Jenner & Block

Ellsworth Discusses New FINRA Agency at DC Bar Discussion

On Sept. 20, 2007, Jenner & Block Partner Larry P. Ellsworth moderated a DC Bar luncheon program featuring speaker Susan Merrill, Executive Vice President and Chief of Enforcement of the new Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

FINRA is a new self-regulatory agency for the securities industry that unites for the first time the regulatory functions of the New York Stock Exchange and the former National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD). A central question for the entire broker-dealer industry in 2007 and 2008 will be the extent to which FINRA can successfully bring together the two systems of regulation.

"Among the principal challenges for FINRA will be eliminating unnecessarily duplicative regulation by consolidating two different member rulebooks and two different enforcement systems," Mr. Ellsworth told an audience of 60 at the luncheon meeting.

The program was jointly sponsored by the D.C. Bar's Sections on Corporation, Finance and Securities Law and on Criminal Law and Individual Rights. Mr. Ellsworth is Chair of the Broker-Dealer Regulation and SEC Enforcement Committee of the Securities Law Section.

At the session, Ms. Merrill said she hopes she plans to complete a recommended organization combining the two enforcement entities by October 1, 2007 and that a completed member rulebook will be issued by FINRA by the end of 2008. "However, I don't know how realistic that time frame is," she added.