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IM-2210-7. Guidelines for Communications with the Public Regarding Security Futures

This rule is no longer applicable. NASD IM-2210-7 has been superseded by FINRA Rule 2215. Please consult the appropriate FINRA Rule.

(a) NASD Approval Requirements and Review Procedures
(1) As set forth in paragraph (c)(4) of Rule 2210, all advertisements concerning security futures shall be submitted to the Advertising Regulation Department of NASD at least ten days prior to use for approval and, if changed by NASD, shall be withheld from circulation until any changes specified by NASD have been made or, in the event of disapproval, until the advertisement has been refiled for, and has received, NASD approval.
(2) The requirements of this paragraph (a) shall not be applicable to:
(A) advertisements submitted to another self-regulatory organization having comparable standards pertaining to such advertisements, and
(B) advertisements in which the only reference to security futures is contained in a listing of the services of a member organization.
(b) Disclosure Statement
(1) All communications concerning security futures shall be accompanied or preceded by the security futures risk disclosure statement unless they meet the following requirements:
(A) Such communications shall be limited to general descriptions of the security futures being offered.
(B) Such communications shall contain contact information for obtaining a copy of the security futures risk disclosure statement.
(C) Such communications shall not contain recommendations or past or projected performance figures, including annualized rates of return.
(2) Communications concerning security futures that meet the requirements of subparagraph (1) may have the following characteristics:
(A) the text of the communication may contain a brief description of security futures, including a statement that identifies registered clearing agencies for security futures. The text may also contain a brief description of the general attributes and method of operation of the security exchange or notice-registered securities exchange on which such security futures are traded, including a discussion of how a security future is priced;
(B) the communication may include any statement required by any state law or administrative authority; and
(C) advertising designs and devices, including borders, scrolls, arrows, pointers, multiple and combined logos and unusual type faces and lettering as well as attention-getting headlines and photographs and other graphics may be used, provided such material is not misleading.
(c) Recordkeeping
Consistent with paragraph (b)(2) of Rule 2210, a member shall keep a separate file of all advertisements and sales literature concerning security futures, including the name(s) of the person(s) who prepared them and approved their use for a period of three years from the date of each use. In addition, members shall meet the same recordkeeping requirements for all correspondence concerning security futures. In the case of sales literature concerning security futures, a member shall record the source of any recommendation contained therein.
(d) Specific Standards
(1) The special risks attendant to security futures transactions and the complexities of certain security futures investment strategies shall be reflected in any communications that discuss the uses or advantages of security futures. Any statement referring to the potential opportunities or advantages presented by security futures shall be balanced by a statement of the corresponding risks. The risk statement shall reflect the same degree of specificity as the statement of opportunities, and broad generalities should be avoided.
(2) Security futures communications shall include a warning to the effect that security futures are not suitable for all investors and such communications shall not contain suggestions to the contrary.
(3) Security futures communications shall state that supporting documentation for any claims (including any claims made on behalf of security futures programs or the security futures expertise of sales persons), comparisons, recommendations, statistics or other technical data, will be supplied upon request.
(4) No cautionary statements or caveats, often called hedge clauses, may be used in communications with the public if they are not legible, are misleading, or are inconsistent with the content of the material.
(5) Statements suggesting the certain availability of a secondary market for security futures shall not be made.
(e) Projections
Notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 2210(d)(1)(D), security futures sales literature and correspondence may contain projected performance figures (including projected annualized rates of return), provided that:
(1) all such sales literature and correspondence must be accompanied or preceded by the security futures risk disclosure statement;
(2) no suggestion of certainty of future performance is made;
(3) parameters relating to such performance figures are clearly established;
(4) all relevant costs, including commissions, fees, and interest charges (as applicable) are disclosed and reflected in the projections;
(5) such projections are plausible and are intended as a source of reference or a comparative device to be used in the development of a recommendation;
(6) all material assumptions made in such calculations are clearly identified;
(7) the risks involved in the proposed transactions are also disclosed; and
(8) in communications relating to annualized rates of return, that such returns are not based upon any less than a sixty-day experience; any formulas used in making calculations are clearly displayed; and a statement is included to the effect that the annualized returns cited might be achieved only if the parameters described can be duplicated and that there is no certainty of doing so.
(f) Historical Performance
Security futures sales literature and correspondence may feature records and statistics that portray the performance of past recommendations or of actual transactions, provided that:
(1) all such sales literature and correspondence must be accompanied or preceded by the security futures risk disclosure statement;
(2) any such portrayal is done in a balanced manner, and consists of records or statistics that are confined to a specific "universe" that can be fully isolated and circumscribed and that covers at least the most recent 12-month period;
(3) such communications include the date of each initial recommendation or transaction, the price of each such recommendation or transaction as of such date, and the date and price of each recommendation or transaction at the end of the period or when liquidation was suggested or effected, whichever was earlier; provided that if the communications are limited to summarized or averaged records or statistics, in lieu of the complete record there may be included the number of items recommended or transacted, the number that advanced and the number that declined, together with an offer to provide the complete record upon request;
(4) such communications disclose all relevant costs, including commissions, fees, and daily margin obligations (as applicable);
(5) whenever such communications contain annualized rates of return, such communications shall disclose all material assumptions used in the process of annualization;
(6) an indication is provided of the general market conditions during the period(s) covered, and any comparison made between such records and statistics and the overall market (e.g., comparison to an index) is valid;
(7) such communications state that the results presented should not and cannot be viewed as an indicator of future performance; and
(8) a principal qualified to supervise security futures activities determines that the records or statistics fairly present the status of the recommendations or transactions reported upon and so initials the report.
(g) Security Futures Programs
In communications regarding a security futures program (i.e., an investment plan employing the systematic use of one or more security futures strategies), the cumulative history or unproven nature of the program and its underlying assumptions shall be disclosed.
(h) Standard Forms of Worksheets
Such worksheets must be uniform within a member firm. If a member has adopted a standard form of worksheet for a particular security futures strategy, nonstandard worksheets for that strategy may not be used.
(i) Recordkeeping
Communications that portray performance of past recommendations or actual transactions and completed worksheets shall be kept at a place easily accessible to the sales office for the accounts or customers involved.
Amended by SR-NASD-2000-12 eff. Nov. 3, 2003.
Adopted by SR-NASD-2002-40 eff. Oct. 15, 2002.