Pursuant to Rule 17a-5(d) under the Exchange Act, all SEC-registered broker-dealers must submit annual audit reports to the SEC and the firm’s designated examining authority (such as FINRA) no more than 60 days after its fiscal year-end. Accordingly, firms with a fiscal year-end of December 31 must file their reports by March 1, 2012. As discussed in Regulatory Notice 11-46, FINRA recently revised the process for submission of annual audited financial statements to require firms to submit annual audit reports electronically in PDF format via FINRA’s Firm Gateway.
In addition, firms are required to submit the oath and affirmation required by Rule 17a-5 electronically with their annual audit report. The oath and affirmation must state that, that, to the best knowledge and belief of the person making the oath or affirmation, (i) the financial statements and schedules are true and correct and (ii) neither the broker-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. Both the annual audit report and the accompanying oath and affirmation must be maintained in hard copy form with an original manual signature (including raised notary seal, where applicable) as part of the firm’s books and records.
FINRA member firms that do not believe they can meet the deadline due to circumstances beyond the firm’s control must request an extension from its FINRA District Office at least three business days prior to the filing deadline. For additional information, contact us at (619) 278-0020 to schedule a consultation.