SEC issues staff statement on Fully Paid lending, no action letter to expire April 22, 2021

[1] On October 22, 2020, Commission staff issued a no-action letter regarding the broker-dealer customer protection rule, Exchange Act Rule 15c3-3, in relation to certain fully-paid lending programs operated by some broker-dealers.[2] Rule 15c3-3(b)(3) requires broker-dealers entering into agreements with their customers who lend the broker-dealers fully-paid or excess margin securities to provide the securities lenders with collateral that fully secures the loans.[3] Staff’s letter stated that the staff would not recommend enforcement action to the Commission regarding these programs for six months from issuance of the letter, or until April 22, 2021, to give firms time to come into compliance with the Rule.[4]

Broker-dealers operating these programs should be mindful of the importance of complying with the requirements of Rule 15c3-3 and ensuring that retail investor funds receive the full protections afforded under the Securities Investor Protection Act. To the extent that broker-dealers have questions about their programs, they are encouraged to reach out to and/or continue to engage with Commission staff regarding any questions.

[1] This staff statement represents the views of the staff. It is not a rule, regulation, or statement of the Commission. The Commission has neither approved nor disapproved the content of this statement. This statement, like all staff statements, has no legal force or effect: it does not alter or amend applicable law, and it creates no new or additional obligations for any person.

[2] See letter dated October 22, 2020 to Kris Dailey, Vice President, Office of Financial and Operational Risk Policy, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority from Elizabeth Baird, Deputy Director, Division of Trading & Markets, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (available at: https://www.sec.gov/divisions/marketreg/mr-noaction/2020/finra-fpl-20201022-15c3-3.pdf) (“No-Action Letter”).

[3] 17 CFR 240.15c3-3(b)(3).

[4] See No-Action Letter, supra note 2, at 1.

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