The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority brought and settled charges against Stephens Inc., a broker-dealer, for not supervising “flash” emails used by research analysts to advise other firm personnel of developments regarding companies covered by the firm’s research department in advance of public pronouncements. According to FINRA, from at least August 2013 through January 2016, Stephens issued flash emails that might have inadvertently conveyed nonpublic inside information, at a time when such information should not have been disseminated, that could have been used to make trading decisions. Sometimes, charged FINRA, Stephens’ flash emails were forwarded by Stephens’ brokers to public customers or excerpts were provided to them. However, said FINRA, “[t]he firm’s policies and procedures regarding the content of flash emails did not provide … guidance or restrictions beyond stating that research analysts were prohibited from previewing ratings, earnings estimates, and price target changes in emails.” Among other things, FINRA charged that Stephens did not monitor trading that occurred before the formal publication of research reports, but after the issuance of flash emails. To resolve FINRA’s allegations, Stephens agreed to pay a fine of US $900,000 and to implement a comprehensive review of its policies and procedures regarding the dissemination of potentially nonpublic inside information.