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SEC OKs Media Reg Update

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a rule change that will affect some variable product sellers’ marketing and media relations operations.

The SEC is letting the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Washington, adopt FINRA Rule 5230, “Payments Involving Publications That Influence The Market Price Of A Security.”

The FINRA rule, based on NASD Rule 3330 – a rule adopted by the National Association of Securities Dealers, a FINRA predecessor organization – governs interactions with the media that do not consist of paid advertising.

The old rule stated that no member could “directly or indirectly, give, permit to be given, or offer to give, anything of value to any person for the purpose of influencing or rewarding the action of such person in connection with the publication or circulation in any newspaper, investment service or similar publication, of any matter which has, or is intended to have, an effect upon the market price of any security.”

The revision expands the scope of the rule to apply to dealings with magazines, websites, television programs and other electronic and non-electronic media, officials say.

FINRA has broadened a provision that exempts paid advertising, to make it clear that the rule exempts properly disclosed compensation paid in connection with research reports and similar publications.

FINRA filed the rule change proposal with the SEC in July.

A copy of the approval notice is available here.