underlying assets); and
• Any statement that the price at which the program is offered is stable or that
its volatility is limited must be accompanied by disclosure that price
stability does not indicate stability in the value of the underlying assets,
which will fluctuate and may be worth less than the real estate program
initially paid, and that the investor may not be able to sell the investment.
Required Disclosures re: Redemption Features and Liquidity Events:
• The redemption features of the program, including all restrictions and
limitations, such as the fact that program’s management may terminate or
modify the ability to redeem;
• If applicable, the fact that the real estate program has not satisfied all
investor redemption requests in the past;
• Factual and balanced discussion of potential liquidity events and the timing
of such events; and
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Reminder that the date of any liquidity event is not guaranteed or, if
applicable, that it may be changed at the program management’s discretion.
Performance of Prior Related Real Estate Programs:
If a communication includes prior performance or other historical information
about related or affiliated entities:
• Information may not be “cherry-picked” from other programs: it must be
included with equal prominence;
• Information must be easily differentiated from that about current program;
and
• Whether the prior program included a date or time period when it might be
liquidated and if the program was liquidated on or about the published dates
or time period.
Use of Indices and Comparisons:
If a communication presents a real estate index’s performance to demonstrate
the sector’s risk or return characteristics:
• The index’s underlying components must correspond to those of the
program’s portfolio;
• The performance of an index of traded REITs may not be used to indicate
how an unlisted REIT may perform; and
• Disclose that the performance of the index is not that of a particular real
estate program, and describe the index’s components and any relevant
differences with the program’s portfolio investments.
Use of Pictures:
If a communication contains photographs or other images of properties owned
by investments managed by the program’s sponsor that are similar to properties
the program expects to purchase:
• Prominent text must accompany each depiction explaining that the property
is owned by an investment managed by the sponsor and not the program;
and
• Once the real estate program has acquired a portfolio, the communication
may include depictions of properties only if owned by the program.
A communication concerning a real estate program that holds real estate
mortgages may include photographs or other images of properties in which the
program has a security interest as long as the communication discloses that the
program does not own the property and that the property is collateral for a loan
owned by the program.
Capitalization Rates:
If including capitalization rates in communications:
• If the capitalization rate is for an individual property within a real estate
program: the rate must be based on current information contained in the
prospectus; and the communication must explain how the rate was
calculated, that the rate applies to the individual property, and that it does
not reflect a return or distribution from the REIT or DPP itself; and
• A rate may not be included if it reflects a blending of multiple individual
properties’ capitalization rates (individual properties within a program’s
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portfolio typically will have different acquisition dates and their respective
capitalization rates, which are generally based on the acquisition price of
the property, may not reflect their current values; in addition, the individual
properties’ capitalization rates may reflect different calculation
methodologies).
As with all communications with the public, the Company’s review, approval, filing
and record keeping procedures must be followed. The designated Principal in the
product area is responsible for ensuring adherence to the specific guidelines
included in this section.
15.4
Municipal Securities
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
Municipal Securities Principal: Joseph Englert
Daily review of trades; quarterly review of transaction reporting;
prompt review of requests/notifications pursuant to MSRB Rule G37
Trade reviews/approvals; periodic account reviews; review of
transaction reporting; correspondence review; review of event
notices; review of compliance with SHORT System submissions,
when required.
Initials or signatures on trade documentation/reports, customer
account documentation reviews, correspondence, and evidence of
review and forwarding of event notices; records of SHORT System
submissions when required.
Government Securities Act Sec. 102-107; SEA Rule 10b-5,
15(5)(4)(E), 15c2-12, and 17a-3. Exchange Act Release No.
45882. Various MSRB Rules, such as those referenced below.
Notices 09-35, 08-21, 03-17, 00-08, 95-48, 10-41. MSRB Notices
2004-13, 2005-31, 2007-19, 2008-23, 2008-28, 2008-32, 2009-15, 22, -39, -40, -42, -47, -54, -55, -56, -57; 2010-01, -08, -19, -20;
2010-26, -31, -37, -38, -47, -57, -61; 2011-15, -17, -20, -21, -29;
2011-37, -40, -52, -62, -67, -69; 2012-15, -25, -27, -34, -48, -53, 64; 2013-05, -08, -09
See Rule G-27 for details.
EMMA: http://emma.msrb.org/
Government securities are securities issued by federal, state and local governments. Special
sets of rules control the issuance of such securities, which are generally exempt from the
general regulations under the 1933 and 1934 Acts. The issuance and sale of most
government securities are governed by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board
(MSRB). Each Representative doing business in municipal securities must hold the
appropriate license and registration, depending on his/her role. Three categories of
registrations exist for Representatives:
• Municipal Securities Sales Limited Representative: for those who effectuate only
sales and purchase of municipal securities (Series 7).
• Municipal Securities Representative: for those who engage in more than just sales
and purchases of municipal securities or who engage in more complex securities
(Series 52, or Series 7 if it was ‘grandfathered’).
• Municipal Securities Representatives qualified by virtue of being a Limited
Representative – Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products: for those
who engage only in sales and purchases of municipal fund securities (Series 6 -- see
sub-section below).
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Principals overseeing municipal securities business and RRs must hold the appropriate
licenses and registrations as described in Rule G-27(b) and Notice 2011-62. Appropriate
Principals must be designated, such as municipal securities principal (Series 53),
responsible for all supervisory functions as they relate to municipal securities; municipal
fund securities limited principal (Series 51), responsible for supervisory functions, but only
as they relate exclusively to municipal fund securities.
Certain tax credit bonds are also municipal securities and therefore subject to all applicable
MSRB rules and these procedures: Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds,
Qualified School Construction Bonds, Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, New Clean
Renewable Energy Bonds, Midwestern Tax Credit Bonds, Energy Conservation Bonds,
Qualified Zone Academy Bonds and Build America Bonds.
Personnel must recognize that certain financial instruments, including some characterized as
“bank loans,” may be municipal securities. If the Company serves as a placement agent for
a “direct purchase” by a bank of municipal securities or as a placement agent for a “bank
loan” that is, in fact, a municipal security, the Company is subject to all MSRB rules.The
designated principal, when approving new business as described herein, should attempt to
discern if it represents municipal business and must ensure that applicable procedures are
followed.
The Company considers itself to be in compliance with MSRB Rule G-27 (re: Supervision)
by virtue of its having appointed the above-named supervisor and by complying with
various, analogous Rules and Regulations of FINRA and SEC. This WSP Manual does not
purport to reiterate every MSRB Rule applicable to the Company’s business. The firm is
required to maintain a copy of or provide access to the Municipal Securities Regulation
Board Manual in each office where municipal securities business is conducted. The MSRB
Manual should be consulted by Company Principals, associated persons and regulatory
examiners for information on MSRB Rules pertaining to the Company.
15.4.1 Sales and Trading Practices
RR’s are required to comply with, and the designated Principal of the Company
shall be responsible for supervising, the following sales practices, where applicable
(some of these items are elaborated upon in procedures to follow). Note that the
Company’s affiliated persons or companies may be required to comply with some
or all MSRB rules: Notice 2009-40 provides guidance on this issue and should be
consulted if this situation pertains to the Company.
•
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Supervision: In accordance with the account opening procedures described in
this WSP Manual, new municipal securities accounts must be subject to the
designated Principal’s review and approval. Likewise, all municipal securities
transactional activity must be reviewed by the designated Principal in
accordance with the transaction review procedures in this Manual. All such
reviews and approvals must be evidenced as described herein (e.g., signatures
on NAF’s, initials/signatures on order tickets and daily/weekly blotters, etc.).
Additional areas of supervision include: correspondence in the context of
solicitation and execution of transactions (including verification that new issue
and material event disclosures are made—see below); periodic review of
accounts; best execution/order handling; trade reporting reviews; and all other
areas specifically addressed in this section and the Manual as a whole;
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Pricing and Quotations: Whether acting as principal or agent, compensation
must be fair and reasonable, in accordance with MSRB Rule G-30 and G-18.
Prices, mark-ups and mark-downs, and commissions should reflect those of the
current prevailing market as made available by MSRB’s real-time Transaction
Reporting System (RTRS) and via EMMA (see below). RR’s/Traders must
document the process by which prices for customer transactions are determined.
The basis for obtaining the price, such as prices from contemporaneous
transactions, those obtained from the RTRS system, or prices figured by a
valuation model, should be noted in the corresponding dally transaction records
and subject to supervisory review. Under Rule G-13, the Company may not
distribute or publish, or cause to be distributed or published, any quotation
relating to municipal securities, unless the quotation is bona fide (i.e., it is
prepared to execute at the quoted price) and the price stated in the quotation is
based on the best judgment of the Company of the fair market value of the
securities that are the subject of the quotation at the time the quotation is made.
The Company must withdraw or update a stale or invalid quotation promptly
enough to prevent a quotation from becoming misleading as to its willingness to
buy or sell at the stated price;
Fair Dealing: RR’s will comply with MSRB Rule G-17, which provides that,
in the conduct of its municipal securities activities, the Company shall deal
fairly with all persons and shall not engage in any deceptive, dishonest or unfair
practice (for instance, RR’s must not deal in transactions specifically structured
so as to increase sales commissions; likewise RRs may not use market
disruptions resulting from rating actions as an excuse to trade at prices that are
nor fair and reasonable). When the Company is acting as underwriter, the
designated Principal will ensure adherence to requirements and guidance issued
in Notices 2012-25 and -38 (see below); some of these requirements--for
instance, making certain disclosures--must also be met when the Company acts
a private placement agent in primary offerings—see Notice 2012-38 for
specifics;
Minimum Denominations: As required under MSRB Rule G15, the Company
will not effect a customer transaction (buy or sell) in a denomination less than
the minimum denomination of the issue unless it is determined that the
transaction will result in a complete liquidation of a position held by the
customer or seller. The Company may rely on customer account information or
a written statement from the customer in making the determination as to the
customer’s position in the issue. Where the Company’s customer is the
purchaser of securities in a denomination below the minimum, it shall, at or
before the completion of the transaction provide the customer with a written
statement (either on the trade confirmation or separate document) informing the
customer of this fact and the fact that the future liquidity of the position may be
adversely affected, unless they previously own a position in the same security
which when combined with the new position, will bring the total position above
the minimum denomination;
Misuse of Information: The Company and its RRs may not use information
regarding the owners of municipal securities obtained in a fiduciary or agency
capacity (such as paying agent, transfer agent, registrar, indenture trustee,
safekeeping agent, correspondent of another municipal dealer, etc.) for the
purpose of soliciting purchases, sales or exchanges of municipal securities. Also
prohibited is using the information for financial gain except with the consent of
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the issuer, other broker or dealer or the person on whose behalf the information
was given (ref: G-24);
Telemarketing: The Company and its RRs must abide by Rule G-39 and the
procedures in this Manual relating to telemarketing;
Portfolio Analysis: In presentations of portfolio analysis, include all required
disclosures such as the source of valuations and a statement that the valuations
should be compared to statements issued to the customer by the clearing firm.
RR’s should also disclose the nature of any differences in pricing between the
statement and the information on the portfolio analysis;
Customers who are RR’s: If a customer is employed by another broker-dealer
or municipal securities dealer, the Company should notify the employer. If the
employer requests it, the Company should send duplicate confirmations;
Advertising: Advertisements must adhere to the general ethical standard
imposed under G-17 and G-21 that prohibits dealers from distributing any sales
material concerning its facilities, services, or skills with respect to municipal
securities that is materially false or misleading. Advertisements, when
addressing the following topics, must be in accordance with related MSRB
guidelines:
o Historical Data: description of their nature and significance so as to
assure that such advertisement is not false or misleading; relates to
past performance, may not be indicative of future investment
performance;
o Nature of Issuer and Security: identify specific security and issuer
in a manner that is not false or misleading;
o Capacity of Dealer and Other Parties: Relationship between dealer
serving as primary distributor for a municipal fund security and
certain of its affiliates or other unrelated entities that may provide
investment management, transfer agent or other services to the
issuer;
o Tax Consequences: Discussion of tax implications of investments
in municipal (and fund) securities (e.g., exemptions, deductibility,
etc.) must not be false or misleading;
o Underlying Securities: Any details of a registered security that are
included in a municipal fund security advertisement must be
presented in a manner that would be in compliance with the SEC
and FINRA advertising rules applicable where the same registered
security is sold directly to an investor.
All advertisements of municipal securities must be approved in writing prior to
first use by a municipal securities principal (or a municipal fund securities
limited principal in the case of municipal fund securities) or a general securities
principal. The designated Principal must ensure maintenance of records of all
advertisements for three years in a separate file. Advertisements must be filed
with FINRA, when necessary;
New Issues: If a customer has a municipal transaction that occurs within the
primary offering disclosure period of 25 days after closing (i.e., selling or
purchasing new issues), the RR must promptly supply customers with all
pertinent information (Official Statement or notice explaining how one can be
obtained through the EMMA website). The Municipal Securities Principal may
make use of the Municipal Primary Offering Disclosure Report on Report
Center to identify these transactions in order to monitor RR compliance with
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this disclosure requirement. If imposing restrictions on resales of primary
issues, the RR should obtain the nature of the limitations from the selling
dealers to avoid violating any MSRB Rules. When trading in new issues during
a ‘retail order period’ (in advance of institutional investors), the Company may
not engage in pricing that results in excessive price/yield variances between
retail and institutional transactions. If the term “not reoffered” or “NRO” is
used in written communications about a new issue (sent at and after the time of
initial award of the new issue), price and yield information must also be
included;
Suitability: RR’s recommending a specific municipal security transaction must
have reasonable grounds for believing that the recommendation is suitable,
based upon information available from the issuer of the security or otherwise
and the facts disclosed by or otherwise known about the customer (the RR must
make reasonable efforts to obtain information concerning the customer’s
financial status, tax status and investment objectives per Rule G-19). The
specific characteristics and risks of the municipal security recommended must
be considered, and, when analyzing the risk profile of a municipal security,
Company personnel may not rely solely on credit ratings. RRs must endeavor to
understand and assess the relevance of a particular rating to the Company’s
overall assessment of the security. When making a suitability determination
involving credit-enhanced securities such as Auction Rate Securities (ARS) and
variable rate demand obligations (VRDO), RR’s must consider the liquidity
characteristics and the credit ratings of the credit enhancer in light of the
customer’s need for a liquid investment and his/her rating preferences (see
below). The information used by the Company to determine suitability when
making recommendations to customers should be documented; and
Disclosures: The Company shall promptly receive notice of certain events
(such as principal and interest payment delinquencies and non-payment related
defaults) regarding muni trades it does for customers recommends and shall
make known to its customers the details of these events, The next sub-section is
dedicated to this important requirement—see below.
Useful Questions - As indicated above, RR’s and traders, before selling any
municipal security, should make sure that they fully understand the security they are
selling in order to meet the disclosure, suitability and pricing requirements
summarized herein. By attempting to gather answers to the following questions,
RR’s and traders will be better prepared to comply with these requirements and
internal procedures:
• What are the security’s key terms and features and structural characteristics,
including but not limited to its issuer, source of funding (e.g., general
obligation or revenue bond), repayment priority, and scheduled repayment
rate? Much of this information will be in the Official Statement, which for
many municipal securities can be obtained by entering the CUSIP number
in the Muni Search box at www.emma.msrb.org. Be aware, however, data
in the Official Statement may have been superseded by the issuer’s ongoing disclosures.
• Does information available through EMMA or other established industry
sources indicate that an issuer is delinquent in its material event notice and
other continuing disclosure filings? Delinquencies should be viewed as a
red flag.
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What other public material information about the security or its issuer is
available through established industry sources other than EMMA?
What is the security’s rating? Has the issuer recently been downgraded?
Has the issuer filed any recent default or other event notices, or has any
other information become available through established industry sources
that might call into question whether the published rating has been revised
to take such event into consideration?
Is the security insured, or does it benefit from liquidity support, a letter of
credit or is it otherwise supported by a third party? If so, check the credit
rating of the insurer or other backing, and the security’s underlying rating
(without third party support). If supported by a third party, review the terms
and conditions under which the third party support may terminate.
How is it priced? Be aware that a municipal security can be priced above or
below its par value for many reasons, including changes in the
creditworthiness of the issuer and prevailing interest rates.
How and when will interest on the security be paid? For example most
municipal bonds pay semiannually, but zero coupon municipal bonds pay
all interest at the time the bond matures. Variable rate bonds typically will
pay interest more frequently, usually on a monthly basis in variable
amounts.
What is the security’s tax status, under both state and federal laws? Is it
subject to the Federal Alternate Minimum Tax? Is it fully taxable (e.g.,
Build America Bonds)?
What are its call provisions? Call provisions allow the issuer to retire the
security before it matures. How would a call affect expected future income?
See sub-section, below, for procedures relating to institutional customers.
15.4.2 Disclosure of Events
For the sake of these procedures, information is considered “material” if there is a
substantial likelihood that the information would be considered important or
significant by a reasonable investor in making an investment decision.
Knowledge of Material and Other Information: In order to fully comply with
interpretative material concerning MSRB Rule G-17 (disclosing events to a
customer at or prior to the time of the trade), the Company, as a municipal securities
dealer, must have complied with amended SEA Rule 15c2-12. This Rule requires
the Company to promptly receive notice of certain events, including:
o Principal and interest payment delinquencies;
o Non-payment related defaults, if material;
o Unscheduled draws on debt service reserves reflecting financial
difficulties;
o Unscheduled draws on credit enhancements reflecting financial
difficulties;
o Substitution of credit or liquidity providers or their failure to
perform;
o Adverse tax opinions, IRS notices or events affecting the tax status
of the security;
o Modifications to rights of security holders, if material;
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o
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o
o
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BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Bond calls, if material;
Defeasances;
Release, substitution or sale of property securing repayment of the
securities, if material;
Rating changes;
Tender offers;
Bankruptcy, insolvency, receivership or similar event of the
obligated person;
Merger, consolidation, or acquisition of the obligated person, if
material;
Appointment of a successor or additional trustee, or the change of
name of a trustee, if material.
Prior to the sale of municipal securities to a customer, RR’s must review disclosed
events on MSRB’s EMMA (Electronic Municipal Market Access) portal. EMMA is
a publicly-accessible electronic repository of municipal market information,
including continuing disclosures submitted by muni bond issuers, official
statements and related pre-sale documents filed with MSRB, advance refunding
documents, 529 college savings plan offering documents, notices of failure to
provide required financial disclosure, credit ratings and real-time and historic trade
data for municipal bonds. For material event disclosures before July 1, 2009, RR’s
should consult an NRMSIR other than EMMA; for disclosures after that date,
EMMA is the sole designated source for this information.
EMMA also includes other information submitted voluntarily by issuers and
obligated persons —RR’s should review the voluntary information for anything that
might be of significance to their customers. Voluntary event-based disclosures
include the following categories:
• amendment to continuing disclosure undertaking
• change in obligated person
• notice to investors pursuant to bond documents
• certain communications from the IRS
• secondary market purchases
• bid for auction rate or other securities
• capital or other financing plan
• litigation/enforcement action
• change of tender agent, remarketing agent, or other on-going party
• derivative or other similar transaction
• other event-based disclosures
Representatives must also review any other material information that is known by
the Company or is reasonably accessible to the market. The use of established
industry sources like information vendors (e.g., Bloomberg and Reuters) is expected
and encouraged; in some cases, internet search tools may be used in pursuit of
material information. The degree to which the Company depends on such sources
will vary with the type of municipal security at hand: that is, the Company might
draw on fewer industry sources to disclose all material information about a “tripleA” rated general obligation bond than for a non-rated conduit issue. Conversely, to
the extent that a security is more complex, for example because of complex
structure or where credit quality is changing rapidly, the Company might need to
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take into account a broader range of information sources prior to executing a
transaction. The designated Principal should assist RRs in understanding these
obligations and how to meet them; he or she must ensure that the Company has a
system in place that allows RRs to access and provide such information.
Disclosure of Information to Customers: Having reviewed the event notices and
other information, it is the obligation of the RR to disclose the information to the
customer. This obligation includes a duty to give the customer a complete
description of the security, including a description of the features that likely would
be considered significant by a reasonable investor and facts that are material to
assessing the potential risks of the investment. The RR must pass along such
information to the customer prior to or at the time of the proposed sale. Time of
sale, sometimes referred to as the “time of trade,” is when the investor and the RR
agree to make the trade. Disclosure is required for all sales: recommended, not
recommended, unsolicited, “self-directed,” primary and secondary market. Records
of having informed the customer may consist of e-mail correspondence or notation
to the customer’s records or trade records.
Supervision: The designated Principal, in his or her periodic reviews of municipal
securities activity, will ensure that disclosures are being reviewed, provided and
documented. Supervisors may make use of disclosure reports made available on
Report Center, via Firm Gateway. The designated Principal will also ensure that
RR’s engaging in muni transactions have been properly trained in the use of the
EMMA portal and other information sources made available by the Company for
these purposes. See sub-section, below, for procedures relating to institutional
customers.
In accordance with FINRA guidance in Notice 09-35, if the Company discovers that
an issuer has failed to make filings required under its continuing disclosure
agreements, it must take this information into consideration in meeting its
obligations under Rule G-17 and in assessing the suitability of the issuer’s bonds
under Rule G-19. Continuing disclosure requirements apply to underwriters/primary
distributors of 529 plans—throughout the life of the plan--as well.
MSRB offers paid subscriptions to the EMMA continuing disclosure historical data
product, which consists of the same data set (including both documents and related
indexing information) as provided by the EMMA continuing disclosure subscription
service up to the end of the most recent month. Data dating back to June 1, 2009, is
available for purchase.
15.4.3 Municipal Underwriting – Not Applicable
15.4.4 Transaction Reporting
In accordance with MSRB Rule G-14, if the Company distributes or publishes a
report of a sale or purchase of municipal securities, the designated Principal will
know or have reason to believe that the purchase or sale was actually effected and
will have no reason to believe that the transaction is fictitious or in furtherance of
any fraudulent, misleading or deceptive purpose. Also, in accordance with Rules
G-12 and G-14, the designated Principal will confirm that all inter-dealer
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transactions are reported in real time for automated comparison to the MSRB,
including the contractual dollar price (“Regulatory Dollar Price”) at which the
transaction was executed.
The Company must file Form RTRS via MSRB Gateway; trade reports must and
will be made using the formats and within the time frames specified in Rule G-14,
Transaction Reporting Procedures, and according to the standards established by the
NSCC. There are three portals available for reporting and the use of each is
restricted by the type of transaction being reported. These portals are as follows:
• The message-based trade input RTRS Portal operated by National
Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) (“Message Portal”) may be used
for any trade record submission or trade record modification;
• The RTRS Web-based trade input method (“RTRS Web Portal” or “RTRS
Web”) operated by the MSRB may be used for low volume transaction
submissions and for modifications of trade records, but cannot be used for
submitting or amending inter-dealer transaction data that is used in the
comparison process. Comparison data instead must be entered into the
comparison system using a method authorized by the registered clearing
agency; and.
• The NSCC Real-Time Trade Matching (“RTTM”) Web-based trade input
method (“RTTM Web Portal” or “RTTM Web”) may be used only for
submitting or modifying data with respect to Inter-Dealer Transactions
Eligible for Comparison; effecting broker symbols (EBS or MPID) are used
to match trade criteria.
Transactions effected with a time of trade during the hours of the RTRS Business
Day (7:30am to 6:30pm eastern time) must be reported within 15 minutes of time of
trade. The following transactions are exempted from this 15-minute reporting
requirement:
• A primary market sale transaction executed on the first day of trading of a
new issue by a sole underwriter, syndicate manager, syndicate member or
selling group member at the published list offering price for the security
(“List Offering Price Transaction”); or by a sole underwriter or syndicate
manager to a syndicate or selling group member at a discount from the
published list offering price for the security (“RTRS Takedown
Transaction”) shall be reported by the end of the day on which the trade is
executed;
• Trades in short-term instruments with an effective maturity of nine months
or less, including variable rate instruments, auction rate products, and
commercial paper executed by a dealer shall be reported by the end of the
RTRS Business Day on which the trades were executed.
