Pursuant to Section 19(b)(7) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”), and Rule 19b-7 under the Act, notice is hereby given that on November 29, 2002, the National Futures Association (“NFA”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule changes described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the NFA. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule changes from interested persons. NFA also has filed the proposed rule change with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”).
On November 27, 2002, NFA requested that the CFTC make a determination that review of the proposed rule change is not necessary. The CFTC made such a determination on December 9, 2002.
I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Description of the Proposed Rule Change
Section 15A(k) of the Act  makes NFA a national securities association for the limited purpose of regulating the activities of members who are registered as brokers or dealers in security futures products under Section 15(b)(11) of the Act. Where security futures accounts are solicited by commodity trading advisors (CTAs), the proposed rule changes shift responsibility for providing the risk disclosure for those products from the CTA to the firms carrying the account, which could be a broker-dealer registered under Section 15(b)(11).
II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
NFA has prepared statements concerning the purpose of, and basis for, the proposed rule change, burdens on competition, and comments received from members, participants, and others. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. These statements are set forth in Sections A, B, and C below.
A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
The Managed Funds Association (MFA) recently raised an issue regarding the security futures risk disclosure statement. The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 provides that, with respect to security futures products, CTAs, as well as other registrants, must be subject to suitability rules comparable to those that apply to NASD members. The “Know Your Customer” requirements in NFA Compliance Rule 2-30 include the requirement to provide appropriate risk disclosure, so when that rule was amended to include suitability requirements for security futures products, CTAs were included in the provisions of that rule relating to the disclosure statement. As Compliance Rule 2-30 and the related Interpretive Notice currently read, a CTA is required to provide the disclosure statement to the customer in the relatively rare instance where the CTA is the Member soliciting the account.
MFA has questioned this requirement for CTAs, pointing out that investment advisers have no similar requirement. Although someone must provide the disclosure statement to the customer, the Board agrees that the CTA does not have to be the source of that document. In fact, if the account is carried by an NASD member that is itself required by NASD rules to provide the document, NFA's current rule could result in both the CTA and the Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) delivering the document. Therefore, the Board amended NFA Compliance Rule 2-30 and the related Interpretive Notice to remove CTAs from the special risk disclosure requirements for security futures products and to place the obligation to provide the statement on the Member carrying an account solicited by the CTA. The CTA must still, of course, consider how well a customer understands the risks when determining if it is appropriate for the customer to trade security futures products or to use the CTA's trading program for that purpose. Start Printed Page 2382
2. Statutory Basis
The rule change is authorized by, and consistent with, Section 15A(k) of the Act.
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
The rule change will not impose any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act and the Commodity Exchange Act. In fact, the rule change will level the playing field for CTAs and investment advisers with little, if any, competitive impact on carrying firms.
C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received from Members, Participants, or Others
NFA did not publish the rule changes to the membership for comment. NFA did not receive comment letters concerning the rule changes.
III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action
Pursuant to Section 19(b)(7)(B) of the Act, the proposed rule change became effective on December 9, 2002.
Within 60 days of the date of effectiveness of the proposed rule change, the Commission, after consultation with the CFTC, may summarily abrogate the proposed rule change and require that the proposed rule change be refiled in accordance with the provisions of Section 19(b)(1) of the Act.
IV. Solicitation of Comments
Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change conflicts with the Act. Persons making written submissions should file nine copies of the submission with the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549-0609. Comments also may be submitted electronically to the following e-mail address: email@example.com. 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 these filings also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of NFA.
Electronically submitted comments will be posted on the Commission's Web site (http://www.sec.gov). All submissions should refer to File No. SR-NFA-2002-06 and should be submitted by February 6, 2003.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
J. Lynn Taylor,
[FR Doc. 03-913 Filed 1-15-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P