Securities Exchange Act rules 17a-3
speak to the books and records retention requirements for broker-dealers. Rule 17a-3 defines the records that must be created, while rule 17a-4 addresses maintenance and retention periods for records.
The recordkeeping requirements cover such items as purchase and sale documents, customer records, associated person records, customer complaint records and certain other matters. Communications with the public, organizational documents, special reports, compliance, supervisory and procedures manuals, and exception reports all must be maintained and preserved.
Rule 17a-4 required broker-dealers to retain the required records for periods of either three or six years. The retention period is dependent on the specific record or document. Regardless of the retention timeframe, the records and documents are required to be “easily accessible” for the first two years of the retention period.
Broker-dealers must furnish copies of required records to the SEC
on request. These records include firm e-mail.