• A when, as or if issued transaction that meet all the following conditions
shall be reported within 3 hours of the time of trade:
o the CUSIP number and indicative data of the issue traded are not in
the securities master file used by the dealer to process trades for
confirmations, clearance and settlement;
o the dealer has not traded the issue in the previous year; and
o the dealer is not a syndicate manager or syndicate member for the
issue.
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If there are fewer than three hours of the RTRS Business Day remaining
after the Time of Trade, the trade shall be reported no later than 15 minutes
after the beginning of the next RTRS Business Day. The 3-hour exemption
for when, as and if issued transactions will expire on June 30, 2008 unless
extended by further regulatory action.
Transactions effected with a time of trade outside the hours of the RTRS Business
Day shall be reported no later than 15 minutes after the beginning of the next RTRS
Business Day. MSRB Notice 2011-58 should be consulted for information on nonbusiness days and related submission requirements; Notice 2012-15 outlines
reporting rule and system changes, including dissemination of exact par values on
transactions up to $5 million par value, a new error code to alert dealers to trade
reports in securities that are classified as corporate or government securities by the
CUSIP Service Bureau, and enhancements to the reports available on RTRS Web.
If the Company engages in agency transactions with customers that are executed
against the principal account of its clearing firm, the trades shall be reported using
the specifications required for “Inter-Dealer Regulatory-Only” trades.
BCG’s clearing firm will perform all required reporting on behalf of the Company.
The Company is responsible for the timely and accurate reporting of trade
data. Therefore, the designated Principal will monitor the Company’s transaction
reporting performance no less frequently than quarterly (by accessing reported data
through the MSRB’s Dealer Feedback Service), will review MSRB report cards and
will work with respective contracted parties and/or applicable internal departments
to ensure that its reporting responsibilities are met in a timely and accurate manner.
Records of transaction reporting reviews will be maintained by the designated
Principal for future reference. The designated Principal should review MSRB Rule
G-14 and the RTRS Reporting Guidelines for more information on these
requirements.
15.4.5 Books and Records
BCG shall keep and preserve the books, accounts, records, memoranda, and
Correspondence in conformity with all applicable laws, rules, regulations and
statements of policy pursuant to FINRA guidelines. Also, the Company is required
to maintain customer accounts showing the following information: name, address,
and whether the customer is of legal age, signature of the Registered Representative
introducing the accounts and the signature of the designated Principal accepting the
account for the Company. If the customer is associated with or employed by
another member, this fact should be noted. In discretionary accounts, the Company
shall also record the age or approximate age and occupation of the customer as well
as the signature of each person authorized to exercise discretion in such account.
The designated Principal must ensure that the Company keeps and preserves either
a separate file of all written complaints of customers and action taken by the
Company, if any, or a separate record of such complaints and a clear reference to
the files containing the correspondence connected with such complaint. In addition,
the designated Principal must confirm that investor complaint brochures have been
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sent to all municipal securities customers upon receipt of complaints, per Rule G10.
The Company, by virtue of its compliance with SEA Rules 17a-3 and a-4, will be in
compliance with MSRB Rule G-9 (and G-8, by reference), except that certain
records must be maintained for four years instead of three, to accommodate
FINRA’s examination schedule. See Rule G-9(b), revised effective June 16, 2012.
However, the Company must also ensure compliance with certain recordkeeping
requirements under G-8 (f), not included in the SEC books and records rules.
Amended Rule G-8(a) requires the Company to maintain records of secondary
market trading account transactions showing the information enumerated in
paragraph xxiv of the Rule. The designated Principal must understand and ensure
Company compliance with these requirements.
15.4.6 MSRB Rule G-37 (Contributions)
MSRB prohibits brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers from engaging in
municipal securities business with issuers if certain political contributions have
been made to officials of such issuers and requires disclosures about certain
political contributions, including those to bond ballet campaigns, as well as other
information, to allow public scrutiny of these contributions and of the municipal
securities brokers/dealers.
The rules described in this section apply to associated persons even if they are
employed in divisions or departments other than municipal bond departments. For
instance, fixed-income personnel making a presentation to potential issuers of
municipal securities (including Build America Bonds or other tax credit bonds)
would be considered “municipal finance professionals” of the Company under Rule
G-37.
Ban on Business: MSRB Rule G-37 prohibits the Company and its municipal
finance professionals (for these purposes, any associated persons doing municipal
business) from engaging in any municipal securities business with an issuer for two
years after a political contribution to an official of such issuer has been made by the
Company, any such associated person, or any political action committee controlled
by either of them (“dealer-controlled PAC”). Contributions to ‘affiliated PACs’
must be analyzed by the designated Principal to a) determine if the affiliated PAC is
really a dealer-controlled PAC, and thus subject to the ban on business; or b) if such
contributions by the Company or its MFP’s could be viewed as an indirect
contribution (a conduit to an issuer official). The indicators listed in MSRB’s
interpretation (Notice 2010-57) must be addressed and considered in this analysis.
An exception exists for contributions made by municipal finance professionals,
when they are entitled to vote and when such contributions, in total, do not exceed
$250 to each official of such issuer, per election, including federal elections.
Prohibition on Soliciting and Coordinating Contributions: In addition, the rule
prohibits the Company and certain municipal finance professionals from soliciting
or coordinating contributions to officials of issuers with which they are engaging in
or seeking to engage in municipal securities business, as well as of payments to
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political parties of states or localities where they are engaging in or seeking to
engage in municipal securities business.
Reporting: The rule requires the Company to report all non-de minimus
($250/year/person/official, party or ballot initiative) contributions to officials of
issuers, payments to political parties of states and political subdivisions, and
contributions to bond ballot campaigns. Rule G-37(e) describes the specific
information that must be reported. The Company also has to report on this form the
list of issuers with which it did business during the previous quarter, among other
information. If the Company has no reportable information (no contributions; no
business) then it does not have to report.
The designated Principal or designee will ensure that required reporting is
completed on Form G-37 by the last day of the month following the end of any
calendar quarter in which any of the following occurs:
•
•
•
Reportable political contributions or payments to issuers, political parties or
bond ballot campaigns were made;
The Company engaged in “municipal securities business”; or
The Company used consultants to obtain or retain municipal securities business
(Form G-38t).
The term “municipal securities business” includes negotiated underwritings as
manager or syndicate member; private placements; acting as financial advisor to an
issuer (on a negotiated basis); and acting as a remarketing agent (on a negotiated bid
basis). A “consultant” is any person used by a dealer to obtain or retain municipal
securities business through direct or indirect communication by the person with an
issuer on behalf of the dealer with the understanding of receiving payment from the
dealer or any other person.
Bond Ballot Campaigns: MSRB Notice 2013-09 describes additional reporting
requirements (effective July 1, 2013) relating to contributions made by dealers and
dealer personnel to bond ballot campaigns, and any municipal securities business
awarded as a result of the corresponding bond ballot measures. When applicable,
the Company must report, and maintain records relating to:
• Contributions that represent in-kind contributions, including the value and
nature of the goods or services provided, including any ancillary services
provided to, on behalf of, or in furtherance of the bond ballot campaign and
the specific date on which such contributions were made;
• The full issuer name and full issue description of any primary offering
resulting from voter approval of a bond ballot measure to which a
contribution required to be disclosed has been made. Such information is
required to be reported in the same calendar quarter in which the closing
date for the issuance that was authorized by the bond ballot measure
occurred. This requirement has a two-year look back provision for MFPs
and non-MFP executive officers; and
• The amount and source of any payments or reimbursements related to any
bond ballot contribution received by the Company or its MFPs from any
third party.
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Meetings/Conferences: With the release of MSRB Notice 2007-13, the MSRB has
issued an interpretation that a dealer sponsoring a meeting or conference where an
issuer official is invited to attend or is a featured speaker should be mindful of the
parameters of Rule G-37, including the prohibition on soliciting and coordinating
contributions. For example, if the issuer official (or his/her staff) solicits
contributions in connection with the event, or dealer personnel solicit or coordinate
contributions, such activities may constitute fundraising activities. If a
determination is made that the event is a fundraising event for the issuer official,
then expenses incurred by the dealer for hosting the event may be deemed a
contribution, thereby triggering the two-year ban on municipal securities business
with that issuer as prescribed by Rule G-37. MSRB members are reminded that the
dollar amount of an expense incurred by the dealer for hosting the event is not a
factor in whether or not the provisions of Rule G-37 will apply. If the event is
determined to be a fundraising event, then any expense incurred by the dealer may
be deemed a contribution to the issuer official, thereby triggering the two-year ban
on municipal securities business with that issuer.
Certain reporting exemptions exist under G-37, including one for firms that have
not engaged in municipal securities business for eight consecutive quarters. When
such an exemption applies, the designated Principal will ensure that proper
reporting on Form G-37x is completed.
Internal Procedure: Given the limited exception to and the complexity and broad
application of this rule, it is therefore Company policy to restrict such activity
unless written prior approval is given by the Chief Compliance Officer or member
of senior management. In order to avoid even the appearance of an impropriety and
to comply fully with the intent of MSRB Rule G-37, the Company has adopted the
following procedure:
All employees, brokers, associated persons, executive officers and municipal
finance professionals associated with the Company are required to give prior
written notification of all potential political contributions to any officials of a
municipal issuer, payments to political parties of states and political subdivisions,
and contributions to bond ballot campaigns, regardless of amount. The notification
must contain at a minimum, the name of the official/state/subdivision/bond ballot
campaign, the amount of the proposed contribution, and a description of the
relationship with the recipient if applicable.
The Chief Compliance Officer or other member of senior management will have
complete discretion to either approve or deny the proposed contribution. This
decision will be in written form and will be given to the requester within a
reasonable amount of time, not to exceed ten business days. Copies of both the
request and the decision will be kept as part of the routine books and records,
regardless of whether the request was approved or denied. If a contribution request
is approved, reporting to MSRB will be completed as required (see above). In
addition, all requested information relating to contributions, including in-kind
contributions and prior contributions, must be provided to the Company upon
request.
15.4.7 Administration: Contacts and Fees/Assessments; Changes
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Contacts: MSRB Rule G-40 requires each member of the MSRB to maintain an email account to electronically receive communications from the MSRB and appoint
a primary contact person to receive such communications. Unless the Company is
registered only as a municipal advisor (not a muni broker or dealer), this person
must be a registered municipal securities principal (Series 51 or 53). The
information reported includes the primary contact’s name, e-mail address and
telephone number along with the name, title, and phone number of the preparer of
the form, among other identifying information. If desired, the name, e-mail address
and phone number of an Optional Contact person may be provided as well. The
designated Principal shall ensure that information regarding contacts is verified and
updated, if necessary, by the 17th business day following the end of the calendar
year. If changes occur in contact information during the year it should be reported
promptly.
The Company has appointed its Municipal Principal as the primary contact and has
reported such to the MSRB via the online G-40 contact system at www.msrb.org.
Fees and Assessments: The Company as a municipal securities dealer is required
to pay certain fees, including: an initial fee paid once under Rule A-12;
underwriting fees and transaction fees under Rule A-13; and an annual fee under
Rule A-14. The FinOp in coordination with the Company’s financial officer will
ensure payment is made when required.
Changes in Status, Name or Address: MSRB Rule A-15 requires the Company to
notify MSRB if it ceases to be engaged in municipal securities or advisory business,
whether voluntarily or otherwise (e.g., suspended or barred). The Company must
also notify MSRB if it has been expelled or suspended from membership or
participation in a national securities exchange or registered securities
association. The Company will also notify MSRB of any name or address changes
(information required under A-12). Notification shall conform to the respective
Rule requirements. The Municipal Securities Principal will ensure that this
procedure is followed.
15.4.8 Prohibition on Payments to Non-affiliated Persons Soliciting Municipal
Securities Business
MSRB Rule G-38 generally prohibits the Company from making a direct or indirect
payment to any person who is not an affiliated person of the firm (i.e., a partner,
director, officer, employee or registered person of the Company or its affiliate).
While one exception to this rule exists for transitional payments to consultants
working for the Company prior to August 29, 2005, the Company currently is not
relying on such exception and therefore allows NO payments to be made to nonaffiliated persons.
15.4.9 Municipal Fund Securities (529 Plans)
The Company offers Municipal Fund Securities, otherwise known as Section 529
College Savings Plans, to its customers. 529 Plans have investment features similar
to investment company securities or variable annuity contracts. Because they are
issued by a state or local governmental entity, these Municipal Fund Securities are
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considered municipal securities and, accordingly, the Company is subject to the
rules of the MSRB.
In view of the unique characteristics of Municipal Fund Securities, the MSRB has
adopted a series of amendments to its existing municipal securities rules. Included
in these MSRB rule amendments are modifications to: transaction fee assessments
(A-13); professional qualification (G-3); recordkeeping (G-8); transaction reporting
(G-14); customer transaction confirmation requirements (G-15); advertising (G-21);
customer account transfers (G-26); new issue disclosure (G-32); and CUSIP
assignment requirements (G-34). All other MSRB rules apply to transactions in
Municipal Fund Securities.
Rule G-3 Amendments. Under MSRB rule modifications, the Company’s
investment company/variable contracts limited representatives (Series 6) satisfy the
MSRB qualification standard for sales of Municipal Fund Securities. Supervision
of sales of municipal fund securities must be conducted by one of the following
categories of principal: “municipal fund securities limited principal” (having
passed the Series 51 exam in addition to holding the 24 or 26 license); “municipal
securities principal” (Series 53); or “general securities sales supervisor” (Series 8 or
Series 9/10). A principal holding the Series 24 or 26 licenses is not qualified to
supervise municipal fund securities without having passed the Series 51 exam. The
Company’s municipal funds securities activities are currently supervised by the
Municipal Principal who holds as Series 53.
Compliance with MSRB Rules. The unique nature of municipal fund securities
may result in otherwise familiar MSRB rules being applied in unfamiliar ways, or
may present a challenge to the Company’s Representatives having no other
experience in effecting municipal securities transactions. In either case, it is
imperative that the Company’s Representatives be familiar with applicable MSRB
rules. The MSRB in May 2002 provided interpretive guidance regarding the
application of its rules to dealers effecting transactions in municipal fund securities.
Its “Application of Fair Practice and Advertising Rules to Municipal Fund
Securities” notice seeks to provide guidance on the basic customer protection
obligations that dealers (such as the Company) have when effecting transactions in
municipal fund securities. At the core of the MSRB’s customer protection rules is
Rule G-17, which provides that, in the conduct of its municipal securities activities,
each dealer shall deal fairly with all persons and shall not engage in any deceptive,
dishonest or unfair practice.
The Company requires all Representatives engaged in the sale of municipal fund
securities to be familiar with, and comply in all respects with, the MSRB rules
described in the aforementioned notice, including, but not limited to: Rule G-17
(customer protection); Rule G-19 (suitability); Rule G-21 (advertising); and Rule G30 (prices and commissions). The Company expects its RR’s to adhere to all
applicable sales practice guidelines, as summarized above in Section 15.4.1, above,
and in some cases elaborated upon in this section. The designated Principal, in his
or her review of municipal fund securities activities (in accordance with the
procedures described previously), must verify and attempt to ensure compliance
with these Rules and guidelines.
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Disclosure/Suitability. When offering 529 Plans to his or her customers, each
Representative must ensure the customer’s understanding of the varying Plans,
including either Prepaid Tuition Programs or Savings Plans. IRS code applies
many restrictions on these securities, including, among others: maximum
contribution, applicable gift taxes, qualifying beneficiaries, and penalties for
inappropriate use of distribution proceeds. In addition, states apply their own
restrictions and benefits, both tax and non-tax. Representatives are required to
provide informational material to their customers, intended to fully disclose the
various benefits and financial/tax consequences of an investment in these securities.
The MSRB has interpreted Rule G-17 to require a dealer, in connection with any
transaction in municipal securities, to disclose to its customer, at or prior to the sale
of the security, all material facts about the transactions known by the dealer. In
addition, all material facts about the security that are reasonably accessible to the
market must also be disclosed to the customer at this time. This duty applies to the
dealer regardless of whether or not they recommended the transaction to the
customer.
Since many states offer favorable tax treatment or other valuable benefits to their
residents in connection with investments in their own 529 college savings plan the
MSRB has determined that the following disclosures be provided to out-of-state
purchasers of these products. These disclosures are required to address the
following issues:
• Any favorable tax treatment or other benefits offered by a state for
investing in their 529 college savings plan may only be available to
residents of that state;
• Any state specific benefits offered with respect to a particular 529 college
savings plan should be one of many factors that should be considered in
making an investment decision; and
• The customer should consult with the home state and his or her financial,
tax, or other adviser to learn more about how certain state benefits
(including any limitations) would apply to their specific circumstances.
The out-of-state disclosure obligation may be met if:
• The disclosure appears in the program disclosure document
• The disclosure is incorporated with the program disclosure document in
such a manner that it is reasonably likely to be noted by an investor.
In addition to the general suitability guidelines expressed above in Section 15.4.1,
RR’s, when recommending transactions relating to a Section 529 college savings
plan, must remember that these securities are designed for a particular purpose and
that this purpose generally should match the customer’s investment objective. The
following, additional factors should be considered by RR’s recommending these
securities:
• The potential tax consequences to a customer whose investment objective
may not involve use of such funds for qualified higher education expenses;
• The relative tax advantages of investing in 529 plans in the customer’s state
of residence. These advantages must be understood and explained to the
customer; to recommend purchases of out-of-state 529 plans may
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•
•
•
•
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
disadvantage the customer. Disclosure of in-state tax and non-tax benefits
must be disclosed to customers purchasing out-of-state plans;
Information about the designated beneficiary relevant in weighing the
investment objectives of the customer, such as the age of the beneficiary
and the number of years until funds will be needed to pay qualified higher
education expenses of the beneficiary;
The fact that the person making the investment in a Section 529 college
savings plan retains significant control over the investment and is
considered the customer for purposes of MSRB rules, including assessing
suitability under Rule G-19;
The same municipal fund security of an issuer may be sold with different
commission structures (i.e., A shares with a front-end load; B shares with a
contingent deferred sales charge or back-end load; and C shares with an
annual asset-based charge)--a customer’s investment objective are a
significant factor in determining which share class would be suitable for the
particular customer; and
Recommending roll-overs from one Section 529 college savings plan to
another may result in the loss of federal tax benefit; roll-overs
recommended year after year not resulting in this tax disadvantage may be
viewed as churning.
Many Section 529 college savings plans are sold with different classes and
commission structures which may affect the overall performance and/or
suitability of the product.
Sales Material. For registered investment companies as well as other securities
representing investments in pools of securities, such as municipal fund securities,
any sales material prepared or used by the Company that refers to (1) the
performance of the investment company securities or investment company families
that underlie a municipal fund security, (2) the investment objectives or investment
strategies of such an investment company, (3) the experience or capabilities of the
investment advisor or portfolio manager of such an investment company, (4) the
potential benefits or risks associated with investing in such an investment company
and with any service provided to investors in the investment company, or (5) the
fees and expenses associated with investing in such an investment company, must
comply with Consolidated FINRA Rule 2210.
Municipal fund securities sales materials must comply with the general provisions
under MSRB Rules G-17 and G-21, as summarized in Section 15.4.1, above, as
well as the specific modifications to G-21 related specifically to municipal fund
securities. These modifications include specific requirements regarding the
calculation and display of performance data for municipal fund securities in a
manner consistent with Rule 482 adopted by the SEC’s Securities Act, in
connection with the advertisement of mutual fund performance. Supervisory
personnel should review MSRB Notice 2005-31 for specific information, in order to
ensure compliance. The nature of these changes to G-21 concerns required
disclosures accompanying advertisements, including:
• General disclosures;
• Historical performance data;
• Calculation and display of performance data;
• Disclosures accompanying performance data;
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•
•
•
•
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Nature of issue and security;
Capacity of dealer and other parties;
Tax consequences and other features;
Underlying registered securities;
In general, disclosures are required in the format required under SEA Rule 482. The
Company requires compliance with the review/approval and filing requirements
detailed in Section 11 to the extent they apply to municipal fund securities. The
designated Principal should ensure that these procedures are met prior to allowing
distribution of retail communications.
All such advertising and sales literature must have been filed with FINRA
Advertising Department within 10 days after its first use or publication by any
broker-dealer who has distributed material in connection with the offer for sale of
securities issued by such companies. Prior to use of any such advertising or sales
literature, the Company and its Registered Representatives shall ascertain by
inquiry addressed to the registered investment Company that this requirement has
been complied with and that such material is cleared for use. In addition, the
designated Principal must approve of the use of such materials by Company
representatives.
Supervision. Currently, supervision of sales activity in this area is conducted in
accordance with the Company’s Mutual Fund sales supervision guidelines, outlined
above. Because the investment characteristics of these securities are so similar to
securities of an investment company under the Investment Company Act,
solicitation of them calls for the same type of supervision applied to investment
company securities (while continuing to enforce applicable MSRB rules). Please
refer to the section above entitled “Mutual Funds” for a detailed description of the
supervisory oversight applicable to 529 Plans.
Transaction Reporting under G-14. While firms that only transact business in
529 Plans are not required to report transactions, the Company is required to report
that it is exempt from reporting generally required under Rule G-14. The designated
Principal shall ensure that he/she has reported the exemption and through the RTRS
system.
15.4.10 Submissions to SHORT System – Not Applicable
15.4.11 Municipal Advisory Business
The Company, prior to conducting activities that constitute municipal advisory
business under MSRB Rule D-13 (which defines ‘municipal advisory activities to
mean the activities described in Section 15B(e)(4)(i) and (ii)’ the Exchange Act),
will register with MSRB and SEC as required. Representatives of the Company
performing municipal advisory services on its behalf do not have to be registered
individually with MSRB at this time and there are no MSRB licensing requirements
that currently apply to personnel. As a municipal advisor, the Company is required
to comply with the following requirements, among other administrative rules not
mentioned here:
• Payment of fees and assessments (A-12 and A-13);
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Notification of change in status, name or address (A-15);
Maintain contact information (G-40); and
Fair dealing and disciplinary actions (G-17 and G-5).
Additionally, under the Dodd-Frank Act, both the Company and its associated
persons, when acting as municipal advisors to any municipal entity, have a federal
fiduciary obligation to that entity.
If the Company acts as financial advisor to issuers on a particular issue, it may not
act as underwriter for the same issue of securities, nor may it act as placement agent
or remarketing agent of such issue. Amended G-23 describes these prohibitions and
certain exceptions; the amendments take effect for new issues occurring after 1127-11. The Municipal Securities Principal should review Notices 2011-29 and -65
to understand and implement any and all applicable limitations.
Although the Company may be registered as a municipal advisor, its business
activities and the supervisory oversight applied to those activities are described
elsewhere in this Manual, under the applicable product section. For instance if the
Company offers private placement securities to a municipality (such as a public
pension fund) and, as such, is acting as a municipal advisor, its associated persons
and designated supervisory personnel must follow all compliance guidelines
included in the procedures herein relating to private placements. Also, certain other
registration requirements may result from the Company’s activities as municipal
advisor, for instance, in this example about private placement activity, the Company
would have to review SEC and MSRB rules to determine if it should be registered
as a broker-dealer with MSRB if it is not already. See Notice 2011-37. Any
licensing and registration requirements are overseen by the Licensing and
Registration principal.
The Company may wish to provide its customers with evidence of registration as a
municipal advisor. Both MSRB and the SEC provide online lists of registered
advisors (see Notice 2011-32 for links); the Company may also request a Certificate
of Current MSRB Registration to evidence its registration status. Notice 2011-45
details the process for obtaining such written verification.
Certain municipal advisor rules are currently in consideration; when the SEC and/or
the MSRB announces rule changes, the CCO will ensure that these procedures are
updated to address those rules.
15.4.12 Institutional Customers
When conducting business with institutional clients, all applicable procedures must
be followed; however certain Rules have specific requirements (or lack thereof) for
business done with sophisticated municipal market professionals (SMMPs).
