Referral Fees and Commission Sharing When May Broker-Dealers Share Their Fees with Non-Brokers?
October 16, 2014
FINRA recently filed proposed rule changes with the SEC addressing when broker-dealers may pay referral fees or otherwise share compensation with persons who are not registered as broker-dealers. The proposed rule changes are subject to the SEC's approval. If approved, new Rule 2040 and related conforming changes to other FINRA rules will go into effect 45 to 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.
THE REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS
Under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act"), persons who receive transaction-based compensation in connection with the purchase or sale of securities must generally be registered as broker-dealers or licensed as associated persons of a registered broker-dealer. In most cases, registered broker-dealers are not permitted to share their transaction-based compensation with persons who are not properly registered or licensed.
Over the years, the NYSE, NASD and FINRA have issued multiple rules and interpretations enforcing registration requirements and creating several important exceptions. The proposed rule changes would consolidate these rules and interpretations into new FINRA Rule 2040. While the proposed rule would not implement any substantive changes from the current set of rules and interpretations, it does include a few features which may have significant implications.
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