| Thursday, March 2, 2006
Nancy Condon 202-728-8379
Herb Perone 202-728-8464
NASD E-Learning Compliance Courses Reach 100,000 Users in Nine Months, Companion Video Presentations Command Over 100,000 Views in First Year
Washington, D.C.— More than 200,000 users have taken advantage of two new web-based educational programs launched in 2005 to deliver priority compliance information to registered firms' frontline personnel. These two rapidly expanding programs - a series of structured online learning courses and a companion series of on-demand streaming video presentations - are part of a broad NASD strategy to help securities firms prevent compliance and regulatory problems from occurring.
More than 550 securities firms - or 11 percent of all NASD-registered firms - have purchased compliance courses developed by the NASD E-learning Exchange for 100,000 of their employees. The E-Learning Exchange, which was introduced last May, offers e-learning compliance courses on timely, relevant topics that are developed with industry input and feature decision-based, on-the-job scenarios.
Six e-learning courses are currently available, addressing such topics as anti-money laundering, international business practices, variable annuities suitability and disclosure and supervisory considerations for retail branch offices as well as for firms with institutional clients. Ten new or updated courses are scheduled for launch this year, covering current and timely topics such as hedge fund sales, 529 College Savings Plan sales, mutual funds sales, fixed income suitability and net capital rule requirements.
NASD's video webcast series has also proved popular, with more than 100,000 viewings since the first video was introduced in January 2005. Under 10 minutes in length, these free, on-demand streaming video presentations deliver brief, focused information on "hot" compliance topics that is broadly distributable to brokers and others who work directly with investors. The six video webcasts now online look at 529 College Savings Plans, anti-money laundering, mutual fund share classes and breakpoint discounts, variable annuities exchange issues, bond sale practices and fee-based accounts. Eight new video webcasts will be added this year, looking at such topics as equity indexed annuities sales, ethics, broker communications with the public, margin accounts, new product suitability considerations, variable annuities principal review.
"NASD is committed to supporting securities firms as they try to ensure that their personnel adhere to the highest ethical standards," said Douglas Shulman, NASD's President of Markets, Services and Information. "Our online courses and videos provide firms and industry professionals with high-quality educational tools that are developed through close collaboration between NASD's regulatory experts and experienced industry professionals."
NASD's online learning programs are complemented by other industry programs, such as netCEP, a web-based training library recently announced by the Securities Industry/Regulatory Council on Continuing Education. The Council is comprised of securities industry representatives from broker-dealers, representatives from six self regulatory organizations, including NASD, and liaisons from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the North American Securities Administrators Association. The Council provides advisory and consultative support with regard to the development, implementation, and ongoing operation of the Securities Industry Continuing Education Program. Together, NASD online learning and netCEP provide firms with a full menu of options to help meet their training needs.
NASD also recently added two new, advanced courses to its online training program for arbitrators. The new courses cover pre-hearing procedures and rules governing direct communication between arbitrators and parties to a dispute. These additions bring to six the number of advanced online training courses for arbitrators.
NASD is the leading private-sector provider of financial regulatory services, dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. NASD touches virtually every aspect of the securities business-from registering and educating industry participants, to examining securities firms, enforcing both NASD rules and the federal securities laws, and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and registered firms. For more information, please visit our Web site at http://www.nasd.com/.