MSRB’s Restated SMMP Notice addresses the Company’s obligations under Rule
G-17 (on fair dealing), Rule G-18 (on execution of transactions), Rule G-19 (on
suitability), and Rule G-13 (on quotations).
Definition. “SMMP” is defined as an institutional customer that:
(1) the Company has a reasonable basis to believe is capable of evaluating
investment risks and market value independently, both in general and with
regard to particular transactions in municipal securities, and
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(2) affirmatively indicates that it is exercising independent judgment in
evaluating the recommendations of the Company.
Institutional has the same meaning as in Consolidated FINRA Rule 4512 (see
“Institutional Suitability,” above) and therefore may include wealthy individuals.
As part of the reasonable basis analysis required by clause (1), the Company should
consider the amount and type of municipal securities owned or under management
by the institutional customer--a written statement from the customer would not
satisfy the Company’s reasonable basis obligation. The RR on the account should
record in account documentation his/her reasonable basis determination and
notation as to when and how the affirmation was received (orally or in writing). The
customer’s affirmation may be on a trade-by-trade basis, on a type-of-municipalsecurity basis (e.g., general obligation, revenue, variable rate, etc.), or for all
potential transactions for the customer’s account.
Suitability. Certain customer protection rules do not necessarily apply or they
contain exceptions, in the context of transactions with SMMPs. Rule G-19 requires,
for recommended transactions, both a reasonable-basis suitability analysis as well
as a customer-specific suitability analysis. The Rule makes clear that when the
Company has reasonable grounds for concluding that an institutional customer is an
SMMP (see above), the customer-specific suitability obligation is met. If there are
no records of an account meeting clauses (1) and (2), above, then a customerspecific suitability analysis will be expected in all recommended transactions with
SMMPs.
Event Disclosure. When the Company does a secondary market transaction—
recommended or non-recommended--with an SMMP, it does not have a Rule G-17
affirmative disclosure duty, as discussed above. However, in the case of an interdealer transaction with an SMMP, the Company’s intentional withholding of a
material fact about a security, when the information is not accessible through
established industry sources, may be considered a violation of Rule G-17.
Fair Pricing. Rule G-18 requires that, when executing a transaction in municipal
securities for or on behalf of a customer as agent, the Company make a reasonable
effort to obtain a price for the customer that is fair and reasonable in relation to
prevailing market conditions. When the Company effects a non-recommended
secondary market agency transaction with an SMMP, it is not required to take
further actions to ensure that the transaction is effected at a fair and reasonable
price, if its services have been explicitly limited to providing anonymity,
communication, order matching, and/or clearance functions and the Company does
not exercise discretion as to how or when a transaction is executed.
Quotations. As for Rule G-13 (bona fide quotations), if an SMMP makes a
“quotation” and it is labeled as such, then it is presumed not to be a quotation made
by the Company as disseminating dealer; rather, the Company is held to the same
standard as if it were disseminating a quotation made by another dealer. In either
case, the Company’s responsibility with respect to such quotation is reduced.
Under these circumstances, the Company as disseminating dealer must have no
reason to believe that either: (i) the quotation does not represent a bona fide bid for,
or offer of, municipal securities by the maker of the quotation or (ii) the price stated
in the quotation is not based on the best judgment of the maker of the quotation of
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the fair market value of the securities. If, however, the Company has reason to
believe that the quotation does not meet the bona fide or fair market value
requirement, it must take action. Indicators would include: complaints from
counterparties; a pattern of stale/invalid quotes; or a pattern of trades with prices
favorable to the SMMP and that depart materially from the market. Traders should
consult the Trade Desk Supervisor in such instances.
15.5
Options – Not Applicable
15.6
Fixed Income Securities
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Trade Desk Supervisor
Government Securities Principal: John Englert
Corporate Bonds Principal: CCO
Daily
Spot-check (indicate frequency)
Review of order tickets and trade blotters; Observation of traders’
and representatives’ activities’ Monthly account reviews for
suitability, excessive trading, etc.; Review of offerings materials
and advertising
Traders:
Ensure mark-ups and markdowns are within Company guidelines;
For mark-ups and markdowns that are outside guidelines, include a
written justification on the order record; Compliance reviews markups and markdowns that exceed Company guidelines; Compliance
with rules on confirmation requirements; Review order records for
written justification; Notify Trading Manager of missing
justifications and request correction of the deficiency; Confer with
Trading Manager regarding orders where justification does not
seem warranted; Review TRACE reporting when applicable.
Order records maintained by the Trading Dept.
Trading reports including initials of reviewer and review notes, if
any, maintained by Compliance
SEA Rules 10b-5, 10b-10, 14(e)(3), 15c3-1, 15c3-3(b) (3) and (4),
Notices 92-16, 95-48, 03-12, 03-22, 04-30, 04-39, 04-51; 05-28,
05-77, 06-01, 07-28, 08-42, 08-43, 08-57, 08-75, 09-24, 09-57, 1014, 10-23, 11-20, 11-53, 12-26, 12-29, 12-52, 12-56; NASD Rules
2330, Consolidated FINRA Rules 2010, 2020, 2111,2216, 5270,
5310 and 6700 series; IM-2440-2; SEC Release 34-54768.
The respective designated Principals of BCG shall ensure that all requirements related to
New Account Forms, suitability of investments, Registered Representative supervision,
confirmations, and other applicable and appropriate supervisory procedures as expressed
elsewhere in this Manual are met when selling these various fixed income instruments. For
a comprehensive description of the Company’s supervisory system, this section should be
read and understood in the context of the entire WSP Manual. Certain products have
characteristics of fixed-income products but are more complicated from a safety/return
perspective. See “Non-Conventional Investments, Including Structured Products and
Derivatives” for procedures on structured products, including Principal Protected Notes and
Reverse Convertibles.
15.6.1 Government Securities
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The Company may conduct sales of government securities, including treasuries and
agency securities. The Government Securities Principal is responsible for
managing and supervising the Company’s government securities business,
including trading and sales of government securities and the maintenance of records
relative to these activities.
In conducting its government securities business, the Company’s employees will
comply with all applicable requirements under the Government Securities Act
Amendments of 1993, sections 102 to 107 (relating to FINRA’s authority to apply
sales practice rules to transactions in government securities the risk assessment
rules outlined in Notice 95-48 (relating to recordkeeping and reporting designed to
provide warning of situations that can affect significantly the functioning of the
markets and investors in general), and the general sales practice guidelines
discussed below.
While certain municipal securities such as tax credit bonds (e.g., Build America
Bonds) may be sold by the Company’s ‘taxable’ desk, all personnel conducting
such business must follow the municipal securities rules and procedures, including
those on: uniform and fair practice, political contributions, automated clearance and
settlement, the payment of MSRB underwriting and transaction assessment fees,
professional qualifications of registered representatives and principals, supervision
and approval and books and records. See the relevant section herein for procedures.
15.6.2 Corporate Bonds
The Company conducts sales of the following types of corporate bonds: secured
bonds, unsecured bonds, high yield bonds, income bonds, guaranteed bonds, and
zero-coupon bonds. The Company will not conduct underwriting of corporate
securities.
The designated Principal of the Company shall ensure that all requirements related
to New Account Forms, suitability of investment, Registered Representative
supervision, and other applicable and appropriate supervisory procedures as
expressed below and elsewhere in this Manual are met when selling these various
corporate bond instruments. Please refer to the supervisory table at the beginning of
this Section.
Deserving special attention within this category of bonds are High Yield Bonds,
which may have speculative characteristics and carry a risk premium in the form of
a higher current yield. While investors often find the higher yield attractive, such
investments can present significant risks and therefore suitability is a key issue.
The Company, should it offer high yield bonds, will include in its training and
continuing education of registered employees the importance of ensuring that
customers (a) understand the special risks presented by high-yield bonds and (b)
possess the risk tolerance to justify such investments. In addition, the Company is
committed to ensuring that all supervisory personnel are aware of the issues
surrounding high-yield products and that appropriate customer account information
is recorded and used as a basis for any such recommendations.
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The designated Principal, in his review of customer files and transaction logs will
make efforts to detect inappropriate and unsuitable concentrations of high-yield
bonds (as well as any other potentially unsuitable transactions). He is required to
maintain appropriate records indicating the dates of any such reviews, notations as
to any findings and documentation of all appropriate remedial actions taken, where
necessary.
In principal transactions with customers the designated Principal shall review the
mark-ups to assure compliance with the “5% Mark-up Policy,” as referenced
specifically in IM-2440-1, and the additional mark-up policy for debt transactions,
as specifically referenced in IM-2440-2 (see below for details).
In addition, the Company may have reporting requirements under the “TRACE”
rules, discussed below.
15.6.3 MBS/CMOs – Not Applicable
15.6.4 Pricing
All Company representatives must comply with FINRA Rule 2010 on just and
equitable principles of trade. Traders are responsible for making a reasonable effort
to obtain a price for the customer that is fair and reasonable in relation to prevailing
market conditions. The designated Principal shall approve each transaction by
initialing either the purchase and sales blotter or order memorandum. If all orders
are not reviewed, then the designated Principal will conduct periodic spot checks of
order tickets to ensure proper preparation and compliance with pricing guidelines.
Mark-ups and Markdowns: The designated Principal is responsible for reviewing
the reasonableness of mark-ups and markdowns on customer trades. The basis for
determining the mark-up or mark-down for all debt securities, except municipals, is
presumed to be the Company’s contemporaneous cost or proceeds (based on the
prevailing market price).
Presumption of contemporaneous cost/proceeds as a basis may be overcome in the
case of the following events occurring after the contemporaneous transaction that
would effect the prevailing market price of the security:
•
•
•
Significant changes in interest rates;
Significant changes in credit quality ; or
News relating to the security.
If no contemporaneous trades exist and none of the events above has occurred, the
following hierarchy of pricing factors should be followed (in order of consideration)
to determine basis for the security:
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qualifying contemporaneous institutional account-dealer trades in the same
security; or
“qualifying” contemporaneous quotations.
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The broker-dealer must determine that the relevant pricing information does not
exist in each of the hierarchy pricing factors in their specified order before
proceeding to any consideration of the next factor. Absent any trading or
quotations in the same security, activity in “similar” securities may be considered.
Lastly, economic models may be considered when neither the above pricing
hierarchy nor trades in similar securities can be utilized to establish the prevailing
market price. Qualified Institutional Buyers are also exempt from these provisions
subject to certain limitations. The designated Principal should consult IM-2440-2
and Notice 07-28 for guidance in this area.
Once the basis of the security has been determined, relevant factors for
determining the amount of the mark-up/markdown may include:
• the expense involved in effecting the transaction, to the extent the expenses
are not excessive;
• total dollar amount of the transaction;
• availability of the security;
• price or yield of the security;
• maturity of the security;
• resulting yield to the customer, as compared to the yield on other securities
of comparable quality, maturity, coupon rate, and block size then available
in the market;
• nature of the firm’ business; and
• any other relevant facts at time of execution.
In the Company’s riskless principal transactions with customers, associated persons
must comply with the mark-up/markdown procedures in Section 10.1. Such
procedures are designed to ensure compliance with the “5% Mark-up Policy” and
other regulatory guidelines established in IM-2440-1 and IM-2440-2.
Commissions on Agency Transactions: The designated Principal is responsible
for reviewing the reasonableness of commissions on agency transactions. Relevant
factors in determining the reasonableness of commissions may include:
• the expense of executing and filing the customer’s order;
• the value of the services rendered by the Company;
• the amount of any other compensation received by the Company in connection
with the transaction;
• factors considered in principal transactions; and
• any other relevant factors at the time of execution.
A trader may not permit the charging of a mark-up or markdown in addition to a
commission on any transaction.
15.6.5
Sales and Trading Practices
Associated persons are required to understand and inform their customers about the
risks as well as the rewards of fixed-income products, including bonds and bond
funds, they recommend and offer. Personnel offering fixed income products must
meet the following sales practice obligations:
• Understanding the terms, conditions, risks, and rewards of bonds and bond
funds they sell (performing a reasonable-basis suitability analysis),
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including the following factors (in addition to tax consequences and other
features described in the prospectus). For bonds: the type, term, yield,
interest payment profile, call and redemption features, and underlying
collateral of the bond, as well as credit worthiness of the issuer and costs of
the transaction. For bond funds, the types of bonds the fund will purchase;
the general terms, conditions, and risks of such bonds; and the costs and
fees associated with purchasing and selling shares in the fund.
Making certain that a particular bond or bond fund is appropriate for a
particular customer before recommending it to that customer (performing a
customer-specific suitability analysis), as described in Section 7 of this
Manual. RR’s are reminded to not rely solely on a customer’s financial
status (net worth) as a determinant of suitability; and
Providing a balanced disclosure of the risks, costs, and rewards associated
with a particular bond or bond fund, especially when selling to retail
investors. Such disclosure should describe respective credit risk, interest
rate risk, inflation risk, commissions/mark-ups and downs (but not
necessarily the amount), fluctuation in net asset value and application of
ongoing fees and expenses (the latter two pertaining to bond funds).
The designated Principal is responsible for ensuring that RR’s have been adequately
trained prior to offering these securities (for instance, through CE training and
specific product education materials) and for supervising employees who sell bonds
and bond funds, in accordance with this Manual. In his or her daily reviews of sales
activity, the designated Principal must attempt to identify and thereafter prevent
violations of the above-named sales practices. RR’s unsure of a given product’s
investment features should consult the designated Principal for guidance prior to
discussing the product with customers.
Front Running: The Company and its associated persons must not trade a security
or a related financial instrument when they have material non-public market
information concerning an imminent block transaction in that security, a related
financial instrument or a security underlying the related financial instrument. The
prohibition lasts until the block transaction has been completed and the non-public
market information has become publicly available or has become stale or obsolete.
This front running policy, as described in detail in Consolidated FINRA Rule 5270,
applies to (where applicable):
• the Company's proprietary accounts,
• accounts in which the Company or its associated persons have an interest or
discretionary authority, and
• accounts of customer or affiliates of the company when the Company or an
associated person has shared material, non-public market information with
the customer or affiliate.
This front running policy applies to trading in the following:
• a broad range of related financial instruments, including any option,
derivative, security-based swap, or other financial instrument overlying a
security that is the subject of an imminent block transaction if the value of
the underlying security is materially related to, or otherwise acts as a
substitute for, such security, as well as any contract that is the functional
economic equivalent of a position in such security,
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the underlying security when the imminent block transaction involves a
related financial instrument, and
the same security or related financial instrument that is the subject of an
imminent block transaction.
The prohibition applies even if not all the terms of the imminent block transaction
are known; that is, if it is known that all the material terms of the transaction have
been or will be agreed upon imminently, then trading may not take place as
described.
Although this policy applies only in the context of imminent block transactions,
“trading ahead” and “front running” are activities that must be avoided. For
instance, “trading ahead” of an order that is not of block size may defy
Consolidated FINRA Rule 5320 and front running a “not held” order that is not of
block size may violate Consolidated FINRA Rule 2010. Likewise, although this
front running Rule does not apply to “exempted securities” as defined in Section
3(a)(12) of the SEA (e.g., government securities), actions similar to front running
conduct in the context of exempted securities may be construed as a violation of
Consolidated FINRA Rule 2010.
A facts and circumstances analysis is necessary to determine whether or not a
transaction is indeed a “block” transaction, since the number of shares (as in
equities) is not applicable. The effect of the imminent transaction on the market is
of importance and should be estimated in determining if these procedures will be
applied to any such transaction.
Information as to a block transaction is considered publicly available when it has
been disseminated via a last sale reporting system or high speed communications
line of one of those systems (including TRACE), a similar system of a national
securities exchange, an ATS, or by a third-party news wire service. In the absence
of disseminated information, the trading restriction would be lifted if the
information about the block trade is determined to be stale or obsolete based on
factors like the time that passed since the Company learned of the block transaction,
subsequent trading activity in the security, or a significant change in market
conditions.
There are exceptions to this policy: the following are categories of permitted
transactions:
• transactions that the Company can demonstrate are unrelated to the
customer block order (such as where information barriers are in place, when
customer had a prior order in the same security, to correct bona fide errors
or to offset odd-lot orders),
• transactions that are executed, in whole or in part, on a national securities
exchange and comply with the marketplace rules of that exchange, and
• transactions that are undertaken to fulfill or facilitate the execution of the
customer block order (including hedging or block positioning) IF:
o the Company minimizes any potential disadvantage or harm in the
execution of the customer's order, does not place its own financial
interests ahead of those of its customer, and obtains the customer's
consent to such trading activity. If used, negative consent letters
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must meet the criteria under Consolidated FINRA Rule 5270.04(b).
If traders provide, on an order-by-order basis, oral instead of
written disclosure of the terms and conditions for handling the
order, they must record who provided the consent and they must
believe the consent evidences the customer’s understanding of the
terms and conditions for handling the customer’s order.
The use of automated trading systems (e.g., “black boxes”) does not in and of itself
exempt the Company from compliance with the front running policy. Traders who
place block trades into such systems or know of such orders must then adhere to
front running prohibitions; those who have no knowledge of the order, due to the
presence of an information barrier or otherwise, could continue to trade in the
security or a related financial instrument.
Traders and related personnel must:
• Review information provided by the Trade Desk and/or its information
system in order to be aware of securities in which trading will be limited
under this policy;
• Adhere to all prohibitions until lifted;
• Consult their designated supervisors if they are unsure of whether or not a
front running trading restriction has been lifted;
• Abide by all established physical and electronic barriers denying access to
information on block transactions/orders; and
• Get prior approval before completing any transaction that appears to be a
block transaction, give its size and market conditions.
The Trade Desk Supervisor or other designed Principal is responsible for:
• Confirming that the Company’s trading system (or that of its clearing firm
or other OMS provider) accounts for and flags securities and related
instruments that are the subject of an imminent block transaction, as
described above;
• Monitoring compliance with and the integrity of all established physical
and/or electronic barriers designed prevent knowledge of block transactions
by traders;
• When reviewing trade activity, noting instances of block transactions that
did not receive prior review and approval and instances of apparent front
running, and investigating each case in order to take corrective action and
properly educate, and, if necessary, discipline the associated persons
involved.
15.6.6 Repurchase Agreements; Bonds Borrowed and Loaned
If the Company retains custody of securities that are the subject of a repurchase
agreement between the Company and the counter party, the designated Principal
will ensure that proper recordkeeping and other procedures are followed, in
accordance with SEA Rule 15c3-3(b)(4), as outlined in Sections 13 and 17, herein.
Additionally, if the Company borrows securities for the purpose of maintaining
required physical possession or control of all fully-paid and excess margin
securities carried for the accounts of customers, it will meet the requirements under
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Rule 15c3-3(b)(3) relating to a written agreement between borrower and lender.
The designated Principal will ensure compliance in his or her reviews of
transactions.
15.6.7 Prohibited Activities
In the course of conducting its fixed-income sales and trading, associated persons of
the Company are strictly prohibited from engaging in the following activities:
• Financial Arrangements: Traders are prohibited from entering into financial
arrangements with customers or issuers (i.e., sharing in profits or losses, sharing
in commissions, rebating commissions, etc.);
• Front Running: Company personnel may not trade a security or a related
financial instrument when they have material non-public market information
concerning an imminent block transaction in that security, a related financial
instrument or a security underlying the related financial instrument: see related
procedures, above;
• Market Manipulation: No purchase or sales order shall be entered that is
designed to raise or lower the price of a security or to give the appearance of
trading for purposes of inducing others to buy and sell;
• Trading Ahead of Research Reports. Company personnel may not establish,
increase or decrease an inventory position in a security based on non-public
advance knowledge of the content or timing of a research report in that security.
This restriction applies to any security, whether exchange-listed or not, and to
derivatives of the subject security. See the section on best execution, above;
• Self-Preferencing: Company personnel may not trade for the Company’s own
account ahead of a customer’s limit order or held market order at the same or
better price;
• Churning. Executing trades in a client’s account for the primary purpose of
generating commissions is forbidden. Unusual trading activity can be an
indicator of churning;
• Parking: No arrangement may be used to conceal the true ownership of
securities through a fictitious sale or transfer to another party or nominee who
agrees to later sell or transfer the securities to the true owner (or his agent) at an
agreed upon time at essentially the same terms. An example would be a person
engaged in an attempted takeover of a public company, who, to avoid reporting
requirements, arranges for another party to purchase securities on his behalf.
The second party agrees to later transfer or re-sell the securities to the person
attempting the takeover. With regard to corporate or government bonds, no
arrangement may be used to participate in non-bona fide sale and purchase of
bonds into an account for purposes of increasing net capital;
• Inter-positioning: If interposing a third party in a customer trade, the trader
must continue to pursue the best available market for the customer—see “Best
Execution and Related Rules”;
• Marking the Opening or Close: Entering orders at the opening or close of the
market for the purpose of affecting the price of securities is prohibited; and
• Adjusted Trading: Adjusted trading or “overtrading” is a prohibited practice
that involves the sale of a security by a customer for a price above the
prevailing market price and the simultaneous purchase of a different security at
a price lower than the prevailing market price. The purpose of an adjusted trade
usually is to assist a customer in avoiding, disguising or postponing losses.
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Other scenarios of adjusted trading include: (a) permitting a customer to sell a
security at an inflated price and re-selling the security to another customer at the
inflated price and (b) interpositioning the broker-dealer between two customers
where the broker-dealer acts as a conduit allowing the two customers to “swap”
losing positions by paying an inflated price for each other’s securities.
The designated Principal, in his or her daily review of transactions, will take note of
apparent violations of these guidelines and investigate them further. Disciplinary
action will be taken in the event violations have occurred.
15.6.8 Inside Information
Traders are prohibited from acting on, passing on, or discussing any inside
information regarding municipal issues, including confidential information
regarding advance refundings. Any knowledge of such information must be
brought to the attention of the designated Principal and Compliance Department.
No Company proprietary account or employee account may enter a transaction
based on material non-public information about the issuer of that security. See
Section 6.3 for detailed information on the Company’s related policies. Personnel
designated to comply with TRACE rules are encouraged to frequently visit
FINRA’s online announcements, notices and guidance in order to understand
changing obligations: see
http://www.finra.org/Industry/Compliance/MarketTransparency/TRACE/index.htm.
15.6.9 TRACE Reporting
The Company is required to report primary and secondary market transactions in
eligible fixed income securities to FINRA and subject certain transaction reports to
dissemination. The applicable Rules, referred to as the Trade Reporting and
Compliance Engine or "TRACE rules," are set forth in the Consolidated FINRA
Rule 6700 Series. The revised Rules require the reporting of pricing information on
nearly all publicly traded TRACE-Eligible Securities, including new issue
aftermarket transactions and debt securities that were not registered under the
Securities Act.
