Understanding Professional Status

May 8, 2020

U.S. stock exchanges like NYSE, Nasdaq, and others require data vendors such as us to collect and maintain personal information and employment information for some of our Stock API data recipients. The fees for the market data that are assessed to data vendors depends on how individual subscribers classify themselves as either Non-Professional Subscribers or Professional Subscribers, as defined below.

Per exchange policies, you are considered a Professional Subscriber until you are qualified as a Non-Professional Subscriber, and the exchanges reserve the right to request it at any time, along with additional details related to the subscriber's status, regardless of country or legal restrictions. It is important that you properly classify yourself in order to avoid any penalties or fines.

Who is a Non-Professional Subscriber?

A Non-Professional Subscriber is any natural person who receives stock market data solely for their personal, non-business use and who is not otherwise a Professional Subscriber.

This means that a corporation, limited liability company, trust, joint venture, limited or general partnership, unincorporated organization, or other entity cannot be a Non-Professional Subscriber.

Who is a Professional Subscriber?

A Professional Subscriber is any individual working in the United States who is:

  • Registered or qualified in any capacity with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, any state securities agency, any securities exchange or association, or any commodities or futures contract market or association, or self-regulatory body;
  • Engaged as an "investment advisor" as that term is defined in Section 202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisor's Act of 1940 (whether or not registered or qualified under that Act), or
  • Employed by a bank or other organization exempt from registration under Federal and/or state securities laws to perform functions that would require that individual to be so registered or qualified if they were to perform such functions for an organization not so exempt.

Additionally, a person who works outside of the United States is a Securities Professional if they perform the same function(s) as a person who would be considered a Professional Subscriber in the United States.

How do I qualify as a Non-Professional Subscriber?

During the registration process, we ask you to answer 11 questions to determine your subscriber status. If you answer "No" to the first question or if you answer “Yes” to any of the subsequent questions (questions 2-11) you will remain qualified as a Professional Subscriber.

  1. Do you use market data solely for your personal, non-business use?
  2. Do you receive market data for your business or any other entity?
  3. Are you currently registered or qualified with the SEC or the CFTC?
  4. Are you currently registered or qualified with any securities agency, any securities exchange, association or regulatory body, or any commodities or futures contract market, association or regulatory body, in the United States or elsewhere?
  5. Whether you are located within or outside of the United States, do you perform any functions that are similar to those that require an individual to register or qualify with the SEC, the CFTC, any other securities agency or regulatory body, any securities exchange or association, or any commodities or futures contract market, association or regulatory body?
  6. Are you engaged to provide investment advice to any individual or entity?
  7. Are you engaged as an asset manager?
  8. Do you use the capital of any other individual or entity in the conduct of your trading? (trading on margin is ok)
  9. Do you conduct trading for the benefit of a corporation, partnership, or other entity?
  10. Have you entered into any agreement to share the profit of your trading activities or receive compensation for your trading activities?
  11. Are you receiving office space, and equipment or other benefits in exchange for your trading or work as a financial consultant to any person, firm or business entity?

Can I qualify as a Non-Professional Subscriber if I use my organization information, but I use the market data for my personal, non-business use?

If you receive market data for your personal, non-business use through your organization's account or using your organization's information, you would qualify as a Professional Subscriber. Your account must be in your own name to qualify as a Non-Professional Subscriber.

Can I qualify as a Non-Professional Subscriber if I am a retired or inactive Professional Subscriber?

Yes, retired, non-working, or inactive Professional Subscribers no longer providing services as a Professional Subscriber may qualify as a Non-Professional Subscriber if they are listed as Not-Registered with FINRA. Please keep in mind that you must contact us if your status changes, and you must re-verify your status as well.

Can I qualify as a Non-Professional Subscriber if I am a trader?

Yes, but only if you can answer "Yes" to the first question and "No" to the other ten questions.

Can I qualify as a Non-Professional Subscriber if I am a trustee or beneficiary?

Yes, if you, as the trustee or beneficiary, are unpaid natural persons that otherwise qualify as Non-Professional Subscribers.

Can I sign up my investment club as a Non-Professional Subscriber?

No, the Investment Club is an organization; therefore, the Investment Club is not a natural person and cannot be a Non-Professional Subscriber.

Individual members of an Investment Club may still qualify as Non-Professional Subscribers individually if they are an unpaid natural person associated with the Investment Club, who otherwise qualifies as a Non-Professional Subscriber as well.

Can I still sign up for as a Professional Subscriber?

Yes, absolutely! You will need to contact us so that we can help you determine which one of our many Enterprise APIs is right for your use case.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about any of our products, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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