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Email Archiving for Financial Services

FINRA-Compliant Email Archiving

The information era has opened business opportunities galore; as technical structures such as email have created rails upon which data flows, the amount of data has soared. It is essential to allow company data to flow to communicate ideas and develop a business. However, organizational data is often sensitive and proprietary and comes under the jurisdiction of data retention, security, and privacy laws such as FINRA. Emails generate astonishing volumes of business data. Statistica has visualized these generated data volumes over the years, showing that over 333 billion emails were sent and received daily during 2022 and that by 2025, email volumes will top 390 billion daily. In 2025, enterprises will generate around 104 zettabytes of data; this is 60% of the global data total. Is it vital that organizations can secure emails and the data within while ensuring these emails are accessible when required? This balance of security with accessibility covers business operations, legal requirements, compliance, and business continuity. Secure and accessible storage of emails is provided by using an email archiving solution that meets regulatory compliance requirements such as FINRA.

Discover how ArcTitan ensures FINRA-compliant email archiving while boosting security and accessibility.

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What is Email Archiving?

Email archiving solutions are an integrated set of technologies with a fundamental remit to preserve emails, attachments, and calendars. Email archiving solutions archive emails to ensure the archive and discovery processes are secure, scalable, privacy-respectful, and fast. Email archiving solutions, like ArcTitan, are built to enforce robust data protection and granular retention policies to ensure that companies using email archiving are compliant with regulations such as GDPR, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, and FINRA.

The functionality behind email archiving solutions is designed to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. Capabilities include the following:

  • Fast eDiscovery to ensure legal requirements during litigation and other law cases are fast and accurate.
  • Documentation and traceability for audit and investigations.
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery processes.
  • Records management.
  • Encryption, authentication, and access control to ensure the security of emails and attachments.
  • Secure and encrypted storage.

Email archiving solutions are a valuable tool to help with disaster recovery operations, as email archiving solutions provide a backup for vital business emails. However, email archiving is much more than a backup system. Another essential feature of email archiving is the ability to maintain large amounts of email-based data on mail servers that would otherwise place a significant overhead onto a network server. Overall, email archiving solutions offering advanced and robust security and granular retention policies are essential to FINRA compliance.

What is FINRA?

FINRA, or Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit, and self-regulating organization; FINRA is government approved. FINRA regulates Broker-Dealer Firms, Capital Acquisition Brokers, and Funding Portals. Around 3,400 organizations with 150,000 branch offices come under the governance of FINRA. FINRA issued $54.5 million in non-compliance fines in 2022 for various FINRA violations. FINRA is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This oversight by the SEC means that FINRA regulatory compliance includes considerations under SEC 17a-4(b), with FINRA rule 4511 covering electronic records (including emails) in a format that complies with SEC rule 17a-4.

Why Archive Emails for FINRA and Other Reasons?

Email archiving is now a must-have technology within any organization that needs to be FINRA compliant. However, the capabilities inherent in advanced email archiving solutions include other features, such as the following:

Lower Costs: Cloud-based email archiving solutions are a cost-effective way to store unstructured data such as emails. Cost reductions come about as there is no on-premises hardware or software required. Cloud-based email archiving solutions that address FINRA can be deployed using a third party like an MSP. The MSP will handle the maintenance and management of email archiving. Also, MSPs are usually in an excellent position to negotiate great prices and control client costs by offering a monthly fee.
Compliance with FINRA and Other Regulations: Regulatory bodies like FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) have audit and retention requirements. Cloud-based email archiving is designed to allow efficient and fast archive and retrieval; eDiscovery must be fast and accurate to ensure the recovery of the requested data within regulatory guidelines. Retention requirements vary but typically require that documents and emails be kept safely for three to seven years; FINRA sets email retention at six years.

Unlimited Email Storage: Due to the vast amount of email generated in even small organizations, cloud archive solutions must be able to offer unlimited email storage. If unlimited storage is not part of the plan, then an organization will either see escalating costs over time or emails will not be archived, leaving a FINRA compliance gap.  

Scalability: Cloud-based email archiving solutions offer enterprise scalability with no on-premises hardware and no limit on user numbers. This is an essential feature for any FINRA-governed entity to ensure you are always compliant.
Security: An email archiving service must be secure by design. Often, email-based data, including attachments, contain sensitive and proprietary information. This data could expose a company to reputation and product damage, along with non-compliance fines. Email archiving solutions must use encryption during data transfer and storage. Email archiving solutions must also enforce robust access controls and authentication based on the principles of least privilege. 