TRACE Rules provide the following:
• fixed income transactions that must be reported under the TRACE rules are
those primary and secondary market transactions involving a "TRACE-Eligible
Security," defined as:
• a debt security that is U.S. dollar-denominated and issued by a U.S. or
foreign private issuer, and a restricted security sold pursuant to
Securities Act Rule 144A (i.e., a resale of privately placed debt
securities) or
• an Agency Debt Security (U.S. dollar-denominated debt security issued
or guaranteed by an Agency or a Government-Sponsored Enterprise, as
defined in FINRA Rule 6710), EXCLUDING:
• a debt issued by a foreign sovereign, a U.S. Treasury Security,
or a money market instrument with an original maturity of one year
or less;
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asset-backed securities are reportable to TRACE. An “asset-backed security”
(ABS) means a security collateralized by any type of financial asset, such as a
loan, a lease, a mortgage, or a secured or unsecured receivable, and includes but
is not limited to an asset-backed security as defined in Section 3(a)(77)(A) of
the Exchange Act, a synthetic asset-backed security, and any residual tranche or
interest of any TRACE-Eligible debt security;
transactions in ABS executed on a business day at or after 12 am ET through 5
pm ET must be reported the same day during TRACE System Hours;
transactions executed after 5 pm are reported the next business day. See FINRA
Rule 6730(a)(3)(A) for related reporting requirements;
Note that Rule 6730(a)(3)(C) spells out the reporting requirements for certain
pre-issuance transactions in CMO’s and REMIC’s;
convertible debt and equity-linked notes that are not listed on a national
securities exchange must be reported to TRACE (those listed are reported to an
equity trade reporting facility), in addition to any other securities subject to
temporary or emergency orders and announced by FINRA to member firms;
the Company, when party to a transaction in a TRACE-Eligible Security, must
report certain information about the transaction to TRACE within 15 minutes of
the time of execution, including items such as size (volume) a the total par
value or principal value traded (instead of number of bonds) and total dollar
commission (rather than points per bond); settlement dates are now required
and the use of settlement modifiers is no longer required (see 6730(c) and (d)
for details); reported information differs for an amortizing ABS—for instance,
the Company must include the factor for every transaction in an ABS (except
TBA transactions) when it effects the transaction as agent and charges a
commission (see 6730(d)(2)(B) for details);
(non-ABS) transactions occurring less than 15 minutes before the market closes
(6:30:00) must be reported within 15 minutes of market opening the next day
(T+1) “as/of” date of execution; likewise, transactions occurring after market
closing must be reported during the first fifteen minutes when the market next
opens. The actual date of execution is used for transactions on Saturdays,
Sundays, holidays and any days that the TRACE system is not open;
transactions in ABS that are agency pass-through mortgage-backed securities
traded in TBA transactions (whether for good delivery or not for good
delivery)—including, as of 7-22-13, SBA-backed ABS and MBS specified pool
transactions--are reportable, subject to different reporting time frames as
described in 6730(a)(3)(D) – (F): reference the Rule and respective Notices for
specifics;
TRACE-Eligible Securities include primary market transactions meeting the
definition, above; however, certain of these, including List or Fixed Offering
Price Transactions and Takedown Transactions (all executed at a single price,
as defined in Consolidated FINRA Rule 6710), are subject to different reporting
requirements. These transactions may be reported on a T+1 basis (during
TRACE System Hours on the day after the transaction takes place).
re-submission of rejected transaction reports must be made within 15 minutes of
the transaction (identify, correct and resubmit within this time frame);
transactions TRACE-Eligible Securities are exempt from reporting if they are
listed on a national exchange, when such transactions are executed on and
reported to the exchange and the information is publicly disseminated; also
exempt are transactions resulting from the exercise or settlement of an option or
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a similar instrument, or the termination or settlement of a credit default swap,
other type of swap, or a similar instrument (see Consolidated FINRA 6730(e)
for all exemptions);
FINRA will disseminate transaction information on all publicly traded TRACEEligible Securities (but not on asset-backed securities except TBA transactions,
List or Fixed Offering Price Transactions and Takedown Transactions, BDrelated proprietary securities transfers, or those effected pursuant to Securities
Act Rule 144A); as of 7-22-13, disseminated information will include agency
pass-through MBS traded in specified pools and SBA-backed ABS that are
traded either in specified pools or TBA. See 6750(b) and Notice 12-56. FINRA
will also make historic TRACE Market Data available after it has aged 18
months;
during a pilot period ending October 25, 2013, trades in TRACE-Eligible
Securities conducted on a facility of, and reported to, the NYSE are exempt
from TRACE reporting. To qualify for the exemption, the transaction must be
reported to the NYSE pursuant to applicable NYSE trade reporting rules and
disseminated publicly by the NYSE. Transactions in TRACE eligible securities
executed on and reported to an exchange other than the NYSE will still qualify
for the exemption, subject to certain limitations as described in Consolidated
Rule 6730(e)(2);
dissemination in the securities transactions referenced above will occur
immediately after FINRA receives the reported information, per Consolidated
FINRA Rule 6750(a);
disseminated data elements include, among others, bond identifiers (FINRA
symbol and CUSIP); date/time for transactions and as/or trades and reversals;
price; yield; quantity; contra-party type and buy/sell indicator (only the sell
side for inter-dealer trades); and various modifiers/messages;
new issues of TRACE-Eligible Securities must be reported prior to the first
transaction (with exceptions) in writing to FINRA Operations by the managing
underwriter or if none, an underwriter (or if no underwriter, the initial lead
purchaser or, lastly, an initial purchaser) via new issue notification, which
contains all required reporting items (such as CUSIP or TRACE symbol and
time of pricing or first transaction, among others) pursuant to Consolidated
FINRA Rule 6760(b). Such information is used to determine when these new
securities will be subject to dissemination. Note that the Company is considered
a managing underwriter if it is a Securitizer (see definitions in Rule 6710) of an
asset-backed security;
if the Company has a TRACE reporting obligation but the security is not
included in the TRACE Issue Master, the Company must notify FINRA
immediately and provide the CUSIP or similar identifier (such as mortgage
pool number) and other information necessary for FINRA to update the TRACE
Issue Master. As much information as possible must be provided prior to
executing the first transaction in the offering if priced and commenced on the
same day; missing information must be provided within 15 minutes after the
first transaction. Finally, if the Company is not an underwriter or does not
otherwise have a trade reporting obligation, but is aware that a TRACE-Eligible
Security has not been included in the TRACE Issue Master, the Company
should promptly notify FINRA of the CUSIP and other information identifying
the security; and
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FINRA may suspend the reporting and/or dissemination of certain transactions
or data elements as market conditions warrant and in consultation with the SEC.
The designated Principal must ensure that transactions in all eligible securities, even
those covered by temporary orders, are reported by the Company.
Fixed-income trading personnel must be familiar with the TRACE rules and comply
with all applicable requirements. The Company’s clearing firm will conduct all
necessary TRACE reporting on behalf of the Company and is obligated to review
such reporting for compliance. The designated Principal will review trade reports
issued by the clearing firm in order to be satisfied that required TRACE reporting is
conducted. Monthly, the CCO will review trades in TRACE-eligible securities to
verify proper reporting. Records of such reviews will be maintained and any
problems discovered will be corrected.
15.6.10 Long-Term or Brokered CD’s
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
Designated Principal: CCO
Designated Branch Office Managers and Producing Managers’
Supervisors (see Section 3.2 and 3.5)
Upon new account opening; daily trade reviews.
How Documented:
Review of customer suitability forms; disclosure by Rep and
evidence of acknowledgement; review of correspondence and
notes to files; Review of trade activity records.
Notes to files (or disclosure document).
3010 Checklist:
Rules of Conduct, Notices 93-87, 02-28, 02-69
Comments:
CD products exist that are more complex and risky and are sometimes referred to as
"long-term" CDs. These CDs generally have a maturity of several years (in some
cases, 20 years) and sometimes carry a higher yield. However, they may also have
any number of additional features that affect the rate of return and degree of risk for
purchasers: for example, they may have variable interest rates, may be callable by
the issuing bank, sometimes trade in a secondary market, and are subject to
transaction costs not typically associated with a traditional CD. Importantly, these
long-term CDs carry market risk to their principal value, unlike traditional bank
CDs. While FDIC insurance protection applies to the owner of the brokered CD, it
is important that both the Company and the customer keep accurate records of the
ownership interest in the brokered CD.
Registered Reps unsure of the nature of a CD product should consult their
designated Principals prior to offering any such product to a customer, or agreeing
to complete an unsolicited trade in such products for a customer.
Depending on various factors, these CD products can, as a legal matter, be
securities.
The designated Principal is required to provide Registered
Representatives with details on the characteristics and risk factors (as described in
Notice 02-69) associated with long-term CD’s and to ensure that Registered Reps
are sufficiently knowledgeable prior to offering these products to customers. Prior
to closing a transaction in long-term CD’s, Registered Representatives are required,
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as always, to assess and confirm the suitability of such transactions. In addition, the
Representative must provide the customer with written materials describing the
characteristics and risks of purchasing brokered CDs (either made available by the
issuer or prepared by the Company). These materials must be subject to review by
the designated Principal to ensure their compliance with Consolidated FINRA Rule
2210 ("Communications With the Public"). Such material should be provided
sufficiently in advance of the transaction date in order to allow the customer time to
understand the terms, conditions and risks associated with the purchase. Details of
the following risk factors must be presented to the customer:

Loss of principal,

Secondary market limited,

Call features, and

“Step up” or “step down” rate features.
The Company must account for these CD products at fair market value on customer
account statements. The Company will disclose to customers that the value of
brokered CDs is estimated and that their actual value may differ if customers elect
to sell their brokered CDs in the secondary market. The pricing method used to
determine the market value of the brokered CDs will also be included. Should the
Company not make such disclosures on its customer statements, brokered CDs will
be reflected as unpriced.
Customer account statements will also include the following disclosures:

The secondary market for CDs is generally illiquid;

An accurate market value could not be determined by the Company;

The actual value of the CDs may be different from their purchase price; and

A significant loss of principal could result if brokered CDs are sold prior to
maturity.
The designated Principal, in his or her reviews of daily trade activity, will take note
of completed sales in long-term CD’s. Periodic reviews of customer account
documentation and correspondence will include a review of evidence of disclosure
of the characteristics and risk factors of these products. Perceived lack of disclosure
will result in further investigation by the designated Principal and possible
disciplinary action taken against the respective Registered Rep.
15.7
Limited Partnerships/Hedge Funds – Not Applicable
15.8
Security Futures – Not Applicable
15.9
Complex and Non-Conventional Investments, Including Structured Products
and Derivatives
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
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Designated Principal: CCO
(Also see Table in Section 2.4 for specific product supervisors)
Continuous; in the daily course of business; Spot reviews of NCI
transactions and customers
Due diligence oversight; Product review and approval for offering; ongoing reviews of products; Trade Reviews; Sales materials and
correspondence review; Confirmation of training
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How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Results of due diligence review; List of approved NCI’s and other
products; Initial/signature on account docs, trade tickets and sales
materials/correspondence; Records of training; Notes on non-compliance
and resulting disciplinary action, if any, in personnel files.
Notices 03-71, 05-18, 05-50, 05-59, 09-31, 09-53/65, 09-73, 10-09, 1051, 11-02, 12-03
See “TRACE Reporting” section for details on reporting requirements or
some NCI’s, such as asset-backed securities.
The Company conducts transactions with customers in certain investments that are
alternatives to conventional equity and fixed-income investments. These products are
“complex,” in that they present an additional risk to investors because their characteristics
add a further dimension to the investment decision process beyond the fundamentals of
market forces. Their complexity arises from qualities such as embedded derivative-like
features or a structure that produces different performance expectations according to price
movements of other financial products or indices. The intricacy of these products can impair
the ability of registered representatives or their customers to understand how the product
will perform in a variety of time periods and market environments, and may lead to
inappropriate recommendations and sales.
Examples of complex products offered by the Company include: index-linked notes, nontraded (unlisted) REITs, publicly-traded REITs, UITs, tenants-in-common (“TIC”) interests,
equity-linked notes, equity-indexed annuities, multi-callable step up notes, redeemable
secured notes, auction rate preferred securities, principal protected index-linked CDs,
structured products, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) (collectively referred to as nonconventional investments (NCIs) or complex products).
As with all products offered by the Company, RRs may not offer complex products to
customers before the Company has approved, in general, of such product offerings (see
below). Transactions in these products are subject to the supervisory procedures and
requirements (for instance, concerning account opening procedures and recordkeeping
obligations) contained throughout this Manual; in addition, the following procedures must
be understood and followed by personnel engaging in NCI business.
To follow are general procedural guidelines applicable to all complex products; later in this
section are specific considerations, if any, regarding respective types of securities offered.
15.9.1 Product Approval and Due Diligence
Only approved products may be offered to customers by RR’s. No unapproved
products must be offered or sold to customers. RR’s with questions about certain
products should consult their supervisor or the designated Principal named above
PRIOR to discussing any complex security with customers. See “New Products,”
above, for a description of the Company’s required new product approval process.
In addition to the general new product vetting process, the following questions
should be answered by designated compliance personnel prior to approving
complex products:
• For whom is this product intended? Is the product proposed for limited or
general retail distribution, and, if limited, how will it be controlled?
• Conversely, to whom should this product not be offered?
• What is the product’s investment objective and is that investment objective
reasonable in relation to the product’s characteristics? How does the product
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•
•
•
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•
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add to or improve the Company’s current offerings? Can less complex products
achieve the objectives of the product?
What assumptions underlie the product, and how sound are they? How is the
product expected to perform in a wide variety of market or economic scenarios?
What market or performance factors determine the investor’s return? Under
what scenarios would principal protection, enhanced yield, or other presumed
benefits not occur?
What are the risks for investors? If the product was designed mainly to generate
yield, does the yield justify the risks to principal?
How will the Company and registered representatives be compensated for
offering the product? Will the offering of the product create any conflicts of
interest between the customer and any part of the Company or its affiliates? If
so, how will those conflicts be addressed?
Does the product present any novel legal, tax, market, investment or credit
risks?
Does the product’s complexity impair understanding and transparency of the
product?
How does this complexity affect suitability considerations or the training
requirements associated with the product?
How liquid is the product? Is there an active secondary market for the product?
Other factors to consider:
• The creditworthiness of the issuer;
• The creditworthiness and value of any underlying collateral;
• Where applicable, the creditworthiness of the counterparties;
• Principal, return, and/or interest rate risks and the factors that determine
those risks (the risk/reward profile, including whether, for instance, with
regard to structured products, the potential yield may not be an appropriate
rate of return in relation to the volatility of the reference asset based upon
comparable or similar investments, in terms of structure, volatility, and risk
in the market as determined at the time the structured product is issued);
• All features, such as the payoff structure, the characteristics of the reference
asset, including its historic performance and volatility and its correlation
with specific asset classes, any interrelationship between multiple reference
assets, the likelihood that the complex product may be called by the issuer,
and the extent and limitations of any principal protection;
• The tax consequences of the product;
• The availability of volume discounts, when warranted (such as with REITs
and UITs)
• The costs and fees to the customers associated with purchasing and selling
the product.
Once a type of complex product is approved, the designated Principal and/or other
appointed personnel must perform appropriate due diligence on specific product
offerings to ensure an understanding of the nature of each product and its associated
potential risks and rewards (i.e., determine “reasonable basis suitability”). It is the
responsibility of the designated Principal to assign qualified personnel to conduct
due diligence and to supervise such personnel’s efforts.
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On-Going Product Review: The CCO will periodically review the status of the
Company’s complex products business. The following should be considered for
respective products:
• Has the product’s performance and risk profile changed in light of current
market conditions?
• Is the manner in which the Company is selling the product still consistent
with its profile?
• Are established product limitations and suitability requirements being met?
• How has the product performed since the Company began selling it? (And
are there multiple customer complaints relating to the product?)
• Is training taking place and does it appear to be effective in ensuring sound
product knowledge?
• Are only authorized RRs recommending the product?
The designated Principal will document his/her reviews and take action to revise the
Company’s procedures if changes are deemed necessary for customer protection. If
certain complex products appear to be no longer appropriate for customers, the
designated Principal will remove them from the approved product list and
communicate this change to all interested parties (RRs and their supervisors).
15.9.2 Customer Suitability and Fair Dealing
RRs must be convinced the products are suitable for offering by consulting the list
of approved NCI products, established and maintained by the designated Principal.
Prior to offering any NCI to a customer, whether retail or institutional, RRs must
understand the investment products offered. The features and risks of each NCI
must be understood by RR’s prior to recommending them to customers—and must
be conveyed to retail customers in all such transactions (note: for institutional
customer, who do not have familiarity with the products, a suitability obligation
exists and this information must be provided—see the Suitability section, herein).
As described in the Suitability section, suitability must be determined on an
investor-by-investor basis, with reference to the specific facts and circumstances of
each investor. To this end, RRs must analyze a customer’s investment profile prior
to making recommendations in complex products. RR’s must be aware that
financial status alone is not sufficient to determine suitability. Given the complexity
of certain NCI’s, all relevant factors must be weighed before recommendations are
made—with particular attention to investment experience and risk tolerance. For
instance, structured products may have very different risk-reward profiles than their
reference assets. Where an instrument is structured such that there is a risk of
losing all or a substantial portion of the principal in return for above-market rate
current income, the volatility of the reference asset upon which total return of the
investment depends will be an important factor in determining whether it is suitable
for a customer. RR’s are strongly encouraged to record notes on the specific
considerations assessed in customer transactions of this sort—this will assist in
establishing the suitability of each transaction.
RRs are encouraged to consider whether there is another, less costly or complex
product that would achieve the customer’s objectives. For instance, by comparing a
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structured product with embedded options to the same strategy through multiple
financial instruments on the open market, a RR may discover a simpler way of
meeting the customer’s needs.
The Company has the following requirements for customer purchases of complex
products:
• RRs have a reasonable basis for believing, at the time of making the
Recommendation, that the customer has such knowledge and experience in
financial matters that he may reasonably be expected to be capable of
evaluating the risks of the recommended transaction, and is financially able to
bear the risks of the recommended position in the complex product.
• RRs must have a conversation with their retail customers prior to each purchase
of a different complex product, explaining the features of the product, how it is
expected to perform under different market conditions, the risks and the
possible benefits, the costs of the product and scenarios in which the product
may perform poorly. RRs should consider whether, after this discussion, the
retail customer seems to understand the basic features of the product, such as
the fundamental payout structure and the nature of underlying collateral or a
reference index or asset.
• Supervisory pre-review of all customer transactions by the John Englert,
Director of Operations.
The designated Principal, in his or her periodic review of NCI business, will ensure
compliance with these procedures and will attempt to confirm that a suitability
analysis has been conducted when required; findings to the contrary will be
investigated and disciplinary action may result.
Representatives and supervisors are expected to heed Consolidated FINRA Rule
2111.01 (general principles of fair dealing) when making recommendations or
accepting orders for new financial products.
15.9.3 Promotional Materials
Due to the complexity of NCI products, it is imperative that customers be presented
with enough informational material to understand the products and to determine if
such investments are desirable. All materials provided to the public (including,
among others, preliminary prospectuses where securities are part of a shelf
distribution) must conform to applicable FINRA and SEC standards, as summarized
in related sections of this Manual. Supplementary sales materials should be no less
accurate, fair and balanced than the original materials.
When describing NCI’s specifically, materials must not claim that certain NCI
products, such as asset-backed securities, distressed debt, derivative contracts, or
other products, offer protection against declining markets or protection of invested
capital unless these statements are fair and accurate. All sales materials and oral
presentations regarding NCI’s, and structured products in particular, must present a
fair and balanced picture regarding both the risks and benefits. For example,
marketing materials should not portray structured products as “conservative” or a
source of “predictable current income” unless such statements are accurate, fair, and
balanced. In addition, Consolidated FINRA Rule 2210 prohibits exaggerated
statements and the omission of any material fact or qualification that would cause a
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communication to be misleading. When promoting the advantages of NCI’s,
associated persons must balance promotional materials with disclosures of the
corresponding risks and limitations of the product (see " Product Approval and Due
Diligence,” above). All communications used in offering NCI’s must be subject to
applicable review and approval procedures outlined above in “Communications
with the Public.” All offering materials provided by issuers must be reviewed by
the designated Principal prior to their distribution.
15.9.4 Registration and Training
All personnel who wish to offer NCI’s must be properly registered. Because of the
varying characteristics of these different products, certain registration requirements
may be applicable. All RR’s are required to inquire with the Licensing and
Registration Principal about their respective qualifications prior to offering or
transacting in NCI’s. The designated Principal in his or her review of RR activity
must be assured of adequate RR licensing.
Appointed personnel must train associated persons about the characteristics of and
risks associated with particular NCI’s before associated persons are permitted to
offer such products or supervise such business. Training must include factors to
consider in determining whether investments are suitable or unsuitable to certain
investors. Personnel may make use of some or all of the following training
materials: educational pamphlets, videos, lectures, explanatory memoranda, FINRA
Notices on specific products, and Web-based seminars. The Company may include
NCI’s as part of its Firm Element Continuing Education Program. The designated
Principal must ensure implementation of employee training.
15.9.5 Specific Product Considerations
TIC Interests.
Because TIC (Tenants-in-Common) interests are deemed investment contracts by
federal securities regulators, they are securities and the Company must follow all
related FINRA Rules governing securities transactions. Even if not considered a
security under the Company’s state securities laws, these interests must be treated
as securities under federal securities laws. TIC exchanges—where real property is
sold and a TIC interest is purchased for the purpose of delaying capital gains
taxes—are complicated and require due diligence and product knowledge. To
follow are guidelines that should be followed by RR’s and their supervisors when
recommending TIC exchanges or TIC purchases.
Due Diligence: In the case of TIC exchanges, the designated Principal should
obtain a “clean” legal opinion that a TIC “should” or “will” qualify for exchange
under Section 1031. If no such legal opinion is required, the designated Principal
must attempt to ascertain the specific tax status risks of the TIC exchange and
inform investors of the risks involved.
Sales/Suitability: When recommending TIC exchanges, Representatives must
consider the following when determining the suitability of prospective buyers:
• The risks from over-concentration against the benefits of tax deferral and
the investment potential of the underlying real estate asset(s);
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Whether the fees and expenses associated with TIC transactions outweigh
the potential tax benefits to the customer;
The fact that TIC transactions in many cases may not provide complete taxfree exchanges for investors (e.g., in situations where the investor’s debt
ratio on the replacement property decreases, the difference may result in a
taxable event for the investor);
The illiquidity of these products; and
The effect of fees on each TIC exchange.
By analyzing these factors in respect of each prospective purchaser’s
financial/investor profile, the Representative and designated Principal will be able
to determine if a recommendation is warranted; absent such comfort no RR must
recommend these types of investments and no designated Principal must approve
them.
Documentation: The standard account documents required by the Company must
be completed and/or provided to investors in TIC interests.
Promotional Materials/Marketing: If TIC interests are sold by the Company via
private placement, the Company and its Representatives must not offer or sell such
interests via general solicitation or general advertising, including communications
published in any newspaper or similar media or any seminar or meeting whose
attendees have been invited by any general solicitation or advertising. The
designated Principal and/or the designated advertising review Principal must review
advertising and live presentation materials to ensure compliance with this
restriction, as well as compliance with all communications rules and procedures—
see Section 11.
Referral Fees: The CCO or Compliance Department must ensure that neither the
Company nor its RR’s pay referral fees or otherwise share transaction-based
compensation from TIC transactions with persons that would be deemed to be
unregistered broker-dealers (for instance, non-FINRA member real estate agents).
Training: RR’s and supervisory personnel involved in TIC transactions must
familiarize themselves with Notice 05-18, in which FINRA provides meaningful
guidelines and interpretation related to TIC interests and exchanges.
REITs.
Due Diligence: Prior to offering a REIT, the designated Principal shall have
reasonable grounds to believe, based on information provided by the sponsor
through a prospectus or other materials that all material facts are adequately and
accurately disclosed and provide a basis for evaluating the program. Further, the
Company shall make a reasonable effort to determine that the organization and
offering expenses in connection with the distribution of the public offering, as
defined in Consolidated FINRA Rule 2310(b)(4)(C), are fair and reasonable and
will not participate in any offering where these expenses are found to be unfair or
unreasonable.
In determining whether organizational and offering expenses are fair and
reasonable, the designated Principal shall review the information set forth in Rule
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2810(b)(4)(B) and shall document his findings in the due diligence file of the
offering.
Sales/Suitability: Both public and non-traded REITs are typically sold on an
application-way basis (‘check and application’). Customers may also purchase these
securities in brokerage accounts. Supervision of such securities sales will be
conducted by the designated Principal, above. With regard to both publicly traded
and non-traded REITs, prospective buyers must meet the State’s minimum
suitability standards, if outlined in each respective product offering document
(prospectus).
The Company also imposes the following restrictions on purchasers of non-traded
REITs:
Maximum percentage of net worth invested in one REIT: 10%; and
Maximum percentage of net worth invested in any one asset sector: 20%.
Volume Discounts: Volume discounts must be applied when available. Procedures
relating to Breakpoint Sales under the Mutual Funds section, above, must be
followed in the context of these securities, including supervisory review to ensure
volume discounts;
Valuation Reporting: The designated Principal shall ascertain the Company’s
reporting requirements, if any, in order to assure compliance with Rule 2340 (re:
general securities members must provide valuations of REIT securities provided on
customer statements in some circumstances).
