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Apr 7 2008 - Oct 10 2012Oct 11 2012 onwards

2711. Research Analysts and Research Reports

Past version: effective from Apr 7 2008 - Oct 10 2012.
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(a) Definitions
For purposes of this rule, the following terms shall be defined as provided.
(1) "Equity security" has the same meaning as defined in Section 3(a)(11) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
(2) "Investment banking department" means any department or division, whether or not identified as such, that performs any investment banking service on behalf of a member.

(3) "Investment banking services" include, without limitation, acting as an underwriter or participating in a selling group in an offering for the issuer; acting as a financial adviser in a merger or acquisition; providing venture capital, equity lines of credit, private investment, public equity transactions (PIPEs) or similar investments; or serving as placement agent for the issuer.

(4) "Member of a research analyst's household" means any individual whose principal residence is the same as the research analyst's principal residence. This term does not include an unrelated person who shares the same residence as a research analyst provided that the research analyst and unrelated person are financially independent of one another.

(5) "Public appearance" means any participation in a conference call, seminar, forum (including an interactive electronic forum) or other public speaking activity before 15 or more persons or before one or more representatives of the media, radio, television or print media interview, or the writing of a print media article, in which a research analyst makes a recommendation or offers an opinion concerning an equity security. This term does not include a password protected Webcast, conference call or similar event with 15 or more existing customers, provided that all of the event participants previously received the most current research report or other documentation that contains the required applicable disclosures, and that the research analyst appearing at the event corrects and updates during the public appearance any disclosures in the research report that are inaccurate, misleading or no longer applicable.

(6) "Research analyst" means the associated person who is primarily responsible for, and any associated person who reports directly or indirectly to such a research analyst in connection with, preparation of the substance of a research report, whether or not any such person has the job title of "research analyst."

(7) "Research analyst account" means any account in which a research analyst or member of the research analyst's household has a financial interest, or over which such analyst has discretion or control, other than an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940.This term does not include a "blind trust" account that is controlled by a person other than the research analyst or member of the research analyst's household where neither the research analyst nor a member of the research analyst's household knows of the account's investments or investment transactions.

(8) "Research department" means any department or division, whether or not identified as such, that is principally responsible for preparing the substance of a research report on behalf of a member.

(9) "Research Report" means any written (including electronic) communication that includes an analysis of equity securities of individual companies or industries, and that provides information reasonably sufficient upon which to base an investment decision. This term does not include:
(A) communications that are limited to the following:
(i) discussions of broad-based indices;
(ii) commentaries on economic, political or market conditions;
(iii) technical analyses concerning the demand and supply for a sector, index or industry based on trading volume and price;
(iv) statistical summaries of multiple companies' financial data, including listings of current ratings;
(v) recommendations regarding increasing or decreasing holdings in particular industries or sectors; or
(vi) notices of ratings or price target changes, provided that the member simultaneously directs the readers of the notice to the most recent research report on the subject company that includes all current applicable disclosures required by this rule and that such research report does not contain materially misleading disclosure, including disclosures that are outdated or no longer applicable;
(B) the following communications, even if they include an analysis of an individual equity security and information reasonably sufficient upon which to base an investment decision:
(i) any communication distributed to fewer than 15 persons;
(ii) periodic reports or other communications prepared for investment company shareholders or discretionary investment account clients that discuss individual securities in the context of a fund's or account's past performance or the basis for previously made discretionary investment decisions; or
(iii) internal communications that are not given to current or prospective customers; and
(C) communications that constitute statutory prospectuses that are filed as part of the registration statement.
(10) "Subject company" means the company whose equity securities are the subject of a research report or a public appearance.

(b) Restrictions on Relationship with Research Department

(1) No research analyst may be subject to the supervision or control of any employee of the member's investment banking department, and no personnel engaged in investment banking activities may have any influence or control over the compensatory evaluation of a research analyst.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(3), no employee of the investment banking department or any other employee of the member who is not directly responsible for investment research ("non-research personnel"), other than legal or compliance personnel, may review or approve a research report of the member before its publication.

