Select regulatory documents by category:
Regulatory Document Type
The Application of Rules G-8 and G-9 to Electronic Recordkeeping
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the “MSRB”) has received requests for interpretive guidance regarding the maintenance in electronic form of records under rule G-8, on books and records, and rule G-9, on preservation of records. As the MSRB has previously noted, rules G-8 and G-9 provide significant flexibility to brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers (“dealers”) concerning the manner in which their records are to be maintained, recognizing that various recordkeeping systems could provide a complete and accurate record of a dealer’s municipal securities activities. Part of the reason for providing this flexibility was that a variety of enforcement agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, NASD Regulation, Inc. and the banking regulatory agencies, all may inspect dealer records.
Rule G-8(b) does not specify that a dealer is required to maintain its books and records in a specific manner so long as the information required to be shown by the rule is clearly and accurately reflected and provides an adequate basis for the audit of such information. Further, rule G-9(e) allows records to be retained electronically provided that the dealer has adequate facilities for ready retrieval and inspection of any such record and for production of easily readable facsimile copies.
The MSRB previously has recognized that efficiencies would be obtained by the replacement of paper files with electronic data bases and filing systems and stated that it generally allows records to be retained in that form. In noting that increased automation would likely lead to elimination of most physical records, the MSRB has stated that electronic trading tickets and automated customer account information satisfy the recordkeeping requirements of rule G-8 so long as such information is maintained in compliance with rule G-9(e). The MSRB believes that this position also applies with respect to the other recordkeeping requirements of rule G-8 so long as such information is maintained in compliance with rule G-9(e) and the appropriate enforcement agency is satisfied that such manner of record creation and retention provides an adequate basis for the audit of the information to be maintained. In particular, the MSRB believes that a dealer that meets the requirements of Rule 17a-4(f) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 with respect to maintenance and preservation of required books and records in the formats described therein would presumptively meet the requirements of rule G-9(e).
March 26, 2001
 See Rule G-8 Interpretation – Interpretive Notice on Recordkeeping, July 29, 1977, reprinted in MSRB Rule Book (January 1, 2001) at 42.
 See Rule G-8 Interpretive Letters – Use of electronic signatures, MSRB interpretation of February 27, 1989, reprinted in MSRB Rule Book (January 1, 2001) at 47.
Supervisory Procedures for the Review of Correspondence with the Public
On March 16, 2000, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved amendments to rules G-8, on books and records, G-9, on preservation of records, and G-27, on supervision. The amendments will become effective on September 19, 2000. The amendments will allow brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers ("dealers") to develop flexible supervisory procedures for the review of correspondence with the public. This notice is being issued to provide guidance to dealers on how to implement these rules.
Technology has greatly expanded how communications between dealers and their customers take place. These new means of communication (e.g., e-mail, Internet) will continue to significantly affect the manner in which dealers and their associated persons conduct their business. While these changes allow timely and efficient communication with customers, prospective customers, and others, the significant changes in communications media and capacity raise questions regarding supervision, review, and retention of correspondence with the public.
In May 1996, the SEC issued an Interpretive Release on the use of Electronic Media by Broker-Dealers, Transfer Agents, and Investment Advisors for Delivery of Information. That release expressed the views of the SEC with respect to the delivery of information through electronic media in satisfaction of requirements in the federal securities laws, but did not address the applicability of any self-regulatory organization ("SRO") rules. In its release the SEC did, however, strongly encourage the SROs to work with broker/dealer firms to adapt SRO supervisory review requirements governing communications with customers to accommodate the use of electronic communications.
On December 31, 1997, the SEC approved proposed rule changes filed by the National Association of Securities Dealers ("NASD") and the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") to update rules governing supervision of communication with the public. NASD Notice to Members 98-11 announced approval of the proposed rule change, provided guidance to firms on how to implement these rules and stated that the amendments to NASD Rules 3010 and 3110 would be effective on February 15, 1998. Over the next year, further amendments were made to NASD Rules 3010 and 3110. NASD Regulation received final SEC approval of amendments to Rule 3010 on November 30, 1998. The rule amendments were effective on March 15, 1999.
