If firms haven’t addressed and mitigated any potential conflicts of interest yet, they better start soon. Both FINRA and the SEC have not only brought their first Regulation Best Interest enforcements this year, but both agencies are promising that they will be ramping up enforcement. Robert Cook, President and CEO of FINRA, warned at the recent ALI-CLE Life Insurance Products Conference in Washington, D.C. that “Anything that would be a violation of the old suitability standard is now going to be a violation under the Reg BI standard.” He also warned firms that there are more Reg BI enforcement cases in the pipeline and said FINRA exams will “continue to evolve in terms of expectations and the depth of what we’re looking for.” Reg BI, which requires that registered reps demonstrate they have put customers’ best interests before their own is an upgrade from the old suitability standard, which only required reps to make sure products and services are appropriate for clients. The SEC has also promised more Reg BI enforcements and is bringing similar cases against investment advisor reps under the fiduciary standard. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler recently stated, “The ‘interplay’ between Reg BI and the fiduciary standard is important and that the agency will publish a staff bulletin on the topic.”
Finsum:After bringing their first Regulation Best Interest enforcements this year, both FINRA and the SEC are ramping up Reg BI enforcement.