FINRA Exam Support

SEC Examinations
State Examinations

Regulatory Inquiries

Subpoenas / Investigative Inquiries
FINRA 8210 Letters

  • Preparing for a FINRA Cycle Examination

    FINRA has published its own guide to preparing for a cycle examination. The guide provides insights as to what a firm might expect during a FINRA cycle examination and how to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

  • FINRA Examination Priorities

    Each year, FINRA publishes a virtual cheat sheet for their examinations! That comes in the form of the FINRA Exam Priorities Letter. If you are due for a FINRA examination this year, or even next year, there is plenty of FINRA exam support material available. FirstMark highly recommends reviewing the exam priorities letter when it is published each January. It would be wise to perform a review of the areas in the letter versus your current business lines and make sure that your written supervisory procedures effectively cover all the items listed. FirstMark offers this service to clients in connection with FINRA exam support.

  • Tools and Checklists

    One of the most commonly reviewed items is a broker-dealer’s compliance with the FINRA and SEC books and records requirements. FINRA has published this checklist of recordkeeping requirements. It is a bit dated (from 2003) but many of these rules have been unchanged for years. It is always important to review your firm’s compliance with the books and records rules on an annual basis, perhaps in connection with your annual supervisory controls review. FirstMark provides FINRA exam support and can assess your firm’s compliance with the books and records rules at any point in time.

  • FINRA Cycle (Routine) Examinations

    FINRA regularly conducts examinations of its broker-dealer members. Those examinations happen according to a schedule based on the time that has elapsed since the last examination (or since a new member’s registration was approved). That schedule varies depending upon a number of factors, including the nature and complexity of the firm’s business, disciplinary history, and other “risk” factors. Hence the terms “cycle” or “routine” examination. FINRA provides advance notice of its examinations in almost all cases. FINRA executives have previously stated that a small percentage of examinations are conducted on an unannounced basis, but they have not said exactly what that percentage is. Generally, the notice of the exam is received about 30 to 60 days in advance. FINRA may also conduct inspections of a number of the firm’s branch offices in connection with the cycle examination. Members upload requested information directly and securely to FINRA. Once the examiners complete the on-site portion of the exam, they hold an exit conference during which they provide a summary of their preliminary findings and provide an opportunity for the firm to respond and provide additional information if necessary. Once the exam team has completed the review of responses provided by the firm, it will issue an examination report. The FINRA Exam Report contains a listing of the areas reviewed and the findings of the exam team. Any rule violations noted are listed. Depending on the seriousness of any findings, FINRA may file the matter without action, issue a cautionary action, or take more serious action, by referring the matter to its Enforcement Department. FirstMark provides expert FINRA exam support to clients experiencing any type of FINRA exam.


Let’s face it, there’s not a lot of extra room in staffing budgets these days. How long has corporate America been doing more with less? The list of responsibilities assigned to a compliance officer grows every year. When a regulatory inquiry or examination commences, most would agree that the compliance officer’s full attention should be focused on providing timely, complete and accurate responses. However, the reality is that without regulatory exam support, there is rarely enough time in the day to accomplish the routine tasks, let alone properly handle a regulatory inquiry or examination. Make no mistake, regulators expect full and responsive cooperation. Being effective, efficient and making the right impression can help to shorten a regulatory exam or inquiry. Whether you need FINRA exam support, or have another regulatory inquiry that is pending, FirstMark can help organize and prepare responses based on information you provide. With extensive experience in handling regulatory inquiries, FirstMark provides expert FINRA exam support to clients by assisting with regulatory inquiries and supporting compliance staff during examinations.

finra exam support

FINRA Exam Support

If your firm is subject to a FINRA examination, whether it is a cycle examination or an enforcement inquiry, it is critically important that you are responsive, timely and accurate in handling the examination. Examiners expect prompt turnaround of requests and will escalate matters if they aren’t getting the answers they need. FINRA exam support is available from the experts at FirstMark. From evaluation of regulatory examination requests to mock examinations, FirstMark can help you prepare. FirstMark’s goal is to help shorten the duration of the examination or investigation by helping you isolate and prepare the required information.