The NYSE has proposed to grant NYSE Regulation exemptive authority to allow prospective specialist firms and their approved persons a temporary exemption from having to operate as separate and distinct organizations. Currently, NYSE Rule 98 Guidelines require a specialist member organization and its approved persons to be in separate, registered broker-dealer organizations.

Recent developments, including decisions by two specialist firms to close their NYSE specialist operations, prompted NYSE to add greater flexibility to permit new firms to qualify as specialist member organizations. Prospective specialist organizations would continue to be subject to information barrier requirements between specialist operations and approved person operations.

 http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro/nyse/2007/34-56895.pdf