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May 31, 2000

NASD Gov Plea for Foreign Languages

By Staff Reports

Parlez vous Francais? Do you speak French? How about Spanish and Chinese?

If a fiery governor at the National Association of Securities Dealers has his way, Wall Street may become more multi-lingual.

The governor, Alan Davidson, has called for the Series 7 examination to be expanded and administered in four different languages.

At the National Association of Securities Dealers' Spring Securities Conference in Washington, Davidson recommended that the examination be expanded beyond English, to initially include French, Spanish and Chinese.

Davidson made his proposal before several hundred participants in the Small Broker Dealer Compliance Issues Workshop. "Recent Nasdaq foreign alliances point to twenty-four hour trading of dually listed issues," Davidson declared.

"These foreign markets for the most part are closed to the more than 5,000 independent and regional small business NASD members who raise capital for small business but do not have a physical presence in these countries," he added.

Wall Street is not short of pros with language skills. Many U.S. stock traders working the overseas markets, for example, are fluent in several foreign languages.

Davidson said administering the Series 7 examination in additional languages would serve a dual purpose. It would permit more penetration of these foreign markets by the independent and regional small business NASD members. Secondly, it would open career opportunities in the industry for possibly hundreds of thousands of potentially qualified representatives who speak English as a second language.

At the end of 1999, there were 620,000 NASD registered representatives.