I. Emergency Contact Persons
Our firm’s two emergency contact persons are Sarah Place and Kevin Warmack.
Sarah Place, CEO
· Phone: (919) 719-7200
· E-mail: http://sarah at place trade dot com
· Phone: (773) 220-5360
· E-mail: http://kwarmack at gmail dot com
Rule: FINRA Rule 4370(f); NASD Rule 1160.
II. Firm Policy
Our firm’s policy is to respond to a Significant Business Disruption (SBD) by safeguarding employees’ lives and firm property, making a financial and operational assessment, quickly recovering and resuming operations, protecting all of the firm’s books and records, and allowing our customers to transact business. In the event that we determine we are unable to continue our business, we will assure customers prompt access to their funds and securities.
A. Significant Business Disruptions (SBDs)
Our plan anticipates two kinds of SBDs, internal and external. Internal SBDs affect only the firm’s ability to communicate and do business, such as a fire in our building. External SBDs prevent the operation of the securities markets or a number of firms, such as a terrorist attack, a city flood, or a wide-scale, regional disruption. Our response to an external SBD relies more heavily on other organizations and systems, especially on the capabilities of our clearing firm.
B. Approval and Execution Authority
Sarah Place, CEO, a registered principal, is responsible for approving the plan and for conducting the required annual review, as well as has the authority to execute this BCP.
C. Plan Location and Access
Our firm will maintain copies of its BCP plan and the annual reviews, and the changes that have been made to it for inspections. An electronic copy of our plan is located on the Place Trade Financial website.
Rule: FINRA Rule 4370(b), (d) and (e).
III. Business Description
Our firm conducts business in equity, fixed income, and derivative securities. Our firm is an introducing firm and does not perform any type of clearing function for itself or others. Furthermore, we do not hold customer funds or securities. We accept and enter orders. All transactions are sent to our clearing firm, which executes orders, compares them, allocates them, clears and settles them. Our clearing firm also maintains our customers’ accounts, can grant customer access to them, and delivers funds and securities. Our firm services only retail customers and institutional customers. We do not engage in any private placements.
Our clearing firm is Interactive Brokers LLC and our contact person at that clearing firm is Bill McGowen. Our clearing firm has also given us the following alternative contact in the event that it cannot be reached:
Bill McGowen, Managing Director
·E-mail: http:// bmcgowen at interactive brokers dot com
IV. Office Locations
Our firm has offices located in Raleigh, North Carolina.
A. Office Location #1
Our primary location is at 4030 Wake Forest Road Raleigh, NC 27609. Its main telephone number is (919) 719-7200. We engage in order taking and entry at this location.
B. Office Location #2
Our second location is located at 6501 New Market Way Raleigh, NC 27615. Its main telephone number (919) 719-7200. We engage in order taking and entry at this location.
V. Alternative Physical Location(s) of Employees
In the event of an SBD, we will move our staff from affected office(s) to the closest of our unaffected office locations.
Rule: FINRA Rule 4370(c)(6).
VI. Customers’ Access to Funds and Securities
Our firm does not maintain custody of customers’ funds or securities, which are maintained at our clearing firm, Interactive Brokers LLC. In the event of an internal or external SBD, if telephone service is available, our registered persons will take customer orders or instructions and contact our clearing firm on their behalf, and if our Web access is available, our firm will post on our website that customers may access their funds and securities by contacting Interactive Brokers at either 1(877) 442-2757 or 1(312) 542-6901. The firm will make this information available to customers through its disclosure policy.
If SIPC determines that we are unable to meet our obligations to our customers or if our liabilities exceed our assets in violation of Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c3-1, SIPC may seek to appoint a trustee to disburse our assets to customers. We will assist SIPC and the trustee by providing our books and records identifying customer accounts subject to SIPC regulation.
Rules: FINRA Rule 4370(a); Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c3-1; see also 15 U.S.C. § 78eee.
VII. Data Back-Up and Recovery (Hard Copy and Electronic)
Our firm maintains its primary hard copy books and records and its electronic records at 6501 New Market Way Raleigh, NC 27615. Sarah Place, CEO, is responsible for the maintenance of these books and records.
In the event of an internal or external SBD that causes the loss of our paper records, we will physically recover them from our back-up site. If our primary site is inoperable, we will continue operations from our back-up site or an alternate location. For the loss of electronic records, we will either physically recover the storage media or electronically recover data from our back-up site, or, if our primary site is inoperable, continue operations from our back-up site or an alternate location.
Rule: FINRA Rule 4370(c)(1).
