Letter to Members - December 20, 2005

December 20, 2005

Dear NASD Member:

Recently, you may have seen an email NASD sent to all firms announcing the SEC’s order to extend the deadline by which non-public broker-dealers must file financial statements that have been certified by a registered public accounting firm. The deadline is now January 1, 2007. This is very good news for smaller firms who may still need extra time to comply fully with Section 17(e) of the Exchange Act. I encourage you to read the full press release on the SEC Web site at http://www.sec.gov/rules/other/34-52909.pdf.

This year, there’s been a lot of talk about 529s and when and how they are appropriate for customers. Most recently, the MSRB amended their advertising rules for municipal fund securities (also known as 529s). MSRB Rule G-21 now requires firms to provide performance returns for specific time periods and related narrative disclosure. For some time now, NASD has been working with the MSRB to harmonize sales practice rules as they apply to mutual funds and 529s. If your firm sells 529s and you have questions about this rule change, I encourage you to contact NASD’s Advertising Regulation Department at (240) 386-4500.

One of the best ways to stay current on these and other regulatory and compliance hot topics is to attend an NASD Small Firm Conference, such as the one coming up in Los Angeles on January 20, 2006. If you have limited time or travel resources, NASD also offers online learning programs that you can easily take from your home or office computer. You can find out more at http://www.finra.org/onlinelearning.

Early next year, I will be heading out with other Small Firm Advisory Board (SFAB) members to visit NASD District Offices around the country, and I look forward to meeting many of you in person. Since the SFAB was established in 1998, our goal has been to make sure that firms like yours have a chance to be heard by NASD. That goal has not changed. Over the past seven years, I believe we’ve made great progress in changing how NASD listens—and responds to—small firm issues. With the SFAB, we have an effective system for voicing our concerns, and working through that system works.

But we can only represent your concerns if we know what they are. If we don’t get a chance to hear them from you face-to-face in the next few months, don’t hesitate to give any one of us a call. Our names and contact information are posted on the SFAB page on NASD’s Web site at http://www.finra.org/sfab. You can reach me directly at (616) 942-7680 or call Vice Chairman Lou Denton at (610) 238-0888.

Here’s wishing you and your family a safe and joyous holiday season.


William C. Alsover, Jr. Signature

William C. Alsover, Jr.
NASD Small Firm Advisory Board