As amended, NASD Rule 3010(d)(1) provides that procedures for review of correspondence with the public relating to a member's investment banking or securities business be designed to provide reasonable supervision for each registered representative, be described in an organization's written supervisory procedures, and be evidenced in an appropriate manner. NASD Rule 3010(d)(2) requires each member to develop written policies and procedures for review of correspondence with the public relating to its investment banking or securities business tailored to its structure and the nature and size of its business and customers. These procedures must also include the review of incoming, written correspondence directed to registered representatives and related to the member's investment banking or securities business to properly identify and handle customer complaints and to ensure that customer funds and securities are handled in accordance with firm procedures.
The Board has determined to adopt substantially similar rule changes. The Board believes that conforming its rule language to the language in the NASD rules will help ensure a coordinated regulatory approach to the supervision of correspondence.
Rule G-27(d)(i), as revised, provides that procedures for review of correspondence with the public relating to a dealer's municipal securities activities be designed to provide reasonable supervision for each municipal securities representative, be described in the dealer's written supervisory procedures, and be evidenced in an appropriate manner.
Rule G-27(d)(ii) requires each dealer to develop written policies and procedures for review of correspondence with the public relating to its municipal securities activities, tailored to its structure and the nature and size of its business and customers. The rule requires that any dealer that does not conduct either an electronic or manual pre-use review will be required to:
develop appropriate supervisory procedures;
monitor and test to ensure these policies and procedures are being implemented and complied with;
provide education and training to all appropriate employees concerning the dealer's current policies and procedures governing correspondence, and update this training as policies and procedures are changed; and
maintain records documenting how and when employees are educated and trained.
The rule change states that these procedures must also include the review of incoming, written correspondence directed to municipal securities representatives and related to the dealer's municipal securities activities to properly identify and handle customer complaints and to ensure that customer funds and securities are handled in accordance with the dealer's procedures.
It is the understanding and view of the Board that dealers possess the legal capacity to insist that mail addressed to their offices be deemed to be related to their businesses, even if marked to the attention of a particular associated person, if they advise associated persons that personal correspondence should not be received at their firms. Dealers, other than non-NASD member bank dealers, are reminded that SEC Rule 17a-4(b)(4) requires that "originals of all communications received . . . by such member, broker or dealer, relating to its business as such . . ." must be preserved for not less than three years.
The retention requirements of the amendments to rule G-27 cross reference rules G-8(a)(xx) and G-9(b)(viii) and (xiv) and state that the names of persons who prepared, reviewed and approved correspondence must be readily ascertainable from the retained records. The records must be made available, upon request, to the appropriate enforcement agency (i.e., NASD or federal bank regulatory agency).
Guidelines For Supervision And Review
In adopting review procedures pursuant to rule G-27(d)(i), dealers must:
specify, in writing, the dealer's policies and procedures for reviewing different types of correspondence;
identify how supervisory reviews will be conducted and documented;
identify what types of correspondence will be pre- or post-reviewed;
identify the organizational position(s) responsible for conducting review of the different types of correspondence;
specify the minimum frequency of the reviews for each type of correspondence;
monitor the implementation of and compliance with the dealer's procedures for reviewing public correspondence; and
periodically re-evaluate the effectiveness of the dealer's procedures for reviewing public correspondence and consider any necessary revisions.
In conducting reviews, dealers may use reasonable sampling techniques. As an example of appropriate evidence of review, e-mail related to the dealer's municipal securities activities may be reviewed electronically and the evidence of review may be recorded electronically.
In developing supervisory procedures for the review of correspondence with the public pursuant to rule G-27(d)(ii), each dealer must consider its structure, the nature and size of its business, other pertinent characteristics, and the appropriateness of implementing uniform firm-wide procedures or tailored procedures (i.e., by specific function, office/location, individual, or group of persons).
In adopting review procedures pursuant to rule G-27(d)(ii), dealers must, at a minimum:
specify procedures for reviewing municipal securities representatives' recommendations to customers;
require supervisory review of some of each municipal securities representative's public correspondence, including recommendations to customers;
consider the complaint and overall disciplinary history, if any, of municipal securities representatives and other employees (with particular emphasis on complaints regarding written or oral communications with clients); and
consider the nature and extent of training provided municipal securities representatives and other employees, as well as their experience in using communications media (although a dealer's procedures may not eliminate or provide for minimal supervisory reviews based on an employee's training or level of experience in using communications media).
