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Pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”), and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, notice is hereby given that on January 7, 2002, 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” or “SEC”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by NASD Regulation. NASD Regulation filed the proposal pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act, and Rule 19b-4(f)(1)  thereunder, in that the proposed rule change constitutes a stated policy, practice, or interpretation with respect to the meaning, administration, or enforcement of an existing rule, which renders the proposal effective upon filing with the Commission. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.Start Printed Page 2257
I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change
NASD Regulation proposes to amend NASD IM-1000-2 to codify the staff's interpretive position regarding the relief from NASD Rule 1120, Continuing Education Requirements, for securities industry professionals who volunteer or are called into active military duty. The text of the proposed rule change is below. Proposed new language is in italics; proposed deletions are in brackets.
IM-1000-2. Status of Sole Proprietors and Registered Representatives Serving in the Armed Forces
Any Registered [registered] Representative of a member who volunteers or is called into the Armed Forces of the United States shall be placed, after proper notification to the Executive Office, upon inactive status and need not be re-registered by such member upon his or her return to active employment with the member.
Any member (Sole Proprietor) who temporarily closes his or her business by reason of volunteering or being called into the Armed Forces of the United States, shall be placed, after proper notification to the Executive Office, on inactive status until his or her return to active participation in the investment banking and securities business.
A Registered Representative who is placed on inactive status as set forth above shall not be included within the definition of “Personnel” for purposes of the dues or assessments as provided in Article VI of the By-Laws.
Any member placed on inactive status as set forth above shall not be required to pay dues or assessments during the pendency of such inactive status and shall not be required to pay an admission fee upon return to active participation in the investment banking and securities business.
A Registered Representative who is placed on inactive status as set forth above shall not be required to complete either of the Regulatory or Firm Elements of the continuing education requirements set forth in Rule 1120 during the pendency of such inactive status.
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 its proposal and discussed any comments it received regarding the proposal. 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
NASD IM-1000-2 (“the Interpretation”) addresses the registration status of sole proprietors and registered representatives serving in the armed forces. The Interpretation states that securities industry professionals who volunteer or are called into active military duty (“Active Duty Professionals”) will be placed in a specially designated “inactive” status once the NASD is notified of their military service, but will remain registered for NASD purposes. While the Interpretation does not address continuing education obligations with respect to Active Duty Professionals, NASD Regulation staff has interpreted Rule 1120 to relieve Active Duty Professionals from continuing education obligations for the period of time that they are on active duty. The proposed rule change codifies the staff's position through amendments to the Interpretation. The Securities Industry/Regulatory Council on Continuing Education (“CE Council”) supports the staff's views.
NASD Regulation has, for the reasons set forth below, relieved Active Duty Professionals from continuing education requirements. Rule 1120(a)(2) provides that “Unless otherwise determined by the Association, any registered persons who have not completed the Regulatory Element within the prescribed time frames will have their registrations deemed inactive until such time as the requirements of the program have been satisfied.” A registered person may satisfy his or her Regulatory Element requirement at a Prometric Center in the United States and Canada, or at a VUE Center in Europe and the Pacific Rim. Because it is generally not practical for Active Duty Professionals to be at a facility that delivers the Regulatory Element, NASD Regulation believes that Active Duty Professionals should be relieved from fulfilling the Regulatory Element requirements that arise during the period of time that they are on active duty.
With respect to the Firm Element requirements of continuing education, Rule 1120(b)(1) provides that only persons who have “direct contact with customers” in the conduct of securities activities are subject to the Firm Element requirements. Active Duty Professionals are excluded from the Firm Element requirements because they do not have contact with customers. Accordingly, the proposed amendment to the Interpretation expressly states that Active Duty Professionals are not required to complete either of the Regulatory or Firm Elements of the continuing education requirements set forth in Rule 1120 during the pendency of such inactive status.
2. Statutory Basis
NASD Regulation believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of section 15A(b)(6) of the Act, which requires, among other things, that the Association's rules 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 codifying the staff's interpretative position to relieve Active Duty Professionals from the NASD's continuing education requirements during the time they are on active duty is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest.
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, as amended.
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
The foregoing proposal has become effective pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act, and Rule 19b-4(f)(1)  Start Printed Page 2258thereunder, in that it constitutes a stated policy, practice, or interpretation with respect to the meeting, administration, or enforcement of an existing rule.
At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission may summarily abrogate such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.
IV. Solicitation of Comments
Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposal 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 the 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 the principal office of the NASD. All submissions should refer to file number SR-NASD-2002-03 and should be submitted by February 6, 2002.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
Margaret H. McFarland,
5. The CE Council, of which all of the self-regulatory organizations and 14 industry representatives are members, is responsible for the oversight of the continuing education program as a whole. The SEC and North American Securities Administrators Association also send liaisons to attend CE Council meetings.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 02-1103 Filed 1-15-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-M