Rule 203-3 - Hardship exemptions

Hardship exemptions.

This section provides two “hardship exemptions” from the requirement to make Advisers Act filings electronically with the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD).

(a) Temporary hardship exemption.

(1) Eligibility for exemption. If you are registered or are registering with the Commission as an investment adviser and submit electronic filings on the IARD system, but have unanticipated technical difficulties that prevent you from submitting a filing to the IARD system, you may request a temporary hardship exemption from the requirements of this chapter to file electronically.

(2) Application procedures. To request a temporary hardship exemption, you must:

(i) File Form ADV-H in paper format with no later than one business day after the filing that is the subject of the Form ADV-H was due; and

(ii) Submit the filing that is the subject of the Form ADV-H in electronic format with the IARD no later than seven business days after the filing was due.

(3) Effective date - upon filing. The temporary hardship exemption will be granted when you file a completed Form ADV-H.

(b) Continuing hardship exemption.

(1) Eligibility for exemption. If you are a “small business” (as described in paragraph (b)(5) of this section), you may apply for a continuing hardship exemption.

The period of the exemption may be no longer than one year after the date on which you apply for the exemption.

(2) Application procedures. To apply for a continuing hardship exemption, you must file Form ADV-H at least ten business days before a filing is due. The Commission will grant or deny your application within ten business days after you file Form ADV-H.

(3) Effective date - upon approval. You are not exempt from the electronic filing requirements until and unless the Commission approves your application. If the Commission approves your application, you may submit your filings to FINRA in paper format for the period of time for which the exemption is granted.

(4) Criteria for exemption. Your application will be granted only if you are able to demonstrate that the electronic filing requirements of this chapter are prohibitively burdensome or expensive.

(5) Small business. You are a “small business” for purposes of this section if you are required to answer Item 12 of Form ADV and checked “no” to each question in Item 12 that you were required to answer.

Note to paragraph (b): FINRA will charge you an additional fee covering its cost to convert to electronic format a filing made in reliance on a continuing hardship exemption.

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