The National Association of Securities Dealers is trying to prepare for an influenza epidemic that could force as many as half of member firms’ employees to stay home for extended periods.

The NASD, Washington, has issued a request for comment about the types of regulatory relief that it ought to offer firms facing a major flu epidemic.

The self-regulatory group notes that member firms have suggested that they might respond by letting employees work at home, shifting work to overseas affiliates, or even arranging for other companies to handle their operations.

The NASD is asking about how a major flu epidemic should affect licensing requirements, financial reporting requirements for operations relocated overseas, supervision requirements, and rules governing temporary account transfers.

The group also is asking how trade reporting should be handled under conditions in which a market, or markets, may not be functioning.

A copy of the request for comment, NASD Notice to Members 06-31 – June 2006, is on the Web at Document Link