Finra has canceled its annual conference, which was slated for May, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. was set to convene the gathering May 12 – 14 in Washington, D.C.
The meeting typically draws hundreds of brokerage firm leaders, registered representatives, compliance experts and exhibitors. It features Finra executives and staff outlining regulatory priorities.
“We apologize for any disappointment or inconvenience this necessary decision causes,” Finra said in an announcement on its website. “Your wellbeing is paramount, and we are taking the necessary precautions to mitigate any health risks, and with your safety in mind.”
Finra said it will refund registration fees for people who already signed up for the event.
The broker-dealer self-regulator said it would encourage attendance at its small firm conference and regional member forums in the fall, if large gatherings of people are once again allowed by then. It also might schedule one-day conferences on specific topics.
Marlon Paz, a partner at Mayer Brown, encouraged Finra to reschedule the annual conference rather than nix it altogether.
“Finra’s annual meeting is an extremely important opportunity for member firms to gain useful insights from Finra and to join small meetings – many times one-on-one – with senior Finra staff,” Paz said. “I hope Finra considers postponing, rather than cancelling, as the benefit to the member firms is significant.”
The Finra annual conference is one of many financial industry meetings that have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.