It could get a little easier for mutual fund companies to issue press releases next year.

NASD Regulation plans to propose a rule that will eliminate the filing requirement for NASD members who issue press releases about mutual funds. The rule proposal, which NASDR expects to circulate for members' comment by October, also would eliminate the need to file reprints of newspaper and magazine articles used for marketing whose content has not been altered. Currently NASD members must file the documents with the NASDR once they are circulated to the public.

The changes are part of an effort that NASDR began in November to revise the self-regulatory group's rules, said Thomas A. Pappas, director of disclosure and investor protection for NASDR. The proposal, if adopted, also would eliminate the requirement that NASD members file sales literature and advertisements sent to sophisticated investors such as financial institutions and investors with at least $50 million in assets.

The proposals "are positive for members, investors and NASD staff," Pappas said.

NASD members filed approximately 66,000 pieces of sales literature, advertisements and press releases last year. In the past two years, NASDR has been working on methods of streamlining and speeding up the advertising review process.

The rule proposal, while eliminating the filing requirement for press releases, reprints and institutional advertising, does not drop NASD rules that apply to the content of those materials, Pappas said. Rules that require that communications be accurate, balanced and disclose risks still apply, he said.

After receiving member comments, NASDR must send the rule proposal to the SEC for review and additional public comment. The SEC ultimately must approve the rule. The review and approval process probably will not be completed before next year, Pappas said.

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