The SEC’s broker-dealer electronic recordkeeping rule currently requires firms to preserve electronic records exclusively in a non-rewriteable, non-erasable format, known as the write once, read many format. The amendments add an audit-trail alternative under which electronic records can be preserved in a manner that permits the recreation of an original record if it is altered, over-written, or erased. The audit-trail alternative is designed to provide broker-dealers with greater flexibility in configuring their electronic recordkeeping systems so they more closely align with current electronic recordkeeping practices while also protecting the authenticity and reliability of original records. The amendments apply the same requirements to nonbank SBSDs and MSBSPs.
Among other things, to facilitate examinations and make them more efficient, the amendments also require broker-dealers and all types of SBSDs and MSBSPs to produce electronic records to securities regulators in a reasonably usable electronic format.
As our readers are aware, the SEC has begun fining broker-dealers who are not adequately preserving electronic communications, in particular text and chat messages from private phones. This amendment will make the recordkeeping more onerous, but needs to be complied with.
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Mark Astarita is a nationally recognized securities attorney, who represents investors, financial professionals and firms in securities litigation, arbitration and regulatory matters, including SEC and FINRA investigations and enforcement proceedings.
He is a partner in the national securities law firm Sallah Astarita & Cox, LLC, and the founder of The Securities Law Home Page - SECLaw.com, which was one of the first legal topic sites on the Internet. It went online in 1995 and is updated daily with news, commentary and securities law related links.