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Registration Advisory - Fingerprinting

July 29, 2005

As part of a 2003 Report to Congress (GAO-03-795), the United States Government Accountability Office identified potential weaknesses in controls with respect to the fingerprinting of individuals who submit fingerprints in connection with registration applications in the futures and securities industries. NFA is providing the following guidance to assist Members who submit applications via NFA's Online Registration System (ORS).

Members are responsible for performing due diligence and establishing appropriate procedures in the hiring process. Members are required to submit fingerprint cards for each of their applicants for registration as associated persons or for approval as a principal. Members should use all available information gathered in the hiring process (both from the ORS application information and from any other hiring due diligence procedures such as background checks and employment references) to confirm that the person being fingerprinted is the same person submitting an application via ORS.

Members should consider incorporating the following fingerprinting practices in connection with filing registration applications in the futures industry. These recommended practices are intended to enhance the integrity of the fingerprinting process and complement Members' existing procedures used to verify that the fingerprint card contains the fingerprints of the person whose application has been filed.

Members that use their own personnel to take fingerprints should consider:

  • Establishing and communicating internal fingerprinting procedures, and periodically reviewing and updating them;
  • Limiting the number of employees who are responsible for the fingerprinting process;
  • Training those employees to roll high-resolution fingerprints that will be accepted by the FBI; and
  • Training those employees to require the person being fingerprinted to present two forms of identification, one of which is a valid picture ID issued by a government agency, in order to verify the identity of the person being fingerprinted.

Members that use third parties to take fingerprints should consider requiring individuals to be fingerprinted at a location where the persons taking the fingerprints are likely to verify identity as well as the authenticity of identification cards presented, such as law enforcement offices and NFA's Chicago office. Other locations that may provide fingerprinting services and that would be appropriate include military bases, government agencies and self-regulatory organizations.

If you have any questions regarding the information contained in this Advisory, please contact NFA's Information Center at (800) 621-3570.

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