Jefferson Pilot Securities Corporation (JPSC) is pleased to have an opportunity to provide comments relative to NASD Notice To Members 04-55 Branch Office Registration. JPSC would like to express support for the initiative as well as its general opinion that the overall concept to synchronize a branch definition and filing form among regulatory authorities is worthwhile. With regard to the actual Form BR, we offer the following comments.
It appears that the creation of proposed Form BR has pre-empted the industry's attempt to standardize a definition of "branch office." Absent unanimous agreement of the definition of "branch office" which is clearly necessary to identify and fairly govern branches, it remains our opinion that any proposed Form is premature.
Notwithstanding, we question whether the proposed Form BR is too extensive to be practical. We believe that relief from this problem may be possible if the NYSE, amendment and withdrawal portions of the Form were separated and made available in a stand-alone format. In addition, we are concerned that not all currently required state supplemental branch registration forms (e.g., Texas, Connecticut, etc.) are represented in the proposed Form BR. Furthermore, we question the rationale of permitting technology for NYSE applicants, but not NASD members, to be able to select a branch number.
The proposed Form BR appears to include unnecessary information (e.g., Section 3 "financial industry activities conducted by the applicant") and undefined terms (e.g., Section 3 "other business name") which will make its use cumbersome. The Form also appears to require website information that is redundant to Forms BD and ADV. And, we are concerned that Section 4 "office sharing arrangements" appears to be limited to banks and financial institutions but does not contemplate other office sharing scenarios such as when representatives of two broker/dealers are domiciled at one branch location.
Jefferson Pilot Securities appreciates the opportunity to respond to this request for comments pursuant to NASD Notice To Members 04-55 and would be willing to provide additional feedback as needed.
Assistant Vice President - Communication, Education, Registration
Jefferson Pilot Securities Corporation