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Florida’s state securities regulator, the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR), is historically strict about licensing of branch offices of securities dealers, issuer/dealers and investment advisers. Under Sections 517.012(5) and 517.1202, Florida Statutes, all locations of such entities doing business in Florida must be registered or notice-filed with OFR before transacting business.

Under emergency powers invoked in response to Hurricane Irma, OFR has issued an Emergency Order suspending these laws to permit broker-dealers and investment advisers to operate from temporary locations as result of damage or power outages to the firm’s registered or notice-filed locations. Under the Emergency Order a broker-dealer or investment adviser authorized to do business in Florida must notify OFR within five days after activation of such a temporary location.

Florida’s Emergency Order also alerts firms to exercise due diligence validating the identity of its customers and otherwise supervising accounts of customers affected by Hurricane Irma.