Documentation: In addition to the standard account documents, the following must
be completed by and/or provided to investors in REITs: Alternative Investment
Disclosure Form.
Note that REITs are excluded from the definition of “new issue” under
Consolidated FINRA Rule 5130, which describes restrictions on offerings of new
issues.
UITs.
Due Diligence: UITs are different from open-end mutual funds. The specific
characteristics of Company-approved UITs must be reviewed by RR’s and their
supervisors. Typical risks associated with UITs include market risk, inflation risk
and credit risk. RR’s must review these risks are described in the product
prospectuses and must ensure that customers understand the associated risks
Sales/Suitability: UITs are sold in brokerage accounts; fund applications are not
used. Certain minimum purchase amounts may be required—the respective product
prospectus would describe the minimum, if any. RR’s and their supervisors must
adhere to these restrictions. Secondary market transactions may take place in the
customers’ brokerage accounts.
Volume Discounts: Volume discounts must be applied when available. Procedures
relating to Breakpoint Sales under the Mutual Funds section, above, must be
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followed in the context of these securities, including supervisory review to ensure
volume discounts;
Documentation: The standard account documents required by the Company must
be completed and/or provided to investors in UITs.
Structured Products.
Structured products are securities derived from or based on a single security, a
basket of securities, an index, a commodity, a debt issuance and/or a foreign
currency. Some structured products offer full protection of the principal invested,
whereas others offer limited or no protection of the principal. Most structured
products pay an interest or coupon rate substantially above the prevailing market
rate. Structured products also frequently cap or limit the upside participation in the
reference asset, particularly if some principal protection is offered or if the security
pays an above-market rate of interest.
Structured products, which are typically issued by investment banks or their
affiliates, have a fixed maturity. Some, but not all, structured products may be listed
on a national securities exchange. Moreover, even those structured products listed
on a national securities exchange may be very thinly traded. Structured products
typically have two components—a note and a derivative (often an option). The note
pays interest to the investor at a specified rate and interval. The derivative
component establishes the payment at maturity. In some products, the derivative is,
in effect, a put option sold by the investor that gives the issuer the right, but not the
obligation, to sell the investor the reference security or securities at a predetermined
price. In other products, the derivative is, in effect, a call option sold by the investor
that gives the issuer the right, but not the obligation, to buy from the investor the
reference security or securities at a predetermined price. “Principal protected notes”
(PPN) are a type of structured products that typically combine a zero-coupon bond
with a derivative product whose payoff is linked to an underlying asset such as an
equities index or basket of indices. Despite the derivative component of a structured
product, they are often marketed to investors as debt securities—this practice is
prohibited.
Supervisors training Representatives as required herein should consult Notice 09-73
for training priorities. Reps are encouraged to review this Notice for useful
information on product considerations and risks.
Eligible Accounts: Because of the complex risk profile of many structured
products, it is imperative that Representatives and their supervisors find investors
suitable prior to allowing them to transact in structured products. In general,
accounts transacting in structured products should meet the suitability requirements
for options trading; however, this is not a hardline requirement. Representatives and
their supervisors should be prepared to demonstrate the basis for allowing investors
with accounts not approved for trading options to purchase structured products.
Sales of structured products to discretionary accounts are prohibited by the
Company.
Suitability: The derivative component of structured products and the potential loss
of the principal for many such products may make them unsuitable for investors
seeking alternatives to debt securities. While many structured products pay interest
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like debt securities, they often exhibit very different profit and loss potential. The
profit and loss potential of many structured products is more akin to an option
contract, particularly those where principal invested is at risk from market
movements in the reference security. Representatives must not make any
generalized conclusions about the “relative” suitability of a structured product and
an investment in the reference asset, because suitability of an investment in the
reference asset may not imply suitability of an investment in a related structured
product. Conversely, RR’s should not assume that if an investment in the structured
product is suitable, then so too is an investment in the reference asset. As with all
products, customer-specific suitability must be assessed.
Specifically for PPN’s, certain considerations must be explored in a suitability
analysis:
• The creditworthiness of the guarantor in products offering full or partial
principal protection,
• The nature and terms of the principal guarantee,
• The investment’s pay-out structure,
• For investments designed to be held until maturity or involving
significant lock-up periods, the likelihood that the customer will need to
access their money before the maturity date arrives or the lock-up
period expires,
• The call risk associated with any callable notes,
• Potential tax consequences (i.e., tax liabilities for the zero-coupon bond
component if the account is not held in a tax-deferred retirement
account),
• Fees and hidden costs, and
• The sacrifice of higher yield to obtain a principal guarantee (with no
inflation protection).
Sales Material/Disclosure: The general standards outlined above in this section for
disclosure of investment characteristics and related risks apply to structured
products. RR’s are required to provide investors with available sales material,
which may include a preliminary or final prospectus and supplemental information.
Sales material must include required disclosures: it is not acceptable to rely solely
on prospectus disclosures, even if the prospectus is delivered simultaneously.
Sales materials and oral presentations must not omit a description of the derivative
component of the product (and instead present such products as ordinary debt
securities). It is imperative that all sales materials and oral presentations regarding
structured products present a fair and balanced picture regarding both the risks and
benefits. For example:
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Structured products should not be portrayed as “conservative” or a source
of “predictable current income” unless such statements are accurate, fair,
and balanced. Likewise, characterizing PPN’s with terms like “principal
protection,” “capital guarantee,” “absolute return,” or “minimum return”
without also providing information on the risks of these products is
prohibited.
Presentation of a credit rating for a structured product that suggests that the
rating pertains to the safety of the principal invested or the likely
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investment returns will be viewed as misleading. The Company, in
presenting a credit rating, must address the fact that the creditworthiness of
the issuer does not affect or enhance the likely performance of the
investment other than the ability of the issuer to meet its obligations.
Advantages of structured products, such as the interest rate offered and the
creditworthiness of the issuer, must be combined with disclosures of the
attendant risks, which may include:
o loss of principal,
o the possibility that at expiration the investor will own the reference
asset at a depressed price,
o the risk that an active and liquid trading market may not develop.
In the case of products offering principal protection, such as PPN’s,
promotional materials should also address the following, where applicable:
o the level of principal protection offered,
o the credit-worthiness of the guarantor,
o the potential returns and pay-out structure (including any limits on
upside potential),
o the investor’s ability to access funds pending maturity date or the
expiration of a lock-up period, and
o any costs or fees that might affect the return of principal.
The Principal designated to review and approve sales materials must ensure that
sales materials and oral presentations comply with these specific guidelines in
addition to general guidelines under Consolidated FINRA Rule 2210.
Rule 4420(g) which relates to Selected Equity-Linked Debt Securities (SEEDS). If
transacting in these securities, the designated Principal should review this rule and
must receive and distribute guidance regarding the Company’s compliance
responsibilities (including suitability recommendations and account approval) prior
to permitting transactions in SEEDS (and possibly other derivative securities).
Equity-Indexed Annuities.
Equity-indexed annuities (EIAs) are financial instruments in which the issuer,
usually an insurance company, guarantees a stated interest rate and some protection
from loss of principal, and provides an opportunity to earn additional interest based
on the performance of a securities market index. Additional features of EIAs are
described in Notice 05-50: sales and supervisory personnel are encouraged to
review this Notice. Some EIAs are not registered under the Securities Act of 1933
based on a determination that they are insurance products that fall within that
statute’s Section 3(a)(8) exemption and therefore are not considered to be securities;
other EIAs are securities registered for public sale with the SEC.
Registered EIAs. When offering registered equity-indexed annuities, Company
personnel are required to adhere to all applicable procedures and guidance
contained in this Manual, including those concerning suitability, sales material,
supervisory oversight and order documentation. In general, many of the procedures
described in the Variable Annuities Section, above, apply to sales of registered
EIAs. In addition, personnel are required to adhere to the general and specific
standards in this NCI section.
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Unregistered EIAs. The Company, itself, does not offer unregistered EIAs as
investments to its customers. The Company views unregistered EIAs as insurance
products and not as ‘securities.’ Therefore, if RR’s transact in these products
outside the Company, they are doing so as an “outside business activity” as defined
in Consolidated FINRA Rule 3270. Please see the “FIRM POLICY on Outside
Business Activities and Private Securities Transactions (“Selling Away”)” section,
above, for specifics. In general, registered personnel are required to provide prompt
written notice to the Company of their outside business activities. The Company
does not intend to supervise these activities as securities transactions (as would be
required under Rule 3040). However, in the event a RR recommends that a
customer liquidate or surrender a registered security such as a mutual fund, variable
annuity, or variable life product for the purpose of funding the purchase of an
unregistered EIA, the EIA must be treated as a security from a supervisory and
regulatory perspective. The Company strictly prohibits RR’s from recommending
such switches and will impose disciplinary action if such switch recommendations
are discovered.
While the Company, itself, does not offer unregistered EIAs as investments to its
customers, it may permit some RR’s to offer these exempt insurance products away
from the firm.
Exchange-Traded Funds.
The Company may recommend exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that offer leverage or
that are designed to perform inversely to the index or benchmark they track—or
both. ETFs are typically registered UITs or open-end investment companies; some
ETFs that invest in commodities, currencies, or commodity- or currency-based
instruments are not registered as investment companies. Investors often consider
ETFs as a way for to profit from, or at least hedge their exposure to, downward
moving markets. Some funds are both short and leveraged, meaning that they seek
to achieve a return that is a multiple of the inverse performance of the underlying
index. The products are useful in sophisticated trading strategies that have shortterm objectives generally pursued on a daily basis. Due to the effects of
compounding, their performance over longer periods of time can differ significantly
from their stated daily objective. RR’s must understand that inverse and leveraged
ETFs that are reset daily typically are unsuitable for retail investors who plan to
hold them for longer than one trading session, particularly in volatile markets.
When recommending ETFs, Representatives are required to adhere to all applicable
procedures and guidance contained in this Manual, specifically those described in
this Section, above, concerning due diligence, suitability, sales material, supervisory
oversight and product knowledge. When complying with these standards, personnel
should consider the following:
Product suitability: For leveraged and inverse ETFs, registered personnel must
understand the terms and features of the funds, including:
• how they are designed to perform,
• how they achieve that objective,
• The impact on their performance of: market volatility, use of leverage,
and the customer’s intended holding period.
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Customer suitability: RR’s must comply with the suitability determination
procedures included in this Manual, including understanding each customer’s
respective financial situation, trading experience, and ability to meet the risks
involved with these products. For ETFs, the customer’s intended holding period is a
factor that must be known and considered. Inverse and leveraged ETFs typically are
not suitable for retail investors who plan to hold them for more than one trading
session, particularly in volatile markets.
Customers must be held to margin requirements as outlined in Consolidated FINRA
Rule 4210 and Notices 09-53/65; these requirements will change depending on the
nature of the account in which leveraged ETFs and associated uncovered options
are traded (e.g., strategy-based account, portfolio margin account or day trading
account). The Company may establish additional margin requirements for this type
of trading if deemed prudent.
As with all securities products, including all non-conventional or derivate products,
all sales materials and oral presentations used by the Company regarding leveraged
and inverse ETFs must present a fair and balanced picture of both the risks and
benefits of the funds, and may not omit any material fact or qualification that would
cause such a communication to be misleading. Sales materials and oral
presentations describing a leveraged or inverse ETF that is designed to achieve its
investment objective on a daily basis may not omit that fact and must specifically
disclose that the fund is not designed to, and will not necessarily, track the
underlying index or benchmark over a longer period of time.
The Principal designed in the table above or in the table in Section 2.4 is
responsible for ensuring compliance with these procedures. He or she will also
ensure that Representatives offering such investments are trained about the terms,
features and risks of all ETFs that they sell, as well as the factors that would make
such products either suitable or unsuitable for certain investors. In the case of
leveraged and inverse ETFs, that training should emphasize the need to understand
and consider the risks associated with such products, including the investor’s time
horizons, and the impact of time and volatility on the fund’s performance. Training
for all persons should emphasize that, due to the complexity and structure of these
funds, they may not perform over time in direct or inverse correlation to their
underlying index. Training may be provided upon product approval by the
Company and as a part of on-going C/E compliance; records will be kept as is
required for all training records.
Reverse Convertibles. When recommending reverse convertible securities,
Representatives are required to adhere to all applicable procedures and guidance
contained in this Manual, specifically those described in this Section, above, as well
as those described immediately below. The designated Principal will ensure
compliance with these procedures via his or her normal oversight/documentation
procedures.
Product Description: A reverse convertible is a structured product that typically
consists of a high-yield, short-term note of the issuer that is linked to the
performance of an unrelated reference asset, usually common stock, a basket of
stocks, an index or another instrument. To follow are other characteristics of these
securities:
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The initial investment for most reverse convertibles is $1,000 per security,
and most have maturity dates ranging from three months to one year.
The coupon rate on the note component of a reverse convertible is usually
higher than the yield on a conventional debt instrument of the issuer with a
similar maturity, or of an issuer with a comparable debt rating.
Some reverse convertibles have annualized coupon rates of 30% or more.
The higher yield reflects the risk that, instead of a full return of principal at
maturity, the investor could receive less than a full return of principal if the
value of the reference asset has fallen below a certain level, often referred
to as the “knock-in” or “barrier” level.
Depending on the underlying asset, the investor could receive a
predetermined number of shares of common stock (or cash equivalent),
which would amount to less than the investor’s original investment.
Each reverse convertible has its own terms and conditions, but, generally, if
the price of the reference asset remains above the knock-in level throughout
the life of the note, the investor will receive a full return of principal.
In some cases, the investor will also receive a full return of principal if the
price of the reference asset ends above the knock-in level at maturity, even
if it has fallen below it during the term of the investment; in other cases,
any breach of the knock-in level will trigger repayment of less than the
original principal (e.g., in shares of stock).
The investor typically will not participate in any appreciation in the value of
the reference asset during the life of the note: in effect, the investor in the
reverse convertible is selling the issuer a put option on the reference asset in
exchange for an above-market coupon during the life of the note.
In general, the higher the coupon rate, the higher the expected volatility of
the reference asset, which in turn means a greater likelihood that the knockin price will be breached and the investor will receive less than a full return
of principal at maturity.
Because the note component of a reverse convertible is an unsecured debt
obligation of the issuer, the payment of the coupon is subject to the credit
risk of the issuer. While the note component carries the issuer’s rating, that
rating does not reflect the product’s market risk, including the risk that the
price of the reference asset will fall below the knock-in level.
Some reverse convertibles have call provisions that give the issuer the
option to require redemption of the investment before maturity.
There may be complex tax implications associated with reverse
convertibles, with tax treatment depending on whether the investor receives
a return of principal or stock at maturity.
Reverse convertibles can have complex pay-out structures involving multiple
variables that can make it difficult for registered representatives and their customers
to accurately assess their risks, costs and potential benefits. Notice 10-09 provides
graphic examples of the various possibilities for payout scenarios of reverse
convertibles: RR’s should reference that publication as well as other detailed
information on these securities prior to engaging in these product sales.
Sales Practices: Before recommending a reverse convertible to a retail customer,
RR’s should discuss the product with the customer to ensure that the customer
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makes an informed decision about the potential purchase. The registered
representative and retail customer should discuss such matters as the following:
• How the product works, including its payout structure, relevant information
about the reference asset and, if applicable, that the investor will not
participate in any appreciation in the value of the reference asset;
• The fact that the principal value of the investment is not guaranteed and the
customer might suffer a loss on the investment;
• The ability of an investor to sell the product prior to maturity, and the
potential sales price, may depend on the willingness of the issuer or another
party to maintain a secondary market; and
• If applicable, the fact that the firm has published its own research reports
regarding the reference asset, the content of that research and how the
research is or is not relevant to a recommendation to purchase or sell the
reverse convertible.
Communications: As with all communications, the Company’s materials used to
promote reverse convertibles must be fair and balanced and may not make false,
exaggerated, unwarranted or misleading statements or claims. Communications
with the public should disclose the product and liquidity information noted above to
the extent reasonably necessary to balance any discussion of the benefits and
advantages of such securities. In addition:
• Risk disclosures are necessary but do not cure otherwise deficient
disclosure in sales material, even if that sales material is accompanied or
preceded by the prospectus or prospectus supplement.
• Neither the Company nor its RRs may suggest that reverse convertibles are
ordinary debt securities.
• If the Company or a RR refers to the product’s credit rating, they may not
suggest that the rating has any bearing on the expected performance of the
reference asset, nor may they exaggerate the probability that the investor
will receive a full return of principal.
• Annualized yield or coupon information for reverse convertibles must not
be presented in a misleading manner: for example, a 10% per annum
coupon provides an actual return of roughly 2.5% (based on a 360-day
year) over a three-month term.
• For products that mature in less than a year, the Company must balance any
communication that promotes or touts annualized yield with prominent
disclosure of the actual percentage return and the term of the note.
Suitability: When recommending reverse convertibles, Representatives are
required to adhere to all applicable suitability procedures and guidance contained in
this Manual, including those described in this Section, above, and those specific to
these securities, as follows:
Product suitability: To assess the general suitability of a reverse convertible for at
least some investors, the Company’s RR’s must carefully review and understand the
risks, costs, terms and conditions of the product. The following terms and features
must be fully understood for each unique reverse convertible recommended:
• Payout structure
• Call features
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The conditions under which the investor would and would not receive a full
return of principal
The volatility of the reference asset
The product's credit, market and other risks.
Customer suitability: As always, RR’s making recommendations to specific
customers must attempt to understand each customer’s respective financial status,
tax status, investment objectives and other useful information. Other considerations
specific to reverse convertibles include:
• The potential volatility of the reference asset, the risk that the investor may
receive less than the value of the principal upon maturity, and other risks
and costs associated with the product: depending upon the terms of a
specific reverse convertible, even an above market coupon rate may not be
reasonable given the risks and costs associated with the product for a
particular customer.
• The equity position that would result should the customer receive shares in
the reference asset instead of a return of principal, and whether that position
would be suitable for the customer.
• The possibility that reverse convertibles are a new product for the specific
investor, requiring the RR to attempt to discern the customer’s trading
experience and ability to meet the risks involved with such products, and to
make every effort to educate customers on the characteristics of these
products.
Eligible Accounts:
Representatives are prohibited from selling reverse
convertibles to customers who have not been approved to open options accounts or
do not meet the suitability requirements for options trading. This limitation stems
from the put option component of reverse convertibles. Exceptions may be made;
RR’s must consult their designated Principal for guidance and consideration of
requests for exceptions. In addition, the fact that a customer is approved to do
options trading does not necessary mean that reverse convertibles are suitable:
RR’s must conduct the suitability analysis described above for each reverse
convertible security recommended.
Training: RR’s and supervisory personnel involved in reverse convertibles
transactions must familiarize themselves with the guidance set forth in Notice 10-09
regarding these products as well as the unique features and components of
respective, proposed transactions. The Company may require training on this
product in its annual C/E firm element plan. Training should emphasize the need to
understand and consider:
• the costs and risks associated with the product;
• the terms and conditions of the product, including the pay-out structure at
maturity;
• the reference stock, index or other asset;
• the investment’s potential for growth;
• the product’s liquidity before maturity; and
• any other features that might impact the product’s suitability, both generally
and for a specific customer.
15.10
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Name of Supervisor
(“Designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Designated Principal: CCO
(Also see Table in Section 2.4 for specific product supervisors)
Continuous; in the daily course of business
Spot-reviews of cash alternatives transactions and customer documentation
Due diligence oversight; Product review and approval for offering; Trade reviews;
Sales materials and correspondence review; Confirmation of training
Results of due diligence review; List of approved products; Initial/signature on
account docs, trade tickets and sales materials/correspondence; Records of training
Notes on non-compliance and resulting disciplinary action, if any, in personnel
files.
Notice 08-82, Consolidated FINRA Rules 2111, 2210
Comments:
The Company may conduct transactions with customers in certain investments that are
loosely referred to as “cash alternatives,” including: bank CDs, bank money market
accounts, federal agency short-term securities, fixed rate and step-up callable corporate
securities, floating rate funds, money market mutual funds, treasury bills, and ultra-short
bond mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. Transactions in these products are subject to
the general supervisory procedures and requirements (for instance, concerning account
opening procedures and recordkeeping obligations) contained throughout this Manual; some
products are subject to the specific requirements in earlier, dedicated sections herein. The
following procedures must be understood and followed by personnel engaging in any and
all cash alternative transactions.
In general, cash alternative investments offer lower rates of return than longer-term equities
and fixed-income securities. They also generally provide higher liquidity and greater price
stability. Some well-known cash alternatives, such as bank CDs, are insured by the FDIC;
others, such as T-Bills, are backed by the full faith and credit of the US government. Other
investments are less understood and less secure: the Company has included these procedures
to remind its RRs to distinguish between the differing types of cash alternatives and to not
overstate their relative safety as an alternative to cash.
15.10.1 Due Diligence
As with all products, Company personnel must understand the nature of the
investment they are recommending, including its risks and rewards. Prior to
offering any cash alternative to a customer, whether retail or institutional, the
Company must have a reasonable basis for characterizing an investment as a cash
alternative. It may not simply rely upon a third-party’s characterization. The
designated Principal, when approving products for offering, is required to make
such a characterization. He or she must continue to monitor market and economic
developments that may affect the continued accuracy of this characterization and is
required to quickly alert respective sales and marketing staff when such
characterization becomes unwarranted. Features considered in this assessment will
include, but not be limited to, liquidity, transparency of pricing, creditworthiness of
issuer/counterparties, maturity, net asset value, Federal insurance or other
guarantees, interest rate risks, market volatility, tax consequences, and brokerage
costs/fees.
15.10.2 Customer Suitability
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As emphasized elsewhere in this Manual, associated persons must reasonably
believe that a cash alternative product is a suitable investment prior to making a
recommendation to a particular customer. The fact that an investment may meet
established accounting standards for treatment as a cash holding in a financial
statement does not conclusively establish that the investment is an appropriate cash
alternative for a particular investor. To ensure that a particular investment is
suitable as a cash alternative for a specific customer, RRs must examine the
customer’s need for liquidity and price stability, and the ability of the investment to
meet that need. Registered representatives must examine, and their supervising
Principals must confirm upon account or trade approval: (1) the customer's financial
status, (2) the customer's tax status, (3) the customer's investment objectives, and
(4) such other information useful in making recommendations to the customer.
The designated Principal, in his or her periodic review of cash alternatives business,
will attempt to confirm that suitability is considered for each customer and each
transaction; findings to the contrary will be investigated and disciplinary action may
result.
15.10.3 Promotional Materials
Due to the potential to overstate the safety of cash alternatives, it is imperative that
customers be presented with enough informational material to understand the
products and to determine if such investments are desirable. Sales materials and
oral presentations regarding cash alternatives must present a fair and balanced
picture regarding both the risks and benefits of investing in these products and the
Company must consider the nature of the audience to whom materials are directed.
All materials provided to the public must conform to applicable FINRA and SEC
standards, as summarized in related sections of this Manual.
When describing cash alternatives specifically, the use of the term “cash
equivalent” may be misleading. Statements such as “safe as cash” or that describe
investments as carrying no market or credit risk are likewise not likely to accurately
describe these products. To present fair and balanced information, the Company’s
communications that present an investment as a “cash alternative” must disclose, if
applicable, that it is not federally guaranteed and that it is possible to lose money
with the investment. The Company may not claim that a product is an alternative to
cash unless the statement is fair and accurate. When it is appropriate to describe a
product as a cash alternative, this description must be balanced with disclosures of
the corresponding risks and limitations of the product. In the case of cash
alternatives, this includes, but is not limited to, factors that could reasonably be
anticipated to affect the liquidity or price stability of the investment, as well as the
ability of the issuer to repay its obligation in full. In the event that market or
economic developments affect the continued accuracy of a characterization of a
product as a cash alternative, the designated Principal should promptly review
Company promotional materials and ensure that necessary changes are made to
avoid misleading investors.
All correspondence and sales materials used in offering cash equivalent products
must be subject to the review and approval procedures outlined above in
“Correspondence” and “Communications with the Public.” All offering materials
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provided by issuers must be reviewed by the designated Principal prior to their
distribution, in accordance with the procedures herein.
