Rule G-15 Confirmation, Clearance, Settlement and Other Uniform Practice Requirements with Respect to Transactions with Customers

Upcoming Changes

Amendments to Rule G-15 will be effective September 5, 2017. View Notice 2017-07. View the new rule.

Additional amendments to Rule G-15 will be effective May 14, 2018. View the approval notice. View the new rule.

Separately, the MSRB has filed proposed amendments to Rule G-15(f) and proposed new Rule G-49. View the SEC filing.

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  1. Yield Disclosures

    July 27, 1981

  2. Pricing to Call

    December 10, 1980

  3. Agency Transaction: Pricing

    September 20, 1979

USE OF ELECTRONIC CONFIRMATIONS PRODUCED BY A CLEARING AGENCY OR QUALIFIED VENDOR TO SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS OF RULE G-15(a) - September 15, 2009

MSRB Rule G-15 provides confirmation, clearance, settlement and other uniform practice requirements with respect to transactions with customers.  Rule G-15(a) requires that, at or before the completion of a transaction in municipal securities with or for the account of a customer, each broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer (collectively “dealer”) give or send to the customer “a written confirmation of the transaction” containing the information specified by the rule.  Rule 15(d) provides additional uniform practice requirements for transactions executed with customers on a payment for securities received (“RVP”) or delivery against payment of securities sold (“DVP”) basis (collectively, “DVP/RVP”).  In addition to the specific uniform practice requirements of this section, Rule G-15(d)(i)(c) expressly provides that dealers executing DVP/RVP transactions must comply with the requirements of section (a) of the rule pertaining to customer confirmations.  Rule G-15(d) also requires dealers that transact with customers on a DVP/RVP basis to use the facilities of a Clearing Agency or Qualified Vendor, as defined in Rule G-15(d)(ii)(B), for automated confirmation and acknowledgement of the transaction. 

Securities Exchange Act Rule 10b-10, on customer confirmations of non-municipal securities transactions, provides for confirmation requirements that are similar to Rule G-15(a).  Several providers of automated confirmation and acknowledgement services have received no-action letters from the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) staff that allow their dealer clients to rely on the confirmations they produce to satisfy dealer confirmation delivery obligations to certain customers under SEC Rule 10b-10 where the disclosures customarily provided on the back of paper confirmations are provided electronically using a uniform resource locator (“URL”) link.[1]  One of the service providers that received a no-action letter, as described above, permitting it to use URL links for its dealer clients, has requested an interpretation of Rule G-15(a) to allow dealers to rely on confirmations produced by this service provider to the same extent as dealers are allowed to use the confirmations produced by the service providers to comply with SEC Rule 10b-10.

In a 1994 Interpretive Notice, the MSRB recognized that the speed and efficiencies offered by electronic confirmation delivery are of benefit to the municipal securities industry.[2]  Therefore, the MSRB has interpreted the requirement in Rule G-15(a) to provide a customer with a written confirmation to be satisfied by an electronic confirmation for DVP/RVP transactions sent by a Clearing Agency or Qualified Vendor, as defined in MSRB Rule G-15(d)(ii)(B), where disclosures customarily provided on the back of paper confirmations are provided electronically using a URL link when the following conditions are met: (i) the confirmation sent includes all of the information required by Rule G-15(a); and (ii) all of the requirements and conditions concerning the use of the electronic confirmation service expressed in applicable SEC no-action letters concerning SEC Rule 10b-10 continue to be met.


[1] See, e.g., letter from Paula R. Jenson, Deputy Chief Counsel, SEC, to Norman Reed, General Counsel, Omgeo LLC (March 12, 2008).
 

BUILD AMERICA BONDS: REMINDER OF CUSTOMER CONFIRMATION YIELD DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENT - August 25, 2009

On April 24, 2009, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) published a notice clarifying that “Build America Bonds” and other tax credit bonds are municipal securities and, therefore, subject to MSRB rules.[1]  The MSRB understands that many of these securities contain certain redemption provisions, such as mandatory pro rata sinking funds, and that brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers (collectively “dealers”) frequently effect transactions on a basis of “yield to average life.”  The MSRB reminds dealers that, for transactions effected on the basis of “yield to average life,” Rule G-15(a), on customer confirmations, requires the confirmation to display that yield as well as the yield computed to the lower of an “in whole” call or maturity.

Rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5) states requirements for dealers to calculate and display yields and dollar prices on customer confirmations.  For transactions effected on the basis of yield to maturity, call or put date, the yield at which the transaction was effected as well as a dollar price computed to the lower of an “in whole” call or maturity are required to be shown on a confirmation.  Similarly, for transactions effected on the basis of a dollar price, the dollar price at which the transaction was effected along with a yield computed to the lower of an “in whole” call or maturity are required to be shown on a confirmation. 

Sinking funds do not represent “in whole” call features.  Accordingly, MSRB confirmation requirements do not require dealers to compute yield or dollar price to a sinking fund call date or to compute a “yield to average life” using multiple sinking fund dates.  However, dealers should note that if the computed yield otherwise required by Rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5) is different than the yield at which the transaction was effected, Rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)(vii) provides that both the computed yield and the yield at which the transaction was effected must be shown on the confirmation.  Therefore, when a transaction is effected on the basis of “yield to average life,” such yield must be displayed on a customer confirmation. 



NOTICE CONCERNING FLAT TRANSACTION FEES - June 13, 2001

The MSRB has received inquiries regarding an interpretation of rule G-15(a) from dealers who offer automated execution of transactions and charge a small, flat "transaction fee" per transaction.  These dealers asked whether a $15.00 flat fee qualifies as a miscellaneous transaction charge. 

Rule G-15(a) sets out confirmation requirements for transactions with customers and specifies that dealers include a yield on the confirmation.  In computing yield, G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)(c)(iii) states that such "computations shall take into account ... commissions charged to the customer ... but shall not take into account incidental transaction fees or miscellaneous charges, provided, however, that ... such fees or charges [are] indicated on the confirmation."  

In a May 14, 1990 Notice Concerning Confirmation Disclosure of Miscellaneous Transaction Charges[1], the MSRB reminded dealers that clear disclosure of the nature and amount of miscellaneous fees is required.  The notice stated that these fees should not be incorporated into the stated yield because they are small and do not significantly affect a customer's return on investment, as shown in the yield.  The notice also stated that miscellaneous fees differ from commissions because they are flat amounts, and, unlike the common practice used in computing commissions for agency transactions, are not related to the par value of the transaction. 

The dealers who contacted the MSRB will charge a flat transaction fee of $15.00 for trades executed through an automated trading system.  Since this fee is relatively small and unrelated to the par value of the transaction, the MSRB believes that the transaction fee should be considered a miscellaneous transaction fee.  Therefore the fee would not have to be incorporated into the stated yield, but would need to be separately disclosed on the confirmation.


[1] See Rule G-15 Interpretation - Notice Concerning Confirmation Disclosure of Miscellaneous Transaction Charges, May 14, 1990, MSRB Rule Book (January 1, 2001) at 108.



Securities description: prerefunded securities - February 17, 1998

Securities description: prerefunded securities. This is in response to your letter in which you ask when an issue of municipal securities may be described as prerefunded for purposes of Board rule G-12, on uniform practice, and rule G-15, on confirmation, clearance and settlement of transactions with customers. You describe a situation in which an outstanding issue of municipal securities is to be prerefunded by a new issue of municipal securities. You note that information on the issue to be prerefunded "is usually available within a few days of the new issue being priced... [but that the] new issue's settlement date is usually several weeks later,... [and] it is not until that date that funds will be available to establish the escrow to refund the bonds." You ask whether the outstanding issue of securities is considered prerefunded upon the final pricing of the refunding issue or upon settlement of that issue.

Rule G-15 governs the items of disclosure required on customer confirmations. This rule provides that, if securities are called or prerefunded, dealers must note this fact (along with the call price and the maturity date fixed by the call notice) on the customer's confirmation. [1] In situations where an issuer has indicated its intent to prerefund an outstanding issue, it is the Board's position that the issue is not, in fact, prerefunded until the issuer has taken the necessary official actions to prerefund the issue, which would include, for example, closing of the escrow arrangement. We note further that until such official action occurs, the fact that the issuer intends to prerefund the issue may well be "material" information under rule G-17, the Board's fair dealing rule.  [2]  MSRB interpretation of February 17, 1998


[1]. Rule G-12(c), on uniform practice, applies to confirmations of inter-dealer transactions, and requires similar disclosures. Transactions submitted to a registered clearing agency for comparison, however, are exempt from the confirmation requirements of section (c). Since almost all inter-dealer transactions are eligible for automated comparison in a system operated by a registered clearing agency, very few dealers exchange confirmations.

[2]. Rule G-17 requires each dealer, in the conduct of its municipal securities business, to deal fairly with all persons and prohibits the dealer from engaging in any deceptive, dishonest or unfair practice. The Board has interpreted this rule to require that a dealer must disclose, at or before the sale of municipal securities to a customer, all material facts concerning the transaction which could affect the customer's investment decision, including a complete description of the security, and must not omit any material facts which would render other statements misleading. Dealers also must fulfill their obligations under rule G-19, on suitability, and rule G-30, on pricing.


NOTICE CONCERNING USE OF THE OASYS GLOBAL TRADE CONFIRMATION SYSTEM TO SATISFY RULE G-15(a) - June 6, 1994

Rule G-15(a) requires that, at or before the completion of a transaction in municipal securities with or for the account of a customer, each broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer (dealers) shall give or send to the customer "a written confirmation of the transaction" containing specified information. Securities Exchange Act Rule 10b-10 states similar confirmation requirements for customer transactions in securities other than municipal securities. In December 1992, Thomson Financial Services, Inc. (Thomson) asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) to allow dealers to use Thomson's OASYS Global system for delivering confirmation under Rule 10b-10. In October 1993, the Commission staff provided Thomson with a "no-action" letter stating that, if OASYS Global system participants agree between themselves to use the system's electronic "contract confirmation messages" (CCMs) instead of hard-copy confirmations and if certain other requirements are met[1] the Commission staff would not recommend enforcement action to the Commission if broker-dealers rely on CCMs sent through the OASYS Global system to satisfy the requirements to confirm a transaction under Rule 10b-10.[2]

Thomson has asked the Board for an interpretation of rule G-15(a) that would allow dealers to use the OASYS Global system for municipal securities transactions to the same extent as dealers are allowed to use the system to comply with Rule 10b-10. The Board believes that the speed and efficiencies offered by electronic confirmation delivery are of benefit to the municipal securities industry, especially in light of the move to T+3 settlement. Therefore, the Board has interpreted the requirement in rule G-15(a) to provide customers with a written confirmation to be satisfied by a CCM sent through the OASYS Global system when the following conditions are met: (i) the customer and dealer have both agreed to use the OASYS Global system for purposes of confirmation delivery; (ii) the CCM includes all information required by rule G-15(a); and (iii) all other applicable requirements and conditions concerning the OASYS Global system expressed in the Commission's October 8, 1993 no-action letter concerning Securities Exchange Act Rule 10b-10 continue to be met.[3]


[1] The other requirements contained in the Commission's no-action letter are as follows: (i) that the CCMs can be printed or downloaded by the participants, (ii) that the recipient of a CCM must respond through the system affirming or rejecting the trade, (iii) that the CCMs will not be automatically deleted by the system, and (iv) that the use of the system by the participants ensures that both parties to the transaction have the capacity to receive the CCMs.

[2] The Commission's October 8, 1993 no-action letter is reprinted in MSRB Reports, Vol. 14, No. 3 (June 1994) at 38-39.

[3] The Board understands that Thomson's OASYS Global system is not at this time a registered securities clearing agency and is not linked with other registered securities clearing agencies for purposes of automated confirmation/acknowledgement required under rule G-15(d). Thus, under these circumstances, use of the OASYS Global system will not constitute compliance with rule G-15(d) on automated confirmation/acknowledgement.


NOTICE CONCERNING TRANSACTIONS IN MUNICIPAL COLLATERALIZED MORTGAGE OBLIGATIONS: RULE G-15 - April 8, 1992

The Board has become aware that some municipal issuers recently have issued securities that are structured as collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs). Like the CMOs issued by non-municipal issuers, these securities represent interest in pools of mortgages and are partitioned into several classes (or tranches), which are serialized as to priority for redemption and payment of principal.

