News Release

NASD, NYSE Regulation and U.K.'s Securities & Investment Institute Agree to Create New, International Securities Qualification Exam

Washington, DC — NASD, New York Stock Exchange Regulation and the Securities & Investment Institute (SII)—the United Kingdom's principal wholesale financial services qualifications provider— today announced a three-way agreement to create a common qualifications test for capital markets professionals.  Those passing the new Global Capital Markets Qualification (GCMQ) examination will qualify for a new registration category in the areas of equity and debt capital markets, and syndicate and investment banking.  The new registration category will allow them to move easily between the United States and United Kingdom.

It is anticipated that U.S. candidates seeking to work in the capital markets business only will be able to take the new examination rather than the currently required General Securities Registered Representative (Series 7) exam.  U.S. securities advisers, dealers and specialists in wholesale capital markets who are currently certified under the Series 7 would not have to requalify.   The GCMQ exam is expected to be launched in late 2006.

"With this new examination, we are breaking new ground and helping securities professionals in their efforts to conduct what is now a truly global securities business," said NASD Chairman and CEO Robert R. Glauber.  "This is a terrific example of a win/win for us as well as those we regulate. We will have confidence that securities professionals going back and forth between the U.S. and U.K. have a sound base of knowledge before conducting business, and they will have the portability that they need.  We think this is a great start and are excited about including other countries in this endeavor over time."

"Given the historic ties between our two nations, this agreement is a logical place to begin the task of creating more transportability of qualifications standards for securities professionals worldwide," said Richard G. Ketchum, chief regulatory officer, the New York Stock Exchange.  "Since capital markets have long led the way in globalization, it only makes sense to have a common testing standard that provides increased flexibility while maintaining high standards of knowledge in our respective marketplaces."

Simon Culhane, chief executive of the U.K. Securities & Investment Institute, said, "As markets are becoming increasingly global, we are excited about the possibilities for this new exam.  We fully expect it to become the de facto benchmark for staff working in the investment banking arena and foresee this as only the beginning.  This exam is going to facilitate the global transfer of personnel into new jurisdictions and we see this qualification expanding into other countries.  We are proud to be at the forefront of this initiative." 

The new exam will be comprised of two units.  The "core" GCMQ unit will test the knowledge that candidates must have to perform entry-level capital markets work in the U.S. and U.K.  The second unit—the regulatory "top off"—will assess knowledge specific to the respective jurisdictions.  The U.S. Capital Markets Rules and Regulations Exam will be developed by NASD and NYSE Regulation to assess knowledge of the U.S. regulatory system.  The SII will develop the U.K. Capital Markets Rules and Regulation Exam, which will assess knowledge of the U.K. securities and investment industry's rules and regulations.  When fully deployed, capital markets professionals who are fully licensed in either the U.S. or U.K. will become qualified in the other jurisdiction (subject to applicable state requirements in the U.S.) by taking the applicable top-off exam. 

Pursuant to the agreement, NASD and NYSE Regulation will file a joint rule proposal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  The plan is to make the GCMQ units available to candidates globally via computer-based testing.

The Securities & Investment Institute was formed in 1992 by members of the London Stock Exchange.  Its mission is to set standards of professional excellence and integrity for the securities and investment industry, providing qualifications and promoting the highest level of competence to its members, firms, and others.  SII is now the pre-eminent professional body for those who work in the securities and investment industry in the U.K.  Over 16,000 members benefit from a program of professional training and development.  The Institute is the principal awarding body for industry qualifications and last year its examinations attracted 35,000 candidates.