When you receive an “8210 letter” from FINRA, your whole world can change. FINRA does not have subpoena power; rather, their investigative power comes from FINRA Rule 8210. But, that rule is very powerful when it comes to member firm broker-dealers. Often, an 8210 letter can be the first step in a long drawn out investigation that will take time and money to respond to and possibly fight.
Having a firm culture that puts client interests first is the basis of the fiduciary duty. Any BD that believes that all they have is a suitability requirement is living in La La land. Almost all arbitration claims against brokers has a claim for breach of fiduciary duty. And now, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) in its new fiduciary duty rule has included broker dealers who deal in any sort of retirement investments as fiduciaries. Yes there are exemptions and exceptions, but this is opening the door to a full blown regulatory fiduciary duty. FINRA has been sneaking fiduciary duty into most of their new regulations by stating that firms must be “client-centric” instead of “Product-centric”; best interest of the client, not the BD or the Rep.