Since these "municipal CMOs" are being issued directly by political subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities of state or local governments, it appears that they may be "municipal securities," as that term is defined under section 3(a)(29) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.[1] Although the interest paid on these instruments may be subject to federal taxation, the Board reminds dealers that transactions in municipal securities are subject to Board rules whether those securities are taxable or tax-exempt. Accordingly, dealers executing transactions in municipal CMOs should ensure that they are in compliance with all applicable Board rules. For example, dealers should ensure that all Board requirements regarding professional qualifications and recordkeeping are observed.[2]

Because the interest and principal payment features of municipal CMOs are very different from those of traditional municipal bonds, dealers should take care to ensure that all Board rules designed for the protection of customers are observed. This includes ensuring that: (i) all material facts about each transaction are disclosed to the customer, in compliance with rule G-17; (ii) each transaction recommended to a customer is suitable for the customer, in compliance with rule G-19; and (iii) the price of each customer transaction is fair and reasonable, in compliance with rule G-30. With respect to the material facts that should be disclosed to customers, dealers should ensure that customers are adequately informed of the likelihood of "prepayment" of principal on the securities and the likelihood of the securities being redeemed substantially prior to the stated maturity date. If the amount of principal that will be delivered to the customer differs from the "face" amount to be delivered, the customer also should be informed of this fact, along with the amount of the principal that will be delivered.

The Board also has reviewed the requirements of rule G-15(a)(i)(l)[*] with respect to confirmation disclosure of "yield to maturity" or "yield to call" on customer confirmations in these securities. Because CMOs typically pay principal to holders prior to maturity and because the actual duration of the securities often varies significantly from the stated maturity, the Board has interpreted rule G-15(a) not to require a statement of yield for transactions in municipal CMOs. A dealer that decides to voluntarily include a statement of "yield" on a confirmation for these securities must also disclose on the confirmation the method by which yield was computed. This will help to avoid the possibility of the customer misunderstanding the yield figure if he should use it to compare the merits of alternative investments.

The Board will be monitoring municipal CMOs and will adopt specific rules for the instruments in the future if this appears to be necessary.


[1] Of course, whether any instrument is a municipal security is a matter to be determined by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

[2] In addition, as noted above, the interest paid on these instruments may be subject to federal taxation. If the securities are identified by the issuer or sold by the underwriter as subject to federal taxation, rules G-12(c) and G-15(a) require confirmations to contain a designation to that effect.

[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)]


Disclosure of the investment of bond proceeds - August 16, 1991

Disclosure of the investment of bond proceeds. This is in response to your letter asking whether rule G-15(a), on customer confirmations, requires disclosure of the investment of bond proceeds.

Rule G-15(a)(i)(E)[*] requires dealers to note on customer confirmations the description of the securities, including, at a minimum

the name of the issuer, interest rate, maturity date and if the securities are limited tax, subject to redemption prior to maturity (callable), or revenue bonds, an indication to such effect, including in the case of revenue bonds the type of revenue, if necessary for a materially complete description of the securities, and in the case of any securities, if necessary for a materially complete description of the securities, the name of any company or other person in addition to the issuer obligated, directly or indirectly, with respect to debt service or, if there is more than one such obligor, the statement "multiple obligors" may be shown.

The Board has not interpreted this provision as requiring disclosure of the investment of bond proceeds.

Of course, rule G-17, on fair dealing, has been interpreted by the Board to require that, in connection with the purchase from or sale of a municipal security to a customer, at or before execution of the transaction, a dealer must disclose all material facts concerning the transaction which could affect the customer's investment decision and must not omit any material facts which would render other statements misleading. Thus, if information on the investment of bond proceeds of a particular issue is a material fact, Board rules require disclosure at the time of trade. MSRB Interpretation of August 16, 1991.


[*][Currently codified at rules G-15(a)(i)(B) and G-15(a)(i)(C)]


NOTICE CONCERNING CONFIRMATION DISCLOSURE OF MISCELLANEOUS TRANSACTION CHARGES - May 14, 1990

In recent months, several dealers have requested guidance from the Board on the appropriate confirmation treatment of miscellaneous charges added to customer transactions. These inquiries typically relate to small amounts which some dealers add to the combined extended principal and accrued interest of a transaction, prior to arriving at the final monies.[1] In some cases, the charges are levied for specific services provided as part of the transaction (e.g., special delivery arrangements, delivery of physical securities, delivery vs. payment settlement). In other cases, dealers may charge a flat fee characterized simply as a "transaction fee." These miscellaneous fees differ from the commissions charged on agency transactions in that they are flat amounts and are not computed from the par value of the transaction.

Rule G-15(a)(iii)(J)[*] requires each customer confirmation to include, in addition to the specific items noted in G-15(a), "such other information as may be necessary to ensure that the parties agree to the details of the transaction." Accordingly, the nature and amount of miscellaneous charges must be noted on the confirmation.[2]

Questions have arisen whether miscellaneous transaction fees also should be reflected in the yield required to be disclosed on the confirmation under rule G-15(a)(i)(l).[3] The Board does not believe that it is appropriate for these fees to be incorporated in the stated yield. Because such fees are small, they generally will not significantly affect a customer's return on investment. To the extent that the minor miscellaneous fees charged in today's market may be relevant to the customer's investment decision, the Board believes that a clear disclosure of the nature and amount of the fee on the confirmation will provide customers with sufficient information. If the practice of charging that the fees routinely begin to represent significant factors in customers' return on investment, the Board may reconsider this interpretation in favor of placing the charges in the stated yield.


[1] In purchases from customers, such transaction charges may be subtracted from the monies owed the customer.

[2] The Board also has considered questions relating to periodic charges, such as monthly charges for safekeeping. A dealer assessing periodic charges to customer accounts, of course, must reach agreement with the customer on the nature and extent of the charges and the services that will be provided in return. However, since periodic charges do not relate to a specific transaction and may change over time, a dealer's policy on periodic charges is not required on the confirmation as a "detail of the transaction."

[3] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(8)] Commissions charged on agency transactions must be included in the yield calculation. See [Rule G-15 Interpretive Letter - Agency transactions: yield disclosures] MSRB interpretation of July 13, 1984, MSRB Manual 3571,33 at 4528. This has led dealers to ask whether miscellaneous transaction charges should be handled in a similar manner. As noted above, the Board does not believe that miscellaneous charges should be handled in the same manner as commissions.

[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(8)]


Calculation of price and yield on continuously callable securities - August 15, 1989

Calculation of Price and Yield on Continuously Callable Securities. This will respond to your letter of May 30, 1989, relating to the calculation of price and yield in transactions involving municipal securities which can be called by the issuer at any time after the first optional "in-whole" call date. The Board reviewed your letter at its August 1989 meeting and has authorized this response.

Rules G-12(c) and G-15(a) govern inter-dealer and customer confirmations, respectively. For transactions executed on a yield basis, rules G-12(c)(v)(l) and G-15(a)(v)(l)[*] require the dollar price computed from yield and shown on the confirmation to be computed to the lower of call or maturity. The rules also require the call date and price to be shown on the confirmation when securities are priced to a call date.

In computing price to call, only "in-whole" calls, of the type which may be exercised in the event of a refunding, should be used.[1] The "in-whole" call producing the lowest price must be used when computing price to call. If there is a series of "in-whole" call dates with declining premiums, a calculation to the first premium call date generally will produce the lowest price to call. However, in certain circumstances involving premiums which decline steeply over a short time, an "intermediate" call date--a date on which a lower premium or par call becomes operative--may produce the lowest price. Dealers must calculate prices to intermediate call dates when this is the case.[2] Identical rules govern the computation and display of yield to call and yield to maturity, as required on customer confirmations under rule G-15(a).

The issues that you describe are callable at declining premiums, in part or in whole, at any time after the first optional call date. There is no restriction on the issuer in exercising a call after this date except for the requirement to give 30 to 60 days notice of the redemption. Since this "continuous" call provision is an "in-whole" call of the type which may be used for a refunding, it must be considered when calculating price or yield.

The procedure for calculating price to call for these issues is the same as for other securities with declining premium calls. Dealers must take the lowest price possible from the operation of an "in-whole" call feature, compare it to the price calculated to maturity and use the lower of the two figures on the confirmation. For settlement dates prior to the first "in-whole" call, it generally should be sufficient to check the first and intermediate call dates (including the par call), determine which produces the lowest price, and compare that price to the price calculated to maturity. For settlement dates occurring after the first "in-whole" call date, it must be assumed that a notice of call could be published on the day after trade date, which would result in the redemption of the issue 31 days after trade date.[3] The price calculated to this possible redemption date should be compared to prices calculated to subsequent intermediate call dates and the lowest of these prices used as the price to call. The price computed to call then can be compared to the price computed to maturity and the lower of the two included on the confirmation. If a price to call is used, the date and redemption price of the call must be stated. Identical procedures are used for computing yield from price for display on customer confirmations under rule G-15(a).

You also have asked for the Board's interpretation of two official statements which you believe have a continuous call feature and ask whether securities with continuous call features typically are called between the normal coupon dates. The Board's rulemaking authority does not extend to the interpretation of official statements and the Board does not collect information on issuer practices in calling securities. Therefore, the Board cannot assist you with these inquiries. MSRB Interpretation of August 15, 1989.


[1] The parties to a transaction may agree at the time of trade to price securities to a date other than an "in-whole" call date or maturity. If such an agreement is reached, it must be noted on the confirmation.

[2] See [Rule G-15 Interpretation] Notice Concerning Pricing to Call, December 10, 1980, MSRB Manual (CCH) paragraph 3571.

[3] If a notice of call for the entire issue occurs on or prior to the trade date, delivery cannot be made on the transaction and it must be worked out or arbitrated by the parties. See rules G-12(e)(x)(B) and G-15(c)(viii)(B).

[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)(c)]


NOTICE CONCERNING STRIPPED COUPON MUNICIPAL SECURITIES - March 13, 1989

In 1986, several municipal securities dealers began selling ownership rights to discrete interest payments, principal payments or combinations of interest and principal payments on municipal securities. In 1987, the Board asked the Securities and Exchange Commission staff whether these "stripped coupon" instruments are municipal securities for purposes of the Securities Exchange Act and thus are subject to Board rules. On January 19, 1989, the staff of the Division of Market Regulation of the Commission issued a letter stating that, subject to certain conditions, these instruments are municipal securities for purposes of Board rules (SEC staff letter).

The Board is providing the following guidance on the application of its rules to transactions in stripped coupon instruments defined as municipal securities in the SEC staff letter (stripped coupon municipal securities). Questions whether other stripped coupon instruments are municipal securities and questions concerning the SEC staff letter should be directed to the Commission staff.

Background

A dealer sponsoring a stripped coupon municipal securities program typically deposits municipal securities (the underlying securities) with a barred custodian. Pursuant to a custody agreement, the custodian separately records the ownership of the various interest payments, principal payments, or specified combinations of interest and principal payments. One combination of interest and principal payments sometimes offered is the "annual payment security," which represents one principal payment, with alternate semi-annual interest payments. This results in an annual interest rate equal to one-half the original interest rate on the securities.[1] Stripped coupon municipal securities are marketed under trade names such as Municipal Tax Exempt Investment Growth Receipts (Municipal TIGRs), Municipal Receipts (MRs), and Municipal Receipts of Accrual on Exempt Securities (MUNI RAES).

Application of Board Rules

In general, the Board's rules apply to transactions in stripped coupon municipal securities in the same way as they apply to other municipal securities transactions. The Board's rules on professional qualifications and supervision, for example, apply to persons executing transactions in the securities the same as any other municipal security. The Board's rules on recordkeeping, quotations, advertising and arbitration also apply to transactions in the securities. Dealers should be aware that rule G-19, on suitability of recommendations, and rule G-30, on fair pricing, apply to transactions in such instruments.

The Board emphasizes that its rule on fair dealing, rule G-17, requires dealers to disclose to customers purchasing stripped coupon municipal securities all material facts about the securities at or before the time of trade. Any facts concerning the underlying securities which materially affect the stripped coupon instruments, of course, must be disclosed to the customer. The Board understands that some stripped coupon municipal securities are sold without any credit enhancement to the underlying municipal securities. As pointed out in the SEC staff letter, dealers must be particularly careful in these cases to disclose all material facts relevant to the creditworthiness of the underlying issue.

Confirmation Requirements

Dealers generally should confirm transactions in stripped coupon municipal securities as they would transactions in other municipal securities that do not pay periodic interest or which pay interest annually.[2] A review of the Board's confirmation requirements applicable to the securities follows.

