Financial Planning (August 7, 2023) - Brokers are getting at least another month to comment on a proposal that would let them conduct their internal inspections of home and branch offices remotely.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the broke-dealer industry's self-regulator, filed an amendment on Aug. 2 to a long-contemplated rule that would let firms sign up for a three-year pilot program to see if their required inspections of home and branch offices could be done just as well remotely as in person. The rule had been scheduled for approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Aug. 1. FINRA's new amendment will now give the public another 21 days to submit comments, after which there will be 14 days for rebuttals.

FINRA has struggled to find the right balance for its remote work proposals amid a steady barrage of criticism from the Public Investors Advocate Bar Association, a legal group for investor interests, and the North American Securities Administrators Association, which represents state financial regulators. These groups have repeatedly aired concerns that the technology meant to aid in the completion of remote inspections simply isn't up to the task.

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