Although dealers may consider the number, size, and location of offices, as well as the volume of correspondence overall or in specific areas of the organization, dealers must nonetheless develop appropriate supervisory policies and procedures in light of their duty to supervise their associated persons. The factors listed above are not exclusive and dealers must consider all appropriate factors when developing their supervisory procedures and implementing their supervisory reviews.
Supervisory policy and procedures must also:
provide that all customer complaints, whether received via e-mail or in written form from the customer, are kept and maintained;
describe any dealer standards for the content of different types of correspondence; and
prohibit municipal securities representatives' and other employees' use of electronic correspondence to the public unless such communications are subject to supervisory and review procedures developed by the dealer. For example, the Board would expect dealers to prohibit correspondence with customers from employees' home computers or through third party systems unless the dealer is capable of monitoring such communications.
The method used for conducting reviews of incoming, written correspondence to identify customer complaints and funds may vary depending on the dealer's office structure. Where the office structure permits review of all correspondence, dealers should designate a municipal securities representative or other appropriate person to open and review correspondence prior to use or distribution to identify customer complaints and funds. The designated person must not be supervised or under the control of the municipal securities representative whose correspondence is opened and reviewed. Unregistered persons who have received sufficient training to enable them to identify complaints and funds would be permitted to review correspondence.
Where the office structure does not permit the review of correspondence prior to use or distribution, appropriate procedures that could be adopted include the following:
forwarding opened incoming written correspondence related to the dealer's municipal securities activities to a designated office, or supervising branch office, for review on a weekly basis;
maintenance of a separate log for all checks received and securities products sold, which is forwarded to the supervising branch office on a weekly basis;
communication to clients that they can contact the dealer directly for any matter, including the filing of a complaint, and providing them with an address and telephone number of a central office of the dealer for this purpose; and
branch examination verification that the procedures are being followed.
Regardless of the method used for initial review of incoming, written correspondence, as with other types of correspondence, rule G-27 would still require review by a designated principal of some of each municipal securities representative's correspondence with the public relating to the dealer's municipal securities activities. Given the complexity and cost of establishing appropriate systems for effectively reviewing electronic communications, some members may determine to conduct a pre-use or distribution review of all incoming and outgoing correspondence (written or electronic).
Dealers must continually assess the effectiveness of these supervisory systems. Education and training must be timely (prior to or concurrent with implementation of the policies and procedures) and must include all appropriate employees. Dealers may incorporate the required education and training on correspondence into their Continuing Education Firm Element Training Program (see rule G-3(h) on continuing education requirements). The requirement for training regarding correspondence may also apply to employees who are not included under the Continuing Education requirements.
See Exchange Act Release No. 42538 (March 16, 2000), 65 FR 15675 (March 23, 1999). �
 See Securities Act Release No. 7288, Exchange Act Release No. 37182, Investment Company Act Release No. 21945, Investment Advisor Act Release No. 1562 (May 9, 1996), 61 FR 24644 (May 15, 1996) (File No. S7-13-96).
 See Exchange Act Release No. 39510 (December 31, 1997), 63 FR 1131 (January 8, 1998).
 See Exchange Act Release No. 39511 (December 31, 1997), 63 FR 1135 (January 8, 1998).
 See Exchange Act Release No. 40723 (November 30, 1998), 63 FR 67496 (December 7, 1998).
 See Notice to Members 99-03 (January 1999).
Use of Electronic Signatures
Use of electronic signatures. This is in response to your letter and a number of subsequent telephone conversations regarding your dealer department's proposed use of a bond trading system. The system is an online, realtime system that integrates all front and back office functions. The system features screen input of customer account and trading information which would allow the dealer department to eliminate the paper documents currently in use. The signature of the representative introducing a customer account, required to be recorded with customer account information by rule G-8, and the signature of the principal signifying approval of each municipal securities transaction, required by rule G-27, would be performed electronically, i.e., by input in a restricted datafield. The signature of the principal approving the opening of the account, required by rule G-8, will continue to be performed manually on a printout of the customer information.