Securities Descriptions. Rules G-12(c)(v)(E) and G-15(a)(i)(E)[*] require a complete securities description to be included on inter-dealer and customer confirmations, respectively, including the name of the issuer, interest rate and maturity date.[3] In addition to the name of the issuer of the underlying municipal securities, the trade name and series designation assigned to the stripped coupon municipal security by the dealer sponsoring the program must be included on the confirmation.[4] Of course, the interest rate actually paid by the stripped coupon security (e.g., zero percent or the actual, annual interest rate) must be stated on the confirmation rather than the interest rate on the underlying security.[†] Similarly, the maturity date listed on the confirmation must be the date of the final payment made by the stripped coupon municipal security rather than the maturity date of the underlying securities.[5]

Credit Enhancement Information. Rules G-12(c)(vi)(D) and G-15(a)(ii)(D)[‡] require confirmations of securities pre-refunded to a call date or escrowed to maturity to state this fact along with the date of maturity set by the advance refunding and the redemption price. If the underlying municipal securities are advance-refunded, confirmations of the stripped coupon municipal securities must note this. In addition, rules G-12(c)(v)(E) and G-15(c)(i)(E)[#] require that the name of any company or other person, in addition to the issuer, obligated directly or indirectly with respect to debt service on the underlying issue or the stripped coupon security be included on confirmations.[6]

Quantity of Securities and Denominations. For securities that mature in more than two years and pay investment return only at maturity, rules G-12(c)(v) and G-15(a)(v)[**] require the maturity value to be stated on confirmations in lieu of par value. This requirement is applicable to transactions in stripped coupon municipal securities over two years in maturity that pay investment return only at maturity, e.g., securities representing one interest payment or one principal payment. For securities that pay only principal and that are pre-refunded at a premium price, the principal amount may be stated as the transaction amount, but the maturity value must be clearly noted elsewhere on the confirmation. This will permit such securities to be sold in standard denominations and will facilitate the clearance and settlement of the securities.

Rules G-12(c)(vi)(F) and G-15(a)(iii)(G)[††] require confirmations of securities that are sold or that will be delivered in denominations other than the standard denominations specified in rules G-12(e)(v) and G-15(a)(iii)(G)[††] to state the denominations on the confirmation. The standard denominations are $1,000 or $5,000 for bearer securities, and for registered securities, increments of $1,000 up to a maximum of $100,000. If stripped coupon municipal securities are sold or will be delivered in any other denominations, the denomination of the security must be stated on the confirmation.

Dated Date. Rules G-12(c)(vi)(A) and G-15(a)(iii)(A)[***] require that confirmations state the dated date of a security if it affects price or interest calculations, and the first interest payment date if other than semi-annual. The dated date for purposes of an interest-paying stripped coupon municipal security is the date that interest begins accruing to the custodian for payment to the beneficial owner. This date, along with the first date that interest will be paid to the owner, must be stated on the confirmation whenever it is necessary for calculation of price or accrued interest.

Original Issue Discount Disclosure. Rules G-12(c)(vi)(G) and G-15(a)(iii)(H)[†††] require that confirmations identify securities that pay periodic interest and that are sold by an underwriter or designated by the issuer as "original issue discount." This alerts purchasers that the periodic interest received on the securities is not the only source of tax-exempt return on investment. Under federal tax law, the purchaser of stripped coupon municipal securities is assumed to have purchased the securities at an "original issue discount," which determines the amount of investment income that will be tax-exempt to the purchaser. Thus, dealers should include the designation of "original issue discount" on confirmations of stripped coupon municipal securities, such as annual payment securities, which pay periodic interest.

Clearance and Settlement of Stripped Coupon Municipal Securities

Under rules G-12(e)(vi)(B) and G-15(a)(iv)(B), delivery of securities transferable only on the books of a custodian can be made only by the bookkeeping entry of the custodian.[7] Many dealers sponsoring stripped coupon programs provide customers with "certificates of accrual" or "receipts," which evidence the type and amount of the stripped coupon municipal securities that are held by the custodian on behalf of the beneficial owner. Some of these documents, which generally are referred to as "custodial receipts," include "assignment forms," which allow the beneficial owner to instruct the custodian to transfer the ownership of the securities on its books. Physical delivery of a custodial receipt is not a good delivery under rules G-12(e) and G-15(a) unless the parties specifically have agreed to the delivery of a custodial receipt. If such an agreement is reached, it should be noted on the confirmation of the transaction, as required by rules G-12(c)(v)(N) and G-15(a)(i)(N)[****].

The Board understands that some stripped coupon municipal securities that are assigned CUSIP numbers and sold in denominations which are multiples of $1,000 are eligible for automated comparison and automated confirmation/affirmation and that some of these instruments also are eligible for book-entry delivery through registered securities depositories. The Board reminds dealers that transactions in stripped coupon municipal securities are subject to the automated clearance requirements of rules G-12(f) and G-15(d) if they are eligible in the automated clearance systems. Dealers sponsoring stripped coupon programs also should note that rule G-34(b)(ii) requires CUSIP numbers to be assigned to stripped coupon municipal securities prior to the initial sale of the securities to facilitate clearance and settlement.

Written Disclosures in Connection with Sales of Stripped Coupon Municipal Securities

Dealers sponsoring stripped coupon municipal securities programs generally prepare "offering circulars" or "offering memoranda" describing the securities that have been placed on deposit with the custodian, the custody agreement under which the securities are held, and the tax treatment of transactions in the securities. These documents generally are provided to all customers purchasing the securities during the initial offering of the instruments. The Board strongly encourages all dealers selling stripped coupon municipal securities to provide these documents to their customers whether the securities are purchased during the initial distribution or at a later time.[8] Although the material information contained in these documents, under rule G-17, must be disclosed to customers orally if not provided in writing prior to the time of trade, the Board believes that the unusual nature of stripped coupon municipal securities and their tax treatment warrants special efforts to provide written disclosures. Moreover, if stripped coupon municipal securities are marketed during the underwriting period of the underlying issue, rule G-32 requires distribution of the official statement for the underlying issue prior to settlement of the transaction of the stripped coupon municipal securities.


[1] The Board understands that other types of stripped coupon municipal securities also may be offered with combinations of interest and principal payments providing an interest rate different than the original interest rate of the securities.

[2] Thus, for stripped coupon municipal securities that do not pay periodic interest, rules G-12(c)(v) and G-15(a)(v) require confirmations to state the interest rate as zero and, for customer confirmations, the inclusion of a legend indicating that the customer will not receive periodic interest payments. [See current rule G-15(a)(vi)(D), G-15(a)(i)(B)(4)(a) and G-15(a)(i)(D)(1).] Rules G-12(c)(vi)(H) and G-15(a)(iii)(l) [currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(C)(2)(e)] require confirmations of securities paying annual interest to note this fact.

[3] The complete description consists of all of the following information: the name of the issuer, interest rate, maturity date, and if the securities are limited tax, subject to redemption prior to maturity (callable), or revenue bonds, an indication to such effect, including in the case of revenue bonds the type of revenue, if necessary for a materially complete description of the securities and in the case of any securities, if necessary for a materially complete description of the securities, the name of any company or other person in addition to the issuer obligated, directly or indirectly, with respect to debt service or, if there is more than one such obligor, the statement, "multiple obligors" may be shown.

[4] Trade name and series designation is required under rules G-12(c)(vi)(l) and G-15(a)(iii)(J) [currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(8)], which state that confirmations, must include all information necessary to ensure that the parties agree to the details of the transaction. [See also current rule G-15(a)(i)(B)(1)(a).]

[5] Therefore, the maturity date of a stripped coupon municipal security representing one interest payment is the date of the interest payment. [See current rule G-15(a)(i)(B)(3)(a).]

[6] It should be noted that the SEC staff letter is limited to instruments in which "neither the custodian nor sponsor additionally will guarantee or otherwise enhance the creditworthiness of the underlying municipal security or the stripped coupon security."

[7] Under rules G-12(c)(vi)(B) and G-15(a)(iii)(B) [currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(C)(2)(d)] the book-entry-only nature of the securities also must be noted on the confirmation.

[8] The Board understands that these documents generally are available from the dealers sponsoring the stripped coupon municipal securities program.

[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(B)]

[] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(B)(4)(e)]

[] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(C)(3)(c)]

[#] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(C)(1)(b)]

[**] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(3)]

[††] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(7)(b)]

[***] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(B)(5)]

[†††] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(C)(4)(c)]

[****] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(7)(c)]


NOTICE CONCERNING CONFIRMATION, DELIVERY AND RECLAMATION OF INTERCHANGEABLE SECURITIES - August 10, 1988

In March 1988, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved amendments to rules G-12 and G-15 concerning municipal securities that may be issued in bearer or registered form (interchangeable securities).[1] These amendments will become effective for transactions executed on or after September 18, 1988. The amendments revise rules G-12(e) and G-15(c) to allow inter-dealer and customer deliveries of interchangeable securities to be either in bearer or registered form, ending the presumption in favor of bearer certificates for such deliveries. The amendments also delete the provision in rule G-12(g) that allows an inter-dealer delivery of interchangeable securities to be reclaimed within one day if the delivery is in registered form. In addition, the amendments remove the provisions in rules G-12(c) and G-15(a) that require dealers to disclose on inter-dealer and customer confirmations that securities are in registered form.

The Board has received inquiries on several matters concerning the amendments and is providing the following clarifications and interpretive guidance.

Deliveries of Interchangeable Securities

Several dealers have asked whether the amendments apply to securities that can be converted from bearer to registered form, but that cannot then be converted back to bearer form. These securities are "interchangeable securities" because they originally were issuable in either bearer or registered form. Therefore, under the amendments, physical deliveries of these certificates may be made in either bearer or registered form, unless a contrary agreement has been made by the parties to the transaction.[2]

The Board also has been asked whether a mixed delivery of bearer and registered certificates is permissible under the amendments. Since the amendments provide that either bearer or registered certificates are acceptable for physical deliveries, a delivery consisting of bearer and registered certificates also is an acceptable delivery under the amendments.

Fees for Conversion

Transfer agents for some interchangeable securities charge fees for conversion of registered certificates to bearer form. Dealers should be aware that these fees can be substantial and, in some cases, may be prohibitively expensive. Dealers, therefore, should ascertain the amount of the fee prior to agreeing to deliver bearer certificates. A dealer may pass on the costs of converting registered securities to bearer form to its customer. In such a case, the dealer must disclose the amount of the conversion fee to the customer at or prior to the time of trade, and the customer must agree to pay it.[3] In addition, rule G-15(a)(iii)(J)[*] requires that the dealer note such an agreement (including the amount of the conversion fee) on the confirmation.[4] The conversion fee, however, should not be included in the price when calculating the yield shown on the confirmation.[5] In collecting this fee, the dealer merely would be passing on the costs imposed by a third party, voluntarily assumed by the customer, relating to the form in which the securities are held. The conversion fee thus is not a necessary or intrinsic cost of the transaction for purposes of yield calculation.[6]

Continued Application of the Board's Automated Clearance Rules

The Board's automated clearance rules, rules G-12(f) and G-15(d), require book-entry settlements of certain inter-dealer and customer transactions.[7] The amendments on interchangeable securities address only physical deliveries of certificates and, therefore, apply solely to transactions that are not required to be settled by book-entry under the automated clearance rules.

When a physical delivery is permitted under Board rules (e.g., because the securities are not depository eligible), dealers may agree at the time of trade on the form of certificates to be delivered. When such an agreement is made, this special condition must be included on the confirmation, as required by rules G-12(c)(vi)(I) and G-15(a)(iii)(J).[8][*]Dealers, however, may not enter into an agreement providing for a physical delivery when book-entry settlement is required under the automated clearance rules, as this would result in a violation of the automated clearance rules.[9]

Need for Education of Customers on Benefits of Registered Securities

Dealers should begin planning as soon as possible any internal or operational changes that may be needed to comply with the amendments. The Depository Trust Company (DTC) has announced plans for a full-scale program of converting interchangeable securities now held in bearer form to registered form beginning on September 18, 1988.[10] When possible, DTC plans to retain a small supply of bearer certificates in interchangeable issues to accommodate withdrawal requests for bearer certificates.[11] The general effect of the amendments and DTC's policy, however, will make it difficult for dealers, in certain cases, to ensure that their customers will receive bearer certificates. Dealers should educate customers who now prefer bearer certificates on the call notification and interest payment benefits offered by registered certificates and dealer safekeeping and advise them when it is unlikely that bearer certificates can be obtained in a particular transaction. Dealers safekeeping municipal securities through DTC on behalf of such customers also may wish to review with those customers DTC's new arrangements for interchangeable securities.


[1] See SEC Release No. 34-25489 (March 18, 1988); MSRB Reports Vol. 8, no. 2 (March 1988), at 3.

[2] The amendments should substantially reduce delays in physical deliveries that result because of dealer questions about whether specific certificates should be in bearer form. This efficiency would be impossible if these "one-way" interchangeable securities were excluded from the amendments since dealers would be required to determine, for each physical delivery of registered securities, whether the securities are "one-way" interchangeable securities.

[3] Rule G-17, on fair dealing, requires dealers to disclose all material facts about a transaction to a customer at or before the time of trade. In many cases, the conversion fee is as much as $15 for each bearer certificate. The Board also has been made aware of some cases in which the transfer agent must obtain new printing plates or print new bearer certificates to effect a conversion. The conversion costs then may be in excess of several hundred or a thousand dollars. Therefore, it is important that the customer be aware of the amount of the conversion costs prior to agreeing to pay for them.

