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 December 8, 2004, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in items I, II, and III below, which items have been prepared by NASD. NASD has designated the proposed rule change as “establishing or changing a due, fee or other charge” under section 19(b)(3)(A)(ii) of the Act  and Rule 19b-4(f)(2) thereunder, 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.
I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change
NASD is proposing to amend Section 13 of Schedule A to the NASD By-Laws (“Section 13”) governing the review charges for advertisements, sales literature, and other such material filed with or submitted to NASD's Advertising Regulation Department (the “Department”). Below is the text of the proposed rule change. Proposed new language is italicized; proposed deletions are in [brackets].
SCHEDULE A TO NASD BY-LAWS
Section 13—Review Charge for Advertisement, Sales Literature, and Other Such Material Filed or Submitted
There shall be a review charge for each and every item of advertisement, sales literature, and other such material, whether in printed, video or other form, filed with or submitted to NASD, except for items that are filed or submitted in response to a written request from NASD's Advertising Regulation Department issued pursuant to the spot check procedures set forth in NASD's Rules as follows: (1) For printed material reviewed, [$75.00] $100.00, plus $10.00 for each page reviewed in excess of 10 pages; and (2) for video or audio media, [$75.00] $100.00, plus $10.00 per minute for each minute of tape reviewed in excess of 10 minutes.
Where a member requests expedited review of material submitted to the Advertising Regulation Department there shall be a review charge of $500.00 per item plus $25 for each page reviewed in excess of 10 pages. Expedited review shall be completed within three business days, not Start Printed Page 4170including the date the item is received by the Advertising Regulation Department, unless a shorter or longer period is agreed to by the Advertising Regulation Department. The Advertising Regulation Department may, in its sole discretion, refuse requests for expedited review.
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 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 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
The Department is responsible for ensuring that all NASD member firms' communications with the public are fair, balanced, and not misleading. The mission of the Department, as provided in Rule 2210 and the Interpretations issued thereunder, is to ensure that all member communications with the public, including advertisements, sales literature, and correspondence, are based on principles of fair dealing and good faith, are fair and balanced, and provide a sound basis for evaluating the facts in regard to any particular security or type of security, industry, or service. Among other things, the Department reviews member communications with the public for false, exaggerated, unwarranted, misleading statements or claims, and exaggerated or unwarranted claims, opinions or forecasts.
The purpose of the proposed rule change is to amend Section 13 to raise the fee that may be charged by the Department for reviewing each and every item of advertisement, sales literature, and other such material, whether in printed, video or other form, filed with or submitted to NASD (except for items that are filed or submitted in response to a written request from the Department issued pursuant to the spot check procedures set forth in NASD's Rules).
Despite annual cost increases, NASD has not adjusted the charge to members for submitting advertisements, sales literature, and other such material to the Department since 1999. A recent analysis of the Department's operating and technology costs showed that NASD's costs have increased significantly due to increased responsibilities, economic conditions and the need for enhanced technology. Based on this review, NASD proposes to raise the fee charged for the review of printed material and video or audio media from $75.00 to $100.00 to offset these cost increases.
2. Statutory Basis
NASD believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of section 15A of the Act  in general and with section 15A(b)(5) of the Act  in particular, which requires, among other things, that NASD's rules provide for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees and other charges among members and issuers and other persons using any facility or system that NASD operates or controls. NASD believes that the rule change is consistent with section 15A(b)(5) of the Act in that the proposed review charge is reasonable based on NASD's costs and equitably allocated among all members that file or submit advertisements, sales literature, and other such material, whether in printed, video or other form.
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
NASD 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 rule change has become effective upon filing with the Commission, pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A)(ii) of the Act  and paragraph (f)(2) of Rule 19b-4 thereunder, because it establishes or changes a due, fee, or other charge imposed by NASD. 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 proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:
- Use the Commission's Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or
- Send an e-mail to email@example.com. Please include File Number SR-NASD-2004-179 on the subject line.
- Send paper comments in triplicate to Jonathan G. Katz, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549-0609.
All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NASD-2004-179. This file number should be included on the subject line if e-mail is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml). 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 the filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of NASD. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to the File Number SR-NASD-2004-179 and should be submitted on or before February 18, 2005.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
Margaret H. McFarland,
[FR Doc. E5-320 Filed 1-27-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P