Since 2018, FINRA and the CE Council have been working alongside industry stakeholders to implement changes to the Securities Industry CE Program. Approximately four years later, and these modifications are finally being rolled out. If you’re not sure what these changes are, when they take effect, or how they could impact your business, provided below is a summary of everything you need to know.
There are several changes being made to CE programs, which include:
- the transition of Regulatory Element CE to an annual requirement;
- registration-based content in the Regulatory Element;
- the expansion of Firm Element training to all registered individuals; and
- the creation of the Maintaining Qualifications Program (MQP), which allows individuals leaving the industry to maintain their qualifications through annual CE.
Regulatory Element Program
Effective January 1, 2023, FINRA Rule 1240 and other self-regulatory organization (SRO) rules will require registered securities professionals to complete the Regulatory Element annually. In this revised program, content will be tailored to each registration category, and registered securities professionals will be required to complete courses specifically designed for each representative or principal registration category that they hold. The 2023 Regulatory Element learning topics will be published by October 1, 2022. To facilitate these changes, the CE Council is working with regulators to implement improved systems for tracking, notifications and reporting.
Pro Tip: Next year, FINRA recommends reviewing the Regulatory Element topics before planning your Firm Element Program to avoid duplicate content/address other areas of training not yet covered.
Regulatory Element training is now facilitated through FINRA’s Financial Professional Gateway (FinPro) platform and will continue to be delivered through this system during and after the transition to an annual requirement. According to FINRA, the Regulatory Element fee will be reduced from $55 to $18.
Firm Element Program
The Firm Element requirement is designed to keep registered securities professionals up to date on job- and product-related subjects. Effective January 1, 2023, FINRA Rule 1240 and other SRO rules will provide that Firm Element training must cover topics related to the role, activities or responsibilities of the registered individual, as well as professional responsibility.
Upcoming rule changes will also extend the Firm Element requirement to all registered individuals, including those who maintain solely a permissive registration consistent with FINRA Rule 1210.02. In order to ease the burden of this rule change and create a holistic educational experience in conjunction with Regulatory Element training, the CE Council has recommended several enhancements, which includes:
- recognition that other training requirements can be applied to Firm Element CE, including existing programs such as anti-money laundering (AML) training and the firm’s annual compliance meeting (ACM);
- enhancements to the Firm Element Needs Analysis Quarterly Highlights (formerly known as Firm Element Advisory (FEA)) and the CE Council Guide to Continuing Education Firm Element Programs; and
- development of a CE content catalog, consisting of training that will be available to firms as an optional resource to select relevant training courses.
Maintaining Qualifications Program (MQP)
Lastly, FINRA created a new program that allows individuals to maintain their qualifications past the current two-year period. The MQP became effective on March 15, 2022. This optional program allows eligible individuals to maintain their qualifications for up to five years by enrolling in the MQP and completing annual training consisting of the Regulatory Element and additional Practical Element content selected by FINRA and the CE Council.
Eligible individuals must enroll and complete the required training in a timely fashion in order to maintain qualifications. Registered professionals who maintain a FinPro account will receive email communications about enrolling in and satisfying the requirements of the MQP. Participants must pay a $100 annual participation fee.
To view several important dates regarding FINRA’s CE transformation, click here.