FINRA eyes enhancements to digital asset sale disclosures

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority plans to look at enhancing the disclosure regime for broker dealers that sell digital assets, and may also update its rules around how options accounts are opened, the head of Wall Street's self-regulatory body said on Wednesday.

FINRA may put out an "early stage concept release" aimed at ensuring investors know that when they buy digital assets from their brokers, those assets may not be regulated, Chief Executive Officer Robert Cook said during a webcast hosted by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

"There are disclosure rules that apply today and we want to give opportunities to talk about those and also to make sure, to see, if there are additional enhanced requirements that ought to apply," Cook said on the webcast, which was focused on FINRA's 2022 priorities.

The regulator is also considering whether to update the rules around options account openings, he said.

FINRA's current rules around options were adopted decades ago and at that time investors looking to open an options account had to go through a registered representative who would decide whether it was appropriate for the customer to trade options based on past experience and trading activity, he said.

But since then, technological innovations have made options accounts more accessible to investors and some of the old rules do not reflect that, he said.

"This is really a question about whether those rule sets need to be tuned up in light of the changes in technology," Cook said.

(Reporting by John McCrank in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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