15.10.4 Registration and Training
All personnel who wish to offer cash equivalent products must be properly
registered. Because of the varying characteristics of these different products, certain
registration requirements may be applicable. All RRs are required to inquire with
the Licensing and Registration Principal about their respective qualifications prior
to offering or transacting in these investments. The designated Principal in his or
her review of RR activity must be assured of adequate RR licensing.
Appointed personnel must train associated persons about the characteristics, risks
and rewards of each of these products before associated persons are permitted to
offer such products or supervise such business. Training must include factors to
consider in determining whether investments are suitable or unsuitable to certain
investors. Importantly, training should encourage personnel to use caution in
characterizing products as alternatives to cash. Personnel may make use of some or
all of the following training materials: educational pamphlets, videos, lectures,
explanatory memoranda, and Web-based seminars. The Company may include
cash equivalents as part of its Firm Element Continuing Education Program. The
designated Principal must ensure implementation of employee training.
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15.11
Retail Forex – Not Applicable
15.12
Private Equity Funds—Primary Placement – Not Applicable
15.13
Secondary Market Transactions in Limited Partnerships – Not Applicable
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SECTION 16: KEEPING AND REPORTING
16.1
Principal Responsibilities
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Chief Compliance Officer
Assigned accounting personnel (see below)
Daily, Monthly, Quarterly, as applicable
How Conducted:
Data Entry; Documentation; Reporting through Web CRD and
other applicable means.
Review of: general ledger accounts and supporting information
Creation and review of suspense accounts, when necessary
Firm Records; Entries in files; FOCUS and Other Reports
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
SEA Rule 17a-3, 17a-4; Consolidated FINRA Rules 4511, 4523;
Notice 11-19
Final review, approval and reporting of financial data conducted by
FinOp
The Principal designated above shall ensure that the Company is in strict compliance with
all applicable sections of SEA Rules 17-a-3 and 17a-4, as well as Consolidated FINRA Rule
4511. To comply with Rule 4511, the Company will make and preserve books and records
as required under all FINRA, Exchange Act and various exchange rules, when they are
applicable to the Company’s business. These recordkeeping requirements are described
throughout this Manual and later in this Section. The Company will preserve its records in
accordance with required time frames under Rule 4511(b) and in an acceptable format per
4511(c)—these requirements become effective 12-5-11 and are detailed in sub-sections,
below.
Among other responsibilities, the designated Principal shall be responsible for ensuring that
the following procedures are implemented:
• All entries to books and records will be posted in a timely manner;
• Confirmations are prepared (by the clearing firm, if applicable) which contain the
disclosures pursuant to SEA Rule 10b-10, as summarized in the “Confirmations”
section herein; and
• Bank balances, month-end trial balance proprietary positions, relevant sub-ledger
balances and trial balances will be reconciled and duly supervised. Final reconciliation
of accounts will be conducted monthly by the Company’s FinOp.
16.1.1 Accounting Control and Supervision
The Company has, as required under Consolidated FINRA Rule 4523, assigned
primary and supervisory responsibility over its general ledger accounts to separate
associated persons. These persons must control and oversee entries into each
account and determine that the account is current and accurate as necessary to
comply with all applicable FINRA rules and federal securities laws governing
books and records and financial responsibility requirements. Each assigned
supervisor must review each account no less often than monthly to determine that
the account is current and accurate; any items that become aged or uncertain as to
resolution must be promptly identified for research and possible transfer to one or
more suspense accounts. See Consolidated FINRA Rule 4523 and Notice 11-26 for
background information on this requirement.
The Company has designated its accounting group as having primary responsibility
for making entries to and maintaining the Company’s general ledger. The FinOp
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will oversee the activities of the person designated to maintain the general ledger
and will review the accounts in the general ledger at least monthly.
Review Process: The FinOp (other Principal or registered Operations Personnel)
has been assigned primary responsibility for supervising the Company’s general
ledger and reviews the information monthly. If the designated supervisor has any
questions regarding entries to the general ledger, he/she will contact the person
assigned primary responsibility for the entries for additional details and a record of
responses will be maintained with the financial records of the Company. If the
designated supervisor has concerns regarding a pattern of inaccurate or questionable
entries in the general ledger or the ability of the person responsible for the entries,
he/she will bring the matter to the attention of senior management for further review
and follow-up action.
16.2
Electronic Media
The SEC and FINRA have issued general guidelines as to the use of electronic media for
delivery of information to customers and recordkeeping. In accordance with these
guidelines, the Company expects to make use of electronic media to the extent appropriate
in its business operations. See the Table of Contents for sections pertaining to electronic
mail, online transactions and use of electronic media.
In general, required records may be maintained and stored electronically by the Company
subject to the following conditions:
• Written records shall be maintained and stored where legally required (i.e. original
customer signatures, cancelled checks or certificates, other documentation required to
be available for legal, evidentiary purposes);
• The Company shall maintain duplicate "backup" records in electronic form in a secure
storage facility to guard against inadvertent erasures, casualties, theft, etc.; and
• Where required by regulatory and Compliance Department policies and procedures, all
such records shall be immediately accessible and capable of being downloaded and
printed out for examination.
Under “Preservation of Required Records,” below, the format of the Company’s primary
record storage is explained, including specifications relating to electronic storage.
16.3
FinOp Responsibilities and Net Capital Requirements
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
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FinOp
Monthly and Annually
Detailed Review of financial reports and accounting records
Communicate with senior management on funding and liquidity
risk management issues, when deemed necessary
Maintain necessary records including FOCUS reports and other
net capital computations, report net capital deficiencies as
required.
SEA Rules 15c3-1, 15c3-3, 17a-5 and 17a-11; Consolidated
FINRA Rules 2261, 4110, 4120, 4130, 4150, 4521, ,4522, 4523,
4524, 4360. FINRA By-Laws, Schedule A; Notices 03-63, 0538, 05-45, 05-47, 08-46, 08-66, 09-38, 09-71, 10-08, 10-15, 1021, 10-44, 10-57, 10-61, 11-21, 11-26, 12.58
See Section 16.1 for description of the recordkeeping oversight
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responsibilities of the firm’s CCO.
The calculation and monitoring of net capital is the responsibility of the FinOp who also is
responsible for ensuring the accurate and timely reporting of periodic net capital report.
Computations will be performed at least once per month and will be retained for three (3)
years. The audited financial statements on Form X 17A-5 (the “Focus Report”) contain a net
capital computation under Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c3-1; this format can be used for
the basic computation. State filings are also required, as are registration amendments and
renewals. Some of the FinOp’s specific responsibilities include:
• Review and filing of all required financial reports, FOCUS filings and supplemental
reports; periodic review of accounting records;
• Periodic consideration of whether the Company’s minimum net capital requirements
have changed because of changes in the Company’s business;
• Supervising additions to, and withdrawals from, the equity capital of the Company;
• Reporting borrowings and subordinated loans for capital purposes (including regulatory
capital exposure as to each underlying principal lender in agency lending
arrangements);
• Establishing procedures for retention of required financial books and records;
• Determining necessary fees and assessments due under the provisions described in
Schedule A of FINRA By-Laws and under the SIPC (Securities Investors Protection
Act);
• When applicable, reviewing at least annually the Company’s Fidelity Bond to ensure
adequate coverage and compliance with the requirements under Consolidated FINRA
Rule 4360 (see the “Fidelity Bond” section herein); and
• When applicable, ensuring prompt transfer of proprietary or customer assets pursuant to
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4160, after notified by FINRA of required transfer. See table
in 16.3.5, below.
The Company’s minimum net capital requirement is $5,000 although it may be higher based
on the nature of the business conducted by the Company, an aggregate indebtedness
calculation, or higher State minimums. SEC and Blue Sky regulations also require that the
ratio of aggregate indebtedness to net capital cannot exceed 15:1 under applicable
regulations. Finally, FINRA has the authority to increase capital requirements for some
firms. No matter what the established minimum, the Company is required to maintain at
least 120% of its minimum net capital requirement at all times.
“Net capital” is defined as net worth adjusted as follows:
• Adding unrealized profits (or deducting unrealized losses) in the accounts of the
Company;
• Subtracting federal or state tax liabilities (if any) stemming from accrued income or
unrealized appreciation;
• Adding future income benefits resulting from unrealized losses (if any);
• Subtracting amounts paid to the clearing firm, if applicable, to satisfy deficits in
unsecured and partly secured introduced accounts; and deducting non-allowable
termination penalties described in clearing agreements, if required (see Section 13.2 and
08-46 for details on net capital treatment of clearing deposits);
• Subtracting fixed assets and assets that cannot readily be converted into cash, including,
but not limited to, real estate, furniture, fixtures (if any), prepaid rent, insurance
expenses (if any), prepaid administrative expenses, goodwill and organization expenses,
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unsecured advances and loans, and mutual concessions receivable that are outstanding
longer than 30 days.
The FinOp will ensure proper ‘haircuts’ are applied to investments as required by 15c3-1
and that any and all regulatory guidance on the temporary treatment of certain securities is
followed (e.g., senior unsecured debt issued pursuant to FDIC’s Debt Guarantee Program).
The Company must comply with all applicable SEC, FINRA and State financial
responsibility rules. Some of these rules are summarized in this section; others are only
referenced due to their complexity and possible inapplicability (i.e., many apply only to
carrying or clearing firms). See the summary table, below, for an outline of new rules that
may apply.
If the Company’s net capital becomes deficient, the FinOp or his designee is responsible for
filing the necessary reports with regulators and communicating any resulting restrictions in
business activity. Note that Notice 05-47 provides specific guidance on the treatment of a
day on which securities markets are unexpectedly closed (i.e., whether that day is
considered a ‘business day’ vis-à-vis such subjects as net capital, reserve formula,
possession or control, Reg. T extensions, margin calls, sell order extensions, day trading
requirements, bookkeeping entries on the liquidation of customers’ money market funds or
on the sweep of customers’ balances into money market funds, FOCUS reporting, and
securities lending). In the event of an unexpected closing of markets, the FinOp must
ensure proper treatment of all items detailed in the Notice, where applicable to the
Company’s business.
The Company, if and when so directed by FINRA, shall not expand its business during any
period in which any of the following conditions exist, or have existed for more than fifteen
consecutive business days:
• The Company’s liquid capital is less than 150% of the total haircuts or such greater
percentage thereof as may from time to time be prescribed by FINRA;
• The Company’s liquid capital minus total haircuts is less than 150% of its minimum
dollar capital requirement; or
• The deduction of ownership equity and maturities of subordinated debt scheduled
during the next six months would result in any of the above two conditions.
FINRA may direct the Company to reduce its business to a point enabling its available
capital to comply with the standards set forth above if any of the following conditions
continue to exist, or have existed for more than fifteen consecutive business days:
• The Company’s liquid capital is less than 125% of the total haircuts or such greater
percentage thereof as may from time to time be prescribed by FINRA;
• The Company’s liquid capital minus total haircuts is less than 125% of its minimum
dollar capital requirement; or
• The deduction of ownership equity and maturities of subordinated debt scheduled
during the next six months would result in any of the above two conditions.
•
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The FinOp shall ensure that the Company abides by any directive issued by FINRA as a
result of net capital violation and require the Company to suspend all business
operations during any period of time when it is not in compliance with applicable net
capital requirements as set forth in SEA Rule 15c3-1.
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16.3.1 Withdrawals of Equity Capital
The designated Principal shall track all withdrawals including anticipated
withdrawals, advances and loans to assure the Company is in compliance with SEA
Rule 15c3-1 (e)(1) and with Consolidated FINRA Rule 4110.
The designated Principal shall notify the SEC and FINRA two days prior to any
withdrawals, advances or loans that in aggregate:
• Are more than $500,000 and
• Exceed 30% of the Company’s excess net capital in any 30-day calendar
period.
The designated Principal shall notify the SEC and FINRA within 2 days after any
withdrawals, advances or loans that in aggregate:
• Are more than $500,000 and
• Exceed 20% of the Company’s excess net capital in any 30-day calendar
period.
The designated Principal must assure that no equity capital is withdrawn which
would cause one of the following to happen:
• the Company’s net capital would be less than 120% of the minimum dollar
amount
• the Company’s net capital would be less than 25% of deductions from net
worth in computing net capital required by paragraphs (c)(2) vi, f and
Appendix A; or
• The aggregate indebtedness exceeds 1000%.
The designated Principal must also make sure that withdrawals of equity capital are
not made for the purpose of reimbursing expenses paid or agreed to by paid by a
third party, unless corresponding liabilities have been recorded on the Company’s
books. The FinOp should review Notice 03-63 and the SEC’s letter of clarification
of expense sharing agreements referred to in the sub-section below, in order to
understand and comply with all relevant requirements. Notice 09-71 and Rule 4110
should be consulted for other capital compliance restrictions and requirements as
they relate to withdrawals of equity capital.
16.3.2 Subordinated Loans and Other Financing
Should the Company secure financing from investors and/or customers in the form
of a subordinated loan or note collateralized by securities (“subordination”) in order
to enhance its net capital position, the FinOp will ensure that all requirements under
Rule 4110(e)(1), as described in Notice 10-15, are met. To follow is a summary of
those requirements:
• For the investment to be treated as allowable capital, under SEA Rule 15c3-1
the subordination must be subject to the terms of a satisfactory subordination
agreement. The Company may use a custom document or may rely on one of
several standard forms of agreement provided by FINRA;
• The Company must provide FINRA with all required notifications,
representations, attestations, disclosures and supporting documentation and
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•
•
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
must obtain pre-approval by FINRA of the agreement prior to execution and
receipt of funding;
The Company must comply with its obligation to reduce business if in a state
of ’suspended repayment”; further, its agreement must obligate the lender to
repay or return any amounts, collateral and/or notes received in contravention
to FINRA rules; and
Should the Company wish to amend or renew an existing, approved
subordination agreement (other than extending it via an automatic extension
of maturity already included in the agreement), it must meet all requirements
described in Notice 10-15 and found in Rule 4110(e)(1).
The Company must meet any and all other applicable requirements under
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4110 relating to sale-and-leasebacks, factoring,
financing, loans and similar arrangements. The FinOp has the responsibility to
ensure the proper accounting and net capital treatment of all subordinations.
16.3.3 Expense Sharing Agreements
The FinOp must review the letter issued July 11, 2003, by the SEC’s Division of
Market Regulation, clarifying its position on the Financial Responsibility Rules.
This letter outlines, specifically, the requirements of the Company in the event it
enters an expense-sharing relationship with another party (including, for example,
its parent company, holding company or an affiliate), whereby certain of the
Company’s expenses would be paid by the third party, or certain services would be
provided at no cost by the third party. The FinOp must ensure that the Company
complies in all respects with the requirements outlined in the SEC’s letter, including
the following (in summary only): making a record of all expenses and liabilities
incurred by the Company (reasonably allocated); having a written agreement
evidencing all liabilities assumed by third parties and specifying the terms of such
agreement; verifying that third parties have resources—independent of the
Company—sufficient to cover the expenses or liabilities; prohibiting withdrawals
of, or contributions to, Company capital for the purpose of covering expenses paid
by third parties; agreeing to provide authorities access to its books and records and
to those of unregulated entities party to the expense sharing arrangement; and
reporting to FINRA District Office a description of any such agreement, if the
Company does not report all its expenses and liabilities in its existing required
periodic financial reports.
The FinOp is responsible for ensuring that the net capital of the Company is
correctly calculated and reported, and that all expenses and liabilities of the
Company, including those related to any and all expense sharing agreements, are
reflected, when and as necessary, on the Company’s books and records. The FinOp
will review, annually, all such agreements and confirm that all necessary financial
and other reporting is accomplished. Erroneous reports must be corrected and filed
as required. Records of all reviews, filings and corrections must be maintained in
accordance with the recordkeeping rules described herein.
16.3.4 Deficits in Introduced Accounts
The Company’s clearing agreement does not state that deficits in unsecured and
partly secured introduced accounts are the liability of the Company, as introducing
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broker-dealer. Therefore, the FinOp does not receive deficit reports from the
clearing firm and is not required to take capital charges for customer account
deficits. Should the terms of its clearing agreement change to include this
responsibility, these procedures will be revised to require the FinOp to follow SEA
Rule 15c3-1(c)(2)(iv)(B) and FINRA’s Interpretation described in Notice 05-38.
16.3.5 FINRA Financial Responsibility Rules Summary Chart
To follow is a summary of the FINRA financial responsibility rules; the FinOp will
ensure compliance with these rules when they are deemed applicable. Records of
compliance will be maintained under the supervision of the FinOp. Some of the
topics in this table are further described below or elsewhere in this Manual.
FINRA RULE
4110
4110(b)
TOPIC
Capital Compliance
Suspension of business operations when out
of net capital compliance
No withdrawal of equity capital within one
year of contribution
Sale-and-leasebacks, factoring, financing,
loans and similar arrangements; requires
that FINRA accept collateral as having a
‘ready market’
4110(c)(1)
4110(d)(4)
4110(e) contains
requirements for sub.
loans made to GP’s
of members that are
partnerships.
4110(e)(1)
4110(e)(2)
4120
4120(b)(2)
4120(c)(2)
4130
(essentially replaces
NASD Rule 3131)
4140
(essentially replaces
NASD Rule 3130
and IM-3130)
4150
4150(a)
4150(b)
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APPLIES TO
All members
All members
All members
All members
Subordinated loans, notes collateralized by
securities and capital borrowing must be
acceptable to FINRA before being made
effective
Subordinated loans, notes collateralized by
securities and capital borrowing—
agreements have required duration and
restrictions in place for GP’s
Regulatory Notification and Business
Curtailment
Restrictions on business expansion is
imposed at discretion of FINRA for any
reason; 9557 notice is issued
Reduction of business is imposed at
discretion of FINRA for any reason; 9557
notice is issued
Regulation of Activities of Section 15C
Members Experiencing Financial and/or
Operational Difficulties
Audit: FINRA may request an audit of
agreed upon audit procedures review;
includes late fee provision.
Guarantees and Flow Through Benefits
Prior written notice to FINRA whenever the
Company guarantees, endorses or assumes,
directly or indirectly, the obligations or
liabilities of another person.
Prior written approval must be obtained
from FINRA whenever the Company
receives flow through capital benefits in
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All members that are
partnerships
All members
All members
Certain members subject
to the Treasury
Department’s liquid
capital requirements
All members
All members
All members
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4150.01, .02, .03, .04
4160
4521
4523
4523(a)
4523(c)
4524
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
accordance with Appendix C of SEA Rule
15c3-1.
Notice and documentation requirements
relating to the Rule.
Verification of Assets: FINRA may
prohibit the Company from continuing to
custody or retain record ownership of assets
(proprietary or customer assets) at a
financial institution that is not a member of
FINRA, which, upon FINRA staff's request,
fails promptly to provide FINRA with
written verification of assets maintained by
the Company at such financial institution.
Excludes proprietary assets that are nonallowable assets for net capital purposes.
Notifications, Questionnaires and
Reports: FINRA may request info to carry
out its exam and surveillance
responsibilities.
Assignment of Responsibility for General
Ledger Accounts and Identification of
Suspense Accounts
Designation of associated persons primary
responsibility and supervisory responsibility
over each GL account. Review monthly
each GL account.
Create and record all pertinent information
in a suspense account when necessary;
preserve records for 6 years.
File additional financial or operational
schedules or reports on FOCUS Reports, as
directed by FINRA (currently SSOI is
required).
All members
All members
All members
All members
All members
Guarantees and Flow Through Benefits. The FinOp must monitor the
Company’s arrangements in order to comply with the notification and pre-approval
requirements under Consolidated FINRA Rule 4150. The Company must be
authorized to obtain the books and records of the other party for inspection by
FINRA; such books and records must be kept separately from those of the
Company. The Rule should be consulted for all specific notice and informational
requirements. Guarantees executed routinely in the normal course of business such
as trade guarantees, signature guarantees, endorsement of securities and the writing
of options, are not subject to the requirements of this Rule.
Suspense Accounts. When applicable, the Company must record, in an account that
shall be clearly identified as a suspense account, money charges or credits and
receipts or deliveries of securities whose ultimate disposition is pending
determination; records of all known, related information must also be maintained.
Examples of suspense accounts include: DK fails, unidentified fails, unallocable
securities receipts versus payment, returned deliveries, and any other receivable or
payable (money or securities) "suspended" because of doubtful ownership,
collectability or deliverability. If suspense items can be distinguished by type,
separate accounts may be used as long as the word "suspense" is prominently in the
account title. The accounting personnel designated to control and supervise general
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ledger accounts will be responsible for creating and monitoring these accounts. All
records must be preserved for a period of not less than six years.
16.3.6 Funding and Liquidity Risk Management
The Company is expected by FINRA to maintain a healthy financial condition.
Because the Company does not hold inventory positions or carry customer
accounts, it has not developed funding and liquidity risk management policies and
procedures to prepare for the kinds of adverse circumstances most likely to affect
firms that have inventory/market exposure and who carry their customer’s accounts.
The Company monitors its net capital such that early warnings are detected and
reported when required. Additional funding is provided if necessary to meet
minimum net capital requirements. While FINRA’s guidance provided in Notice
10-57 is instructive, it is not considered applicable to the Company’s business at
this time. Senior Management will, at its discretion, implement funding and
liquidity risk management policies and procedures when deemed necessary.
16.4
Annual Financial Audit
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
FinOp
Independent Auditor to conduct audit
Annually
On-site review by auditor of all financial statements and back-up
documentation.
Audit report
SEA Rule 17a-5(d); SEC Release 34-54920, Consolidated FINRA
Rule 9552, Information Notice 12/9/09; Notices 02-19, 04-35, 11-46;
SEC Regulation S-X
See PCAOB website for list of registered accountants:
http://www.pcaob.com/Registration/index.aspx
BCG shall file annually, on a calendar or fiscal year basis, a report that shall be audited by a
PCAOB-registered independent public accountant qualified in accordance with SEA Rule
17a-5(d).
Annual audit reports should be filed in the form required by the recipients. Currently, the
SEC requires paper filings and FINRA requires electronic filings via Firm Gateway. The
oath or affirmation is submitted electronically to FINRA with the audit report and must be
maintained in hard copy, with an original, manual and notarized signature in the Company’s
records along with the entire annual audit report. Supporting documentation for annual audit
reports must be maintained for three years, per 17a-4(b)(8).
Should the Company know that it is not prepared to meet its filing deadline, it may submit a
written or verbal request to its FINRA Coordinator for an extension of time to file, no later
than three business days prior to the audit due date. Requests must be accompanied by a
written explanation and a letter from the auditor making certain representations. The FinOp
is responsible for providing appropriate documentation and follow-up, and should reference
finra.org for detailed information and guidance.
According to SEA Rule 17a-5(f)(3), the accountant hired by the Company to conduct its
annual audit must be independent to render an audit opinion on the Company’s financial
statements. In keeping with the SEC’s emphasis reiterated in Notice 02-19, the Company’s
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audit firm cannot be in a position in which it is, or appears to be, auditing its own work—in
other words, the auditor’s independence must not be impaired and it is prohibited from
providing accounting and bookkeeping services to the Company. The Company’s auditor is
permitted by the SEC to perform certain financial system services, only if the Company has
explicitly acknowledged its responsibility to actively maintain, monitor, and evaluate the
financial information and reporting system.
The FinOp of the Company will annually review the services provided by the Company’s
outside auditor to ensure that the auditor's independence is not impaired. In his or her
review, the FinOp will consult FINRA’s guidelines published in Notice 02-19. In addition,
the FinOp will seek to obtain (or has obtained) an engagement letter from the auditor
outlining the services to be provided and the respective responsibilities of both parties as
well as a representation from the auditor that he or she is either a certified public accountant
duly registered or a public accountant entitled to practice in good standing under the laws of
his or her place of residence or principal office.