Granular Email Retention Policies: Email retention policies must be adaptable to different regulations and jurisdiction requirements. Also, email eDiscovery must be designed to handle email search and retrieval quickly and efficiently.

FINRA Rules that Apply to Email Archiving 

FINRA Rule How ArcTitan Supports the FINRA Rule
FINRA Rule 4511 requires firms to (1) preserve books and records including emails) as required under the rules of FINRA, the Securities Exchange Act (SEA), and applicable SEA rules; and (2) preserve records required under FINRA rules in a format and media that complies with SEC Rule 17a-4. FINRA record retention rules form a core requirement under the regulation. Currently, the FINRA retention rule states that records should be saved for six years. The ArcTitan email archiving system provides FINRA-compliant storage using an easy-to-use interface where retention policies can be configured and enforced. These policies are also adaptable if regulatory requirements change. It is advised to perform an annual review of any email retention policies.
FINRA rule 4513 states that financial companies must keep records of customer complaints for at least four years. As mentioned above, ArcTitan is flexible enough to provide varying retention policies that meet FINRA-compliant storage requirements based on the classification of an email.
FINRA Rule 3110: firms must establish and maintain a system to supervise the activities of associated persons by FINRA rules. This includes retaining internal communication and correspondence for the time and accessibility specified in SEA 17a-4(b) ArcTitan maintains audit trails and records of any supervisory reviews of emails. ArcTitan has the concept of Data Guardians who can initiate monitoring of administrator access and privileged user searches.
FINRA Rule 2210: retention of communications and correspondence with the public must be in line with SEC Rules 17a-4 and 17a-(b). ArcTitan allows the preservation of email by the SEC requirements.

FINRA-Compliant Email Archiving

On October 12, 2022, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) changed data retention requirements for all electronic records. Corporations following FINRA regulations (e.g., banks and financial institutions) must keep electronic records for six years. Failure to comply with FINRA leads to hefty fines, so organizations must verify that backups and archives are unaltered, secured, and retained to avoid millions in fines and other penalties.

The retention rules are stringent, and an email archiving solution that complies with FINRA storage rules is a must-have for any FINRA-covered entity.

Discover how ArcTitan ensures FINRA-compliant email archiving while boosting security and accessibility.

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FINRA Non-Compliance Fines and Penalties

If found non-compliant with FINRA requirements, an organization will be subject to fines and penalties under the regulation. FINRA investigates any potential securities violations and then enforces sanctions based on the type of violation. In 2016, FINRA fined 12 firms $14.4 million for failure to secure financial records and not having a proper audit trail; the 12 firms failed to properly log and protect data, which caused damage to customers' data integrity.

Examples of recent fines and penalties enforced by FINRA for retention policy violations include the following:

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc (DBSI) - $2.5 Million Fine 

FINRA penalized DBSI with a fine of $2.5 million for non-compliance with FINRA Rule 3110(a), which requires covered entities to “establish and maintain a system to supervise the activities of each associated person that is reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable securities laws and regulations.” FINRA found that DBSI failed to comply with its record keeping obligations; DBSI undertook remediation efforts to address its record retention obligations.

JP Morgan - $200 Million in Penalties

In 2021, JP Morgan was recently fined $200 million for failing to preserve email archives containing staff communications on workstations and mobile devices. After a third-party subpoena could not be fulfilled, an audit revealed JP Morgan's oversight of data retention policies, costing them millions of dollars in fines. In 2023, JP Morgan was further fined by the SEC for mistakenly deleting 47 million emails.

LPL Financial's $6.5 Million Fine 

A series of supervisory failures, including the deletion of more than 1 million customer records from 2014 to 2019, as well as violation of FINRA Rules 3110 and 2010, led to the company being fined $6.5 million.

Barclays Capital Inc. - $3.75 Million Fine

Systemic failures to preserve electronic records led to a $3.75 million fine for Barclays. The company failed to comply with the FINRA rule that requires business-related electronic records be kept in "non-rewritable, non-erasable format (also referred to as "Write-Once, Read-Many" or "WORM" format) to prevent alteration." 

As well as financial penalties, other sanctions from FINRA include suspensions, and if found guilty of serious misconduct, individuals can be barred from the brokerage industry.

Full FINRA sanction guidelines can be viewed here.