(3) Non-research personnel may review a research report before its publication as necessary only to verify the factual accuracy of information in the research report or identify any potential conflict of interest, provided that:

(A) any written communication between non-research personnel and research department personnel concerning the content of a research report must be made either through authorized legal or compliance personnel of the member or in a transmission copied to such personnel; and

(B) any oral communication between non-research personnel and research department personnel concerning the content of a research report must be documented and made either through authorized legal or compliance personnel acting as intermediary or in a conversation conducted in the presence of such personnel.

(c) Restrictions on Communications with the Subject Company

(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(3), a member may not submit a research report to the subject company before its publication.

(2) A member may submit sections of such a research report to the subject company before its publication for review as necessary only to verify the factual accuracy of information in those sections, provided that:

(A) the sections of the research report submitted to the subject company do not contain the research summary, the research rating or the price target;

(B) a complete draft of the research report is provided to legal or compliance personnel before sections of the report are submitted to the subject company; and

(C) if after submitting the sections of the research report to the subject company the research department intends to change the proposed rating or price target, it must first provide written justification to, and receive written authorization from, legal or compliance personnel for the change. The member must retain copies of any draft and the final version of such a research report for three years following its publication.

(3) The member may notify a subject company that the member intends to change its rating of the subject company's securities, provided that the notification occurs on the business day before the member announces the rating change, after the close of trading in the principal market of the subject company's securities.

(4) No research analyst may participate in efforts to solicit investment banking business. Accordingly, no research analyst may, among other things, participate in any "pitches" for investment banking business to prospective investment banking clients, or have other communications with companies for the purpose of soliciting investment banking business.

(5) A research analyst is prohibited from directly or indirectly:
(A) participating in a road show related to an investment banking services transaction; and
(B) engaging in any communication with a current or prospective customer in the presence of investment banking department personnel or company management about an investment banking services transaction.
(6) Investment banking department personnel are prohibited from directly or indirectly:
(A) directing a research analyst to engage in sales or marketing efforts related to an investment banking services transaction; and
(B) directing a research analyst to engage in any communication with a current or prospective customer about an investment banking services transaction.
(7) Any written or oral communication by a research analyst with a current or prospective customer or internal personnel related to an investment banking services transaction must be fair, balanced and not misleading, taking into consideration the overall context in which the communication is made.
(d) Restrictions on Research Analyst Compensation

(1) No member may pay any bonus, salary or other form of compensation to a research analyst that is based upon a specific investment banking services transaction.

(2) The compensation of a research analyst who is primarily responsible for the preparation of the substance of a research report must be reviewed and approved at least annually by a committee that reports to the member's board of directors, or when the member has no board of directors, to a senior executive officer of the member. This committee may not have representation from the member's investment banking department. The committee must consider the following factors when reviewing such a research analyst's compensation, if applicable:
(A) the research analyst's individual performance, including the analyst's productivity and the quality of the analyst's research;

(B) the correlation between the research analyst's recommendations and the stock price performance; and

(C) the overall ratings received from clients, sales force, and peers independent of the member's investment banking department, and other independent ratings services.
The committee may not consider as a factor in reviewing and approving such a research analyst's compensation his or her contributions to the member's investment banking business. The committee must document the basis upon which each such research analyst's compensation was established. The annual attestation required by Rule 2711(i) must certify that the committee reviewed and approved each such research analyst's compensation and documented the basis upon which this compensation was established.
(e) Prohibition of Promise of Favorable Research
No member may directly or indirectly offer favorable research, a specific rating or a specific price target, or threaten to change research, a rating or a price target, to a company as consideration or inducement for the receipt of business or compensation.

(f) Restrictions on Publishing Research Reports and Public Appearances; Termination of Coverage

(1) No member may publish or otherwise distribute a research report and no research analyst may make a public appearance regarding a subject company for which the member acted as manager or co-manager of:

(A) an initial public offering, for 40 calendar days following the date of the offering; or

(B) a secondary offering, for 10 calendar days following the date of the offering; provided that:

(i) paragraphs (f)(1)(A) and (f)(1)(B) will not prevent a member from publishing or otherwise distributing a research report, or prevent a research analyst from making a public appearance, concerning the effects of significant news or a significant event on the subject company within such 40- and 10-day periods, and provided further that legal or compliance personnel authorize publication of that research report before it is issued or authorize the public appearance before it is made; and

(ii) paragraph (f)(1)(B) will not prevent a member from publishing or otherwise distributing a research report pursuant to SEC Rule 139 regarding a subject company with "actively-traded securities," as defined in Regulation M, 17 CFR 242.101(c)(1), and will not prevent a research analyst from making a public appearance concerning such a company.