If the Company changes its auditor, it shall file electronic notification regarding this change
using the Financial Notifications link via the Financial Notifications link at
http://www.finra.org/RegulatorySystems/RegulationFilingApplications/RegulatoryNotificat
ions/index.htm. Notices must also be sent to the SEC as required under the Rule since the
electronic notification only satisfies the notification requirements of FINRA.
16.5
Focus Reports
On behalf of the Company, the designated Financial and Operations Principal (FinOp) shall
file Part IIA of form X-17A-5 within 17 business days after the end of each calendar quarter
and within 17 business days after the date selected for the annual audit of financial
statements where said date is other than the end of the calendar quarter. Annual FOCUS
Schedule I must be filed within 17 business days of year-end and must include municipal
securities revenue, if applicable. (Note: A day on which securities markets are unexpectedly
closed is not a business day for FOCUS filing purposes.) In addition, in certain situations,
the Company may be required by FINRA to file Part IIA of form X-17A-5 on a monthly
basis. The required Part IIA of Form X-17a-5 shall be filed electronically, utilizing
FINRA’s Web based FOCUS or “eFOCUS” system.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4524 calls for the filing of the Supplemental Statement of
Income (SSOI), providing a more detailed categorization of other revenue and expense line
items on the Statement of Income page of FOCUS Part II, IIA and II CSE. A de minimus
exception exists, as do additional reporting requirements when certain thresholds are
crossed. The FINOP should follow FINRA’s instructions when completing the SSOI to
ensure accuracy and completeness.
Please refer to the table and language under Section 16.3 above (“Net Capital
Requirements”) for a description of the Company’s supervisory responsibility related to
determining net capital, for the purpose of reporting such via FOCUS filings.
Certain additional information requirements may come about from time to time (e.g.,
leverage ratio information for carrying and clearing firms and a Sequestration Statement for
certain joint BD/FCMs). The FinOp is responsible for tracking and complying with all
newly-announced filing requirements that are applicable to the Company.
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16.6
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Reporting Required Under SEA Rule 17a-11
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
FinOp
Monthly upon net capital calculations or upon notification from
Company principal.
Review of financial reports and accounting records
Firm Records
Necessary reports filed with FINRA and SEC
SEA Rule 17a-11
3010 Checklist:
Additional financial reporting may be required in order to comply with SEA Rule 17a-11 if
the Company finds itself in net capital violation, approaches financial difficulties and/or
experiences a books and records problem. Rule 17a-11 is designed to function as an allencompassing reporting vehicle and requires the Company to send immediate electronic
notice to the SEC and FINRA at any time when:
• The dollar amount of the Company’s net capital is less than its required minimum; or
• The Company’s aggregate indebtedness exceeds 1,500% of its net capital (800% for the
Company’s first twelve months after its effective date of membership with FINRA).
Additionally, in accordance with Rule 17a-11, the FinOp will promptly (within 24 hours of
discovery) file notification with the SEC and FINRA if at any point in time:
• The Company’s aggregate indebtedness exceeds 1,200% (12 to 1) of its net capital; or
• Its net capital is less than 120% of its required net capital.
Other provisions of SEA Rule 17a-11 require the Company to send telegraphic notice to the
SEC and other appropriate agencies when:
• The Company fails to make and keep current the books and records specified under
SEA Rule 17a-3. The telegraphic notice must be sent immediately; and within 48 hours
of the telegraphic notice FinOp must file a report stating what corrective actions have
been taken; or
• The Company discovers or is notified by an independent public accountant, pursuant to
paragraph (b)(2) of SEA Rule 17a-5, of the existence of any material inadequacies in its
accounting system, internal accounting control, or the procedures for safeguarding
securities. The telegraphic notice of such material inadequacy shall be made to the SEC
and FINRA within 24 hours, and within 48 hours of the telegraphic notice a report shall
be filed stating the corrective steps which have been and are being taken.
The Company’s designated FinOp shall ensure the timely filing of all notices required under
SEA Rule 17a-11 though a link provided on FINRA’s website,
http://www.finra.org/RegulatorySystems/RegulationFilingApplications/RegulatoryNotificat
ions/index.htm, and telegraphically with the SEC’s principal office in Washington, DC, the
Regional Office of the SEC where the Company’s main office is located.
16.7
Customer Account Statements
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
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How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Review for required disclosures; EAI and EY: review
methodologies and criteria; Pre-approval of consolidated report
creation systems, formats, distribution methods; Spot check during
office inspections/3012 testing
Records of deficiencies and remedies; Records of EAI and EY
methodologies, criteria, outsourced vendor contracts; Records of
system/format approvals and spot checks of consolidated reports
Rule 2340, Consolidated FINRA Rule 2266, Notices 06-72, 08-77,
10-19
Pursuant to Rule 2340 of FINRA Conduct Rules, the Company’s clearing firm and
applicable product sponsors provides no less frequently than each calendar quarter a
customer account statement showing securities positions, money balances and account
activity during the period. The Company receives copies of customer statements monthly
and/or quarterly in paper and electronically for review and to meet regulatory requests for
such records.
Customer brokerage account statements must contain a statement advising the customer to
promptly report any discrepancies and inaccuracies in the account to their broker/dealer or
the clearing firm and to reconfirm any oral reports in writing in order to protect their rights,
including rights under the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA). Brokerage statements
must also include a telephone number at the clearing firm for a customer to call if they have
questions about their account.
The CCO will review customer statements to ensure that the appropriate disclosure
language is included and will work with the clearing firm to remedy any deficiencies. The
CCO will periodically, but not less than at any change in the clearing firm, spot check
statements to ensure required disclosure is still present and in the correct form.
16.7.1
Estimated Annual Income and Estimated Yield
Statements created by the clearing firm and sent to the Company’s account holders
may include estimated annual income (EAI) and/or estimated yield (EY). In order
to avoid confusion on behalf of customers, the clearing firm presents the EAI and
EY information in a manner clearly distinguishable from actual return and yield. If
circumstances exist such that these calculations may not reliable or consistent, such
as those including a security that does not pay a dividend on a regular basis, an
issue in default, or a fixed income security that has paid its last coupon prior to
maturity, the clearing firm devises a means of addressing these concerns or
prohibits the inclusion of EAI and EY in such circumstances. Additionally, the
statements include disclosures akin to:
•
•

EAI and EY for certain types of securities could include a return of
principal or capital gains, in which case the EAI and EY would be
overstated.
EAI and EY are estimates and the actual income and yield might be
lower or higher than the estimated amounts.
EY reflects only the income generated by an investment. It does not
reflect changes in its price, which may fluctuate.
Since the Company relies on its clearing firm to compile dividend and income data
and calculate EAI and EY for its customers, the Company is required to be familiar
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with, and consider reasonable, the clearing firm’s criteria and methodology. The
CCO is responsible for requesting and reviewing the clearing firm’s criteria and
methodologies on behalf of the Company.
16.7.2 Consolidated Reports
The Company allows registered representatives to provide statements to customers
that consolidate information on their various financial holdings (“consolidated
reports”). These reports may provide account balances and/or performance data.
The reports are generally provided at the request of the customer, who directs which
accounts to include and provides access to data for non-held accounts. These
consolidated reports do not replace the account statements issued under Rule 2340,
described above, and may not be offered a substitute for those required statements.
The consolidated reports are created/distributed as follows:
• Reports are created by RRs using off-the-shelf software applications.
• Reports are hand-delivered to customers during face-to-face meetings.
The designated Principal is responsible for supervising the production/distribution
of consolidated reports. To follow are the Company’s procedures:
Reporting System/Document Format Approval:
The Company requires
consolidated reporting systems/programs and report formats to be approved in
advance, prior to report production, by the designated Principal. The designated
Principal will keep records of approved systems, programs, formats and distribution
methods and will inform RR’s of such. Reports generated outside of pre-approved
systems/formats must NOT be distributed to customers; changes made by RRs or
branch offices to report formats and/or custom changes to individual reports must
be pre-approved. Discovery of violations of this policy will be investigated and may
be met with disciplinary action.
Supporting Documentation and Source Documents: The sources of data and
methods used in asset valuation—whether for in-house assets or assets held away-must be available for supervisory review and for discussion with customers during
presentations of consolidated reports. RR’s are required to encourage customers to
review and maintain their original source documents that are integrated into
consolidated reports (such as account statements from the Company and other
broker-dealers).
Disclosures: When applicable, the following disclosures must be included on
consolidated reports distributed by or on behalf of the Company or its RR’s:
• that the consolidated report is provided for informational purposes and as a
courtesy to the customer, and may include assets that the Company does not
hold on behalf of the customer and which are not included on the
Company’s books and records;
• the names of the entities providing the source data or holding the assets,
their relationship with each other (e.g., parent, subsidiary or affiliated
organization) and their respective functions (introducing/carrying brokerage
firms, fund distributor, banking/insurance product providers, etc.);
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•
•
•
•
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
a statement clearly distinguishing between assets held or categories of
assets held by each entity included in the consolidated report;
the customer’s account number and contact information for customer
service at each entity included in the consolidated report;
identify that assets held away may not be covered by SIPC; and
if the consolidated report provides aggregate values for several different
assets, an explanation of how the aggregated values of the different types of
assets were arithmetically derived from separate asset totals.
The designated Principal, during his or her report format approval process, will
ensure that all applicable disclosures are included in the Company’s approved
report templates and custom reports, if any. Spot check or periodic reviews will
include a review for required disclosures.
Customers receiving consolidated reports will be provided with notice that they
have been provided with the relevant disclosures and are expected to understand the
nature and limitations of the consolidated reporting process. Customers will be
provided periodic notices of relevant disclosures.
Customer Addresses and Safeguarding Information: Consolidated reports, if
mailed directly to customers, must be mailed to the address of record (address
included in the customer’s most recently-updated NAF). Should customers request
that consolidated reports be mailed to a different address, the RR on the account
must keep records of such request in order to explain the address discrepancy. As
with all customer information, Company personnel are required to protect the
confidentiality of consolidated reports; the Company must take steps to prevent
unauthorized access to all such hard copy or electronic/online records. If relying on
a third party for record creation or distribution, the Company will comply with its
‘outsourcing’ procedures herein.
Periodic Reviews: Compliance with these procedures and other procedures that
apply (such as with the general requirements under Consolidated FINRA Rule 2210
on communications with the public) will be reviewed by designated staff during the
Company’s internal/branch office inspections and annual testing and verification
process.
16.8
Record of Written Complaints
See the Sections on Customer Complaints and OSJ supervision, above, for details on
required records relating to complaints received.
16.9
Telemarketing Records – Not Applicable
16.10
Customer Account Information
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
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Frequency of Review:
Designated Principal
And assigned supervisors/designated Branch Office Managers if
applicable (see Section 3.2 and 3.5)
Upon account opening and thereafter, as necessary.
How Conducted:
Maintain account information in customer files.
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How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
NAFs, suitability forms, Investor Questionnaires, other necessary
documentation (such as corporate trading authorization, third party
authorization, corporate resolution, W9 Form, self-accreditation forms,
etc.); Initials on NAF upon approval.
NASD Rules 3010(a), 3050; Consolidated FINRA Rules 2111, 4512,
SEA Rule 17a-3 and -4, MSRB 6-8(a)(xi)
Please refer to the section entitled “Customer Accounts New Accounts,
Account Transfers,” above, for a complete description of the Company’s
related supervisory procedures and summary supervisory table
The designated Principals, in the process of reviewing new accounts for approval and
performing periodic reviews of existing account records, shall ensure compliance with all
recordkeeping requirements described in the following text. The New Account procedures
in this Manual include further details.
16.10.1 Account Record
The Company intends to maintain, at a minimum, the following customer records,
as required by amended SEA Rule 17a-3 and Consolidated FINRA Rule 4512 (the
requirements are combined here):
• Name,
• Tax ID number,
• Address (note: AML regulation requires physical address),
• Telephone number,
• Date of birth (and whether the customer is of legal age),
• Employment status (including occupation and whether the customer is an
associated person of a member, broker or dealer or FINRA),
• Annual income,
• Net worth (excluding value of primary residence),
• Investment objectives,
• If the customer is a corporation, partnership or other legal entity, the names of
any persons authorized to transact business on behalf of the entity. and
• Names of associated persons with responsibility for the account and the scope
of their responsibilities, and
• Signatures of the associated persons responsible for the account (if suitability
analysis was conducted) and assigned Principal.
When making recommendations, the account record should include the investment
profile factors and other information addressed in the suitability rule: see Section 7
herein for specifics on suitability records.
For joint accounts, the record must include personal information for each owner of
the account, but should include investment objectives of the account, not of each
individual owner. Financial information for the owners may be combined.
For Institutional Accounts (a bank, savings and loan association, insurance
company or registered investment company, an investment adviser registered either
with the SEC or a state, or any other entity with total assets of at least $50 million),
the customer’s occupation, employer information and whether the customer is an
associated person of a broker dealer are not required records.
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In addition to the record requirements listed here, personnel must gather sufficient
customer information to confirm suitability, as described in Sections 7 and 9, above.
While the SEC grants an exemption from its record making requirement in the case
where the Company is not required under any federal or SRO rules to make a
suitability determination as to an account, the Company requires its associated
persons to make an attempt to gather this information for all accounts, in the interest
of “know your customer” standards. The designated Principal will make a
determination with regard to exceptions to this policy, when requested.
Should required account information be missing from the customer account record,
Company compliance staff will bear the burden of explaining why this information
is unavailable. Registered Representatives are encouraged to make explanatory
notes in these cases, and include such notes in the customer’s account file, and are
required to inform their designated Principals of any failure to obtain required
information. The RR should consult the Company’s Anti-Money Laundering
Compliance Program in order to consider whether a customer’s lack of cooperation
could be considered suspicious in nature.
16.10.2 Furnishing Account Record Information
SEA Rule 17a-3 requires the Company to furnish account record information to
their customers who are “natural persons,” as defined in the Rule (accounts that are
entities are not included in this definition), as follows:
• Within 30 days of opening a new account;
• Upon periodically updating the account record (at least once every 36
months);
• Following a change in customer name or address (sent to the old address
only); and
• Following a change in any other customer information, such as investment
objectives.
This requirement will serve to reduce the number of misunderstandings between
customers and the Company regarding the customer’s situation or investment
objectives. The Company’s clearing firm has agreed to furnish account record
information to brokerage customers after account opening, upon receipt of changes
to the account records, and/or periodically, as required. When furnishing account
records to customers, the Company or its clearing firm, if applicable, should request
that the customer review the information and immediately reply with any necessary
corrections or changes to the information provided.
The Company is not required to include the customer’s tax ID number and date of
birth in this furnished information (in order to avoid potential perpetration of fraud
by unauthorized recipients).
The Company and the clearing firm will use all reasonable efforts to update
customer records at least once every 36 months. The Company and the clearing firm
intends to furnish customer record information under separate cover. The
designated Principal will ensure that records are maintained of the dates customer
records are furnished to customers and that customer records, including address and
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investment objectives, are kept up-to-date and all changes are verified through
documented contact with the customers.
16.11
FCPA Payment-Related Records and Reporting
Should the Company have Representatives or any other agents/employees working in
foreign locations or working with foreign persons in the conduct of their business, all
expenses reimbursement or other payments made to or by such persons will be scrutinized
regularly to detect improper payments. The Company prohibits ALL payments to foreign
officials, whether or not they are permitted under the FCPA. Perceived violations will be
investigated by the CCO and met with disciplinary action and federal reporting if required.
16.12
Preparation of Required Records
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
Chief Compliance Officer
How Conducted:
Review of documentation below, if applicable.
How Documented:
Firm Records: Entries in Files
3010 Checklist:
Consolidated FINRA Rules 4511, 4513, 4515, SEA Rule 17a-3. Notice 1119
Daily, Weekly or Monthly
The Company, or its clearing firm, if and when applicable, shall make and keep current the
following books and records relating to its business (where applicable):
• Blotters (or other records of original entry) containing an itemized daily record of all
purchases and sales of securities, all receipts and deliveries of securities (including
certificate numbers), all receipts and disbursements of cash and all other debits and
credits. Such records shall show the account for which each such transaction was
effected, the name and amount of securities, the unit and aggregate purchase or sale
price (if any), the trade date and the name or other designation of the person from whom
purchased or received or to whom sold or delivered;
• Ledgers (or other records) reflecting all assets and liabilities, income and expense and
capital accounts;
• Ledger Accounts (or other records) itemizing separately to each cash and margin
account of the Company, its customers, brokers or dealer and partners thereof (if
appropriate), all purchases, sales receipts and deliveries of securities and commodities
for such account and all other debits and credits to such account;
• Ledgers (or other records) reflecting the following as applicable:
• Securities in transfer,
• Dividends and interest received,
• Securities borrowed and securities loaned,
• Moneys borrowed and moneys loaned (together with a record of the collateral and
any substitutions in such collateral),
• Securities failed to receive and failed to deliver,
• All long and short securities record differences arising from the examination,
verification, count and comparison pursuant to SEA Rule 17a-13, Rule 17a-5 and
similar SEC rules; and/or
• Repurchase and reverse repurchase agreements;
• A Securities Record or Ledger reflecting separately for each security as of the clearance
dates of all “long” or “short” positions (including securities in safekeeping and
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BCG SECURITIES, INC.
securities that are the subjects of repurchase or reverse repurchase agreements) carried
by the Company, broker or dealer for its account or for the account of its customers or
partners or others and showing the location of all securities long and the offsetting
position to all securities short, including long securities count differences and short
securities count differences classified by the date of the physical count and verification
in which they were discovered, and in all cases the name or designation of the account
in which each position is carried;
A Record of each cash and margin account with the Company, indicating:
• The name and address of the beneficial owner of the account, except exempt
employee benefit plan securities, but only to the extent such by employee benefit
plans established by the issuer of the securities, whether or not the beneficial owner
of securities registered in the name of such members, brokers or dealers, or a
registered clearing agency or a nominee objects to disclosure of his or her identity,
address and securities positions to issuers, and
• In the case of a margin account, the signature of such owner;
A Record of the proof of money balances of all ledger accounts in the form of trial
balances, and a record of the computation of aggregate indebtedness and net capital, as
of the trial balance date, pursuant to SEA Rule 15c3-1;
A questionnaire or application for employment or U4 Form executed by each associated
person of the Company which shall be approved in writing by the authorized
representative of the Company and shall contain, at a minimum, the following
information:
• Name address, social security number and the starting date of association with the
Company;
• Date of birth;
• A complete, consecutive statement of all business connections for at least the
preceding ten years, including whether any employment was part-time or full-time;
• A record of any denial of membership or registration, and of any disciplinary action
taken, or sanction imposed, by any federal or state agency, or by any national
securities exchange or national securities association, including any finding of cause
of any disciplinary action or violation of any law;
• A record of any denial, suspension, expulsion or revocation of membership or
registration of any member, broker or dealer with which he or she was associated in
any capacity when such action was taken; and
• A record of any permanent or temporary name by which he or she has been known
or which he or she has used, provided however, that if he or she had been a
Registered Representative of the Company or his/her association had been approved
by FINRA or any stock exchange, then retention of a full, correct and complete
copy of any and all applications for such registration or approval shall satisfy these
requirements.
FINRA Rules and amended SEA Rule 17a-3 require the Company to maintain the following
records regarding each associated person:
 All agreements pertaining to the associated person’s relationship with the Company,
including a summary of the person’s compensation arrangement or plan (describing
the method by which compensation is determined, if not on a per-trade basis);
 A record of the office(s) at which each associated person regularly conducts
business (see “Registered Representative Assignment,” below);
 A record of all customer complaints concerning each associated person, as
described above; and
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BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Internal identification numbers and CRD numbers (see “Registered Representative
Assignment,” below).
The Company shall also maintain the following records for each associated person: the
value of non-monetary compensation (such as gifts or trips as sales incentives) directly
related to sales. These values should be estimated for the sake of this record-keeping
requirement.
16.12.1 Explanation of Records
The Company has designated the following personnel, who can, without delay,
explain the types of records the Company maintains and the information contained
in those records:
Employee Name OR
Title
Adam Paglione
Joseph Englert
16.13
Office
Location
Cherry Hill,
NJ
Cherry Hill,
NJ
Date of Designation
01/03/2003
03/17/2011
Offices
For both creation and maintenance of records, the definition of “office" adopted by the SEC
includes any location where an associated person regularly conducts business. Company
personnel, as designated herein, must make and keep current, separately for each office,
certain books and records that reflect the activities of the office, including, as applicable:
• blotters,
• order tickets,
• customer account records,
• customer complaints,
• evidence of compliance with securities regulatory rules,
• a list of state record depositories,
• names of persons capable of explaining the records,
• names of any principals responsible for establishing policies and procedures, and
• records relating to associated persons at each local office, including:
• employment agreements,
• identification numbers,
• compensation agreements,
• sales records relating to associated person compensation, and
• chronological sales records.
These records may be maintained at the office, or instead, may be produced “promptly”
upon request (either electronically or on-site). Promptly is generally meant to mean by the
day the after the request was made or at a time mutually agreeable to the Company and the
regulator. Such office records must be maintained for the most recent two-year period in a
readily accessible location.
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For each office located at an associated person’s residence, the Company is not required to
produce records at such office, provided that: (i) only one associated person, or multiple
associated persons who reside at that location and are members of the same immediate
family, regularly conduct business at the office; (ii) the office is not held out to the public as
an office; and (iii) neither customer funds nor securities are handled at that office. In this
case, records may be stored at some other location within the same state as that office or
may be promptly produced at an agreed upon location.
16.14
Records Regarding Approval of Communications
SEA Rule 17a-3 requires the Company to maintain records documenting the Company’s
compliance with its procedures designed to comply with FINRA rules requiring principal
approval of any advertisements, sales literature, or other communications with the public.
Appointed personnel will comply with this Rule by virtue of their compliance with
procedures described elsewhere in this Manual, relating to communications with the public
(see Section 11, above).
16.15
Investigation Records and Submission of Trade Data
Name of Supervisor
(“designated Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
Chief Compliance Officer
In the process of investigations.
Following submission of EBS data.
Review of documents, etc., produced for copying.
Validation of EBS data; review of EBS reporting, if applicable.
Notes on cooperation with investigations and records produced.
EBS validation procedures, records of validations, EBS submitted data.
Consolidated FINRA Rules 8210, 8211 and 8213; SEA Rules 17a-25 and 17d-1.
Notice 05-58, 08-57, 10-59, 11-56, 12-36, 12-47, 13-06, 13-16.
EBS FAQ:
http://www.finra.org/Industry/Compliance/RegulatoryFilings/BlueSheets/P125234
The CCO, with advice of counsel, should ensure cooperation with any and all information
requests made by FINRA or SEC. Under Consolidated FINRA Rule 8210, for the purpose
of an investigation, complaint, examination, or proceeding authorized by FINRA, the
Company, its associated persons and any persons over whom FINRA has jurisdiction are
required to provide information that is in their possession, custody or control. The
information may be provided orally, in writing, or electronically and in testimony, if
instructed. The Company must also allow FINRA to inspect and copy its books, records,
and accounts with respect to any matter involved in the investigation, complaint,
examination, or proceeding. The Company and its associated persons must also provide
information in connection with investigations being conducted by other regulatory
organizations. FINRA may deliver 8210 requests directly to Company counsel.
When providing requested information electronically on portable devices such as flash
drives, CD-ROMs, DVDs, portable hard drives, laptop computers, discs, etc., Company
personnel are reminded to encrypt the data provided. Encryption methods used must meet
industry standards for strong encryption. The Company must provide FINRA staff, under
separate cover, the confidential process or key regarding the encryption.
All requests for information must be brought to the attention of the CCO, who will establish
and monitor a process by which requested information will be produced and provided, with
advice of counsel. The CCO will attempt to ensure that all existing information subject to
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requests is produced for inspection and copying, except when such is privileged, and that
encryption is available and employed when required. The CCO will likewise ensure that the
Company has provided FINRA with the name of any attorney(s) representing it in 8210
matters. Associated persons are required to cooperate with all such information requests
and must not fail to testify when required or to disclose or produce requested books,
records, or account information for copying.