[4] This rule requires that, in addition to any other information required on the confirmation, the dealer must include "such other information as may be necessary to ensure that the parties agree on the details of the transaction."

[5] Rule G-15(a)(i)(I) [currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)] requires the yield of a customer transaction to be shown on the confirmation.

[6] Some customers, for example, may ask dealers to convert registered securities to bearer form even though the customers also may be willing to accept registered certificates if this is more economical.

[7] Rule G-12(f)(ii) requires book-entry settlement of an inter-dealer municipal securities transaction if both dealers (or their clearing agents for the transaction) are members of a depository making the securities eligible and the transaction is compared through a registered securities clearing agency. Rule G-15(d)(iii) requires book-entry settlement of a customer transaction if the dealer grants delivery versus payment or receipt versus payment privileges on the transaction and both the dealer and the customer (or the clearing agents for the transaction) are members of a depository making the securities eligible.

[8] These rules require that, in addition to the other information required on inter-dealer and customer confirmation, confirmations must include "such other information as may be necessary to ensure that the parties agree to the details of the transaction."

[9] Of course, dealers may withdraw physical certificates from a depository once a book-entry delivery is accepted.

[10] DTC expects this conversion process to take approximately two years. Midwest Securities Trust Company and The Philadelphia Depository Trust Company have not yet announced their plans with regard to interchangeable securities.

[11] DTC Notice to Participants on Plans for Comprehensive Conversion of Interchangeable Municipal Bonds to the Registered Form (August 10, 1988).

[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(8)]


Disclosure of pricing: calculating the dollar price of partially prerefunded bonds - May 15, 1986

Disclosure of pricing: calculating the dollar price of partially prerefunded bonds. This is in response to your March 21, 1986 letter concerning the application of Board rules to the description of municipal securities provided at or prior to the time of trade and the application of rules G-12(c) and G-15(a) on calculating the dollar price of partially prerefunded bonds with mandatory sinking fund calls.

You describe an issue, due 10/1/13. Mandatory sinking fund calls for this issue begin 10/1/05 and end 10/1/13. Recently, a partial refunding took place which prerefunds the 2011, 2012 and 2013 mandatory sinking fund requirements totalling $11,195,000 (which is 43.6% of the issue) to 10/1/94 at 102. The certificate numbers for the partial prerefunding will not be chosen until 30 days prior to the prerefunded date. Thus, a large percentage of the bonds are prerefunded and all the bonds will be redeemed by 10/1/10 because the 2011, 2012, and 2013 maturities no longer exist.

You note that the bonds should be described as partially prerefunded to 10/1/94 with a 10/1/10 maturity. Also, you state that the price of these securities should be calculated to the cheapest call, in this case, the partial prerefunded date of 10/1/94 at 102. You add that there is a 9½ point difference in price between calculating to maturity and to the partially prerefunded date.

You note that the descriptions you have seen on various brokers' wires do not accurately describe these securities and a purchaser of these bonds would not know what they bought if the purchase was based on current descriptions. You ask the Board to address the description and calculation problems posed by this issue.

Your letter was referred to a Committee of the Board which has responsibility for interpreting the Board's fair practice rules. That Committee has authorized this response.

Board rule G-17 provides that

In the conduct of its municipal securities business, each broker, dealer, and municipal securities dealer shall deal fairly with all persons and shall not engage in any deceptive, dishonest, or unfair practice.

In regard to inter-dealer transactions, the items of information that professionals must exchange at or prior to the time of trade are governed by principles of contract law and essentially are those items necessary adequately to describe the security that is the subject of the contract. As a general matter, these items of information do not encompass all material facts, but should be sufficient to distinguish the security from other similar issues. The Board has interpreted rule G-17 to require dealers to treat other dealers fairly and to hold them to the prevailing ethical standards of the industry. [1] The rule also prohibits dealers from knowingly misdescribing securities to another dealer. [2]

Board rules G-12(c) and G-15(a) require that

where a transaction is effected on a yield basis, the dollar price shall be calculated to the lowest of price to call, price to par option, or price to maturity ...

In addition, for customer confirmations, rule G-15(a) requires that

for transactions effected on the basis of dollar price, ... the lowest of the resulting yield to call, yield to par option, or yield to maturity shall be shown....

These provisions also require, in cases in which the resulting dollar price or yield shown on the confirmation is calculated to call or par option, that this must be stated and the call or option date and price used in the calculation must be shown. The Board has determined that, for purposes of making this computation, only "in-whole" calls should be used. [3] This requirement reflects the longstanding practice of the municipal securities industry that a price calculated to an "in-part" call, for example, a partial prerefunding date, is not adequate because, depending on the probability of the call provision being exercised and the portion of the issue subject to the call provision, the effective yield based on the price to a partial prerefunding date may not bear any relation to the likely return on the investment.

These provisions of Rules G-12(c) and G-15(a) apply, however, only when the parties have not specified that the bonds are priced to a specific call date. In some circumstances, the parties to a particular transaction may agree that the transaction is effected on the basis of a yield to a particular date, e.g., a partial prerefunding date, and that the dollar price will be computed in this fashion. If that is the case, the yield to this agreed upon date must be included on confirmations as the yield at which the transaction was effected and the resulting dollar price computed to that date, together with a statement that it is a "yield to [date]." In an August 1979 interpretive notice on pricing of callable securities, the Board stated that, under rule G-30, a dealer pricing securities sold to a customer on the basis of a yield to a specified call feature should take into account the possibility that the call feature may not be exercised. [4]

Accordingly, the price to be paid by the customer should reflect this possibility, and the resulting yield to maturity should bear a reasonable relationship to yields on securities of similar quality and maturity. Failure to price securities in such a manner may constitute a violation of rule G-30 since the price may not be "fair and reasonable" in the event the call feature is not exercised. The Board also noted that the fact that a customer in these circumstances may realize a yield in excess of the yield at which the transaction was effected does not relieve a municipal securities dealer of its responsibilities under rule G-30.

Accordingly, the calculation of the dollar price of a transaction in the securities you describe, unless the parties have agreed otherwise, should be made to the lowest of price to the first in-whole call, par option, or maturity. While the partial prerefunding effectively redeems the issue by 10/1/10, the stated maturity of the bond is 10/1/13 and, subject to the parties agreeing to price to 10/1/10, the stated maturity date should be used. MSRB interpretation of May 15, 1986.


[1] In addition, the Board has interpreted this rule to require that, in connection with the purchase from or sale of a municipal security to a customer, at or before execution of the transaction, a dealer must disclose all material facts concerning the transaction which could affect the customer's investment decision, including a complete description of the security, and not omit any material facts which would render other statements misleading.

[2] While the Board does not have any specific disclosure requirements applicable to dealers at the time of trade, a dealer is free to disclose any unique aspect of an issue. For example, in the issue described above, a dealer may decide to disclose the "effective" maturity date of 2010, as well as the stated maturity date of 2013.

[3] See [Rule G-15 Interpretation - Notice Concerning Pricing to Call], December 10, 1980 ... at ¶ 3571.

[4] See [Rule G-30 Interpretation - Interpretive Notice on Pricing of Callable Securities] August 10, 1979 ... at ¶ 3646.


Callable securities: pricing to mandatory sinking fund calls - April 30, 1986

Callable securities: pricing to mandatory sinking fund calls. This is in response to your February 21, 1986 letter concerning the application of rule G-15(a) regarding pricing to prerefunded bonds with mandatory sinking fund calls.

You give the following example:

Bonds, due 7/1/10, are prerefunded to 7/1/91 at 102. There are $17,605,000 of these bonds outstanding. However, there is a mandatory sinking fund which will operate to call $1,000,000 of these bonds at par every year from 7/1/86 to 7/1/91. The balance ($11,605,000) then will be redeemed 7/1/91 at 102. If this bond is priced to the 1991 prerefunded date in today's market at a 6.75 yield, the dollar price would be approximately 127.94. However, if this bond is called 7/1/86 at 100 and a customer paid the above price, his/her yield would be a minus 52 percent (-52%) on the called portion.

You state that the correct way to price the bond is to the 7/1/86 par call at a 5% level which equates to an approximate dollar price of 102.61. The subsequent yield to the 7/1/91 at 102 prerefunded date would be 12.33% if the bond survived all the mandatory calls to that date. You note that a June 8, 1978, MSRB interpretation states, "the calculation of dollar price to a premium call or par option date should be to that date at which the issuer may exercise an option to call the whole of a particular issue or, in the case of serial bonds, a particular maturity, and not to the date of a call in-part." You believe, however, that, as the rule is presently written, dealers are leaving themselves open for litigation from customers if bonds, which are trading at a premium, are not priced to the mandatory sinking fund call. You ask that the Board review this interpretation.

Your letter was referred to a Committee of the Board which has responsibility for interpreting the Board's fair practice rules. That Committee has authorized this response.

Rule G-15(a)(i)(I)[*] requires that on customer confirmations the yield and dollar price for the transaction be disclosed as the price (if the transaction is done on a yield basis) or yield (if the transaction is done on the basis of the dollar price) calculated to the lowest price or yield to call, to par option, or to maturity. The provision also requires, in cases in which the resulting dollar price or yield shown on the confirmation is calculated to call or par option, that this must be stated and the call or option date and price used in the calculation must be shown. The Board has determined that, for purposes of making this computation, only "in-whole" calls should be used.[1] This requirement reflects the longstanding practice of the municipal securities industry that a price calculated to an "in-part" call, such as a sinking fund call, is not adequate because, depending on the probability of the call provision being exercised and the portion of the issue subject to the call provision, the effective yield based on the price to a sinking fund date may not bear any relation to the likely return on the investment.

Rule G-15(a)(i)(I)[*] applies, however, only when the parties have not specified that the bonds are priced to a specific call date. In some circumstances, the parties to a particular transaction may agree that the transaction is effected on the basis of a yield to a particular date, e.g. put option date, and that the dollar price will be computed in this fashion. If that is the case, the yield to this agreed upon date must be included on confirmations as the yield at which the transaction was effected and the resulting dollar price computed to that date, together with a statement that it is a "yield to [date]." In an August 1979 interpretive notice on pricing of callable securities, the Board stated that, under rule G-30, a dealer pricing securities on the basis of a yield to a specified call feature should take into account the possibility that the call feature may not be exercised.[2] Accordingly, the price to be paid by the customer should reflect this possibility, and the resulting yield to maturity should bear a reasonable relationship to yields on securities of similar quality and maturity. Failure to price securities in such a manner may constitute a violation of rule G-30 since the price may not be "fair and reasonable" in the event the call feature is not exercised. The Board also noted that the fact that a customer in these circumstances may realize a yield in excess of the yield at which the transaction was effected does not relieve a municipal securities dealer of its responsibilities under rule G-30.

Accordingly, the calculation of the dollar price of a transaction in the securities in your example, unless the parties have agreed otherwise, should be made to the prerefunded date. Of course, under rule G-17 on fair dealing, dealers must explain to customers the existence of sinking fund calls at the time of trade. The sinking fund call, in addition, should be disclosed on the confirmation by an indication that the securities are "callable." The fact that the securities are prerefunded also should be noted on the confirmation. MSRB Interpretation of April 30, 1986.


[1] See [Rule G-15 Interpretation - Notice Concerning Pricing to Call], December 10, 1980 at ¶ 3571.

[2] See [Rule G-30 Interpretation - Interpretive Notice on Pricing of Callable Securities], August 10, 1979 ... at ¶ 3646.

[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)]


NOTICE CONCERNING CONFIRMATION DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR CALLABLE MUNICIPAL SECURITIES - February 20, 1986

Recently, the Board has received inquiries concerning the application of its inter-dealer and customer confirmation rules, rules G-12(c) and G-15(a) respectively, to municipal securities subject to call features. In particular, the Board has been made aware of instances in which dealers note one call date and price, usually the first in-whole call, on inter-dealer and customer confirmations without noting that the call information relates to the first in-whole call or that the bonds are otherwise callable.

Rules G-12(c) and G-15(a) require that confirmations set forth a

description of the securities, including... if the securities are... subject to redemption prior to maturity (callable)..., an indication to such effect...

Thus, municipal securities subject to in-whole or in-part calls must be described as callable. Rules G-12(c) and G-15(a) also require dealers, when securities transactions are effected on a yield basis, to set forth a dollar price that has been computed to the lowest of the price to call, price to par option, or price to maturity; rule G-15 requires that confirmations of customer transactions effected on a dollar price disclose a yield in a similar manner. These rules provide that when a price or yield is calculated to a call, this must be stated, and the call date and price used in the calculation must be shown.[1] These are the only instances in which specific call features must be identified on a confirmation.

The Board understands that confusion may arise when specific call features are noted on confirmations without an adequate description of such information. The Board has determined that confirmations that include specific call information not required to be included under the Board's confirmation rules also must include a notation that other call features exist and must provide clarifying information about the noted call, e.g. "first in-whole call." These disclosures should be sufficient to ensure that purchasing dealers and customers will be alerted to the need to obtain additional information.

