News Release

NASD Puts Focus on "Hot" Compliance Issues with E-Learning Exchange, Free Webcasts Designed to Educate Frontline Staff

Washington, D.C.— NASD is introducing two new web-based educational tools to deliver priority compliance information to registered firms' frontline personnel.  These programs are part of a broad NASD strategy to help securities firms prevent compliance and regulatory problems from occurring.

NASD's E-learning Exchange, which will be available through NASD's website within 30 days, will offer online compliance courses through a new, web-based learning management system. Each course will be 25 to 30 minutes in length and will conclude with a mastery test for participants.

The first two e-learning courses will look at anti-money laundering issues, with one course designed for retail firms, the other for institutional firms.  The exchange expects to add e-learning courses on variable annuities, fee-based accounts, gifts and entertainment, branch office supervision and more during 2005. Individual courses are available to NASD-registered firms at a price of $12.50 per course per user (individuals from non-registered firms will pay $16.50 per course per user).

A series of short, targeted video webcasts addressing compliance issues is already live on NASD's Web site, Understanding Variable Annuities: Exchange Suitability Issues and Understanding Mutual Funds: Share Classes & Breakpoint Discounts, the first two installments in the series, were introduced in recent weeks. Hosted by an NASD staff member, these videos deliver brief and focused information to brokers and others who work directly with investors.

NASD anticipates posting a total of six webcasts in 2005. Upcoming segments will deal with compliance issues related to 529 College Savings Plans, corporate bonds, hedge funds, new products and anti-money laundering rules.  All segments in the webcast series are less than 10 minutes long and can be accessed at any time, free of charge.

"NASD has drawn from its own experience and tapped the wisdom of industry professionals in each issue area to create world-class educational tools that firms can use to meet their compliance challenges," said Douglas Shulman, NASD's President of Markets, Services and Information. "NASD places a heavy emphasis on anticipating problems with the hope of preventing them:  After all, investors are much better served if they are treated right by firms in the first instance, rather than having regulators come in after the fact to provide restitution.  The E-learning Exchange and Video Webcasts provide industry professionals with the requisite educational tools and information to operate within the rules - tools that are always up-to-date, affordable and easily accessible, so they will be truly useful to firms and their employees." 

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