FINRA Considering Exemptions to Controversial Fee Hike

adviser attorney New YorkEarlier this summer, FINRA proposed a controversial fee hike that is not sitting well with financial services firms.  In many cases, fees could rise as much as 25%.

FINRA argues that the cost of oversight has increased, while fees have declined due to lower trading volume. It is proposing to increase new membership application fees from a minimum of about $3,500 to $7,500.

FINRA has also instituted a new application fee for continuing membership. A continuing membership application (CMA) is required whenever firms make changes to their business, including expansions, acquisitions, and changes in leadership.  The CMA fees can range from $5,000 to $100,000, depending on the size of the firm.

Reacting to the outcry in the financial community, FINRA has now indicated that it is willing to consider some relief with respect to CMA fees and  “. . .consider adopting an exemption process” for CMAs that do not involve substantial changes or require significant staff review.

The decision whether or not to grant the exception remains within the discretion of FINRA staff.

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