NASD Expands Broker-Testing Facilities Fivefold to Accommodate New Continuing Education Requirements
Proposed Partnership With Sylvan Learning Systems Inc. Will Provide Testing andTraining Centers in All 50 States
Washington, D.C.--The National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (NASD), today announced that through a proposed partnership with Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SLVN), it plans to increase by more than fivefold the number of centers available to test, train and certify the nation's 512,449 registered brokers.
NASD President and CEO Joseph R. Hardiman announced the partnership today, following approval of a letter of intent by the NASD Board of Governors. Final negotiations are expected to take up to two months, with training and testing in Sylvan centers to begin soon thereafter. The NASD regulates the nation's individual brokers and the broker/dealer profession.
Currently, the NASD owns and operates 53 test centers across the country. In order to accommodate the expected 336,590 test and training sessions to be given in 1996, the partnership with Sylvan will increase the number of centers to 280 secured facilities in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
New continuing education requirements implemented in mid-1995 by the securities industry call for an across-the-board increase in training and testing required for brokers--resulting in more than a 30 percent increase in the number of sessions to be given in 1996. These new rules require brokers to complete continuing education sessions during their second, fifth, and tenth years in the industry.
"In order to broaden access--both domestically and overseas--to as many training and testing centers as possible, we have moved to expand the continuing education network," Hardiman said. "Under the existing system, some brokers had to travel hundreds of miles to an NASD facility."
Chris Hoehn-Saric, Sylvan's CEO, said: "We're very pleased that the NASD, a pioneer in the field of computerized testing, has chosen Sylvan to assume responsibility for the computerized delivery of its licensing and continuing education programs. With the expanded service this partnership offers, NASD member firms will benefit from more convenient access to test centers, weekend and evening hours, and greater ease in complying with securities industry requirements."
Sylvan is one of the nation's leading providers of educational services to families, schools, and industry. The company's Sylvan Prometric division is the market leader in the administration of computer-based testing services for academic assessment and professional licensing and certification programs. Sylvan has an exclusive, long-term contract with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) for the worldwide delivery of all ETS tests that have been computerized, including the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the NCLEX exam for Registered and Practical Nurses, the Praxis Series: Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers, and others.
Sylvan also delivers a wide range of computer-based tests for the professional certification programs of global leaders in the information technology industry, including Microsoft, IBM, Novell, and Lotus.
Under the proposed agreement, the NASD will continue to guard the integrity and security of the testing process. The NASD will also register candidates and prepare computerized tests for delivery by Sylvan through its Central Registration Depository (CRD) and PROCTOR systems. The NASD began nationwide computer-based testing in 1979, the first organization to do so.
The NASD administers testing and training programs for itself and other self- regulatory organizations, such as the New York Stock Exchange, the Municipal Securities Rule-Making Board, the National Futures Association, and all 50 state securities regulatory authorities (represented by the North American Securities Administrators Association). It is expected that all of the NASD's testing and training programs will be available through Sylvan within 15 months, once the contract is formalized.
Current plans call for the possible consolidation of some NASD centers into the Sylvan network. No changes will be enacted before the third quarter of 1996.