After some minor bumps along the way, the NASD and NYSE merger is official. The regulators’ consolidation, which was announced on November 28 and approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 26, became effective today.
"The creation of FINRA is the most significant modernization of the self-regulatory regime in decades," said Mary L. Schapiro, Chief Executive Officer of FINRA, in a statement. "With investor protection and market integrity as our overarching objectives, FINRA will be an investor-focused and more streamlined regulator that is better suited to the complexity and competitiveness of today's global capital markets.”
FINRA will operate under SEC oversight. SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said, "The consolidation of NASD's and NYSE's member firm regulatory functions is an important step toward making our self-regulatory system not only more efficient, but more effective in protecting investors. The Commission will work closely with FINRA to eliminate unnecessarily duplicative regulation, including consolidating and strengthening what until now have been two different member rulebooks and two different enforcement systems.”
We’re hoping “eliminating duplicative regulation” will be easier than the name-picking debacle of the last few weeks. After dropping its first choice, SIRA—also an Arabic word that refers to the traditional Muslim biographies of the prophet Mohammad—the watchdog chose FINRA.But shortly after the name switch was announced, the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors both found fault in the new name, saying it implies the group has authority over all financial professionals. “In actuality, FINRA only has oversight over those selling financial products and investments. This group does not include many financial planners and Registered Investment Advisers,” NAPFA says. But the new regulatory group decided FINRA will stick.