Rule G-8(a)(vi) and (vii) require dealers to make and keep records for each agency and principal transaction. The records may be in the form of trading tickets or similar documents. In addition, rule G-8(a)(xi), on recordkeeping of customer account information, requires, among other things, the signature of the representative introducing the account and the principal indicating acceptance of the account to be included on the customer account record. Rule G-27(c)(ii)[*] requires, among other things, the prompt review and written approval of each transaction in municipal securities. In addition, the rule requires the regular and frequent examination of customer accounts in which municipal securities transactions are effected in order to detect and prevent irregularities and abuses. The approvals and review must be made by the designated municipal securities principal or the municipal securities sales principal. Rule G-9(e), on preservation of records, allows records to be retained electronically provided that the dealer has adequate facilities for ready retrieval and inspection of any such record and for production of easily readable facsimile copies.
The Board recognizes that efficiencies would be obtained by the replacement of paper files with electronic data bases and filing systems and generally allows records to be retained in that form. Moreover, as dealers increasingly automate, there will be more interest in deleting most physical records. Electronic trading tickets and automated customer account information satisfy the recordkeeping requirements of rule G-8 as long as such information is maintained in compliance with rule G-9(e).
The Board and your enforcement agency are concerned, however, that it may be difficult to verify a representative's signature on opening the account or a principal's signature approving municipal securities transactions or periodically reviewing customer accounts if the signatures are noted only electronically. Your enforcement agency has advised us of its discussions with you. Apparently, it is satisfied that appropriate security and audit procedures can be developed to permit the use of electronic signatures of representatives and principals and ensure that such signatures are verifiable. Thus, the Board has determined that rules G-8 and G-27 permit the use of electronic signatures when security and audit procedures are agreed upon by the dealer and its appropriate enforcement agency. Whatever procedures are agreed upon must be memorialized in the dealer's written supervisory procedures required by rule G-27. MSRB Interpretation of February 27, 1989.
 In addition, you noted in a telephone conversation that the periodic review of customer accounts required by rule G-27(c)(ii)[*] also will be handled electronically using the principal's electronic signature to signify approval.
 See rule G-9(e).
[*] [Currently codified at Rule G-27(c)(i)(G)(2)]
Contract sheets. This will respond to your letter of May 28, 1987, and confirm our telephone conversation of the same date concerning recordkeeping of “contract sheets.” You ask whether dealers are required by Board rules G-8 and G-9 to maintain records of “contract sheets” of municipal securities transactions.
Rule G-8(a)(ix) requires dealers to maintain records of all confirmations of purchases and sales of municipal securities, including inter-dealer transactions. Rule G-12(f), in certain instances, requires inter- dealer transactions to be compared through an automated comparison system operated by a clearing agency registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, rather than by physical confirmations. These automated comparison systems generate “contract sheets” to each party of a trade, which confirm the existence and the terms of the transaction.
This will confirm my advice to you that such contract sheets are deemed to be confirmations of transactions for purposes of rule G-8(a)(ix). Thus, dealers are required to include contract sheets in their records of confirmations and, under rule G-9(b)(v), are required to maintain these records for no less than three years. MSRB interpretation of June 25, 1987.
 Rule G-12(c) governs the content of and procedures for sending physical confirmations.
 You also ask about the interpretation of rules 17a-3 and 17a-4 under the Securities Exchange Act. The Board is not authorized to interpret these Securities and Exchange Commission rules. You may wish to contact the SEC for guidance on this matter.
Records of Certificate Numbers of Securities Cleared by Clearing Agents
Rule G-8(a)(i) requires that dealers maintain records of original entry that include certificate numbers of all securities received or delivered. The Board has received inquiries whether a dealer must maintain in its records of original entry the certificate numbers of securities that are received or delivered by a clearing agent on behalf of the dealer or whether it is permissible for the clearing agent to maintain records of the certificate numbers for the dealer.