(2) No member that has agreed to participate or is participating as an underwriter or dealer (other than as manager or co-manager) of an issuer's initial public offering may publish or otherwise distribute a research report or make a public appearance regarding that issuer for 25 calendar days after the date of the offering.

(3) For purposes of paragraphs (f)(1) and (f)(2), the term "date of the offering" refers to the later of the effective date of the registration statement or the first date on which the security was bona fide offered to the public.

(4) No member that has acted as a manager or co-manager of a securities offering may publish or otherwise distribute a research report or make a public appearance concerning a subject company 15 days prior to and after the expiration, waiver or termination of a lock-up agreement or any other agreement that the member has entered into with a subject company or its shareholders that restricts or prohibits the sale of securities held by the subject company or its shareholders after the completion of a securities offering. This paragraph will not prevent a member from publishing or otherwise distributing a research report concerning the effects of significant news or a significant event on the subject company within such period, provided legal or compliance personnel authorize publication of that research report before it is issued. In addition, this paragraph shall not apply to the publication or distribution of a research report pursuant to SEC Rule 139 regarding a subject company with "actively traded securities," as defined in Regulation M, 17 CFR 242.101(c)(1), or to a public appearance concerning such a subject company.

(5) If a member intends to terminate its research coverage of a subject company, notice of this termination must be made. The member must make available a final research report on the subject company using the means of dissemination equivalent to those it ordinarily uses to provide the customer with its research reports on the subject company. The report must be comparable in scope and detail to prior research reports and must include a final recommendation or rating, unless it is impracticable for the member to produce a comparable report (e.g., if the research analyst covering the subject company or sector has left the member or if the member terminates coverage of the industry or sector). If it is impracticable to produce a final recommendation or rating, the final research report must disclose the member's rationale for the decision to terminate coverage.

(g) Restrictions on Personal Trading by Research Analysts
(1) No research analyst account may purchase or receive any securities before the issuer's initial public offering if the issuer is principally engaged in the same types of business as companies that the research analyst follows.

(2) No research analyst account may purchase or sell any security issued by a company that the research analyst follows, or any option on or derivative of such security, for a period beginning 30 calendar days before and ending five calendar days after the publication of a research report concerning the company or a change in a rating or price target of the company's securities; provided that:

(A) a member may permit a research analyst account to sell securities held by the account that are issued by a company that the research analyst follows, within 30 calendar days after the research analyst began following the company for the member;

(B) a member may permit a research analyst account to purchase or sell any security issued by a subject company within 30 calendar days before the publication of a research report or change in the rating or price target of the subject company's securities due to significant news or a significant event concerning the subject company, provided that legal or compliance personnel pre-approve the research report and any change in the rating or price target.

(3) No research analyst account may purchase or sell any security or any option on or derivative of such security in a manner inconsistent with the research analyst's recommendation as reflected in the most recent research report published by the member.

(4) Legal or compliance personnel may authorize a transaction otherwise prohibited by paragraphs (g)(2) and (g)(3) based upon an unanticipated significant change in the personal financial circumstances of the beneficial owner of the research analyst account, provided that:

(A) legal or compliance personnel authorize the transaction before it is entered;

(B) each exception is granted in compliance with policies and procedures adopted by the member that are reasonably designed to ensure that these transactions do not create a conflict of interest between the professional responsibilities of the research analyst and the personal trading activities of a research analyst account; and

(C) the member maintains written records concerning each transaction and the justification for permitting the transaction for three years following the date on which the transaction is approved.

