Municipal securities professionals may soon see their continuing education (CE) requirements change to match FINRA’s requirements for others in the securities industry. The MSRB is awaiting final SEC approval for a package of rule changes that could become official as soon as September 30th.
The MSRB’s action was prompted by changes FINRA made to the CE requirements for other securities professionals. The MSRB rule changes will harmonize its CE requirements with the new FINRA requirements.
Both the MSRB and FINRA divide CE into two components, both of which must be completed in order to keep your registration active. The first component is a Regulatory Element provided by the MSRB or FINRA. The second component is a Firm Element, which firms are responsible for providing to their associated persons.
The most important changes to the MSRB’s CE requirements will include:
- Annual Regulatory Element. Currently, the Regulatory Element of CE must be completed within two years of becoming registered, and every three years thereafter. Beginning in 2023, the Regulatory Element will need to be completed annually.
- More Ways to Complete Firm Element. Beginning in 2023, other training may count toward satisfying the annual Firm Element, such as anti-money laundering training and annual compliance meetings.
- Permissively Registered Persons Subject to Firm Element. Like FINRA, the MSRB will remove exemptions from the Firm Element. Beginning in 2023, any registered person must complete the Firm Element each year, including those taking advantage of permissive registration. (Permissive registration allows an employee of a municipal firm to earn and maintain a registration that does not correspond to their current job.)
- Maintaining Qualifications Program. The rule changes will create an MSRB version of FINRA’s Maintaining Qualifications Program (MQP). Previously, a registered person who left the industry for more than two years would need to retake their qualification exams in order to resume their previous registration. The MQP permits registered persons to leave the industry for up to five years without losing these qualifications, provided that they complete CE.
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