The Board has concluded that, for transactions in which physical securities are cleared by a clearing agent, records of the certificate numbers of the securities required by rule G-8(a)(i) may be maintained by the agent on behalf of the dealer if the dealer obtains an agreement in writing from the agent in which the following conditions are specified: (i) a complete and current record of certificate numbers of physical securities cleared by the agent will be maintained on behalf of the dealer by the agent; (ii) the agent will preserve such record, and will provide such record to the dealer promptly upon request, in a manner allowing the dealer to comply with Board rule G-9 on maintenance and preservation of records. The Board emphasizes that a dealer allowing a clearing agent to maintain records of certificate numbers on its behalf continues to be responsible for the accurate maintenance and preservation of such records in conformance with the Board’s recordkeeping rules.
Microfilming of Records
Microfilming of records. I am writing in response to your letter of May 20, 1983 regarding our previous conversations about the requirements of Board rules G-1 and G-9 as they would apply to the bank's retention of dealer department records on microfilm. In your letter and our previous conversations you indicated that the bank wishes to retain all of the records required to be maintained by its municipal securities dealer department on microfilm, with the hard copy of each record destroyed immediately after it has been microfilmed. You inquired as to the circumstances under which this method of record retention could be used. You also inquired about the extent to which municipal securities dealer department records could be commingled with records of other departments on the same strips of microfilm.
As you are aware, Board rule G-9(e) provides that
a record...required to be preserved by this rule...may be retained...on microfilm, electronic or magnetic tape, or by the other similar medium of record retention, provided that [the] municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer shall have available adequate facilities for ready retrieval and inspection of any such record and for production of easily readable facsimile copies thereof and, in the case of records retained on microfilm, electronic or magnetic tape, or other similar medium of record retention, duplicates of such records shall be stored separately from each other for the periods of time required by this rule.
Therefore, the following three conditions must be met, if records are to be retained on microfilm:
(1) facilities for ready retrieval and inspection of the records (such as a microfilm reader or other similar piece of equipment) must be available;
(2) facilities for the reproduction of a hard copy facsimile of a particular record must also be available; and
(3) duplicate copies of the microfilm must be made and stored separately for the necessary time periods.
If these conditions are met, the retention of records by means of microfilm is satisfactory for purposes of the Board's rules, and hard copy records need not be retained after the microfilming is completed.
With respect to the establishment of a separately identifiable municipal securities dealer department of a bank, Board rule G-1 provides that all of the records relating to the municipal securities activities of such department must be
separately maintained in or separately extractable from such [department's] own facilities or the facilities of the bank...[and must be] so maintained or otherwise accessible as to permit independent examination thereof and enforcement of applicable provisions of the Act, the rules and regulations thereunder and the rules of the Board.
These requirements would not preclude you from maintaining the required records on microfilm which also contained other bank records, as long as the required records were "separately extractable." The course of action you propose, maintaining all municipal securities dealer department records together as the first items on a roll of microfilm, would seem to be an appropriate way of complying with these requirements. MSRB interpretation of June 6, 1983.
Syndicate records. I am writing in response to your letters of October 2 and October 19, 1981 concerning a particular recordkeeping arrangement used by an NASD-member firm in connection with its underwriting activities. In your letters you indicate that the firm conducts its underwriting activities from its main office and four regional branch office "commitment centers," with the committing branch offices authorized to commit to underwriting new issues on the firm's behalf. You inquire whether the firm is in compliance with the Board's recordkeeping and record retention rules if it maintains only part of the records on its underwritings in the main office. Correspondence from a field examiner attached to your letters indicates that the committing branch office originating a particular underwriting maintains all of the records with respect to such underwriting. The majority of these records are the original copies; the copies of confirmations, good faith checks, and syndicate settlement checks maintained at the committing branch office are duplicates of original records maintained at the firm's main office.
Rule G-9(d) requires that books and records shall be maintained and preserved in an easily accessible place for two years and shall be available for ready inspection by the proper regulatory authorities. The fact that the member firm does not maintain all records with respect to all of its underwriting activities in a single location does not contravene these provisions of Board rule G-9. Rule G-9 would permit the arrangement described in your letters, whereby a firm maintains copies of all of the records pertaining to a particular underwriting in the office responsible for that underwriting.
Thank you for your prompt assistance in providing the additional information we needed in order to respond to your inquiry. MSRB interpretation of October 21, 1981.
