WHAT IS FINRA?

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) regulates member brokerage firms and exchange markets in the United States and runs the arbitration forum through which most investor-brokerage firm disputes are decided.

FINRA is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization that acts as a self-regulatory organization (SRO). SROs were created by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to enforce certain industry standards and requirements related to securities trading and brokerage. FINRA is subject to the oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

FINRA runs the dispute resolution forum through which investors can sue their brokers and brokerage firms, licenses individuals and admits firms to the industry, writes rules to govern their behavior, examines them for regulatory compliance, disciplines registered representatives and member firms that fail to comply with federal securities laws and FINRA’s rules and regulations. FINRA maintains the Central Registration Depository, a database of all registered individuals and firms. In addition, FINRA provides education and qualification examinations for securities industry professionals.

FINRA members include all securities firms that do business with the public. Through agreements with the various markets and exchanges, FINRA also provides oversight and enforcement to the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, MSRB, the American Stock Exchange, the International Securities Exchange, industry utilities, and other over-the-counter operations. Broker-dealers that are engaged in the sale of securities are usually FINRA-registered.

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