How to Meet FINRA-Compliant Email Archiving

Not all email archiving solutions are created equal. While it is vital to have email archiving to meet FINRA, simply using email storage is not enough. Choosing an email archiving system that meets the email storage and retention requirements of FINRA means looking for additional capabilities. Features and functions of a FINRA complaint email archiving solution include the following: 

  • Comprehensive indexing to ensure fast and accurate searching can be performed for eDiscovery requests.
  • Comprehensive archive monitoring. Monitoring is essential for audits but also to help identify any potential cyber-attacks quickly.
  • Customizable and granular permissions and retention policies that can be adapted if regulations change or new ones enter the landscape.
  • Advanced security that includes in-transit and at-rest email encryption. Authentication and access control are essential aspects of an email archiving system and should be robust.
  • The archive system must store emails in formats that comply with FINRA Exchange Act Rule 17a-4
  • Efficient and reliable record deletion. Once the retention date has passed, the email archiving system must be able to delete old emails to ensure that space is optimized, and potential liability is limited. 
  • Legal hold request support is essential to use in combination with secure deletion. Legal holds are used when evidence is needed in an ongoing legal case. Legal delays will prevent emails from being deleted if they are likely required for legal reasons. It is also used for non-legal activities, such as locking essential contracts or documents that must be preserved.
  • Methods to reduce human error. An email archiving solution that integrates with popular office products, like Office 365, helps to reduce human error and maintain compliance.
  • Support for a remote workforce. Remote workers must be covered by the email archiving solution to ensure comprehensive compliance.

Discover how ArcTitan ensures FINRA-compliant email archiving while boosting security and accessibility.

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What Financial Institutions and Brokers Should Know

Any institution regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) must review requirements and ensure they are met. The organization needs a strategy to back up and retain data to protect financial data. Of course, having a retention plan for electronic data is only one component of FINRA regulations, so every organization should thoroughly review FINRA compliance. Usually, full FINRA compliance requires a third party knowledgeable in all things FINRA, but organizations can take steps to secure their data and move forward with FINRA compliance.

Electronic data includes communication and stored customer information. Any sensitive information should be protected using cryptographically secure methods such as encryption for data at rest and in transit. Backups and archives should be secured but made available when necessary, using eDiscovery.

Archives differ from backups, and ArcTitan ensures that all archives follow FINRA rules while staying available to the people who need to work with them. For example, email archives are necessary for investigations and legal concerns. For example, one of the reasons for the JP Morgan non-compliance penalty was that the company’s audit failed to answer a subpoena. ArcTitan archives allow your legal team and corporate staff to search for important data to swiftly respond to subpoenas or investigate cybersecurity incidents.

Robust email archives also provide a search feature that uses indexed content to deliver fast and accurate results. ArcTitan offers an archiving platform that helps everyone involved in an audit quickly find data and export it for future use. Stakeholders get reports that identify audited activity involving email archives. 

ArcTitan secures all data in the cloud, so administrators do not have the overhead of applying specific security measures.

TitanHQ’s security platform has several other benefits that offer services that deliver security training, compliance, data protection, phishing simulations, reports, and real-time intervention during simulated attacks. 

Five Quick Ways to Help Comply with FINRA Email Retention Rules

  1. Create a retention policy that meets FINRA rules. Collaborating with stakeholders in your organization, including compliance officers, legal, IT, and security teams, would be best to ensure the policy will meet FINRA. Be sure to include nuances around archiving, such as legal hold requests.
  2. Review specific regulatory and legal requirements of FINRA that impact email. This includes availability of emails, speed to eDiscovery, and security.
  3. Classify and index emails. Create a classification system for emails related to FINRA requirements and implementation of the regulation. For example, customer complaints must be kept for four years. 
  4. Implement an email archiving solution that meets FINRA regulations, such as ArcTitan. Set up a governance layer of individuals who administrate and govern the email archiving system.
  5. Monitor email archive activity and generate regular reports that can be used as evidence of compliance and supervision during an audit. 

ArcTitan Email Archiving

ArcTitan is an email archiving system designed to deliver cloud-based email storage and retrieval at a lightning-fast speed backed by robust security. ArcTitan is integrated into Office365, making the process of email archiving simple and automated and reducing human error, helping to maintain compliance.

Some of the features of ArcTitan include the following:

Comprehensive Indexing

Indexing emails for archiving is an essential feature of a FINRA-compliant email archiving solution that ArcTItan performs. Robustly indexed emails make searches faster and more accurate. Email must also be stored in formats compliant with the FINRA rules, i.e., FINRA Exchange Act Rule 17a-4. 

Archive Monitoring

Archive event monitoring must be covered 24/7 to ensure that FINRA rules are always on and potential cyber-attacks detected.

Legal Hold Requests 

Audits, investigations, or legal cases may require that some emails be preserved even after the retention period expires. ArcTitan’s legal hold feature provides this functionality.


ArcTitan provides a flexible “pay as you go” email archiving model. Email archiving can be purchased as a per-live user subscription, saving up to 75% of email storage space.


