Earlier this month, FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 11-46 regarding the filing of annual audit reports. The notice requires the electronic submission of all annual reports with a fiscal year ending on or after September 30, 2011. Once FINRA has completed the transition to electronic filing, they will no longer accept reports filed in hard copy form.
Firms are required to submit their annual audit report and any required schedules in electronic form via FINRA’s Firm Gateway. The required format of the filing is Portable Document Format (PDF). In addition to the audit report, attached must be an oath or affirmation that to the best of the knowledge and belief of the person making such an oath or affirmation, (i) the financial statements and schedules are true and correct and (ii) neither the broker or dealer, nor any partner, officer, or director, as the case may be, has any proprietary interest in any account classified solely as that of a customer. The oath or affirmation must be made before a person duly authorized to administer such oaths or affirmations (usually a Notary Public). Please note that the electronic filing requirement also applies to the filing of amended reports if the original report was also filed electrnically.
Firms must submit the oath and affirmation electronically with their annual audit, andmust also maintain the oath and affirmation page with an original manual signature (including raised notary seal, where applicable) as part of their books and records, along with the accompanying annual audit report in hard copy form.
Please be advised that it is your responsibility to electronically file your company’s annual report using your FINRA entitlement user identification and password to gain access to the FINRA Firm Gateway. Also, remember that the due date of the annual report has not been altered as a result of this change in filing procedure. The report must still be filed no later than 60 calendar days after the end of the company’s fiscal year.
Although FINRA now requires the electronic filing of these reports, it should be emphasized that the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has not followed suit. Accordingly, firms must continue to file annual audit reports in hard copy form with the SEC.
If you have any questions or need clarification of the new rule, please contact our office to discuss your question with a member of our professional staff.
Kevin G. Breard, CPA
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