(5) The prohibitions in paragraphs (g)(1) through (g)(3) do not apply to a purchase or sale of the securities of:

(A) any registered diversified investment company as defined under Section (5)(b)(1) of the Investment Company Act of 1940; or

(B) any other investment fund over which neither the research analyst nor a member of the research analyst's household has any investment discretion or control, provided that:

(i) the research analyst accounts collectively own interests representing no more than 1% of the assets of the fund;

(ii) the fund invests no more than 20% of its assets in securities of issuers principally engaged in the same types of business as companies that the research analyst follows; and

(iii) if the investment fund distributes securities in kind to the research analyst or household member before the issuer's initial public offering, the research analyst or household member must either divest those securities immediately or the research analyst must refrain from participating in the preparation of research reports concerning that issuer.

(6) Legal or compliance personnel of the member shall pre-approve all transactions of persons who oversee research analysts to the extent such transactions involve equity securities of subject companies covered by the research analysts that they oversee. This pre-approval requirement shall apply to all persons, such as the director of research, supervisory analyst, or member of a committee, who have direct influence or control with respect to the preparation of the substance of research reports or establishing or changing a rating or price target of a subject company's equity securities.

(h) Disclosure Requirements

(1) Ownership and Material Conflicts of Interest
A member must disclose in research reports and a research analyst must disclose in public appearances:
(A) if the research analyst or a member of the research analyst's household has a financial interest in the securities of the subject company, and the nature of the financial interest (including, without limitation, whether it consists of any option, right, warrant, future, long or short position);

(B) if, as of the end of the month immediately preceding the date of publication of the research report or the public appearance (or the end of the second most recent month if the publication date is less than 10 calendar days after the end of the most recent month), the member or its affiliates beneficially own 1% or more of any class of common equity securities of the subject company. Computation of beneficial ownership of securities must be based upon the same standards used to compute ownership for purposes of the reporting requirements under Section 13(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934;

(C) any other actual, material conflict of interest of the research analyst or member of which the research analyst knows or has reason to know at the time of publication of the research report or at the time of the public appearance.

(2) Receipt of Compensation
(A) A member must disclose in research reports:

(i) if the research analyst received compensation:

a. based upon (among other factors) the member's investment banking revenues; or

b. from the subject company in the past 12 months.

(ii) the member or affiliate:

a. managed or co-managed a public offering of securities for the subject company in the past 12 months;

b. received compensation for investment banking services from the subject company in the past 12 months; or

c. expects to receive or intends to seek compensation for investment banking services from the subject company in the next 3 months.

(iii) if (1) as of the end of the month immediately preceding the date of publication of the research report (or the end of the second most recent month if the publication date is less than 30 calendar days after the end of the most recent month) or (2) to the extent the research analyst or an employee of the member with the ability to influence the substance of the research knows:

a. the member received any compensation for products or services other than investment banking services from the subject company in the past 12 months; or

b. the subject company currently is, or during the 12-month period preceding the date of distribution of the research report was, a client of the member. In such cases, the member also must disclose the types of services provided to the subject company. For purposes of this Rule 2711(h)(2), the types of services provided to the subject company shall be described as investment banking services, non-investment banking securities-related services, and non-securities services.

(iv) if, to the extent the research analyst or an employee of the member with the ability to influence the substance of the research report knows an affiliate of the member received any compensation for products or services other than investment banking services from the subject company in the past 12 months.

(v) if, to the extent the research analyst or member has reason to know, an affiliate of the member received any compensation for products or services other than investment banking services from the subject company in the past 12 months.

a. This requirement will be deemed satisfied if such compensation is disclosed in research reports within 30 days after completion of the last calendar quarter, provided that the member has taken steps reasonably designed to identify any such compensation during that calendar quarter. This requirement shall not apply to any subject company as to which the member initiated coverage since the beginning of the current calendar quarter.

b. The research analyst and the member will be presumed not to have reason to know whether an affiliate received any compensation for products or services other than investment banking services from the subject company in the past 12 months if the member maintains and enforces policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent the research analysts and employees of the member with the ability to influence the substance of research reports from, directly or indirectly, receiving information from the affiliate concerning whether the affiliate received such compensation.

