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The Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) approved a plan to improve its enforcement technology platform during a two-day Board of Governor’s meeting earlier this month. According to FINRA, the board approved a new, three-year Enforcement Digital Transformation initiative aimed at improving workflow efficiency and cutting costs.

FINRA“The new Enforcement technology platform will replace one that is 13 years old and currently presents workflow challenges, which can slow down the process of bringing enforcement actions," said FINRA CEO Robert Cook, in a statement. “The Enforcement Digital Transformation will lead to greater operational effectiveness within the Enforcement department and for other regulatory groups at FINRA, and—as an added benefit—reduced operating costs.”

The board also approved three new rulemaking items as well as its Annual Financial Report. Further, FINRA also engaged with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)—which itself was busy partnering with the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division—to discuss regulatory interests, combatting elder fraud and efforts to coordinate a response to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.

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In light of the recent death of George Floyd, FINRA’s leadership also expressed its commitment to equality under the law and combating prejudice and racism. To that end, it pledged to support pursuing “a diverse and inclusive workforce; to expand its efforts to promote the financial literacy and capability of minority communities; and to work collaboratively with others to promote greater diversity and inclusion across the industry, so it can better represent and serve the needs of all investors,” according to information from regulator.

SEC Teams Up with DOJ for ‘Historic’ MOU

The SEC, in another effort to bolster its effectiveness, signed a first-of-its-kind Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division to facilitate better communication and cooperation between the two agencies and improve securities competition.

The deal was executed ahead of a discussion hosted by the Golub Center for Finance and Policy regarding equity market structure, according to information from the SEC. “As competition is embedded in our securities laws, there are many policy areas where the missions of the SEC and DOJ’s Antritrust Division align, but where our respective areas of expertise differ,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “By formalizing the exchange of knowledge between our agencies, we aim to foster even greater collaboration and cooperation to ensure that we maintain the efficient and competitive markets that American investors rely on.”

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said the deal “institutionalizes a strong working relationship” between the two entities. “The Antitrust Division and the SEC have prioritized close cooperation with one another in recent years to promote competitive conditions in the securities industry, benefitting both agencies’ enforcement missions,” said Delrahim.

The agreement establishes a framework for future communication on regulatory and law enforcement issues and calls for regular meetings between SEC and DOJ officials. It also provides for an exchange of expertise and information with respect to enforcement and oversight responsibilities, according to information from the announcement.

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