The Board cautions dealers to ensure that confirmations of municipal securities with call features clearly describe the securities as "callable." If this information is erroneously noted on the confirmation, purchasing dealers have the right to reclaim the securities under rule G-12(g)(iii)(C)(3).


[1] In addition, rule G-15(a)(iii)(D)[currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(C)(2)(a)] requires a legend to be placed on customer confirmations of transactions in callable securities which notes that "[additional] call features ... exist... [that may] affect yield; complete information will be provided upon request." [Note: Revised to reflect subsequent amendments]


SENDING CONFIRMATIONS TO CUSTOMERS WHO UTILIZE DEALERS TO TENDER PUT OPTION BONDS - September 30, 1985

The Board has received inquiries whether a municipal securities dealer must send a confirmation to a customer when the customer utilizes the dealer to tender bonds pursuant to a put option. Board rule G-15(a)(i) requires dealers to send confirmations to customers at or before the completion of a transaction in municipal securities. The Board believes that whether a dealer that accepts for tender put bonds from a customer is engaging in "transactions in municipal securities" depends on whether the dealer has some interest in the put option bond.

In the situation in which a customer puts back a bond through a municipal securities dealer either because he purchased the bond from the dealer or he has an account with the dealer, and the dealer does not have an interest in the put option and has not been designated as the remarketing agent for the issue, there seems to be no "transaction in municipal securities" between the dealer and the tendering bondholder and no confirmation needs to be sent. The Board suggests, however, that it would be good industry practice to obtain written approval of the tender from the customer, give the customer a receipt for his bonds and promptly credit the customer's account. Of course, if the dealer actually purchases the security and places it in its trading account, even for an instant, prior to tendering the bond, a confirmation of this sale transaction should be sent.[1]

If a dealer has some interest in a put option bond which its customer has delivered to it for tendering, a confirmation must be sent to the customer. A dealer that is the issuer of a secondary market put option on a bond has an interest in the security and is deemed to be engaging in a municipal securities transaction if the bond is put back to it.

In addition, a remarketing agent, (i.e., a dealer which, pursuant to an agreement with an issuer, is obligated to use its best efforts to resell bonds tendered by their owners pursuant to put options) who accepts put option bonds tendered by customers also is deemed to be engaging in a "transaction in municipal securities" with the customer for purposes of sending a confirmation to the customer because of the remarketing agent's interest in the bonds.[2] The Board's position on remarketing agents is based upon its understanding that remarketing agents sell the bonds that their customers submit for tendering, as well as other bonds tendered directly to the trustee or tender agent, pursuant to the put option. The customers and other bondholders, pursuant to the terms of the issue, usually are paid from the proceeds of the remarketing agents' sales activities.[3]


[1] This would apply equally in circumstances in which the dealer has an interest in the put option bond.

[2] Of course, remarketing agents also must send confirmations to those to whom they resell the bonds.

[3] If these funds are not sufficient to pay tendering bondholders, such bondholders usually are paid from certain funds set up under the issue's indenture or from advances under the letter of credit that usually backs the put option.


Agency transactions: yield disclosures - July 13, 1984

Agency transactions: yield disclosures. I am writing in connection with your previous conversations with Christopher Taylor of the Board's staff concerning the application of the yield disclosure requirements of Board rule G-15 to certain types of transactions in municipal securities. In your conversations you noted that dealers occasionally effect transactions in municipal securities on an "agency" basis. In these transactions the customer's confirmation would typically show as the dollar price of the transaction the price paid by the dealer to the person from whom it acquired the securities; the dealer's remuneration, received in the form of a commission paid by the customer, is typically shown separately, as a charge included in the summing of the total dollar amount due from (or to) the customer in connection with the transaction. You inquired whether, in such a transaction, the yield to the customer disclosed on the confirmation should be derived from the price shown as the dollar price of the transaction or from the total dollar amount of the transaction (i.e., whether the yield should show the effect of the commission charged).

This will confirm Mr. Taylor's advice to you that the yield shown on the confirmation of such a transaction should be derived from the total dollar amount of the transaction, and therefore should show the effect of the commission charged to the customer on the transaction. As the Board has previously stated, the yield disclosure on customer confirmations is intended to provide customers with a means of assessing the merits of alternative investment strategies and the merits of the transaction being confirmed. The disclosure of the yield after giving effect to the commission charged the customer best serves these purposes. MSRB interpretation of July 13, 1984.


Callable securities: pricing transactions on construction loan notes - March 5, 1984

Callable securities: pricing transactions on construction loan notes. I am writing in response to your letter of February 3, 1984 concerning the application of certain of the confirmation requirements of Board rules G-12 and G-15 to transactions in construction loan notes. In your letter you note that both rules require that the confirmation of a transaction in callable securities effected on a yield basis set forth a dollar price that has been computed to the lowest of the price to the call, the price to the par option, or the price to maturity of the securities; rule G-15 requires that customer confirmations effected on a dollar price basis state the resulting yield computed to the lowest of the yield to call, to the par option, or to maturity. You inquire how these comparative calculation requirements would apply to a confirmation of a transaction in construction loan notes, which generally are callable "in whole" six months prior to the stated maturity date at par.

Your inquiry was referred to a committee of the Board which has responsibility for interpreting the Board's confirmation rules; that committee has authorized my sending you this response. The committee notes that a Board interpretive notice of December 1980, which discussed the types of call features which should be used for purposes of the comparative calculation requirements, stated clearly that these requirements would apply to a transaction in a callable security if the issue of which the security is a part is callable "in whole" and if there is no restriction on the source of the funds which may be used to exercise the call. Since the call feature applicable to issues of construction loan notes is this type of "in whole" call feature, the committee is of the view that the comparative calculation requirements would apply. The confirmation of a transaction in a construction loan note effected on a yield basis, therefore, should state a dollar price computed to the lower of the price to this call feature or the price to maturity. Similarly, a customer confirmation of a transaction in these securities effected on a dollar price basis should set forth a yield to the lower of the yield to this call feature or a yield to maturity. MSRB interpretation of March 5, 1984.


Callable securities: pricing to call and extraordinary mandatory redemption features - February 10, 1984

Callable securities: pricing to call and extraordinary mandatory redemption features. This is in response to your November 16, 1983, letter concerning the application of the Board's rules to sales of municipal securities that are subject to extraordinary redemption features.

As a general matter, rule G-17 of the Board's rules of fair practice requires municipal securities brokers and dealers to deal fairly with all persons and prohibits them from engaging in any deceptive, dishonest, or unfair practice. The Board has interpreted this rule to require, in connection with the purchase from or sale of a municipal security to a customer, that a dealer must disclose, at or before the time the transaction occurs, all material facts concerning the transaction and not omit any material facts which would render other statements misleading. The fact that a security may be redeemed "in whole," "in part," or in extraordinary circumstances prior to maturity is essential to a customer's investment decision about the security and is one of the facts a dealer must disclose prior to the transaction. It should be noted that the Board has determined that certain items of information must, because of their materiality, be disclosed on confirmations of transactions. However, a confirmation is not received by a customer until after a transaction is effected and is not meant to take the place of oral disclosure prior to the time the trade occurs.

You ask whether, for an issue which has more than one call feature, the disclosure requirements of MSRB rule G-15 would be better served by merely stating on the confirmation that the bonds are callable, instead of disclosing the terms of one call feature and not another. Board rule G-15, among other things, prescribes what items of information must be disclosed on confirmations of transactions with customers.[1] Rule G-15(a)(i)(E)[*] requires that customer confirmations contain a materially complete description of the securities and specifically identifies the fact that securities are subject to redemption prior to maturity as one item that must be specified. The Board is of the view that the fact that a security may be subject to an "in whole" or "in part" call is a material fact for an individual making an investment decision about the securities and has further required in rule G-15a(iii)(D)[†] that confirmations of transactions in callable securities must state that the resulting yield may be affected by the exercise of a call provision, and that information relating to call provisions is available upon request.[2]

With respect to the computation of yields and dollar prices, rule G-15(a)(i)(I)[‡] requires that the yield and dollar price for the transaction be disclosed as the price (if the transaction is done on a yield basis) or yield (if the transaction is done on the basis of a dollar price) calculated to the lowest price or yield to call, to par option, or to maturity. The provision also requires, in cases in which the resulting dollar price or yield shown on the confirmation is calculated to call or par option, that this must be stated and the call or option date and price used in the calculation must be shown. The Board has determined that, for purposes of making this computation, only "in whole" calls should be used.[3] This requirement reflects the longstanding practice of the municipal securities industry and advises a purchaser what amount of return he can expect to realize from the investment and the terms under which such return would be realized.

You also ask whether it is reasonable to infer from the discharge of one call feature that no other call features exist. As discussed above, the Board requires a customer confirmation to disclose, when applicable, that a security is subject to redemption prior to maturity and that the call feature may affect the security's yield. This requirement applies to securities subject to either "in whole" or "in part" calls. Moreover, as noted earlier, because information concerning call features is material information, principles of fair dealing embodied by rule G-17 require that these details be disclosed orally at the time of trade.

By contrast, identification of the first "in-whole" call date and its price must be made only when they are used to compute the yield or resulting dollar price for a transaction. This disclosure is designed only to advise an investor what information was used in computing the lowest of yield or price to call, to par option, or to maturity and is not meant to describe the only call features of the municipal security.

In addition, in the case of the sale of new issue securities during the underwriting period, Board rule G-32 requires that ... a copy of the final official statement, if any, must be provided to the customer.[4] While the official statement would describe all call features of an issue, it must be emphasized that delivery of this document does not relieve a dealer of its obligation to advise a customer of material characteristics and facts concerning the security at the time of trade.

Finally, you ask whether the omission of this or other call features on the confirmation is a material omission of the kind which would be actionable under SEC rule 10b-5. The Board is not empowered to interpret the Securities Exchange Act or rules thereunder; that responsibility has been delegated to the Securities and Exchange Commission. We note, however, that the failure to disclose the existence of a call feature would violate rule G-15 and, in egregious situations, also may violate rule G-17, the Board's fair dealing rule. MSRB interpretation of February 10 1984.


[1] Similar requirements are specified in rule G-12 for confirmations of inter-dealer transactions.

[2] The rule states that this requirement will be satisfied by placing in footnote or otherwise the statement:

"[Additional] call features ... exist [that may] affect yield; complete information will be provided upon request."

[3] See [Rule G-15 Interpretation - Notice concerning pricing to call], December 10, 1980 ... at ¶ 3571.

[4] The term underwriting period is defined in rule G-11 as:

the period commencing with the first submission to a syndicate of an order for the purchase of new issue municipal securities or the purchase of such securities from the issuer, whichever first occurs, and ending at such time as the issuer delivers the securities to the syndicate or the syndicate no longer retains an unsold balance of securities, whichever last occurs.

[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(C)]

[†] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(C)(2)(a)]

[‡] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)]

NOTE: Revised to reflect subsequent amendments.


Yield disclosures: yields to call on zero coupon bonds - January 4, 1984

Yield disclosures: yields to call on zero coupon bonds. I am writing in response to your letter of October 18, 1983 concerning the appropriate method of disclosing on a confirmation a call price used in the computation of a dollar price or yield on a transaction in a zero coupon, compound interest, multiplier, or other similar type of security. In your letter you indicate that the call features on these types of securities often express the call prices in terms of a percentage of the compound accreted value of the security as of the call date.[1] You note that, in computing a price or yield to such a call feature, it is necessary for the computing dealer to convert such a call price into its equivalent in terms of a percentage of maturity value (i.e., into a standard dollar price), and use this figure in the computation. You inquire whether, in circumstances where the confirmation of a transaction is required to disclose a yield or dollar price computed to such a call feature, the call price used in the calculation should be stated on the confirmation in terms of the percentage of the compound accreted value or in terms of the equivalent percentage of maturity value.

The requirement which is the subject of your inquiry is set forth in Board rule G-15(a)(i)(I)[*] as follows:

In cases in which the resulting dollar price or yield shown on the confirmation is calculated to call or par option, this must be stated, and the call or option date and price used in the calculation must be shown...[2]

The Board is of the view that, in the case of a computation of a yield or dollar price to a call or option feature on a transaction in a zero coupon or similar security, the call price shown on the confirmation should be expressed in terms of a percentage of the security's maturity value. The Board believes that the disclosure of the call price in terms of the security's maturity value would provide more meaningful information to the purchaser, since other confirmation disclosure on these types of securities are also expressed in terms of the security's maturity value. This form of disclosure therefore presents the information to a purchaser in a consistent format, thereby facilitating the purchaser's understanding of the information shown on the confirmation. The Board notes also that this form of disclosure is simpler and requires less confirmation space to present. MSRB interpretation of January 4, 1984.


