Annual Regulatory Element Continuing Education
Beginning on January 1, 2023, FINRA’s Regulatory Element CE must be completed on an annual basis. There will no longer be individualized CE windows to track, and every registered person will be required to complete the Regulatory Element CE by December 31 of each year. With this change FINRA seeks to simplify requirement schedules and keep registered persons more current on regulatory changes. Continual completion of Regulatory Element CE can be very useful in this rapidly changing regulatory environment.
Firms may require registered individuals to complete the Regulatory Element CE prior to FINRA’s annual due date of December 31; however, FINRA will only consider an individual’s CE inactive if they do not complete the requirements by December 31. Extensions beyond the deadline may be granted by FINRA on a case-by-case basis. Regulatory Element CE will be administered through each individual’s FinPro account. Firms should encourage representatives to set up their FinPro accounts as soon as possible.
Content of the Regulatory Element CE will be specific to each registration that an individual maintains. The amount of content to be completed each year will be approximately one third of the amount that was completed every three years under the previous CE schedule. This could vary depending on the volume of rule changes for the year. The fee for the annual CE will be $18 per year. Previously the fee was $55 every three years.
FINRA plans to publish its Regulatory Element CE topics for the coming year annually on October 1. This is a great tool for firms to use to plan their Firm Element CE program.
Annual Firm Element Continuing Education
FINRA has instituted several changes to the requirements for the Firm Element CE. These changes include several updates that may be beneficial to firms and representatives. For example, FINRA has specifically recognized that a firm’s Annual Compliance Meeting and Anti-Money Laundering training can be used towards the Firm Element CE. FINRA has said that firms may determine if other training completed by representatives (such as CFA training) may be applied towards the Firm Element CE.
One change to note is that FINRA will now require all registered persons to complete the Firm Element CE. If a firm has been relying on any exclusions for registered persons from the requirements, those exclusions will no longer be allowed, starting in 2023.
Under the previous requirements, Firm Element CE had to include, at a minimum, specific topics outlined by FINRA. Starting in 2023 FINRA’s minimum requirements state that “Training must cover topics related to professional responsibility and to the role, activities or responsibilities of the registered person.” As in years past the training plan used must cover the needs of the firm based on an Annual Needs Analysis, the training plan must be in writing, and records of completion must be kept for all participants.
FINRA is also creating a CE content catalog firms may use to purchase training materials for their Firm Element CE. There is no requirement to use these materials; they are an optional resource.
FINRA has also created a helpful chart that outlines the changes between the old continuing education requirements and the new requirements, as well as a website with more details about this CE Transformation. Oyster Consultants have extensive experience providing compliance support to broker-dealers. Among other services we can provide assistance with your Continuing Education needs. Oyster Consulting provides a team of consultants and software to help you organize and automate your compliance program. Leverage our knowledge and experience to support your efforts to achieve compliance.