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 July 21, 2009, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) (f/k/a 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 FINRA. 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
FINRA is proposing to adopt NASD Rule 3330 (Payment Designed to Influence Market Prices, Other than Paid Advertising) as FINRA Rule 5230 in the consolidated FINRA rulebook, with several changes to clarify the scope of the rule.
The text of the proposed rule change is available on FINRA's Web site at http://www.finra.org, at the principal office of FINRA and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.
II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
In its filing with the Commission, FINRA 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. FINRA 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
As part of the process of developing a new consolidated rulebook (“Consolidated FINRA Rulebook”), FINRA is proposing to adopt NASD Rule 3330 into the Consolidated FINRA Rulebook as FINRA Rule 5230 with Start Printed Page 39726several changes, which are described below.
NASD Rule 3330 provides that no member may, “directly or indirectly, give, permit to be given, or offer to give, anything of value to any person for the purpose of influencing or rewarding the action of such person in connection with the publication or circulation in any newspaper, investment service, or similar publication, of any matter which has, or is intended to have, an effect upon the market price of any security.* * *” The rule includes an exception for any matter that is “clearly distinguishable as paid advertising.”
As part of transferring NASD Rule 3330 into the Consolidated FINRA Rulebook, FINRA is proposing two changes to the rule to modernize its terms and clarify its scope. First, the proposed rule change updates the list of media to which the rule refers. Because NASD Rule 3330 has not been amended for over 60 years, it refers only to matters published or circulated in any “newspaper, investment service, or similar publication.” The proposed rule change updates this language to include electronic and other types of media, including magazines, Web sites, and television programs.
Second, the proposed rule change expands the exceptions in the rule beyond paid advertising to also include compensation paid in connection with research reports and communications published in reliance on Section 17(b) of the Securities Act of 1933. FINRA is proposing these changes to clarify that the prohibitions in the rule are not intended to cover compensation paid for publications that are explicitly permitted pursuant to other rules. For example, NASD Rule 3330 could be read to prohibit a member from paying for a third-party research report if the report affected the market price of a security; however, NASD Rule 2711(h)(13) contemplates that members might pay for and distribute third-party research reports. In addition, FINRA does not believe that the rule should be read to prohibit compensation paid in connection with the publication of information that is specifically permitted pursuant to Section 17(b) of the Securities Act, provided the required disclosures are made.
FINRA will announce the implementation date of the proposed rule change in a Regulatory Notice to be published no later than 90 days following Commission approval.
2. Statutory Basis
FINRA 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 FINRA 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. FINRA believes that the proposed rule change will clarify the scope of the rule in the new Consolidated FINRA Rulebook.
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
FINRA 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 self-regulatory organization 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. 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-FINRA-2009-048 on the subject line.
- Send paper comments in triplicate to Elizabeth M. Murphy, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.
All submissions should refer to File Number SR-FINRA-2009-048. 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, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Copies of the filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of FINRA. 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 File Number SR-FINRA-2009-048 and should be submitted on or before August 28, 2009.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.8
Florence E. Harmon,
3. The current FINRA rulebook consists of (1) FINRA Rules; (2) NASD Rules; and (3) rules incorporated from NYSE (“Incorporated NYSE Rules”) (together, the NASD Rules and Incorporated NYSE Rules are referred to as the “Transitional Rulebook”). While the NASD Rules generally apply to all FINRA members, the Incorporated NYSE Rules apply only to those members of FINRA that are also members of the NYSE (“Dual Members”). The FINRA Rules apply to all FINRA members, unless such rules have a more limited application by their terms. For more information about the rulebook consolidation process, see FINRA Information Notice, March 12, 2008 (Rulebook Consolidation Process).Back to Citation
4. The proposed rule change also changes the title of the rule to “Payments Involving Publications that Influence the Market Price of a Security.”Back to Citation
5. Section 17(b) of the Securities Act of 1933 provides that no person may “publish, give publicity to, or circulate any * * * communication which, though not purporting to offer a security for sale, describes such security for a consideration received or to be received, directly or indirectly, from an issuer, underwriter, or dealer, without fully disclosing the receipt, whether past or prospective, of such consideration and the amount thereof.” 15 U.S.C. 77q(b).Back to Citation
6. Although the proposed rule change would exempt research reports from FINRA Rule 5230, research reports would still be subject to applicable FINRA rules and guidance governing research reports and other communications with the public. See NASD Rules 2711, 2210(d), IM-2210-1. Among other things, these rules require that research reports include certain disclosures, be fair and balanced, and not be misleading.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. E9-18978 Filed 8-6-09; 8:45 am]
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