The email archive generated by ArcTitan is accessible using almost any mail client or via a web-based interface. End users use a powerful and fast search engine to locate archived and indexed emails. Access is managed using an advanced delegation mechanism, compatible with LDAP and Active Directory. This allows administrators to create a permission hierarchy for critical employees based on the security principle of least privileged access.


ArcTitan enforces data encryption during transfer and storage to protect emails and attachments. Data transfer encryption is based on the TLS standard (Transport Layer Security). All passwords are hashed and encrypted. Other security features include digital certificate management and antivirus scanning of emails. In addition, robust authentication and access control are enforced.


Tamper-proof audit trails are inherent in the system and used to identify any unauthorized alterations to archived emails. This is essential to maintaining and evidencing regulatory compliance with FINRA and other laws and regulations.

Fast eDiscovery

Archiving is automated, emails are indexed, and search is fast. ArcTitan load performance is for more than 200 emails per second from the email server. In addition, searches can be combined and saved, and multiple probes can be performed simultaneously.

Scalability and Performance

ArcTitan has no limits on email storage, ensuring that emails are quickly and efficiently archived and indexed. This helps maintain compliance, as emails are archived before accidental deletion occurs. 

ArcTitan storage is elastic and grows as your email archive expands. The size of the archive does not impact performance. Emails are archived in real time and automatically sent to the archive. Duplicate content is removed, and emails are compressed to reduce storage space and improve search efficiency. ArcTitan provides 100% protection against data loss and protects mail servers against outages.


ArcTitan is an automated service that removes human errors and maintains timely and accurate email archives. This helps create reliable email archiving that meets FINRA regulatory compliance requirements on retention. In addition, the powerful and fast search feature ensures that email requests for information for legal or compliance reasons are acted upon quickly. Also, a comprehensive audit trail provides the necessary documentation to demonstrate compliance.

Can an MSP Deliver FINRA-Compliant Email Archiving?

ArcTitan Email archiving is deployed as a Storage-as-a-Service option to store long-held data in a safe and secure place. A cloud-based archiving solution is designed for all data types, including unstructured data such as emails. Archived data is securely stored and accessible from a central location for users with the correct access rights. In addition, a cloud-based email archive system collates data from multiple points across an entire enterprise, including remote workers, for easier management, maintenance, and access control enforcement. The emails are stored in a format that is compatible with FINRA requirements. As a centrally managed and deployed cloud-based email archiving solution, ArcTitan is an ideal solution for delivery by a managed service provider (MSP) on behalf of enterprise clients.

Why ArcTitan is an Ideal Email Archive Solution for an MSP to Deliver FINRA Compliance 

There are many email archiving solutions available in the market. However, not all will have the breadth of features and granular controls that are needed for compliance with FINRA and other regulations. ArcTitan has been designed to deliver the broad range of features required to meet FINRA and work for the companies using the solution in terms of cost, scalability, and ease of use. However, ArcTitan is also ideal for delivery by an MSP as it provides a solution that is:

Cloud-Based: ArcTitan email archives are delivered using a cloud-based Storage-as-a-Solution model. This provides a centralized, multi-tenancy service, a highly scalable platform ideal for delivery and management via an MSP. Maintenance and deployment are simple, fast, and highly controllable. ArcTitan is also deeply integrated into Office 365. Any MSP that provides Office 365 solutions can easily add and deploy ArcTitan to their clients, making email archiving part of an MSP's extended stack.

Cost-Effective: The choice of an email archiving solution that is FINRA-compliant may come down to cost. ArcTitan offers a cost-effective way for an MSP to deliver automated, secure, and scalable email archiving to its clients. Email storage is 80% cheaper using ArcTitan.

Adds Value to an MSP Portfolio: Email archiving that is FINRA compliant is a value-add for any MSP that deals with companies who must comply with email and other data retention rules. ArcTitan offers your customers a way to store and access email quickly, accurately, and efficiently. ArcTitan provides automatic backup, and no tape machines/discs are needed. Also, no off-site storage is required.
According to research from Forbes, 95% of businesses are concerned about managing unstructured data. ArcTitan archives emails and unstructured data, making them available in FINRA-compliant formats. ArcTitan has archived over 11 billion emails to date. Scalable, secure, and accessible unstructured data archiving is fixed by using an advanced email archiving system offered by ArcTitan, a system designed to be simple to deploy, maintain, and use, secure, and perpetual.


Contact TitanHQ’s experts on email archiving for a demo of ArcTitan or discuss your FINRA compliance needs.

Discover how ArcTitan ensures FINRA-compliant email archiving while boosting security and accessibility.

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