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  • 2040. Payments to Unregistered Persons

    (a) General
    No member or associated person shall, directly or indirectly, pay any compensation, fees, concessions, discounts, commissions or other allowances to:
    (1) any person that is not registered as a broker-dealer under Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act but, by reason of receipt of any such payments and the activities related thereto, is required to be so registered under applicable federal securities laws and SEA rules and regulations; or
    (2) any appropriately registered associated person unless such payment complies with all applicable federal securities laws, FINRA rules and SEA rules and regulations.
    (b) Retiring Representatives
    (1) A member may pay continuing commissions to a retiring registered representative of the member, after he or she ceases to be associated with such member, that are derived from accounts held for continuing customers of the retiring registered representative regardless of whether customer funds or securities are added to the accounts during the period of retirement, provided that:
    (A) a bona fide contract between the member and the retiring registered representative providing for the payments was entered into in good faith while the person was a registered representative of the member and such contract, among other things, prohibits the retiring registered representative from soliciting new business, opening new accounts, or servicing the accounts generating the continuing commission payments; and
    (B) the arrangement complies with applicable federal securities laws, SEA rules and regulations.
    (2) The term "retiring registered representative," as used in this Rule shall mean an individual who retires from a member (including as a result of a total disability) and leaves the securities industry. In the case of death of the retiring registered representative, the retiring registered representative's beneficiary designated in the written contract or the retiring registered representative's estate if no beneficiary is so designated may be the beneficiary of the respective member's agreement with the deceased representative.
    (c) Nonregistered Foreign Finders
    A member may pay to a nonregistered foreign person (the “finder”) transaction-related compensation based upon the business of customers the finder directs to the member if the following conditions are met:
    (1) the member has assured itself that the finder who will receive the compensation is not required to register in the United States as a broker-dealer nor is subject to a disqualification as defined in Article III, Section 4 of FINRA's By-Laws, and has further assured itself that the compensation arrangement does not violate applicable foreign law;
    (2) the finder is a foreign national (not a U.S. citizen) or foreign entity domiciled abroad;
    (3) the customers are foreign nationals (not U.S. citizens) or foreign entities domiciled abroad transacting business in either foreign or U.S. securities;
    (4) customers receive a descriptive document, similar to that required by Rule 206(4)-3(b) of the Investment Advisers Act, that discloses what compensation is being paid to finders;
    (5) customers provide written acknowledgment to the member of the existence of the compensation arrangement and such acknowledgment is retained and made available for inspection by FINRA;
    (6) records reflecting payments to finders are maintained on the member's books, and actual agreements between the member and the finder are available for inspection by FINRA; and
    (7) the confirmation of each transaction indicates that a referral or finders fee is being paid pursuant to an agreement.

    • • • Supplementary Material: --------------

    .01 Reasonable Support for Determination of Compliance with Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act. For purposes of Rule 2040, FINRA expects members to determine that their proposed activities would not require the recipient of the payments to register as a broker-dealer and to reasonably support such determination. Members that are uncertain as to whether an unregistered person may be required to be registered under Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act by reason of receiving payments from the member can derive support for their determination by, among other things, (1) reasonably relying on previously published releases, no-action letters or interpretations from the Commission or Commission staff that apply to their facts and circumstances; (2) seeking a no-action letter from the Commission staff; or (3) obtaining a legal opinion from independent, reputable U.S. licensed counsel knowledgeable in the area. The member's determination must be reasonable under the circumstances and should be reviewed periodically if payments to the unregistered person are ongoing in nature. In addition, a member must maintain books and records that reflect the member's determination.

    Amended by SR-FINRA-2014-037 eff. Aug. 24, 2015.
    Adopted by SR-NASD-94-51 eff. Feb. 15, 1995 (Paragraph (c)).

    Selected Notices: 95-37, 15-07.