(vi) For the purposes of this Rule 2711(h)(2), an employee of the member with the ability to influence the substance of the research report is an employee who, in the ordinary course of that person's duties, has the authority to review the particular research report and to change that research report prior to publication.

(B) A research analyst must disclose in public appearances:

(i) if, to the extent the research analyst knows or has reason to know, the member or any affiliate received any compensation from the subject company in the past 12 months;

(ii) if the research analyst received any compensation from the subject company in the past 12 months; or

(iii) if, to the extent the research analyst knows or has reason to know, the subject company currently is, or during the 12-month period preceding the date of distribution of the research report, was, a client of the member. In such cases, the research analyst also must disclose the types of services provided to the subject company, if known by the research analyst.

(C) A member or research analyst will not be required to make a disclosure required by paragraphs (h)(2)(A)(ii)(b) and (c), (h)(2)(A)(iii)(b), or (h)(2)(B)(i) and (iii) to the extent such disclosure would reveal material non-public information regarding specific potential future investment banking transactions of the subject company.
(3) Position as Officer or Director
A member must disclose in research reports and a research analyst must disclose in public appearances if the research analyst or a member of the research analyst's household serves as an officer, director or advisory board member of the subject company.

(4) Meaning of Ratings
If a research report contains a rating, the member must define in the research report the meaning of each rating used by the member in its rating system. The definition of each rating must be consistent with its plain meaning.

(5) Distribution of Ratings

(A) Regardless of the rating system that a member employs, a member must disclose in each research report the percentage of all securities rated by the member to which the member would assign a "buy," "hold/neutral," or "sell" rating.

(B) In each research report, the member must disclose the percentage of subject companies within each of these three categories for whom the member has provided investment banking services within the previous twelve months.

(C) The information that is disclosed under paragraphs (h)(5)(A) and (h)(5)(B) must be current as of the end of the most recent calendar quarter (or the second most recent calendar quarter if the publication date is less than 15 calendar days after the most recent calendar quarter) and must reflect the distribution of the most recent ratings issued by the member for all subject companies, unless the most recent rating was issued more than 12 months ago.

(D) The requirements of paragraph (h)(5) shall not apply to any research report that does not contain a rating.
(6) Price Chart
If a research report contains either a rating or a price target, and the member has assigned a rating or price target to the subject company's securities rating for at least one year, the research report must include a line graph of the security's daily closing prices for the period that the member has assigned any rating or price target or for a three-year period, whichever is shorter. The line graph must:

(A) indicate the dates on which the member assigned or changed each rating or price target;

(B) depict each rating and price target assigned or changed on those dates; and

(C) be current as of the end of the most recent calendar quarter (or the second most recent calendar quarter if the publication date is less than 15 calendar days after the most recent calendar quarter).

(7) Price Targets
If a research report contains a price target, the member must disclose in the research report the valuation methods used to determine the price target. Price targets must have a reasonable basis and must be accompanied by a disclosure concerning the risks that may impede achievement of the price target.

(8) Market Making
A member must disclose in research reports if it was making a market in the subject company's securities at the time that the research report was published.

(9) Disclosure Required by Other Provisions
In addition to the disclosure required by this rule, members and research analysts must provide disclosure in research reports and public appearances that is required by applicable law or regulation, including NASD Rule 2210 and the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws.
(10) Prominence of Disclosure
The disclosures required by this paragraph (h) must be presented on the front page of research reports or the front page must refer to the page on which disclosures are found. Disclosures and references to disclosures must be clear, comprehensive and prominent.

(11) Disclosures in Research Reports Covering Six or More Companies
When a member distributes a research report covering six or more subject companies (a "compendium report"), for purposes of the disclosures required in paragraph (h), the compendium report may direct the reader in a clear manner as to where they may obtain applicable current disclosures. Electronic compendium reports may include a hyperlink to the required disclosures. Paper-based compendium reports must provide either a toll-free number to call or a postal address to write for the required disclosures and may also include a web address of the member where the disclosures can be found.
(12) Records of Public Appearances
Members must maintain records of public appearances by research analysts sufficient to demonstrate compliance by those research analysts with the applicable disclosure requirements under paragraph (h) of this Rule. Such records must be maintained for three years from the date of the public appearance.

