FINRA Asks SEC to Extend Use of Video Hearings


The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has filed to extend the “temporary basis” for the Office of Hearing Officers (OHO) and the National Adjudicatory Council to conduct hearings by video conference until April 30. 

Due to the “continued presence and uncertainty of COVID-19,” FINRA is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission, via a rule filing, to extend the Jan. 31 date for such disciplinary and enforcement video hearings, which does not include arbitration hearings.

The National Adjudicatory Council, or NAC, is a FINRA committee that reviews initial decisions rendered in FINRA disciplinary and membership proceedings.

OHO serves as FINRA’s “courthouse” for disciplinary and expedited proceedings. It is an independent office within FINRA that employs professional Hearing Officers who preside over disciplinary and expedited actions commenced by FINRA’s Enforcement Department, the self-regulatory authority explains.

Due to the upward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases since FINRA filed SR-FINRA-2022-029 in October 2022, “FINRA believes there is a continued need for temporary relief” beyond Jan. 31.

In this regard, FINRA notes that COVID-19 remains a public health concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 61.73% of counties in the United States have a medium or high COVID-19 Community Level based on the CDC’s most recent calculations, FINRA states.