VIII. Financial and Operational Assessments
A. Operational Risk
In the event of an SBD, we will immediately identify what means will permit us to communicate with our customers, employees, critical business constituents, critical banks, critical counter-parties and regulators. Although the effects of an SBD will determine the means of alternative communication, the communications options we will employ will include the Place Trade website, telephone voice mail, secure mail, etc. In addition, we will retrieve our key activity records as described in the section above, Data Back-Up and Recovery.
Rules: FINRA Rules 4370(c)(3),(c)(4), (c)(5), (c)(7), (c)(9) & (g)(2)
B. Financial and Credit Risk
In the event of an SBD, we will determine the value and liquidity of our investments and other assets to evaluate our ability to continue to fund our operations and remain in capital compliance. We will contact our clearing firm, critical banks and investors to apprise them of our financial status. If we determine that we may be unable to meet our obligations to those counter-parties or otherwise continue to fund our operations, we will request additional financing from our bank or other credit sources to fulfill our obligations to our customers and clients. If we cannot remedy a capital deficiency, we will file appropriate notices with our regulators and immediately take appropriate steps.
Rules: FINRA Rules 4370(c)(3), (c)(8) & (g)(2)
IX. Mission Critical Systems
Our firm’s “mission critical systems” are those that ensure prompt and accurate processing of securities transactions, including order taking, entry, execution, comparison, allocation, clearance and settlement of securities transactions, the maintenance of customer accounts, access to customer accounts and the delivery of funds and securities.
We have primary responsibilities for establishing and maintaining our business relationships with our customers and have sole responsibility for our mission critical function of order taking and entry. Our clearing firm provides, through contract, the execution, comparison, allocation, clearance and settlement of securities transactions, maintenance of customer accounts, access to customer accounts and the delivery of funds and securities.
Our clearing firm contract provides that our clearing firm will maintain a business continuity plan and the capacity to execute that plan. Our clearing firm represents that it will advise us of any material changes to its plan that might affect our ability to maintain our business. In the event our clearing firm executes its plan, it represents that it will notify us of such execution and provide us equal access to services as its other customers. If we reasonably determine that our clearing firm has not or cannot put its plan in place quickly enough to meet our needs, or is otherwise unable to provide access to such services, our clearing firm represents that it will assist us in seeking services from an alternative source.
Our clearing firm represents that it backs up our records at a remote site. Our clearing form represents that it operates a back-up operating facility in a geographically separate area with the capability to conduct the same volume of business as its primary site. Our clearing firm has also confirmed the effectiveness of its back-up arrangements to recover from a wide scale disruption via testing.
Recovery-time objectives provide concrete goals to plan for and test against. They are not, however, hard and fast deadlines that must be met in every emergency situation, and various external factors surrounding a disruption, such as time of day, scope of disruption and status of critical infrastructure—particularly telecommunications—can affect actual recovery times. Recovery refers to the restoration of clearing and settlement activities after a wide-scale disruption; resumption refers to the capacity to accept and process new transactions and payments after a wide-scale disruption. Our clearing firm has the following SBD recovery time and resumption objectives: recovery time period of 6 hours; and a resumption time of 1 business day.
A. Our Firm’s Mission Critical Systems
1. Order Taking
During an SBD, either internal or external, we will continue to take orders through any of these methods that are available and reliable, and in addition, as communications permit, we will inform our customers when communications become available to tell them what alternatives they have to send their orders to us. Customers will be informed of alternatives. If necessary, we will advise our customers to place orders directly with our clearing firm.
2. Order Entry
In the event of an internal SBD, we will enter and send records to our clearing firm by the fastest alternative means available. In the event of an external SBD, we will maintain the order in electronic or paper format, and deliver the order to the clearing firm by the fastest means available when it resumes operations. In addition, during an internal SBD, we may need to refer our customers to deal directly with our clearing firm for order entry.
B. Mission Critical Systems Provided by Our Clearing Firm
Our firm relies, by contract, on our clearing firm to provide order execution, order comparison, order allocation, customer account maintenance and/or access and delivery of funds and securities.
Rules: FINRA Rules 3510(c)(2) & (g)(1)
X. Alternate Communications Between the Firm and Customers, Employees, and Regulators
We now communicate with our customers by using any available and reliable communication method (e.g. telephone, email, website, etc). In the event of an SBD, we will assess which means of communication are still available to us, and use the means closest in speed and form (written or oral) to the means that we have used in the past to communicate with the other party. For example, if we have communicated with a party by email, but the Internet is unavailable, we will call them on the telephone and follow up where a record is needed with paper copy in the U.S. mail.
