NASD Regulation, Inc. (NASD Regulation) has brought a number of formal disciplinary actions against registered representatives for selling securities without prior notice to and approval from the representative's employer member firm and for engaging in outside business activities without prior notice to the employer member firm. A registered person who sells a security away from his or her firm without first obtaining written approval from the firm violates NASD Rule 3040, and a registered person who engages in an outside business activity without prior notice to his or her firm, including the sale of non-securities products, violates NASD Rule 3030.
Recently, NASD Regulation has seen an increase in selling away involving independent insurance agents registered solely as Series 6 Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products representatives. These Series 6 representatives are increasingly being targeted by issuers, promoters, and marketing agents to sell short-term promissory notes to their customers. Although in many instances these notes are securities, promoters of these products are marketing them to registered persons as non-securities products that do not have to be sold through a broker/dealer by a registered person. In a significant number of cases, associated persons have sold these notes to their customers away from their firms and without firm approval as required by Rule 3040.
Associated persons are required, either under Rule 3030 or Rule 3040, to report, in writing, any and all types of business that they plan to conduct away from their firms, whether or not it involves a security. Rule 3040 requires associated persons to obtain written approval from their firms before they sell any security, including securities in the form of promissory notes, and Rule 3030 requires prompt written notice to a member of any outside business activity for which an associated person receives compensation, including the sale of a promissory note that is not a security. Since there has been some confusion among associated persons as to whether particular financial instruments are securities, this Notice advises associated persons to provide written notice to their firms before they engage in the sale of any financial instrument.
This Notice also reminds members that they should: (1) review their supervisory procedures to make sure that they are reasonably designed to achieve compliance with NASD Rules 3030 and 3040 regarding outside business activities and private securities transactions; and (2) appropriately educate their associated persons regarding the requirements of Rules 3030 and 3040.
Questions concerning this Notice may be directed to Shirley H. Weiss, Associate General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, NASD Regulation, at (202) 728- 8844.
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