Florida’s Senate Banking and Insurance Committee unanimously passed the bill in April. When signed into law, it will make Florida a “notice-filing state” for branch office applications. The legislation will place the filing system online and mandate that approval be automatic.
The Financial Services Institute (FSI), which was a strong advocate of the bill, points out that financial advisers have been forced to close down for extended periods of time, losing revenue and denying clients access to advice, because of applications not being approved in a timely manner.
Several scenarios could mean that an adviser needs to file for the first time, or re-file, including:
- An adviser changes broker/dealer affiliation;
- An adviser moves a current office address to another address; or
- A firm that operates in another state wants to open a branch office in Florida.
While FSI has been working with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) for some time, and has cut the approval process from weeks to four to five days, the time frame is still unacceptable, the organization feels. After working with OFR to find common ground on the legislation language, FSI agreed to language that makes Florida a notice-filing state, but allows OFR to require broker/dealers to resolve deficiencies in their filing within 30 days.
“FSI members have united once again to affect positive change,” said Dale Brown, president and chief executive of FSI. “This is exactly how government/private partnerships should work to serve our mutual constituencies.”
The House Regulatory Affairs Committee unanimously passed the companion bill last month. The governor is expected to sign the bill into law in the next week or two. Details of SB814 can be read here.