How to Answer a FINRA Rule 8210 Inquiry


Published on July 31, 2020

So, you got a letter. From FINRA. It’s about an examination. It’s a Rule 8210 letter. Now what?

When you get a Rule 8210 letter from FINRA, it’s serious.  This letter is telling you FINRA is launching an investigation, which you, as a registered person of FINRA, are – in some way, shape, or form – a part of.  Something occurred that triggered an investigation — potentially a customer complaint, a termination disclosure by your former broker-dealer, a tip, a surveillance report or some referral caught the attention of FINRA, and now, an investigation is underway.

What is Rule 8210? Rule 8210 is the first step for suspected violations of the FINRA rules, which gives FINRA the authority to demand documents of the targeted FINRA member firm and/or individual FINRA members. For the recipient of an FINRA 8210 letter, this written request for information is perhaps the most important part of the investigation process because it gives you the opportunity to respond and set the record straight.

Your answer to this letter should be sent through an attorney. Directly communicate with FINRA at your own risk. As a self-regulated, non-government (yet government-created) watchdog organization, FINRA is not concerned with the interests of those it investigates. FINRA does not have to tell you it’s motives, purposes, scope, or even what documentation they may already have in their possession; you are in the middle of a potential bear (or bull) trap.  An inaccurately or sloppily answered FINRA 8210 request can often lead to further examination, more demands, and potentially, an enforcement action.

Here is what you should do upon receipt of a Rule 8210 letter requesting documents or information: Contact a specialized securities law attorney who has experience with FINRA and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and understands regulatory enforcement actions.  Here is what you should not do: Don’t ignore the letter! If ignored, serious consequences can result such as being barred from the financial securities industry and losing your registration with FINRA. This will effectively end your financial services career, so again, do not ignore the letter or engage in self-help.

The Warren Law Group and its skilled attorneys will carefully respond to the Rule 8210 letter, advocate on your behalf and establish the facts and defenses that can mean the difference between further examination or the end of one. If your examination escalates into an “OTR” or on-the-record interview (something like a deposition but without any notice of what documents will be used during your “interview”), we are prepared to defend, advise, and guide you through the process. Learn more about Warren Law Group’s FINRA regulatory compliance and securities litigation services, here: https://warren.law/services/#regulatory-compliance

https://www.finra.org/rules-guidance/rulebooks/finra-rules/8210

https://www.finra.org/rules-guidance/guidance/faqs/finra-rule-8210-information-testimony

Receiving a Rule 8210 letter is alarming, but it is not the end of your career.  The Warren Law Group can help strategize on the best approach to responding – remember, this is your opportunity to set the facts straight and resolve the investigation. Our goal is to protect our clients’ livelihood and professional reputation in the financial services industry.

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