[1] For example, the selected portions of an official statement describing one of these types of issues enclosed with your letter indicate that the security in question is callable on October 1, 1993 at 108% of the security's compound accreted value on that date (which is indicated elsewhere in the official statement to be $146.02 per $1,000 of maturity value).

[2] Comparable requirements with respect to inter-dealer confirmations are set forth in Board rule G-12(c)(v)(I).

[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)]


Automated clearance: "internal" transactions - September 21, 1983

Automated clearance: "internal" transactions. As you are aware, the Board has been considering for the past year the adoption of amendments to the Board rules to mandate the use of automated confirmation/comparison and book-entry settlement systems in connection with the clearance of certain inter-dealer and customer transactions in municipal securities. In connection with its consideration of this matter, the Board released, in July 1982, an exposure draft of a proposal to apply such requirements to customer transactions, and, in March 1983, two exposure drafts of comparable proposals with respect to customer transactions and inter-dealer transactions. The Board has recently taken action on these proposals, and adopted amendments to its rules, substantially along the lines of the March 1983 proposals, for filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission; a copy of the notice of filing of these amendments is enclosed for your information.

[The bank] commented to the Board on both the July 1982 exposure draft, by letter dated October 15, 1982 from [name omitted] of the bank's Operations Department, and on the March 1983 exposure drafts, by letter dated June 1, 1983 from yourself. In these letters, among other comments, the bank suggested that the proposed requirement for the use of automated confirmation and book-entry settlement systems on certain customer transactions should not apply in circumstances where the transaction is between the bank's dealer department and a customer who clears or safekeeps securities through the dealer department or through the bank's custodian or safekeeping department. Your June 1983 letter, for example, commented as follows:

Internal trades [with] customers of a dealer bank are not exempt from the amendment. This seems inconsistent with operating efficiency and the objectives of the amendment. Technically, a bank dealer would have to submit to [an automated confirmation and book-entry settlement system] trades made with customers who clear or safekeep through another department in the bank. If adopted, the amendment should allow for such an exemption.

I am writing to advise you that, in reviewing the comments on the July 1982 and March 1983 proposals, the Board concurred with this suggestion. The Board is of the view that the proposed requirement for the automated confirmation and book-entry settlement of certain customer transactions does not apply to a purchase or sale of municipal securities effected by a broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer for the account of a customer in circumstances where the securities are to be delivered to or received from a clearance or safekeeping account maintained by the customer with the broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer itself, or with a clearance or safekeeping department of an organization of which the broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer is a division or department. MSRB interpretation of September 21, 1983.


Callable securities: extraordinary mandatory redemption features - February 18, 1983

Callable securities: extraordinary mandatory redemption features. I am writing in response to your letter of February 15, 1983 regarding the confirmation disclosure requirements applicable to municipal securities which are subject to extraordinary mandatory redemption features. In your letter you inquire whether such securities need be identified as "callable" securities on the confirmation. You also inquire as to the relationship between an extraordinary mandatory redemption feature and a "catastrophe call" feature, and the disclosure requirements applicable to the latter type of provision.

An extraordinary mandatory redemption feature, in my understanding, is a call provision under which an issuer of securities would be obliged to call all or a part of an issue if certain stated unexpected events occur. For example, many of the recent mortgage revenue issues have extraordinary mandatory redemption provisions under which securities would be called if a portion of the proceeds of the issue has not been used to acquire mortgages by a certain stated date, or if moneys received from principal prepayments have not been used to acquire new mortgages by a certain period following receipt of the prepayment. In general, securities which are subject to extraordinary mandatory redemption provisions must be identified as "callable" securities on any confirmation. Extraordinary redemption provisions would not, however, be used for purposes of computing a yield or dollar price.

One specific type of extraordinary mandatory redemption provision is what has been colloquially termed a "catastrophe" or "calamity" call provision. Under this type of provision the issuer of securities would be obliged to call all or part of an issue if the financed project is destroyed or damaged by some catastrophe (e.g., by fire, flood, lightning or other act of God) or if the tax exempt status of the issue is negated. The Board has previously expressed the view that securities which are callable solely under this type of "catastrophe" call provision, and are not otherwise callable, need not be designated as "callable" securities on a confirmation.

In summary, therefore, securities which are subject to extraordinary mandatory redemption provisions other than "catastrophe" call provisions must be identified as "callable" securities on confirmations. MSRB interpretation of February 18, 1983.


Securities description: securities backed by letters of credit - December 2, 1982

Securities description: securities backed by letters of credit. I am writing in connection with our previous telephone conversation of last June regarding the confirmation of a transaction in a municipal issue secured by an irrevocable letter of credit issued by a bank. In our conversation you noted that both rules G-12 and G-15 require confirmations to contain a:

description of the securities including at a minimum..., if necessary for a materially complete description of the securities, the name of any company or other person in addition to the issuer obligated, directly or indirectly, with respect to debt service...

You inquired whether the name of the bank issuing a letter of credit securing principal and interest payments on an issue, or securing payments under the exercise of a put option or tender option feature, need be stated on the confirmation.

At that time I indicated to you that the identity of the bank issuing the letter of credit would have to be disclosed on the confirmation if the letter of credit could be drawn upon to cover scheduled interest and principal payments when due, since the bank would be "obligated ... with respect to debt service." I am writing to advise that the committee of the Board which reviewed a memorandum of our conversation has concluded that a bank issuing a letter of credit which secures a put option or tender option feature on an issue is similarly "obligated ... with respect to debt service" on such issue. The identity of the bank issuing the letter of credit securing the put option must therefore also be indicated on the confirmation. MSRB interpretation of December 2, 1982.


Securities description: revenue securities - December 1, 1982

Securities description: revenue securities. I am writing in response to your letter of September 30, 1982 regarding the confirmation description of revenue securities. In your letter you note that the designation "revenue" is often not included in the title of the security, and you raise several questions concerning the method of deriving a proper confirmation description of revenue securities.

As you know, rule G-15(a)(v)[*] requires that customer confirmations set forth a description of the securities [involved in the transaction] including at a minimum the name of the issuer, interest rate, maturity date and if the securities are ... revenue bonds, an indication to such effect, including in the case of revenue bonds the type of revenue, if necessary for a materially complete description of the securities...[1] [emphasis added]


The rule requires, therefore, that revenue securities be designated as such, regardless of whether or not such designation appears in the formal title of the security. The dealer preparing the confirmation is responsible for ensuring that the designation is included in the securities description. In circumstances in which standard sources of descriptive information (e.g., official statements, rating agency and service bureau publications, and the like) do not include such a designation in the security title, therefore, the dealer must augment this title to include the requisite information.

In your letter you inquire as to who is responsible for providing this type of descriptive information to the facilities manager of the CUSIP system. Although the Board does not currently have any requirements concerning this matter, proposed rule G-34 will, when approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, require that the managing underwriter of a new issue of municipal securities apply for the assignment of CUSIP numbers of such new issue if no other person (i.e., the issuer or a person acting on behalf of the issuer) has already applied for number assignment. In connection with such application, if one is necessary, the managing underwriter is required, under the proposed rule, to provide certain information about the new issue, including a designation of the "type of issue (e.g., general obligation, limited tax, or revenue)" and an indication of the "type of revenue, if the issue is a revenue issue."

In your letter you also ask for "the official definition of a 'revenue' issue." There is no "official definition" of what constitutes a revenue issue. Various publications include a definition of the term (e.g., the PSA's Fundamentals of Municipal Bonds, the State of Florida's Glossary of Municipal Securities Terms, etc.) and I would urge you to consult these for further information. MSRB interpretation of December 1, 1982.


[1] Rule G-12(c)(v)(E) sets forth the same requirement with respect to inter-dealer confirmations.

[*] [Currently codified at rules G-15(a)(i)(B) and G-15(a)(i)(C)]


Callable securities: disclosure - August 23, 1982

Callable securities: disclosure. I am writing in response to your letter of August 17, 1982, concerning the requirements of Board rules G-12(c)(v)(E) and G-15(a)(v)[*] concerning securities descriptions set forth on confirmations. In your letter you note that certain descriptive details are required to be disclosed on the confirmation only "if necessary for a materially complete description of the securities," and you inquire whether information as to a security's callability is one of these details.

Rules G-12(c)(v)(E) and G-15(a)(v)[*] require confirmations to set forth a


description of the securities, including at a minimum the name of the issuer, interest rate, maturity date, and if the securities are limited tax, subject to redemption prior to maturity (callable) or revenue bonds, an indication to such effect, including in the case of revenue bonds the type of revenue, if necessary for a materially complete description of the securities, and in the case of any securities, if necessary for a materially complete description of the securities, the name of any company or other person in addition to the issuer obligated, directly or indirectly, with respect to debt service or, if there is more than one such obligor, the statement 'multiple obligators' may be shown." (emphasis added)

As you can see, the phrase "if necessary for a materially complete description of the securities" modifies only the requirements for disclosure of "the type of revenue," or ... disclosure of "the name of any company or other person obligated ... with respect to debt service...," and does not modify the requirements for disclosure of the other listed information. Both rules, therefore, deem information as to the "name of the issuer, interest rate, maturity date and if the securities are limited tax, subject to redemption prior to maturity (callable) or revenue bonds" to be necessarily material and subject to disclosure on the confirmation. In the specific case which you cite, that of a security with an "in-part" sinking fund call feature, the confirmation of a transaction in such security would be required to identify the security as "callable." MSRB interpretation of August 23, 1982.


[*] [Currently codified at rules G-15(a)(i)(B) and G-15(a)(i)(C)]


Original issue discount, zero coupon securities: disclosure of, pricing to call feature - June 30, 1982

Original issue discount, zero coupon securities: disclosure of, pricing to call feature. I am writing in response to your inquiry in our recent telephone conversation regarding the application of Board rules to the recent original issue discount on "zero coupon" new issues of municipal securities. In particular, you indicated that these types of securities are often subject to somewhat unusual call provisions, and you inquired as to the application to these types of securities of Board rules concerning the disclosure of call provisions and the use of such call provisions in dollar price and yield computations.

Subsequent to our conversation, I obtained several examples of these call provisions, which were provided to the Board in connection with your inquiry. In the first of these examples, involving an original issue discount security, the call provision commences ten years after issuance, with the redemption price initially set at 90 and increasing by 2 points every three years, reaching a redemption price of 100 twenty-five years after issuance. In the second example, involving a "zero coupon" security, the call provision commences ten years after issuance; the redemption price is based on the compound accreted value of the security (plus a stated redemption premium for the first five years of the call provision), with certain of the securities initially redeemable at an approximate dollar price of 18.

As you know, the call provisions on "zero coupon" and original issue discount securities are one of the special characteristics of such securities, but are not, by any means, the sole special characteristic. The Board is of the view that municipal securities brokers and dealers selling such securities are obliged, under Board rule G-17 as well as under the anti-fraud rules under the Securities Exchange Act, to disclose to customers all material information regarding such special characteristics. As the Board stated in its April 27, 1982 "Notice Concerning 'Zero Coupon' and 'Stepped Coupon' Securities,"

persons selling such securities to the public have an obligation to adequately disclose the special characteristics of such securities so as to comply with the Board's fair practice rules.

Therefore, in selling an original issue discount or "zero coupon" security to a customer, a dealer would be obliged to disclose, among other matters, any material information with respect to the call provisions of such securities.

I note also that Rule G-15 requires customer confirmations of transactions in callable securities to indicate that the securities are "callable," and to contain a legend stating, in part, that information concerning the call provisions of such securities will be made available upon the customer's request. Customer confirmations of transactions in callable original issue discount or "zero coupon" securities would have to contain such a legend, in addition to the designation "callable," and the details of the call provisions of such securities would have to be provided to the customer in writing upon the customer's request.

The requirement under rules G-12 and G-15 for the computation of dollar price and (under rule G-15) yield to a call or option feature would apply to a transaction in an original issue discount or "zero coupon" security. Therefore, if the dollar price to the call on a transaction in such securities is lower than the price to maturity, such dollar price should be used. In the case of customer confirmations, if the yield to call on a transaction in such securities is lower, such yield must be shown. As you noted in our conversation, in view of the redemption price structure of the call provisions on such securities, the price or yield to call on a particular transaction might be lower than the price or yield to maturity, even though the transaction is effected at a price below par. Since heretofore the industry has been accustomed to call provisions at prices at or above par, industry members may wish to pay particular attention to the processing of transactions in original issue discount or "zero coupon" securities with these unusual types of call provisions, to ensure that the dollar price or yield of such transactions is not inadvertently overstated due to a failure to check the price or yield to call. MSRB interpretation of June 30, 1982.


