FINRA Seeks Comment on Supporting DE&I in the Broker-Dealer Industry

FINRA announced in a release that it is seeking comment on any aspects of its rules, operations and administrative processes that may create unintended barriers to greater diversity and inclusion in the broker-dealer industry or that might have unintended disparate impacts within the industry. FINRA highlighted its efforts to support efforts by broker-dealer industry participants to foster diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity and wrote that it has been engaging with its advisory committees, industry associations and other industry members to explore how it can further facilitate industry efforts. FINRA has undertaken a number of initiatives, including establishing an internal Racial Justice Task Force, hosting an Annual Diversity Summit since 2013,  and developing the Securities Industry Essentials Exam to expand who is eligible to take a qualification examination. The organization said its staff’s preliminary conversations with some industry participants have suggested the potential that aspects of FINRA’s rules, operations and administrative processes may unintentionally impede diversity and inclusion (e.g., certain background data that must be provided by applicants for securities industry registration). FINRA is requesting comments through June 28, 2021.