Rule: FINRA Rule 4370(c)(4)
We are currently members of the following self-regulatory organizations (SROs). In the event of an SBD, we will assess which means of communication are still available to us, and use the means closest in speed and form (written or oral) to the means that we have used in the past to communicate with the other party.
Rule: FINRA Rule 4370(c)(9).
XI. Critical Business Constituents, Banks, and Counter-Parties
A. Business constituents
We have contacted our critical business constituents (businesses with which we have an ongoing commercial relationship in support of our operating activities, such as vendors providing us critical services), and determined the extent to which we can continue our business relationship with them in light of the internal or external SBD. We will quickly establish alternative arrangements if a business constituent can no longer provide the needed goods or services when we need them because of a SBD to them or our firm.
Rules: FINRA Rule 4370(c)(7).
We have contacted our banks and lenders to determine if they can continue to provide the financing that we will need in light of the internal or external SBD.
Rules: FINRA Rule 4370(c)(7).
We have contacted our critical counterparties, such as other broker-dealers or institutional customers, to determine if we will be able to carry out our transactions with them in light of the internal or external SBD. Where the transactions cannot be completed, we will work with our clearing firm or contact those counterparties directly to make alternative arrangements to complete those transactions as soon as possible.
Rules: FINRA Rule 4370(c)(7).
XII. Regulatory Reporting
Our firm is subject to regulation by: FINRA, SEC, MSRB, and state regulators. We file reports with our regulators using paper copies in the U.S. mail, and electronically using fax, email, and the Internet. In the event of a SBD, we will check with the SEC, FINRA and other regulators to determine which means of filing are still available to us, and use the means closest in speed and form (written or oral) to our previous filing method. In the event that we cannot contact our regulators, we will continue to file required reports using the communication means available to us.
Rule: FINRA Rule 4370(c)(8)
XIII. Updates and Annual Review
Our firm will update this plan whenever we have a material change to our operations, structure, business or location or to those of our clearing firm.
Rule: FINRA Rile 4370(b)
XIV. Senior Manager Approval
I have approved this Business Continuity Plan as reasonably designed to enable our firm to meet its obligations to customers in the event of an SBD.
Rule: FINRA Rule 4370(d).
Attachment A to Place Trade Financial, Inc. Business Continuity Plan
Place Trade Financial’s Business Continuity Planning
Place Trade Financial has developed a Business Continuity Plan on how we will respond to events that significantly disrupt our business. Since the timing and impact of disasters and disruptions is unpredictable, we will have to be flexible in responding to actual events as they occur. With that in mind, we are providing you with this information on our business continuity plan.
Contacting Us – If after a significant business disruption you cannot contact us as you usually do at (919) 719-7200, you go to our website at http://us.placetrade.com. If you cannot access us through either of those means, you should contact our clearing firm, Interactive Brokers LLC at http://www.interactivebrokers.com/ for instructions.
Our Business Continuity Plan – We plan to quickly recover and resume business operations after a significant business disruption and respond by safeguarding our employees and property, making a financial and operational assessment, protecting the firm’s books and records, and allowing our customers to transact business. In short, our business continuity plan is designed to permit our firm to resume operations as quickly as possible, given the scope and severity of the significant business disruption.
Our business continuity plan addresses: data backup and recovery; all mission critical systems; financial and operational assessments; alternative communications with customers, employees, and regulators; alternate physical location of employees; critical supplier, contractor, bank and counter-party impact; regulatory reporting; and assuring our customers prompt access to their funds and securities if we are unable to continue our business.
Our clearing firm, Interactive Brokers, backs up our important records in a geographically separate area. While every emergency situation poses unique problems based on external factors, such as time of day and the severity of the disruption, we have been advised by our clearing firm that its objective is to restore its own operations and be able to complete existing transactions and accept new transactions and payments within 24 hours. Your orders and requests for funds and securities could be delayed during this period.
Varying Disruptions – Significant business disruptions can vary in their scope, such as only our firm, a single building housing our firm, the business district where our firm is located, the city where we are located, or the whole region. Within each of these areas, the severity of the disruption can also vary from minimal to severe. In a disruption to only our firm or a building housing our firm, we will transfer our operations to a local site when needed and expect to recover and resume business within 24 hours. In a disruption affecting our business district, city, or region, we will transfer our operations to a site outside of the affected area, and recover and resume business within 24 hours. In either situation, we plan to continue in business, transfer operations to our clearing firm if necessary, and notify you through our website http://us.placetrade.com or our customer emergency number. If the significant business disruption is so severe that it prevents us from remaining in business, we will assure our customer’s prompt access to their funds and securities.
For more information – If you have questions about our business continuity planning, you can contact us at (919) 719-7200.