May 19 (Bloomberg) — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street's self-regulator, is changing the design of a trading-surveillance system that has drawn opposition from brokers, Chief Executive Officer Rick Ketchum said in a speech.

Smaller brokers that don't use clearing firms will have more flexibility to send trade and commission data directly or to use a service bureau, Ketchum said today at Finra's annual conference in Washington. Trade information about products not held by clearing brokers, such as variable annuities and direct mutual funds, won't have to be submitted in the early stages of the project, he said.

Finra advised brokers in December that the system, known as Cards, would help it automate its analysis of suspicious activity including overcharging and sales of unsuitable investments. The brokerage data would lessen Finra's reliance on in-person exams that can miss some regulatory violations.

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