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August 29, 2002
NFA Compliance Rules 2-7 and 2-24 and Registration Rule 401:Proficiency Requirements for Security Futures Products Interpretive Notice
The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 amended the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require NFA to "have rules that ensure that members and natural persons associated with members meet such standards of training, experience, and competence necessary to effect transactions in security futures products and are tested for their knowledge of securities and security futures products.”1 NFA is in the process of updating the Series 3 examination to include questions applicable to security futures products. However, current registrants, and persons who become registered before the Series 3 examination is updated, will be allowed to meet the proficiency requirements by taking an appropriate training course before they engage in activities involving security futures products. This notice describes the conditions under which Members and Associates can substitute training for testing.
Current NFA Members and Associates will be able to satisfy their proficiency requirements for security futures by taking any training program that covers the subject matter included in a content outline that has been jointly developed by NFA, NASD, and a number of securities and futures exchanges. A copy of that outline can be found on NFA's website at www.nfa.futures.org. New registrants can also qualify through training if they are registered no later than six months after the first retail, exchange-traded contract begins trading. THE TRAINING MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE AN INDIVIDUAL REGISTRANT ENGAGES IN ACTIVITIES INVOLVING SECURITY FUTURES PRODUCTS. Any registrant who is eligible to qualify through training has until December 31, 2006 before that eligibility lapses. Registrants who subsequently decide to engage in security futures activities will be required to take the relevant examination.2 Securities registrants will be subject to these same standards, although the examinations that qualify them to trade security futures products will be different.
NFA, in partnership with NASD and the Institute for Financial Markets, has developed a web-based training program that will satisfy the training requirement. That program can be accessed at www.nfa.futures.org. There is no charge for completing this training program.
NFA is also in the process of updating the Series 30 examination to include questions regarding security futures for persons who are designated security futures principals under NFA Compliance Rule 2-7. In order to qualify as a designated security futures principal, current supervisors may take a portion of the training program devoted to supervisory issues as well as the portions intended for all Associates within six months after the first retail, exchange-traded contract begins trading. After this six-month period, individuals may qualify as a security futures principal by taking the training program in lieu of taking a supervisory proficiency exam provided those individuals are qualified to act as a branch office manager no later than six months after the first retail, exchange-traded contract begins trading and take the training program by December 31, 2006.
NFA Members and Associates are not required to notify NFA that they have completed a training program. However, Members must be able to demonstrate to NFA during an audit that those registered individuals who are engaging in security futures activities have completed the necessary training. For example, Members could keep records of Associates who attend internal training programs or require Associates to provide certificates of completion for outside training programs.
1 Section 15A(k)(2)(D) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
2 Securities registrants will be subject to these same standards, although the examinations that qualify them to trade security futures products will be different.