The Small Firm Advisory Committee (“SFAC”) was formed in 1998. Currently, the SFAC chair is Wendy Lanton, of Lantern Investments. The purpose of the SFAC is to relay issues of interest and concern to the FINRA Board of Governors. Also, the SFAC reviews new and amended FINRA proposed rules and offers comments and guidance to FINRA staff regarding the effect of such proposed rules will have on FINRA’s small firms. The SFAC also reviews anything that FINRA may implement that will have an effect on small firms. The SFAC also listens to concerns and comments from small firms. The SFAC then relays those concerns and comments to FINRA staff members.
For instance, the SFAC received many complaints regarding small firm compliance problems with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board rules and regulations. In response, the SFAC began a grass-roots initiative in hopes that Congress will eventually grant a small firm exemption to the PCAOB rules and regulations. The SFAC also relayed complaints to FINRA staff members regarding how expensive the FINRA annual conferences were for small firms. Now, FINRA events are less expensive and FINRA holds events catered to small firms.
The SFAC has ten members. There are five at-large members appointed by FINRA’s Board of Governors and five regional members elected by small firms. One regional member represents each of the five FINRA regions. The five regions are the Midwest, New York, North, South and West. Those regions are split up into eleven FINRA districts.
Currently, there are two seats available for election. One seat up for election will represent FINRA’s North Region which includes Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York (except for the counties of Nassau and Suffolk, and the five boroughs of New York City), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia (FINRA Districts 9 and 11). The second seat up for election will represent FINRA’s West Region which includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and the former U.S. Trust Territories (FINRA Districts 1, 2 and 3).
The SFAC meets five times a year, primarily in Washington, DC, prior to each FINRA Board of Governors meeting. SFAC members are expected to attend SFAC meetings in person and may be requested to attend certain regional meetings or other FINRA meetings. Potential candidates should submit the candidate profile form to the Corporate Secretary of FINRA by September 28, 2018. The candidate profile form is available online at www.finra.org/notices/ SFACElection/082918. The deadline for filing the candidate profile form is September 28, 2018.
FINRA will mail the official Election Notice and ballots in mid-October of 2018 and voting will conclude in November of 2018. Only those firms eligible to vote for the North and West Region representatives will receive ballots. The newly elected North and West Region representatives will take office in January 2019.
For more information see FINRA’s Election Notice. Call for Candidates in the Upcoming FINRA Small Firm Advisory Committee Election. (August 29, 2018). Retrieved from http://www.finra.org/sites/default/files/notice_doc_file_ref/SmallFirm-Election-Notice-082918.pdf
If you would like to get in touch with an SFAC member you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the FINRA small firm help line at (833) 263-4672 or contact a SFAC member by visiting FINRA’s SFAC website. To review the full video of A Few Minutes with FINRA: Small Firm Advisory Committee, please see A Few Minutes with FINRA: Small Firm Advisory Committee. (September 12, 2018). Retrieved from http://www.finra.org/industry/afmwf-small-firm-advisory-committee.
Ashley Spencer is a licensed attorney with The Spencer Law Firm. The information in this blog is not intended as legal advice but to provide a general understanding of this legal subject. Readers with legal problems should consult an attorney for advice on their particular situation. The Spencer Law Firm offers legal consultation. Please email Ashley Spencer at email@example.com or contact her toll free at 1-800- 237-4529.