Effective September 28, 2015, FINRA migrated its Advertising Regulation Electronic Files (“AREF”) system to a new electronic platform. The new platform allows broker-dealers to submit their advertising-related files through an increased number of electronic formats and to submit larger files.

The change reflects the increasing creativity of broker-dealers in developing audio and video materials that are within the rubric of FINRA’s advertising rules. As these materials have become more complex, with greater reliance on graphics, FINRA has needed to expand the system’s capability to accept these types of filings. As readers of this publication know, the structured products industry has made significant efforts to create documents that help illustrate to investors the terms and risks of these products, and have been doing so in a variety of different formats.

In the new system, permitted audio and video format include MP4, WMV and WAV, as well as files in “Excel” and “PowerPoint.” The new system increases the file size limit from 50MB to 500MB.

Use of the electronic system remains voluntary.

FINRA maintains a variety of materials relating to the system, including a navigation guide and training materials, at the following website: http://www.finra.org/industry/regulatory-filings/advertising-regulation-electronicfiles?utm_source=MM&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Weekly%5FUpdate%5F100715%5FFINAL.