Our Expectations for This Year’s FINRA Annual Conference
Once again, we are preparing to go to Washington D.C. for the annual gathering of compliance professionals, technologists, and regulatory influencers to explore topics impacting the broker-dealer marketplace.
For those unfamiliar with the event, the FINRA Annual Conference provides a current and future look at a broad range of topics. These include regulatory compliance, risk management, crypto asset developments, trends, financial crimes and the evolution of branch office inspections, among others. The conference offers attendees the opportunity to learn from experts in the field, network with peers and stay up to date on the latest industry developments.
While we expect ChatGPT and the adoption of AI in financial services to be a big topic, we think there’s another clear, unambiguous, and painfully obvious conversation that attendees will want to discuss: how will firms address new risks stemming from the use of unauthorized communications and collaborative tools?
Despite “Future Focused” being the conference theme, firms are facing these challenges now. This topic is affecting policy and procedure updates, training programs, and technology investment planning happening at this very moment.
With that in mind, these are just a few of the topics that we will be paying particular attention to:
Opening keynote with SEC Chairman Gary Gensler and FINRA Head Robert Cook
In previous years, this has been a nice cordial opening to the conference. This year, it could be more entertaining given the following:
- A multitude of new rule proposals issued by the SEC
- Strong reactions from the industry regarding the size and frequency of enforcement actions related to off-channel communications
- The continued ambiguity surrounding regulatory oversight responsibilities in the crypto market
Should be an exciting kick-off.
Redefining communications compliance for the digital age
Wednesday afternoon features a discussion of compliance challenges brought about by today’s technologies used to communicate with the public. Firms are actively seeking best practices for the recent enforcement actions regarding off-channel, mobile devices, and the use of finfluencers.
We’ve discussed this before and compiled a variety of resources to help firms update their digital compliance strategy. Be sure to visit Smarsh in the Treasury Room during the first two days so you can be a step ahead of the conversation.
Leveraging regulatory technology for your firm
Also scheduled late in the conference, this session focuses on the use of regtech tools by FINRA, including those enabled by cloud computing and artificial intelligence. While this session unfortunately runs at the same time as the communications compliance session, it should also give attendees a chance to revisit the very timely discussions of model risk management, explainability, and the potential impact of OpenAI on compliance programs.
This is also a key conversation we’ll have at the Smarsh booth.
Best practices for implementing firm policies and procedures in response to regulatory change
This session promises to provide clarity on one of the biggest challenges our customers are facing: how firms can build compliance programs that are agile and responsive to both digital communications and regulatory requirement changes.
These are everyday questions:
- How are records now defined under the updated SEC 17a-4 requirements?
- What device policy should firms use? BYOD or corporate-owned mobile devices?
- What actions are ‘good enough’ to meet SEC’s requirements to identify and remediate deficiencies, as clearly highlighted in recent enforcement actions?
We hope to see you at the FINRA Annual Conference!
We’re the event’s only Platinum Sponsor, and we look forward to welcoming our customers, partners, and prospects to our booth and our first day reception. Please reach out if we can schedule some time for a demo or overview of how we are addressing the above topics.
Look out for updates throughout the conference that will be posted to the Smarsh LinkedIn page as well as our main website. We look forward to seeing you again in D.C., where the future is now.
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