Under Consolidated FINRA Rules 8211 and 8213 and under SEA Rule 17a-25, the
Company must electronically submit, upon request, information concerning customer and
proprietary transactions via the EBS (Electronic Blue Sheet) system and must provide, on
request, and keep current, information concerning the Company’s Blue Sheet “contact
individual.” The required information must be submitted upon request in a format specified
by FINRA (under Rule 17d-1 of the Exchange Act).
The principal named in the table above has been appointed to ensure the timeliness,
accuracy and completeness of EBS data submitted by the Company or by service bureaus on
its behalf. This designated Principal must also confirm that EBS information is regularly
validated. He or she will ensure that the Company’s validation procedures (maintained
separately, if applicable) are documented and adhered to, and that records pertaining to such
validations are available for examination by FINRA or SEC, when requested. These records
must be retained as described below, under “Preservation of Required Records.” The
designated Principal will also ensure the accuracy of EBS contact information provided.
From time to time, new enhancements to EBS take effect, such as those announced in 2012
requiring submission of new data elements and submissions in three additional formats
(account number and date; account number, symbol and date; or date range and executing
firm CRD number or entering firm MPID). The new requirements also address SEC’s
newly mandated data elements, including Large Trader Identification Number and Order
Execution Time (ref: SEA Rule 13h-1). The designated Principal is required to ensure that
the Company complies with all newly-announced reporting methodologies, as well as
related testing protocols established by FINRA.
Trade Desk, operations and designated supervisory personnel should consult Notice 05-58
for specific requirements relating to mandatory validation and the timeliness, accuracy and
completeness of data submissions, as well as respective Notices for details on 2012
enhancements and technical modifications.
16.16
Records of Cash and Non-Cash Compensation
BCG must maintain records of all compensation, cash and non-cash, received from offerors.
The records must include the names of the offerors, the names of the associated persons,
and the amount of cash and the nature and, if known, the value of non-cash compensation
received. Records regarding the "nature" of non-cash compensation received shall disclose
whether the non-cash compensation was received in connection with a sales incentive
program or a training and education meeting. Thus, for example, records for a training and
education meeting shall include information demonstrating that the requirements of a
training and education meeting were complied with, including the date and location of the
meeting, the fact that attendance at the meeting was pre-approved by a Company Principal
and was not conditioned on the achievement of a previously specified sales target, the fact
that the payment was not applied to the expenses of guests of associated persons of the
Company, and any other relevant information.
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16.17
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Preservation of Required Records
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
Chief Compliance Officer
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Firm Records; Entries in Files
Consol. FINRA Rules 4511, 4512, 4513, 4514, 4570; SEA Rule
17a-4, 17a-8, Reg. AC; Notices 10-10, 11-19
Daily, Weekly or Monthly
Review of respective files required by list below, if applicable.
In General: The Company is required by Consolidated FINRA Rule 4511 to preserve all
required records in accordance with applicable FINRA, SEC and various exchange rules:
some retention time frames are included herein and reflect both FINRA and SEA Rule
requirements. Where there is no specific retention under the rules for a given, required
record, the Company must preserve that record for a period of at least six years. In general,
if the record pertains to an account, the retention period is for six years after the date the
account is closed; otherwise, the retention period is for six years after record is made.
Six Years: BCG shall preserve for a period of not less than six years, the first two years in
an easily accessible place, the following records, as applicable:
• Blotters (or other records of original entry);
• Ledgers (or other records) reflecting all assets and liabilities, income and expense and
capital accounts; and,
• Ledger accounts (or other records) itemizing separate entries as to each cash and margin
account of every customer and of the Company, broker or dealer and partners thereof (if
appropriate) all purchases, sales receipts and deliveries of securities and commodities
for such account and all other debits and credits to such account.
Per SEA Rule 17a-4(c) the Company will preserve, for a period of not less than six years
after the closing of any customer account, any new account forms or records that relate to
the terms and conditions with respect to the opening and maintenance of such account.
Under Consolidated FINRA Rule 4512.01, the Company will preserve: (1) any customer
account information that subsequently is updated for at least six years after that update; and
(2) the last update to any customer account information, or the original account information
if there are no updates, for at least six years after the account is closed.
Five Years: BCG or its clearing agent must preserve for a period of not less than five years
the transfer notice records required to be kept under the Bank Secrecy Act (see above under
“Trade Desk”). Recordkeeping requirements under the USA Patriot Act are described in the
Company’s AML Compliance Program.
Three Years: BCG or its clearing agent shall preserve for a period of not less than three
years after the date of the respective document, the first two years in an accessible place, the
following records:
• Ledgers (or other records) required to be made pursuant to SEA Rule 240.17a-3(a)(4);
• Memoranda of brokerage orders required to be made pursuant to SEA Rule 240.17a3(a)(6);
• Memoranda of purchases and sales required to be made pursuant to SEA Rule 240.17a3(a)(7);
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•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
Information provided to and used by designated Principals to approve changes made to
the name or designation recorded on customer orders;
Copies of confirmations of all purchases and sales of securities required to be made
pursuant to SEA Rule 240.17a-3(a)(8);
Records of each cash and margin account with the Company required to be made
pursuant to SEA Rule 17a-3(a)(9);
Records of all puts, calls, spreads and other options required to be made pursuant to
SEA Rule 17a-3(a)(10);
All checkbooks, bank statements, canceled checks and cash reconciliations;
All bills receivable or payable (or copies), paid or unpaid, relating to the business of the
Company;
Originals of all communications received and copies of all communications sent by the
Company, including interoffice memoranda and communications relating to its business
(whether electronic or paper)--note the Consolidated FINRA Rule 4513 requires that
communications relating to customer complaints be maintained for four years;
All trial balances, computations of aggregate indebtedness and net capital (and
accompanying working papers), financial statements, branch office reconciliation’s and
internal audit working papers relating to its business;
All guarantees of accounts and all powers of attorney and other evidence of the granting
of any discretionary authority given in respect of any account and copies of resolutions
empowering an agent to act on behalf of a corporation;
All manuals describing the Company’s policies and practices with respect to
compliance and supervision, including any updates, modifications and revisions (for
three years after termination of their use);
Certifications of research analysts in connection with public appearances and/or
notifications to authorities and related, required disclosures, in the event certifications
are not received, as required under SEC Regulation AC, in addition to other required
records under FINRA Rule 2711, governing research analysts; and
A copy of all reports that a securities regulatory authority has requested or required the
Company to create, including each examination report.
In addition, Consolidated FINRA Rule 4514 requires that the Company preserve, for a
period of three (3) years after its expiration, the express signed authorization of each
customer to submit for payment a negotiable instrument drawn on the customer’s checking,
savings, share or similar account. If the authorization is via the customer’s signature on the
negotiable instrument, itself, it does not have to be preserved by the Company.
The CCO or designee shall maintain and preserve in an easily accessible place, all
questionnaires or applications for employment pursuant to SEA Rule 240.17a-3(a)(12), until
at least three years after the “associated person” has terminated his or her employment and
any other connection with the Company. Copies of U4 amendments and U5
filings/amendments that do not require signatures of the registered person may be
maintained solely on WebCRD; filings requiring manual signature by the registered person
must be maintained in the Company’s books and records. For filings requiring written
acknowledgement from the registered person, such acknowledgment will be maintained in
the Company’s books and records.
18 Months: For 18 months after the date the report was generated, the Trade Desk
Supervisor or other appointed personnel must maintain (or must be able to recreate, or
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simulate if necessary) reports created to review unusual activity in customer accounts
(“exception reports”).
Life of Enterprise: All organizational records of the Company, including, but not limited
to, articles of incorporation or charters, minute books and stock certificate books, shall be
preserved during the life of the enterprise and of any successor enterprise. In addition, the
CCO or designee shall maintain, for the life of the entity, copies of Forms BD and all
amendments thereto (only those portions of the Form that were amended must be kept).
Custodian of Books & Records when the BD has Ceased Doing Business: Should the
Company cease doing business, its CCO or member of senior management will ensure that
a Form BDW is filed with FINRA. The Company must comply with SEA Rule 17a-4(g) by
continuing to maintain its required books and records for the remainder of respective,
specified retention periods. The Company will provide, on Form BDW: contact
information of the person who will have custody of its books and records after it has
discontinued its business operations; the address where the books and records will be
located, if different than the custodian’s address; and a certification by the signatory that the
Company’s books and records will be preserved and made available for inspection.
Consolidated FINRA Rule 4570 requires that the custodian of the required books and
records be a person who is associated with the firm at the time Form BDW is filed. If the
custodian identified in the BDW ceases to be responsible for the records or the location of
the records changes during the required retention period, the custodian named in the BDW
or his/her designee must promptly notify FINRA of the custodian and/or location.
16.17.1 Format of Primary Records Storage
Under Consolidated FINRA Rule 4511, the Company must preserve all required
books and records in a format and media that complies with SEA Rule 17a-4. The
Company currently maintains its required books and records in the following
formats: paper document storage and party vendor-provided electronic storage. The
Company’s financial records which are subject to later correction are maintained in
the same manner. The FinOp is responsible to ensure that records are maintained,
stored and duplicated, if required, in accordance with all applicable sections under
SEA Rule 17a-4. The Company, if it maintains some or all records in paper format
and backs these records up electronically, is not required to back up these electronic
records or meet the other requirements for electronic storage of primary records as
described under 17a-4(f).
With regard to the Company’s primary books and records maintained exclusively in
micrographic format or in an electronic format, the FinOp will ensure that the
Company is able to:
• Immediately produce easily readable images for examiners for examination;
produce facsimile enlargements upon request;
• Store separate, duplicate copies of records that meet the medium
requirements under SEA Rule 17a-4;
• Organize and index all information on primary and duplicate media (and
make them available to examiners and keep duplicates of the indexes);
• Implement an audit system providing for accountability regarding inputting
of records and inputting of any changes made to every original and
duplicate record (and make audit results available to examiners); and
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Maintain and provide to examiners all information necessary to access
records and indexes stored on the electronic storage media; or place in
escrow and keep current a copy of the physical and logical file format of the
electronic storage media, the field format of all different information types
written on the electronic storage media and the source code, together with
the appropriate documentation and information necessary to access records
and indexes.
Duplicate records, original and duplicate indexes, and audit results must be
preserved for the time required for the original, respective records.
Because the Company maintains all or some of its primary books and records
electronically, it was required to give prior notification to FINRA of its record
storage system and has represented to FINRA that the system is able to:
• Preserve the records exclusively in a non-rewriteable, non-erasable format;
• Verify automatically the quality and accuracy of the storage media
recording process;
• Serialize the original and, if applicable, duplicate units of storage media,
and time-date for the required period of retention the information placed on
such electronic storage media; and
• Have the capacity to readily download indexes and records preserved on the
electronic storage media to any medium acceptable under SEC and FINRA
rules.
The Company was required to give notice 90 days prior to use if the format is not
optical disk technology (such as CD-ROM).
In addition, because the Company has contracted with an independent, off-site, third
party download provider (not affiliated with the Company and on a separate power
grid than the Company) who allows for the authorized downloading of Company
information by the designated examining authority, the third party provider has
notified FINRA that it will provide access or furnish data to regulators as stipulated
in SEA Rule 17a-4(f)(3)(vii).
The designated Principal, will periodically test systems used to capture and store
required records to verify that records are being inputted or captured and maintained
in manner consistent with applicable standards and in accordance with the
Company’s expectations. This audit of the systems may be done by inputting test
files or creating test e-mails and reviewing the content of stored files. In addition,
he/she will require certification from the vendor that they have periodically tested
their system to ensure that it is operating as per stated specifications and that all
features for back-up, access and protection of data have been tested at least
annually. A record of the Principal’s reviews and the certifications obtained from
vendors will be retained in the files associated with the applicable systems.
Notification required under Rules 17a-4(f)(2)(i) regarding the electronic storage
method being employed as well as the certification by a third-party as to their
system capabilities required under Rule 17a-4(f)(3)(vii) must be submitted to
FINRA electronically via the Financial Notifications link on FINRA’s website at
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http://www.finra.org/RegulatorySystems/RegulationFilingApplications/Regulatory
Notifications/index.htm
16.18
Municipal Securities Business
For municipals, the Company can comply with either SEA Rules 17a-3 or MSRB Rules G-8
and G-9. The designated Principal shall ensure that the following records are prepared and
maintained in a timely manner and that they comply with requirements:
• Ledgers for repurchase, reverse repurchase, and put options;
• A syndicate transaction ledger;
• An uncompleted transaction ledger;
• Customer account records; and
• Customer suitability information, as appropriate.
Municipal customers must also provide their employer name and occupation.
16.19
Investment Banking – Not Applicable
16.20
Options Business – Not Applicable
16.22
Cash or Currency Transactions
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Supervisor (see AML
Program)
Daily monitoring
Review of records of cash deposits, wire transfers, foreign transfers.
How Documented:
Copies of currency transaction reports.
3010 Checklist:
SEA Rules 17a-8
Comments:
Company personnel are required to comply with the procedures
outlined in the Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program.
The Company will comply with the reporting, recordkeeping, and record retention
requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act and the Foreign Currency Transactions Reporting
Act of 1970, as enforced by the SEC. The Company does not accept cash or currency from
customers; customers will be advised of the Company’s policy and will be requested to
submit checks in lieu of cash. If cash is inadvertently received, it must be logged and
promptly returned and the Chief Compliance Officer must be informed of the event. The
Company does not anticipate engaging in foreign transactions. The Company does not
permit the transfer of currency or monetary instruments across US borders.
Details of the Company’s compliance with BSA, US Treasury, FINRA and other rules and
regulations relating to receipt and reporting of currency and monetary instrument
transactions are included in the Company’s Anti-Money Laundering Program, under
separate cover.
16.23
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SECTION 17: IA SUPERVISION
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Comments:
Designated Supervisor: CCO
Branch Office Managers and Producing Managers’ Supervisors (see
Section 3.2 and 3.5)
Continuous; on a daily basis
Review of transactions and related documentation
Approval of activity and compensation arrangements
Approval of promotional material and performance reports
Review of necessary regulatory filings
Review of activities—depends on the capacity in which RR’s are
acting as IA’s
Maintain files (either dedicated or personnel), including approved
notices of activities and lists of authorizations.
Related advertising and correspondence files
Rules 3040, 3050; Consolidated FINRA Rule 3270. Notices 94-44,
96-33, 01-24, 03-21
Further reference applicable procedures in this WSP Manual and in
the IA Manual (if any)
17.1
Supervision of Advisory Activities -- Where the Company or its Affiliate is a
Registered IA
The Company is a registered investment advisor, registered with the SEC.
Some or all of the Company’s Registered Representatives are licensed and registered as
advisors and perform advisory services for clients on behalf of the Company or its IA
affiliate. All registered persons conducting advisory business, either on behalf of the
Company or its IA affiliate, are required to comply with the procedures outlined herein and
with all referenced, applicable procedures.
WSP Manual. In accordance with FINRA interpretation, when Registered Representatives
in the exercise of their advisory activities participate in the execution of securities
transactions such that their actions go beyond a mere recommendation, FINRA member
firms must supervise the transactions involved and must maintain records appropriate to
demonstrate this supervisory activity. The Company fully expects to supervise all such
securities transactions in accordance with any and all related procedures described in this
WSP Manual and, as with all securities transactions, RR’s are expected to adhere to all
relevant WSP procedures when executing transactions in the context of advisory services.
17.2
Supervision of Advisory Activities – Outside Business Activity
The Company permits RR’s to act as independently registered IA’s or as IAR’s of third
party firms, subject to approval as described in Sections 4.2 and 4.3.
In a series of Notice to Members (Notice) rulings (Notices 91-32, 94-44 and 96-33), FINRA
has made it clear that member firms (even if not registered as IA’s) have supervisory
responsibilities over the investment advisory activities of their Registered Representatives.
This supervision requirement is based on certain FINRA Rules, including: Consolidated
FINRA Rule 3270 (outside business activities); 3040 (private securities transactions or
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“selling away”); and 3050 (notice and approval of discretionary authority over client
accounts).
Outside Business Activities. Consolidated FINRA Rule 3270, as described in the section
above entitled FIRM POLICY On Outside Business Activities and Private Securities
Transactions (“Selling Away”), requires that registered persons inform the Company of
their outside business activities. In the case where this outside business activity consists of
advisory services, the Company also requires that such activity be pre-approved by the
designated Principal. The Company has an obligation to generally familiarize itself with the
nature of the adviser’s business, his/her operations and services provided, and the scope of
authority the adviser holds over client accounts. To this end, each registered person desiring
to conduct advisory services as an independent IA must provide a notice, requesting
approval to conduct an investment advisory business for asset-based or performance-based
fees. The notice must contain, at a minimum:
•
•
•
•
A declaration that the individual is involved in investment advisory activities and
wishes to execute securities transactions away from the firm;
Identification of each existing customer to which the notice would apply;
A detailed description of the role of the RR/RIA in the investment advisory
activities and services to be conducted; and
Compensation arrangements.
Only after receiving approval in writing from the Company may the Registered
Representative engage in this business. If there are any changes made to the information
provided in the notice, the RR/RIA must provide the Company with an amended notice.
In instances where the RR/RIAs advisory clients are also the Company’s clients, and the
RR/RIA is referring them to a particular money management program, the designated
Principal may require the RR/RIA to obtain approval of such program for use and may also
require the RR/RIA to secure a new account at the Company for the client. Even if a client
brokerage account is not opened and the individual advisor is not participating in securities
transactions resulting from the advisory work, the Company may impose supervision on the
advisory activity, for instance, regarding on-going suitability. The designated Principal,
when considering requests for approval of independent advisory services, will determine
which additional requirements are necessary, on a case-by-case basis.
Specifically with regard to IAR’s of third party firms, the Company’s designated Principal
will receive and review information about third party advisory services/products. This
review will include an evaluation of the third party provider services or products and, to the
extent feasible, the direct provider services or products furnished by the advisor to his
clients. The Company reserves the right to tell the RR seeking approval to use the "Third
Party Provider" that it does not find the advisor's services or products acceptable.
“Selling Away.” As stated above, the RR/RIA must provide notice of the intended scope of
all securities-related business to be conducted for advisory clients. In addition to this
notification and approval process, supervision is required. FINRA has made it clear that
when a RR/RIA, in the exercise of his or her advisory activities, “participates in the
execution of a securities transaction” such that his or her actions go beyond a mere
recommendation, the designated Principal must (A) supervise the transactions involved
(whether or not they are accomplished at the firm) and (B) maintain records appropriate to
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demonstrate this supervisory activity. In instances where the RR/RIAs advisory clients are
also customers of the Company, and the RR/RIA is participating in securities transactions,
those transactions will be subject to all related procedures contained in this WSP Manual.
Where the RR/RIA will be participating in the execution of securities transactions through
another custodian and/or utilizing discretionary authority, such supervision will take place
pursuant to FINRA Rules 3040 and 3050, respectively. Accordingly, to meet the
expectations of the SEC (see Notice 96-33) the respective trades must be subject to the
designated Principal’s review. When RR’s are receiving transaction based compensation
from their advisory clients, the Principal may either require pre-approval of all such trades
or may review trade reports received from the custodian on a T+1 basis. Records of these
approvals must be maintained in accordance with the recordkeeping requirements described
in this Manual.
Where the RR/RIA is offering planning or consultative services ONLY for a fee, the
Company is not required to review or approve such materials or content in advance.
However, should the recommendations made pursuant to a financial plan or consultation
ultimately lead to securities transaction(s) in which the RR/RIA participates, the supervisory
obligations outlined above must be followed.
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SECTION 18: MISCELLANEOUS
18.1
Outsourcing
Name of Supervisor (“designated
Principal”):
Frequency of Review:
How Conducted:
How Documented:
3010 Checklist:
Designated Supervisor: CCO
Upon hiring outsourced party; Periodically thereafter to assess
competence.
Preliminary due diligence; Monitor ongoing performance of duties
through meetings and/or review of status reports.
Evidence of qualifications, capabilities; references; Status reports
from vendors, if available; Meetings with vendors Notes on
monitoring and periodic reviews.
Notice 05-48
The Company has contracted with outside vendors to perform certain required functions for
the Company—or, “covered activities.” FINRA defines “covered activities” as order taking,
handling of customer funds and securities, and supervisory responsibilities under Rules
3010 and 3012. While the Company may never contract its supervisory and compliance
activities away from its direct control, it may outsource certain activities that support the
performance of its supervisory and compliance responsibilities. Such activities may be in
the areas of accounting/finance (payroll, expense account reporting, etc.), legal and
compliance, information technology (IT), operations functions (e.g., statement production,
disaster recovery services, etc.), and administration functions (e.g., human resources,
internal audits, etc.). Importantly, any parties conducting activities or functions that require
registration under applicable rules will be considered associated persons of the Company
(unless the service provider is separately registered as a broker-dealer and such arrangement
is contemplated by applicable rules – for instance, the Company’s clearing firm, if any, is
not considered an outsourced party, as described in Notice 05-48). For the purposes of this
section, an outside FinOp is considered an outsourced vendor.
The Principal designated in the table above is charged with implementing, or assigning for
implementation, the following procedures:
• A formal due diligence process must take place when new vendors/outside parties
are considered for outsourcing. Service providers must be screened for proficiency
and must be deemed reputable enough by the designated Principal prior to finalizing
a contract. Other considerations to address include the vendor’s internal
procedures, industry (regulatory) knowledge, and business disruption preparedness.
• Written contracts should properly document the terms of service provided and the
protection of confidential information. Such contracts must be maintained up to date
and must be available for review by regulators, when requested. If the contract does
not contain a confidentiality agreement, the Company must obtain a separate
agreement to be maintained in the file with the vendor contract.
• For outsourced functions requiring qualification and registration, the Licensing and
Registration Principal must ensure effective registration of the vendor prior to the
Company using his/her services.
• Outsourced services must be monitored on a periodic basis (depending on the type
of service provided) in order to confirm the accuracy and quality of work product,
the adherence to both contract terms and regulatory requirements (both existing and
changing), and the vendor’s application of its own procedures. The designated
Principal may require periodic meetings with the vendor and/or status reports or
some other means of periodic reporting from the vendor, which he or she will
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•
BCG SECURITIES, INC.
review or have reviewed. Records of monitoring must be maintained by the
designated Principal or designee.
The FinOp will ensure that the financial effects of all outsourcing contracts are
properly considered in the context of net capital/AI calculations, when applicable.
The designated Principal shall be responsible for monitoring all outsourced relationships to
ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the Company’s contract. In the event
there is a security breach within the outsourced firm that could compromise the
confidentiality of information regarding the Company or its customer, the designated
Principal will work with the outsourcing firm to ensure appropriate steps have been taken to
secure such information. If there is a breach of the Company’s confidential customer
information, the designated Principal shall report the breach to the appropriate authorities as
required under state or federal requirements and will notify customers as to steps to be taken
to monitor and protect their financial records and identity if the breach compromised related
information.
In addition, all of the Company’s vendors or agents acting on its behalf are required to
comply with the FCPA. No party operating on behalf of the Company may provide
payments to foreign officials (and other parties as described in the policy) without the prior
consent of the CCO. In addition, the designated Principal, when engaging new vendors or
reviewing existing relationships, will attempt to determine if the vendors represent ‘foreign
officials’ or are in any way subject to the limitations under the FCPA. If so, he or she must
take steps to monitor the activities of the vendor for FCPA compliance. The risks of illegal
payments should be avoided; in some cases, if the risk is perceived as high, given known
allegiances between vendors and foreign governments/officials/political parties, the
designated Principal may seek written representations about FCPA compliance or may seek
to terminate the vendor’s contracts is necessary.
The following table includes information relating to these contracted services.
Name of Vendor
Feith
Smarsh
Regulatory
Compliance
Location of
Vendor
Fort Washington, PA
Portland, OR
Londonderry, NH
Services Provided
Document storage/archiving
Email and social media archiving
WSP
Date of
Contract
2005
2008
2013
PART III: REGISTERED REPRESENTATIVE ASSIGNMENTS
BCG maintains a listing of registered representative assignments separately. This listing may be obtained
from the CCO and/or Licensing and Registration Principal.
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