Branch office registration for broker-dealers and advisers hoping to open a branch office in Florida has just gotten easier, thanks to a new Florida state measure. On June 14, 2013, Governor Rick Scott passed a law to allow branch office applications to be approved instantly once filed with the state, making it a “notice-filing state.” Florida is the 17th state to use the notice-filing system for branch offices, while 29 states do not require registration or notice filing, and 6 states require registration but do not approve applications right away.
The benefits of this new process will make a great impact on broker-dealers and advisers wanting to work in the state. Applications will now be online, and the branch office goes into effect once the application is submitted with a $100 filing fee. Previously, broker-dealers or advisers had to register with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR), which often lead, according to the Financial Services Institute (FSI), to “financial advisers [being] forced to close down for extended periods of time, losing revenue and denying clients access to their advice, due to applications not being approved in a timely manner.” The approval period with OFR averaged around 5 days, making the process mandated last week more streamlined and potentially less disruptive to a firm’s business.
“Notice-filing” branch registration in Florida will affect broker-dealers and advisers nationwide who seek to change their affiliations, move locations, or open a branch in Florida as an in- or out-of-state firm. For more information, or for assistance on other compliance topics, please contact us at (619) 278-0020 to schedule a consultation.