We understand that receiving a Rule 8210 notice from FINRA can be worrying. This is an alert that FINRA is starting an inquiry into your conduct, and is ordering you to answer a list of questions and produce a wide range of documents, both business and personal.
Responding to the Rule 8210 notice is not optional. You should take it seriously and immediately take steps to deal with it. If not handled properly, your career could be damaged.
NOTIFYING YOUR FIRM
You have a regulatory obligation to notify your broker/dealer. The manner in which you approach your firm will be crucial.
Subpoenas often have an extremely short response deadline, assuming that the target is going to ask for an extension. The initial contact with the FINRA investigator is important for obtaining an extension of time and gaining an understanding of the seriousness of the issues. If FINRA denies a request, it likely means you are a target and have serious problems.
Hire an attorney who is experienced in defending advisors and firms in FINRA disciplinary matters
You should not be using a general litigator or the attorney who helped you with your estate plan or who set up your LLC, no matter how highly you think of them. You should have a lawyer who understands the securities industry, and who regularly deals with FINRA staff and attorneys. Qualified counsel can help you frame your answers to the FINRA subpoena to minimize or avoid further regulatory danger.
Scott Matasar, Esq. is a founding Member at Matasar Jacobs LLC. His legal practice focuses on representing firms and individuals in the securities brokerage industry. Among other things, he regularly defends clients in FINRA customer arbitration cases, represents advisors under investigation by FINRA as well as state and federal regulators, and counsels both firms and advisors on a wide range of securities, regulatory and operational issues, including transition matters.
Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 216.453.8181.