NOTICE CONCERNING "ZERO COUPON" AND "STEPPED COUPON" SECURITIES - April 27, 1982

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board has recently received inquiries concerning the application of the confirmation disclosure requirements of Board rules G-12 and G-15 to transactions in municipal securities with "zero coupons" or "stepped coupons." Certain recent new issues of municipal securities have had several maturities paying 0% interest; securities of these maturities are sold at deep discounts, with the investor's return received in the form of an accretion of this discount to par. Other issues have been sold which have "stepped coupons;" that is, all outstanding bonds pay the same interest rate each year, with the interest rate periodically rising, on a pre-established schedule, on all securities yet to be redeemed. Interested persons have inquired concerning how the description requirements of the rules apply to such securities, and whether the yield disclosure requirements of rule G-15 apply to confirmations of transactions in such securities for the accounts of customers.

Rule G-12(c)(v)(E) requires a municipal securities dealer to set forth on an inter-dealer confirmation a description of the securities which are the subject of the transaction, including the interest rate. Rule G-15(a)(i)(E)[*] imposes the same requirement with respect to customer confirmations. Further, rule G-15(a)(i)(I)(2)[†] requires that customer confirmations of transactions effected at dollar prices (except for transactions at par) state the lowest of the resulting yield to call, yield to par option, or yield to maturity.

A confirmation of a transaction in a "zero coupon" security must state that the interest rate on the security is "0%." A customer confirmation of such a transaction must state the lowest of the yield to call or yield to maturity resulting from the dollar price of the transaction.[1] The Board believes that the disclosure of the resulting yield is particularly important on such transactions, since it provides the only indication to the investor of the return he or she can expect from the investment.

A confirmation of a transaction in a "stepped coupon" security must state the interest rate currently being paid on the securities, and must identify the securities as "stepped coupon" securities. A customer confirmation of such a transaction must also state the lowest of the yield to call, yield to par option, or yield to maturity resulting from the dollar price of the transaction.[2] In view of the wide variation in the coupon interest rates that will be received over the life of a "stepped coupon" security, the Board believes that the disclosure of yield will assist customers in determining the actual return to be received on the investment.

In addition to the specific confirmation disclosure requirements of Board rules G-12 and G-15 discussed above, the Board is of the view that persons selling such securities to the public have an obligation to adequately disclose the special characteristics of such securities so as to comply with the Board's fair practice rules. For example, although the details of the increases to the interest rates on "stepped coupon" securities need not be provided on confirmations, such information is, of course, material information regarding the securities, and municipal securities dealers would be obliged to inform customers about this feature of the securities at or before the time of trade.


[1] The Board notes that, upon the effectiveness of Board rule G-33, such yield must be computed on a basis that presumes semi-annual compounding.

[2] In the case of both "zero coupon" and "stepped coupon" securities, if the transaction is effected in a yield basis, the confirmation must show the yield price and the resulting dollar price, computed to the lowest of price to premium call, price to par option, or price to maturity.

[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(B)(4)]

[†] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)]


Yield disclosures: transactions at par - April 8, 1982

Yield disclosures: transactions at par. I am writing in response to your letter of April 2, 1982, concerning certain of the yield disclosure requirements of Board rule G-15 on customer confirmations. In your letter you note that item (C) of rule G-15(a)(viii)[*] requires that "for transactions at par, the dollar price shall be shown" on the confirmations of such transactions, and you inquire whether it is necessary to show a yield on such confirmations.

Please be advised that a confirmation of a transaction effected at par (i.e., at a dollar price of "100") need show only the dollar price "100" and need not, under the terms of the rule, show the resulting yield.

I note, however, that a transaction effected on the basis of a yield price equal to the interest rate of the security which is the subject of the transaction would be considered, for purposes of the rule, to be a "transaction effected on a yield basis," and therefore would be subject to the requirements of item (A) of rule G-15(a)(viii)[†]. The confirmation of such transaction would therefore be required to state "the yield at which [the] transaction was effected and the resulting dollar price[.]" MSRB interpretation of April 8, 1982.


[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)(b)(ii)]

[†] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)(a)]


INTERPRETIVE NOTICE CONCERNING YIELD DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR PURCHASES FROM CUSTOMERS - September 1, 1981

Certain amendments to Board rule G-15 on customer confirmations became effective on December 1, 1980. Among other matters, these amendments require that customer confirmations of transactions effected on the basis of dollar price, including confirmations of purchases from customers, set forth certain yield information concerning the transaction. Confirmations of dollar price transactions in non-callable securities, or in callable securities traded at prices below par, must set forth the yield to maturity resulting from the dollar price. Confirmations of dollar price transactions in securities which have been called or prerefunded must show the yield to the maturity date established by the call or prerefunding. Confirmations of transactions in callable securities traded at dollar prices in excess of par are exempt from yield disclosure requirements until October 1, 1981; after that date such confirmations must show the lowest of the yield to premium call, yield to par option, or yield to maturity resulting from such dollar price.[1]

Since the effective date of these amendments, the Board has received several inquiries as to whether all confirmations of purchases from customers, including purchases effected at a price derived from a yield price less a spread or concession, must show the yield resulting from the actual unit dollar price of the transaction.

The Board is of the view that all confirmations of purchasers from customers (except for purchases at par) must set forth the net or effective yield resulting from the actual unit dollar price of the transaction. The yield disclosure on confirmations of purchases from customers is intended to provide customers with a means of assessing the merits of alternative investment strategies (such as different possible reinvestment transactions) and the merits of the particular transaction being confirmed. The Board believes that the disclosure of the net or effective yield (i.e., that derived from the actual unit dollar price of the transaction) best serves these purposes.


[1] Confirmations of transactions effected at a dollar price of par ("100") continue to be exempt from any yield disclosure requirements.


Disclosure of pricing: accrued interest - July 27, 1981

Disclosure of pricing: accrued interest. This is in response to your request by telephone for an interpretation of Board rule G-15 which requires that a municipal securities dealer provide to his customer, at or prior to completion of a transaction, a written confirmation containing certain general information including the amount of accrued interest. Specifically, you have asked whether the rule permits a municipal securities dealer, in using one confirmation to confirm transactions in several different municipal securities of one issuer, to disclose the amount of accrued interest for the bonds as an aggregate figure. You have advised us that, typically, such a confirmation will show other items of information required by the rule such as yield and dollar price, separately for each issue.

Rule G-15 was adopted by the Board to assure that confirmations of municipal securities transactions provide investors with certain fundamental information concerning transactions. The Board believes that disclosure of accrued interest as an aggregate sum does not permit investors to determine easily from the confirmation the amount of accrued interest attributable to each security purchased, but rather necessitates the performance of several computations. It, thus, would be more difficult for an investor to determine whether the information concerning accrued interest is correct if the information is presented in aggregate form.

Such a result is inconsistent with the purposes of rule G-15. Accordingly, the Board has concluded that, under rule G-15, the amount of accrued interest must be shown for each issue of bonds to which the customer confirmation relates. MSRB interpretation of July 27, 1981.


Yield disclosures - July 27, 1981

Yield disclosures. This letter is in response to your inquiry of April 14, 1981 concerning the application of the yield disclosure requirements of Board rule G-15 to a particular transaction effected by your firm. As I indicated to you in my letter of May 9, 1981, the Board was unable to consider your inquiry at its April meeting, and, accordingly, deferred the matter to its July meeting. At that meeting the Board took up your question and authorized my sending you this answer to your inquiry. While we realize that the matter is now moot with respect to the particular transaction about which you were writing, we assume that this question may arise again with respect to future transactions.

In your April 14 letter you inquired concerning a recent sale of new issue securities to a customer. You indicated that the firm had sold all twenty maturities of the new issue to a customer. This sale had been effected at the same premium dollar price for all maturities, and the customer had been advised of the average life of the issue and the yield to the average life. You inquired whether the final money confirmation of this sale should show "one dollar price ... and one yield to the average life," or the dollar price and each of the yields to the twenty different maturities of the issue.[1]

Rule G-15(a)(viii)(B)[*] requires that customer confirmations of transactions in noncallable securities effected on the basis of a dollar price set forth the dollar price and the resulting yield to maturity. In the situation you describe, it would be difficult to conclude that the rule would permit the confirmation to show only a "yield to the average life," omitting any yield to maturity information. Although the "yield to the average life" would provide the customer with some indication of the return on his or her investment, the customer could easily make the mistake of assuming that this would be the yield on all of the securities, and not realize that it is the result of differing yields, with lower yields on the short-term maturities and higher yields on the long-term ones. The Board believes that disclosure of each of the yields to the twenty maturities of the issue would provide the customer with much more accurate information concerning the return on his or her investments. Accordingly, the Board concludes that, in a transaction of this type, the final money confirmation(s) should set forth each of the yields. MSRB interpretation of July 27, 1981.


[1] Although you did not indicate this, we assume that all of these securities are noncallable.

[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)(b)]


Agency transaction: pricing - April 23, 1981

Agency transaction: pricing. This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of March 17, 1981 concerning the appropriate method of disclosing remuneration on agency transactions. In your letter you indicate that the bank wishes to use one of the following two legends, as appropriate, in disclosing such remuneration:

1) "Commission: Agency Fee $ ... per $1,000 of par value included in/deducted from net price to customer;" or

2) "Commission: Concession received from broker/dealer $ ... per $1,000 of par value."

You inquire whether these legends, indicating the amount of remuneration on a "dollars per bond" basis, are satisfactory for purposes of rule G-15.

Rule G-15(b)[*] requires that

[i]f the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer is effecting a transaction as agent for the customer or as agent for both the customer and another person, the confirmation shall set forth ... the source and amount of any commission or other remuneration received or to be received by the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer in connection with the transaction.

As you are aware, the Board has previously interpreted this provision to require that an aggregate dollar amount be shown. The Board adopted this position due to its belief that many customers would find it difficult to interpret the meaning of a statement disclosing the remuneration as a percentage of par value or a unit profit per bond, or to relate this information to the "total dollar amount of [the] transaction" required to be shown under G-15(a)(xi)[†].

Accordingly, we are unable to conclude that disclosure of the remuneration in the manner in which you suggest would be satisfactory for purposes of the rule. The total dollar amount of the remuneration should be set forth on the confirmation. MSRB interpretation of April 23, 1981.


[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(1)(e)]

[†] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(6)(a)]


INTERPRETIVE NOTICE CONCERNING CONFIRMATION DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO VARIABLE-RATE MUNICIPAL SECURITIES - December 10, 1980

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board has recently received inquiries concerning the application of the Board’s confirmation disclosure requirements, which are contained in Board rules G-12 and G-15, to municipal securities with variable or "floating" interest rates.

Rule G-12(c)(v)(E)[*] requires a municipal securities dealer to set forth on an inter-dealer confirmation a description of the securities which are the subject of the transaction, including the interest rate. Rule G-15(a)(i)(E)[*] imposes the same requirement with respect to customer confirmations. The Board is of the view that these provisions require that the security description appearing on customer and inter-dealer confirmations for securities with variable interest rates include a clear indication that the interest rates are variable or "floating."

The Board also notes that due to the variability of the interest rates on these securities, it is not possible to derive a yield to a future call or maturity date. Therefore, the Board has concluded that the provision of rule G-15 which requires that customer confirmations for transactions effected at a dollar price set forth the yield resulting from such dollar price is not applicable to transactions in variable-rate municipal securities.


[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(1)(B)(4)]


NOTICE CONCERNING PRICING TO CALL - December 10, 1980

Board rules G-12 on uniform practice and G-15 on customer confirmations set forth certain requirements concerning the computations of yields and dollar prices to premium call or par option features. Both rules currently require that, in the case of a transaction in callable securities effected on the basis of a yield price, the dollar price should be calculated to the lowest of the price to premium call, price to par option, or price to maturity. Further, confirmations of transactions on which the dollar price has been computed to a call or option feature must state the call date and price used in the computation. Amendments to rule G-15 which will become effective on October 1, 1981, generally require that confirmations of transactions in callable securities effected at a dollar price in excess of par must set forth the lowest of the yield to premium call, yield to par option, or yield to maturity resulting from such dollar price.[1]

Since the December 1977 effective dates of rule G-12 and G-15, the Board has received numerous inquiries concerning these provisions and their application to different issues of municipal securities. In view of the general interest in this subject, the Board is issuing this notice to provide guidance with respect to the general criteria to be used in selecting the appropriate call feature for yield or dollar price computations.

The requirement for the computation of dollar price to the lowest of price to premium call, par option, or maturity reflects the long-established practice of the industry in pricing transactions. This practice assures a customer that he or she will realize, at a minimum, the stated yield, even in the event that a call provision is exercised. The pending amendment to rule G-15, which requires the presentation of information concerning the lowest yield on confirmations of dollar price transactions, will provide investors with the equivalent information on these types of transactions.

