As it does every January, FINRA released its annual Regulatory and Examinations Priorities Letter identifying areas of examination focus for the coming year, recurring challenges faced by firms, and possible risks impacting the financial sector. FINRA’s 2018 exam priorities for the first time identify cryptocurrencies and related initial coin offerings (ICOs). Other first-mentions include technology governance, business continuity plans, and non-purpose loans. FINRA’s highest listed priorities this year are the repeated priorities of fraud and recidivist brokers.

Protecting senior investors was a prominent part of FINRA’s Exam Priorities in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. In 2018, protection of seniors was not a delineated priority issue but permeated most all other topics.

Despite the fact that FINRA has announced a more strategic use of its resources, most of the old favorites make an appearance including suitability, AML, and cybersecurity.