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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change by the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. Relating to the Regulatory Element of the Continuing Education Requirements

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Start Preamble October 27, 2000.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that on October 25, 2000, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD”), through its wholly owned subsidiary, NASD Regulation, Inc. (“NASD Regulation”), filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by NASD Regulation. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

NASD Regulation proposes to amend NASD Rule 1120(a) to permit the in-firm delivery of the Regulatory Element of the Continuing Education Requirements. Currently, this computer-based training program can be administered to registered persons only at the location of an outside vendor. Below is the text of the proposed rule change. Proposed new language is in italics.

1000. Membership, Registration and Qualification Requirements * * *

1120. Continuing Education Requirements

This Rule prescribes requirements regarding the continuing education of certain registered persons subsequent to their initial qualification and registration with the Association. The requirements shall consist of a Regulatory Element and a Firm Element as set forth below.

(a) Regulatory Element

(1) through (5) No change

(6) In-Firm Delivery of the Regulatory Element Members will be permitted to administer the continuing education Regulatory Element program to their registered persons by instituting an in-firm program acceptable to the Association.

The following procedures are required:

(A) Principal/Officer In-Charge. The firm has designated a principal to be responsible for the in-firm delivery of the Regulatory Element.

(B) Site Requirements.

(i) The location of all delivery sites will be under the control of the firm.

(ii) Delivery of Regulatory Element continuing education all take place in an environment conducive to training. (Examples: a training facility, conference room or other area dedicated to this purpose would be appropriate. Inappropriate locations would include a personal office or any location that is not or cannot be secured from traffic and interruptions.)

(iii) Where multiple delivery terminals are placed in a room, adequate separation between terminals will be maintained.

(C) Technology Requirements. The communication links and firm delivery computer hardware must comply with standards defined by the Association or its designated vendor.

(D) Supervision.

(i) The firm's Written Supervisory Procedures must contain the procedures implemented to comply with the requirements of in-firm delivery of the Regulatory Element continuing education.

(ii) The firm's Written Supervisory Procedures must identify the principal designated pursuant to Rule 1120(a)(6)(A) and contain a list of individuals authorized by the firm to serve as proctors.

(iii) Firm locations for delivery of the Regulatory element continuing education will be specifically listed in the firm's Written Supervisory Procedures.

(E) Proctors.

(i) All sessions will be proctored by an authorized person during the entire Regulatory Element session. Proctors must be present in the session room or must be able to view the person(s) sitting for Regulatory Element continuing education through a window or by video monitor.

(ii) The individual responsible for proctoring at each administration will sign a certification that required procedures have been followed, that no material from Regulatory Element continuing education has been reproduced, and that no candidate received any assistance to complete the session. Such certification may be part of the sign-in log required under Rule 1120(a)6)(F).

(iii) Individual serving as proctors must be persons registered with an SRO and supervised by the designated principal for purposes of in-firm delivery of the Regulatory Element continuing education.

(iv) Proctors will check and verify the identification of all individuals taking Regulatory Element continuing education.

(F) Administration.

(i) All appointments will be scheduled in advance using the procedures and software specified by the Association to communicate with the Association's system and designated vendor.

(ii) The firm/proctor will conduct each session in accordance with the administrative appointment scheduling procedures established by the Association or its designated vendor.

(iii) A sign-in log will be maintained at the delivery facility. Logs will contain the date of each session, the name and social security number of the individual taking the session, that required identification was checked, the sign-in time, the sign-out time, and the name of the individual proctoring the session. Such logs are required to be retained pursuant to SEC Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4.

(iv) No material will be permitted to be utilized for the session nor may any session-related material be removed. Start Printed Page 66577

(v) Delivery sites will be made available for inspection by the SROs.

(vi) Before commencing in-firm delivery of the Regulatory Element continuing education, members are required to file with their Designated Examining Authority (“DEA”), a letter of attestation (as specified below) signed by a principal executive officer or executive representative, attesting to the establishment of required procedures addressing principal in-charge, supervision, site, technology, proctors, and administrative requirements. Letters filed with NASD Regulation, Inc. should be sent to Member Regulation, Continuing Education Department, 9509 Key West Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850.

Letter of Attestation for In-Firm Delivery of Regulatory Element Continuing Education

[Name of member] has established procedures for delivering Regulatory Element continuing education on its premises. I have determined that these procedures are reasonably designed to comply with SRO requirements pertaining to in-firm delivery of Regulatory Element continuing education, including that such procedures have been implemented to comply with principal/officer in-charge, supervision, site, technology, proctors, and administrative requirements.

Signature

Printed name

Title [Must be signed by a Principal Executive Officer (or Executive Representative) of the firm]

Date

(b) Firm Element No change.

* * * * *

II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

In its filing with the Commission, NASD Regulation included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. NASD Regulation has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

1. Purpose

The Regulatory Element is a 31/2 hour computer-based training program that currently can only be administered to registered persons at the location of an outside vendor. NASD Rule 1120(a) requires that each registered person, who is not exempt from the Rule, complete the Regulatory Element on the occurrence of his or her second registration anniversary and every three years thereafter. On each occasion, the training must be completed within 120 days after the registered person's anniversary date. A registered person who has not completed the Regulatory Element within the prescribed time period is deemed to be inactive until the Regulatory Element has been fulfilled, and may not conduct, or be compensated for, activities requiring a securities registration.

The Securities Industry/Regulatory Council on Continuing Education (“Council”) is responsible for the oversight of the continuing education program for the securities industry. The Council's duties include recommending and helping to develop specific content and questions for the Regulatory Element, and minimum core curricula for the Firm Element. The Council is comprised of 14 representatives from a broad cross section of broker/dealers, six self-regulatory organizations, including the NASD. The Council, working with representatives from the North American Securities Administrators Association, and with the knowledge of the Council's SEC liaisons, has developed a model under which broker/dealers may deliver the Regulatory Element computer-based training on firm premises. The model requires that the broker/dealer meet certain conditions for in-firm delivery relating to computer hardware and to the security of the training delivery environment. The proposed amendments to Rule 1120(a) encapsulate the delivery requirements as specified by the Council. Firms of any size may take advantage of the in-firm delivery procedures.

2. Statutory Basis

NASD Regulation believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of Section 15A(b)(6) of the Act,[3] which requires, among other things, that the Association's rules must be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. NASD Regulation believes that the proposed rule change will facilitate registered persons' satisfying their obligations to meet the Regulatory Element of the continuing education requirement.

B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

NASD Regulation does not believe that the proposed rule change will result in any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received from Members, Participants or Others

Written comments were neither solicited nor received.

III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing For Commission Action

Within 35 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period (i) as the Commission may designate up to 90 days of such date if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the NASD consents, the Commission will:

A. By order approve such proposed rule change, or

B. Institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be disapproved.

IV. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Persons making written submissions should file six copies thereof with the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20549-0609. Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to this proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for inspection and copying in the Commission's Public Reference Room. Copies of such filing will also be available for inspection and copying at Start Printed Page 66578the principal office of the NASD. All submissions should refer to file number SR-NASD-00-64 and should be submitted by November 27, 2000.

Start Signature

For the Commission by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.4

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

[FR Doc. 00-28386 Filed 11-3-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M