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NASD Official Praises NAVA Standards Efforts

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The combined New York Stock Exchange and National Association of Securities Dealers regulatory body will try to avoid startling financial services companies, a NASD official says.

“Once the merger takes place, there’s not going to be a dramatic change in the world of the compliance officer,” NASD Vice Chairman Douglas Shulman said here today during a compliance and regulatory affairs conference organized by NAVA Inc., Reston, Va., the group formerly known as the National Association for Variable Annuities.

When the NYSE, New York, and NASD, Washington, close the regulatory combination deal, the deal will create a new Securities Industry Regulatory Authority.

The only change companies under SIRA’s jurisdiction should notice will be a more coordinated examination force, Shulman said.

“There shouldn’t be any big surprises for you,” Shulman said.

SIRA will work towards making regulation more efficient and flexible, with the understanding that “one-size-fits-all rulemaking is not always the best approach,” Shulman said.

Shulman also talked about technology and other forces that are changing regulators’ world.

NAVA’s effort to develop “straight through processing” standards, or standards that will allow for doing business electronically, represents “one of the kind of initiatives that can move this industry forward,” Shulman said.

“Better technology should translate into investor protection,” Shulman said.

Shulman cited the aging of the baby boomers and the decline of defined benefit pensions as examples of forces making the need for regulatory efficiency all the more important.

Solid financial services can be the difference between “living with dignity” and living in far more difficult circumstances, Shulman said.

As many as 99% of financial services industry workers “just want to make an honest living,” and it is up to regulators to help them get it right, Shulman said.


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