In view of the variety of call provisions applicable to different kinds of municipal securities, there is often uncertainty concerning the selection of the appropriate call feature for use in the computation of yield or dollar price. Issues of municipal securities often have several different call features, ranging from calls associated with mandatory sinking fund requirements to optional calls from the proceeds of a refunding or funds in excess of debt service requirements. Certain issues have additional call provisions in the event that funds designated for specific purposes are not expended or obligations securing the issue are prepaid.[2] Most of the inquiries which the Board has received concerning the provisions of rules G-12 and G-15 focus on this question of selection of the call provisions to be used for computation purposes.

The Board is of the view that a distinction should be drawn between "in whole" call provisions, (i.e., those under which all outstanding securities of a particular issue may be called) and "in part" call provisions (i.e., those under which part of an issue, usually selected by lot or in inverse maturity or numerical order, may be called for redemption). The Board is of the view that for computation purposes only "in whole" calls should be used; sinking fund calls and other "in part" calls should not be used in making the computations required by rules G-12 and G-15.

Several inquiries have raised the question of which "in whole" call should be used in the case of issues which have more than one such call. The earlier call features of such issues are often subject to restrictions on the proceeds which may be used to redeem securities (e.g., a restriction that only unexpended funds from the original issue may be used for redemption purposes). Since such call features operate as a practical matter as "in part" calls, the Board is of the view that the "in whole" call feature which would be exercised in the event of a refunding is the call feature which should generally be used for purposes of the computation of yields and dollar prices.

Other concerned persons have inquired regarding the application of the "pricing to call" requirements in the case of an issue with a sequence of call dates at gradually declining premiums. The Board believes that, as a general matter, a trial computation to the first date on which a security is callable "in whole" at a premium will be sufficient to determine whether the price to the premium call is the lowest dollar price. However, in the rare instance where the price to an intermediate premium call (i.e., a call in the "middle" of a sequence of calls at declining premiums) is the lowest dollar price, such price should be used. The Board notes that, in such cases, the structure of the call schedule is sufficiently unusual (e.g., with sharp declines in the premium amount over a very short period of time) that dealers should be alerted to the need to take the intermediate calls into consideration.


[1] Effective December 1, 1980, customer confirmations of transactions in callable securities effected at a dollar price less than par must set forth the yield to maturity resulting from such dollar price. Confirmations of dollar-price transactions in non-callable securities, or securities which have been called or prerefunded, must set forth the resulting yield to maturity (or to the date for redemption of the securities, in the case of called or prerefunded securities).

[2] Other issues are also callable in the event that the financed project is damaged or destroyed, or the tax exempt status of the issue is revoked. Since the possibility of such a call being exercised is extremely remote, and beyond the control of the issuer of the securities, the Board does not believe that these "catastrophe" calls need be considered for computation purposes.


INTERPRETIVE NOTICE ON CONFIRMATION REQUIREMENTS - March 25, 1980

Rule G-12(c)(v)(E) requires a municipal securities dealer to set forth on an inter-dealer confirmation a description of the securities which are the subject of the transaction, including "…in the case of revenue bonds the type of revenue, if necessary for a materially complete description of the securities…."

Rule G-15(a)(v) [*] imposes the identical requirement with respect to customer confirmations. The Board has recently received an inquiry regarding whether these provisions require confirmations of transactions in Los Angeles Department of Water and Power bonds to distinguish between bonds secured by revenues of the electric power system and bonds secured by revenues of the waterworks system.

The Board is of the view that, if securities of a particular issuer are secured by separate sources of revenue, the source of revenue of the securities involved in a transaction is a material element of the description of the securities which should be set forth on customer and inter-dealer confirmations. Confirmations of transactions in Los Angeles Department of Water and Power bonds must therefore indicate whether the securities are "electric revenue" or "water revenue" bonds.


[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15 (a)(i)(C)(1)(a)]


Agency transaction: pricing - September 20, 1979

Agency transaction: pricing. Your letter of August 3, 1979 has been referred to me for response. In your letter you inquire as to the relationship between the requirements to show on customers confirmations the "yield at which transaction is effected" and the "resulting dollar price," particularly in the context of agency transactions where the professional receives a concession or other dealer reallowance as its remuneration.

Under rule G-15, the dollar price disclosed to a customer must be calculated on the basis of the yield at which the transaction was effected. This calculation is made without reference to any possible concession or other allowance which a municipal securities dealer may receive from another municipal securities professional. Accordingly, the dollar price shown on a customer confirmation will always be derived directly from the yield price.

For example, a municipal securities dealer seeking to purchase $100,000 fifteen-year bonds with a 5% coupon as agent for a customer would commonly purchase the securities from another professional at a yield price less a concession (e.g., "5.60½"), and confirm to the customer at the net yield price ("5.60"), retaining the concession as its remuneration. In our example, the customer confirmation would be required to disclose the "yield at which transaction is effected" ("5.60"), the "resulting dollar price" ("93.96"), and the fact that the dealer received $500 as its remuneration in the form of a dealer concession. The dollar price is computed directly from the yield price, and is not net of the concession received.

The confusion may arise from comparing the confirmation sent to a customer to the confirmation sent to the professional on the other side of a transaction. On the inter-dealer confirmation, the "yield at which transaction is effected" will be shown, as well as the amount of the concession, but the unit dollar price may be expressed net of the concession (in our example, "93.46," being the gross dollar price of "93.96" less the ½ point reallowance). This may give the appearance of a difference in price between the purchase and sale confirmations, but in fact both transactions are being effected at the same yield price (in our example, "5.60"), and the dollar price disclosed to the customer is the result of this yield. MSRB interpretation of September 20, 1979.

NOTE: The above letter refers to the text of rule G-15 as in effect prior to amendments effective on January 16, 1992.


Callable securities: pricing to call - March 9, 1979

Callable securities: pricing to call. Your letter, dated January 25, 1979 has been referred to me for response. In your letter, you raise a question regarding pricing of callable securities under rules G-12 and G-15. Specifically, you inquire as to how the dollar price should be calculated for transactions in a particular issue of [Name of bond deleted] bonds. The terms of the issue provide in pertinent part that the securities are subject to redemption prior to maturity on or after October 1, 1984, at declining premiums, from the proceeds of prepayments of mortgage loans (the "1984 call feature").

As you know, Board rules G-12 and G-15 require that

... where a transaction is effected on a yield basis, the dollar price shall be calculated to the lowest of price to premium call, price to par option, or price to maturity...

As an interpretive matter, the Board has adopted the position that the calculation of dollar price to a premium call or par option date should be to that date at which the issuer may exercise an option to call the whole of a particular issue or, in the case of serial bonds, a particular maturity, and not to the date of a call in part.

With respect to your question, the Board is of the view that the dollar price for transactions involving the securities in question should not be calculated to the 1984 call feature. The Board bases its conclusion on (1) the fact that it is extremely unlikely as a practical matter that the call would be exercised as to all or even a significant part of the issue (that is, it is much more likely to operate in practice as an "in part" call) and (2) the exercise of the 1984 call feature would depend on events which are not subject to the control of the issuer. I note that the Board cited this as the reason for not utilizing "catastrophe call" features for purposes of price calculation. MSRB interpretation of March 9, 1979.


Particularity of legend - March 6, 1979

Particularity of legend. I refer to your recent letter in which you inquired regarding the appropriateness of using a particular legend to satisfy certain requirements of rule G-15 on customer confirmations. As you note in your letter, rule G-15 requires that information concerning time of execution of a transaction and the identity of the contra-side of an agency transaction be furnished to customers, at least upon request. You have requested advice as to whether the following legend satisfies the requirements of rule G-15 with respect to this information:

"Other details about this trade may be obtained by written request to the above address."

We are of the opinion that the legend in question does not satisfy the requirements of rule G-15 because it is too general in nature. The legend does not sufficiently apprise customers of their right to obtain information pertaining to the time of execution of a transaction or the identity of the contra-party, as contemplated by rule G-15. A legend specifically alluding to the availability of such information is necessary to satisfy the rule.

The Board has not adopted a standardized form, nor approved particular language for use in compliance with the requirements of the rule. I believe, however, that [Name deleted] is a member of the Dealer Bank Association. I suggest that you refer to the Forms Book prepared by the Dealer Bank Association, which may be of help to you. MSRB interpretation of March 6, 1979.


Callable securities: pricing to call - June 8, 1978

Callable securities: pricing to call. Your letter dated May 1, 1978 concerning the pricing to call provisions of rules G-12 and G-15 has been referred to me for response. In your letter, you request clarification of the application of such provisions to a situation in which securities have been prerefunded and the escrow fund is to be held to the maturity date of the securities. We understand that the securities in question are part of a term issue, sold on a yield basis, and are subject to a mandatory sinking fund call beginning two years prior to maturity.

Under rules G-12 and G-15, the dollar price of a transaction effected on a yield basis must be calculated to the lowest of price to premium call price to par option or price to maturity. The calculation of dollar price to a premium call or par option date should be to that date at which the issuer may exercise an option to call the whole of a particular issue or, in the case of serial bonds, a particular maturity, and not to the date of a call in part.

Accordingly, the calculation of the dollar price of a transaction in the securities in your example should be made to the maturity date. The existence of the sinking fund call should, however, be disclosed on the confirmation by an indication that the securities are "callable." The fact that the securities are prerefunded should also be noted on the confirmation. MSRB interpretation of June 8, 1978.


INTERPRETIVE NOTICE ON RULE G-12 ON UNIFORM PRACTICE AND RULE G-15 ON CUSTOMER CONFIRMATIONS - November 28, 1977

This notice addresses several questions that have arisen concerning Board rules G-12 and G-15. Board rule G-12 establishes uniform industry procedures for the processing, clearance, and settlement of transactions in municipal securities... Board rule G-15 requires municipal securities professionals to send written confirmations of transactions to customers, and specifies the information required to be set forth on the confirmation.

Settlement Dates

In order to establish uniform settlement dates for "regular way" transactions in municipal securities, rule G-12(b)(i)(B) defines the term "business day" as "a day recognized by the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. [the "NASD"] as a day on which securities transactions may be settled." The practice of the NASD has been to exclude from the category of "business day," any day widely designated as a legal bank holiday, and to notify the NASD membership accordingly. Such notices set forth the NASD’s trade and settlement date schedules for periods which include a legal holiday.

"Catastrophe" Call Features

Rules G-12 and G-15 require that confirmations of transactions set forth a "description of the securities, including at a minimum… if the securities are subject to redemption prior to maturity (callable)… an indication to such effect…" (paragraphs G-12(c)(v)(E) and G-15(a)(v)[*]). Both rules also require that in transactions in callable securities effected on a yield basis, dollar price must be shown and "the calculation of dollar price shall be to the lower of price to call or price to maturity" (paragraphs G-12(c)(v)(I) and G-15(a)(viii)[†]).

The references to "callable" securities and pricing to call in rules G-12 and G-15 do not refer to "catastrophe" call features, such as those relating to acts of God or eminent domain, which are beyond the control of the issuer of the securities.


[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(C)(2)(a)]

[] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)]


Agency transactions: remuneration - November 10, 1977

Agency transactions: remuneration. This will acknowledge receipt of your letter dated November 1, 1977 in which you request an interpretation concerning the provision in Board rule G-15(b)(ii)[*] which requires that "the source and amount of any commission or other remuneration" received by a municipal securities dealer in a transaction in which the municipal securities dealer is acting as agent for a customer be disclosed on the confirmation to the customer.

The reference to the "amount of any commission or other remuneration" requires that an aggregate dollar amount be shown, in a purchase transaction on behalf of an equivalent of the dealer concession, and, if applicable, any additional charge to the customer above the price paid to the seller of the securities. In a sale transaction on behalf of a customer, this would normally be the difference between the net price paid by the purchaser of the securities and the proceeds to the customer. If a percentage of par value or unit profit were shown it would be difficult for many customers to relate this information to the "total dollar amount of [the] transaction" required by rule G-15(a)(xi)[†] to be shown on the confirmation.

The reference in rule G-15(b)(ii)[*] to the "source" of remuneration would not require you to differentiate between the concession and any additional charge. Standard language could be included on the confirmation to indicate that your remuneration may include dealer concessions and other charges. MSRB interpretation of November 10, 1977.


[†] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(6)(a)]

[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(1)(e)]


Callable securities: "catastrophe" calls - November 7, 1977

Callable securities: "catastrophe" calls. This will acknowledge receipt of your letter dated October 20, 1977 which has been referred to me for reply. In your letter you request an interpretation of the provisions in rules G-12 and G-15 requiring that the dollar price for transactions in callable securities effected on a yield basis be priced to the lower of price to call or price to maturity. (See rules G-12(c)(v)(I) and G-15(a)(viii))[*].

At its meeting held October 25-26, 1977, the Board confirmed that the requirements in rules G-12 and G-15 relating to pricing to call do not include "catastrophe" calls, that is, calls which occur as a result of events specified in the bond indenture which are beyond the control of the issuer. MSRB interpretation of November 7, 1977.


[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)]