New amendments to FINRA Rule 2210 that will require member firms’ retail websites to include a readily apparent reference and hyperlink to BrokerCheck have been approved by the SEC. The hyperlink will be required on each firm’s initial web page intended to be viewed by retail investors and also on any other web page that includes a professional profile of one or more registered persons who conduct business with retail investors. The amendments will become effective on June 6, 2016.
In Regulatory Notice 15-50, issued on December 7, 2015, FINRA commented on a number of aspects of the amendments. For example, FINRA clarified that Rule 2210, as amended, will not require a member firm to add the BrokerCheck hyperlink to communications appearing on a third-party website. Consequently, communications appearing on Twitter or LinkedIn will not need to include the BrokerCheck hyperlink. Similarly, the hyperlink will not be required to be added to each e-mail or text message sent by a member firm or a registered person to a retail investor. FINRA also added some clarity to what constitutes a “readily apparent” hyperlink, discussing frequently recurring questions such as placement, font size and font color.
FINRA members that maintain websites for their structured notes will need to consider the application of these new rules, and whether it will be appropriate to add links.