(13) Third-Party Research Reports
(A) Subject to paragraph (h)(13)(B) of this Rule, if a member distributes or makes available any third-party research report, the member must accompany the research report with, or provide a web address that directs the recipient to, the current applicable disclosures, as they pertain to the member, required by paragraphs (h)(1)(B), (h)(1)(C), (h)(2)(A)(ii) and (h)(8) of this Rule. Members must establish written supervisory policies and procedures reasonably designed to ensure the completeness and accuracy of all applicable disclosures.
(B) The requirements of paragraph (h)(13)(A) of this Rule shall not apply to independent third-party research reports made available by a member to its customers:
(i) upon request;
(ii) in connection with a solicited order in which a registered representative has informed the customer, during the solicitation, of the availability of independent research on the solicited equity security, and the customer requests such independent research; or
(iii) through a member-maintained web site.
(C) Subject to paragraph (h)(13)(D) of this Rule, a registered principal (or supervisory analyst approved pursuant to Rule 344 of the New York Stock Exchange) must approve by signature or initial all third-party research reports distributed by a member. The approval of third-party research shall be based on a review by the designated principal (or supervisory analyst approved pursuant to NYSE Rule 344) to determine that the content of the research report, pursuant to Rule 2210(d)(1)(B), contains no untrue statement of material fact or is otherwise not false or misleading. For the purposes of this Rule only, a member’s obligation to review a third-party research report pursuant to Rule 2210(d)(1)(B) extends to any untrue statement of material fact or any false or misleading information that:
a. should be known from reading the report; or
b. is known based on information otherwise possessed by the member.
(D) The requirements of paragraph (h)(13)(C) of this Rule shall not apply to independent third-party research reports distributed or made available by a member.
(E) For the purposes of this Rule, “third-party research report” shall mean a research report that is produced by a person or entity other than the member and “independent third-party research report” shall mean a third-party research report, in respect of which the person or entity producing the report:
(i) has no affiliation or business or contractual relationship with the distributing member or that member’s affiliates that is reasonably likely to inform the content of its research reports; and
(ii) makes content determinations without any input from the distributing member or that member’s affiliates.
(i) Supervisory Procedures
Each member subject to this rule must adopt and implement written supervisory procedures reasonably designed to ensure that the member and its employees comply with the provisions of this rule (including the attestation requirements of Rule 2711(d)(2)), and a senior officer of such a member must attest annually to NASD by April 1 of each year that it has adopted and implemented those procedures.

(j) Prohibition of Retaliation Against Research Analysts
No member and no employee of a member who is involved with the member's investment banking activities may, directly or indirectly, retaliate against or threaten to retaliate against any research analyst employed by the member or its affiliates as a result of an adverse, negative, or otherwise unfavorable research report or public appearance written or made by the research analyst that may adversely affect the member's present or prospective investment banking relationship with the subject company of a research report. This prohibition shall not limit a member's authority to discipline or terminate a research analyst, in accordance with the member's policies and procedures, for any cause other than the writing of such an unfavorable research report or the making of such an unfavorable public appearance.
(k) Exceptions for Small Firms
The provisions of paragraph (b) shall not apply to members that over the previous three years, on average per year, have participated in 10 or fewer investment banking services transactions as manager or co-manager and generated $5 million or less in gross investment banking services revenues from those transactions. For purposes of this paragraph (k), the term "investment banking services transactions" includes the underwriting of both corporate debt and equity securities but not municipal securities. Members that qualify for this exemption must maintain records for three years of any communication that, but for this exemption, would be subject to paragraph (b) of this Rule.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2007-011 eff. April 7, 2008.
Amended by SR-NASD-2006-112 eff. Sep. 27, 2006.
Amended by SR-NASD-2004-141 eff. June 6, 2005.
Amended by SR-NASD-2004-003 eff. April 26, 2004.
Amended by SR-NASD-2002-154 eff. July 29, 2003.
Amended by SR-NASD-2002-74 eff. June 4, 2002.
Adopted by SR-NASD-2002-21 eff. April 24, 2002.

Selected Notices: 02-39, 03-44, 05-34.

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