Finra published Wednesday its 2019 Examination Findings and Observations report, which is aimed at helping broker-dealer firms improve their compliance and risk management programs.

The report contains a summary of findings and observations across select topics including sales practice and supervision, firm operations, market integrity and financial management.

This year’s report aims to more clearly delineate between material that is an examination finding — which describes a violation of a rule or regulation — and material that is an examination observation, according to Finra.

Finra says its observations are suggestions on how firms can improve their controls to address perceived weaknesses that elevate risk but do not typically rise to the level of a rule violation or cannot be tied to a specific rule.

The report also includes a new "Additional Resources" subsection for most topics, with links to relevant additional information such as Regulatory Notices, topic pages and FAQs.

"Our position as a self-regulatory organization affords us the unique opportunity to provide firms with resources that help them more easily comply with rules and regulations and protect investors — and this report aims to do just that," Bari Havlik, Finra executive vice president of member supervision, says in a statement.

Finra first published an examination findings report, which is not produced annually, in December 2017.

Read the latest Finra exams report in full here.