FINRA rules addressing conflicts of interest relating to the publication of equity research reports become effective on September 25, 2015, or December 24, 2015. Corresponding rules for debt research reports become effective on February 22, 2016.

Rule 2241 is designed to “foster objectivity and transparency” in equity research and provide investors with useful information with which to make investment decisions. The rule broadens the obligations of broker-dealers to identify and manage research-related conflicts of interest, but includes some flexibility in compliance. Among other things, the rule:

  • requires certain analysts to register and pass Series 86 and 87 exams
  • requires broker-dealers to disclose conflicts of interest in research reports and public appearances by research analysts
  • prohibits investment banking personnel from being involved in writing the content of research reports
  • prohibits investment banking personnel from determining how analysts are compensated
  • establishes an information barrier requirement inspired by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • establishes a new standard for personal trading by research analysts

The rule becomes effective on September 25, 2015, or December 24, 2015, depending on the specific provision.

Rule 2242 is FINRA’s counterpart for debt reports. The rule reflects differences in the trading of debt securities, and includes broad exemptions for debt research distributed solely to eligible institutional investors. FINRA Rule 2242 becomes effective on February 22, 2016.