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February 16, 2007

Brokers Okay New SRO Plan

By Gregory Breiger

Wall Street's unique system of self-regulation just got streamlined by a recent vote of NASD members.

Some 64 percent of NASD's members approved bylaw changes required to merge NASD with the regulatory arm of the New York Stock Exchange. Almost 83 percent of eligible members voted.

The new self-regulatory organization will consist of the 2,400-person NASD organization and the some 470 of NYSE Regulation's team. The plan is designed to create a single regulator, at press time unnamed, that will oversee the approximately 5,100 broker-dealers in the United States. The regulator will seek to harmonize rules and end duplicate inspections.

Numerous regulators and industry groups have argued that the basic system of self-regulation should remain intact and have praised the merger.

"Regulatory efficiency eases the operating burdens on firms and members," said John Giesea, president and CEO of the Security Traders Association, commenting on the vote.

The plan still requires approval by the SEC, but several commissioners have made public statements backing it.