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Work at Home Said to Cause Compliance Headaches

MIAMI - Telecommuting may not be for everyone, especially registered representatives at NASD member firms.

The thought of registered representatives working from home presents such daunting compliance concerns when it comes to monitoring electronic communications that Charles Schwab & Co. of San Francisco has not permitted the practice, according to Peggy Chastain, director for compliance administration for Schwab. Some registered representatives, particularly in California, have sought permission to work from home on occasion, Chastain said. But such an arrangement presents a supervisory challenge that at least for now is overwhelming, Chastain said.

Chastain spoke at The National Investment Company Service Association's annual operations conference here last week.

The NASD, the self-regulatory organization that oversees the conduct of its members, requires registered representative's supervisors to review and approve before mailing, correspondence that representatives send to two or more customers. The logistics of monitoring electronic communications are so difficult that it is unlikely Schwab will permit representatives to work from home any time soon, Chastain said.

The NASD currently is in the midst of an overhaul of its compliance requirements on electronic communications. The NASD hopes to file the final version of the new rules with the SEC in the next few weeks, said Thomas Selman, vice president of NASD. The SEC ultimately must approve the rules.