INTERPRETIVE NOTICE ON RECORDKEEPING
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the "Board") has received a number of inquiries concerning Board rules G-8 and G-9. These rules require municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers to make and keep current certain specified records concerning their municipal securities business and to preserve such records for specified periods of time. This interpretive notice addresses several of the more frequent inquiries received by the Board regarding these rules.
General Purposes of Recordkeeping Rules
The Board’s recordkeeping rules are designed to require organizations engaged in the municipal securities business to maintain appropriate records concerning their activities in such business. In writing the rules, the Board adopted the approach of specifying in some detail the information to be reflected in the various records. The Board believed that this approach would provide helpful guidance to municipal securities professionals as well as the regulatory agencies charged with the responsibility of examining the records of such firms. At the same time, the Board attempted to provide a degree of flexibility to firms concerning the manner in which their records are to be maintained, recognizing that various recordkeeping systems could provide a complete and accurate record of a firm’s municipal securities activities. The interpretations set forth in this notice are intended to be consistent with the foregoing purposes.
This notice is not intended to address all of the questions which have arisen, or may arise; the Board will continue its policy of responding to written requests for individual interpretations and may issue further interpretive notices on recordkeeping should additional questions of general interest arise.
The following topics are covered in this interpretive notice:General Purposes of Recordkeeping Rules
Election to Follow Board or Commission Recordkeeping Rules
Maintenance of Records on a Trade Date or Settlement Date Basis
Current Posting of Records
Unit System Method of Recordkeeping
Rule G-8(a)(ii)—Account Records
Rule G-8(a)(iii)—Securities Records
Rules G-8(a)(vi) and (vii)—Records for Agency and Principal Transactions
Rule G-8(a)(xi)—Customer Account Information
Rule G-8(c)—Non-Clearing Municipal Securities Brokers and Municipal Securities Dealers
Rule G-9(b)(viii)(C)—Preservation of Written Communications
Election to Follow Board or Commission Recordkeeping Rules
Rules G-8(f) and G-9(g) provide that municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers other than bank dealers, who are in compliance with the recordkeeping rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "Commission"), will be deemed to be in compliance with Board rules G-8 and G-9, provided that the following additional records, not specified in the Commission’s rules, are maintained by such firms: records of uncompleted transactions involving customers (subparagraph (a)(iv)(D)); records relating to syndicate transactions (paragraph (a)(viii)); new account information (paragraph (a)(xi)); and information concerning customer complaints (paragraph (a)(xii)). Conversely, Commission rules 17a-3 and 17a-4 provide that securities firms engaged in the municipal securities business will satisfy all regulatory requirements concerning recordkeeping with respect to their municipal securities business if they are in compliance with the Board’s rules.
Securities firms must determine to comply with either the Board or Commission rules, but are not required to file with either the Board or the commission a formal written notice of election. Satisfactory compliance with either set of rules will be subject to determination in the course of periodic compliance examinations conducted by the regulatory organizations charged with enforcement of Board and Commission rules.
Maintenance of Records on a Trade Date or Settlement Date Basis
Under rule G-8, records concerning purchases and sales of municipal securities may be maintained on either a trade date or settlement date basis, provided that all records relating to purchases and sales are maintained on a consistent basis. For example, if a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer maintains its records of original entry concerning purchases and sales (rule G-8(a)(i)) on a settlement date basis, the municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer must also maintain its account records (rule G-8(a)(ii)) and securities records (rule G-8(a)(iii)) on the same basis.
The above records may not be maintained on a clearance date basis, that is, the date the securities are actually delivered or received. Records maintained on a clearance date basis would not accurately reflect obligations of a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer to deliver or accept delivery of securities. Of course, the date of clearance should be noted in the records of original entry, account records and securities records, regardless of whether these records are kept on a trade date or settlement date basis.
Current Posting of Records
Rule G-8 provides that every municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer must make and keep current the records specified in the rule. The Board has received inquiries as to the time within which records must be posted to satisfy the currency requirement.
Blotters or other records of original entry showing purchases and sales of municipal securities should be prepared no later than the end of the business day following the trade date. Transactions involving the purchase and sale of securities should be posted to the account records no later than settlement date and to the securities records no later than the end of the business day following the settlement date. Records relating to securities movements and cash receipts and disbursements should reflect such events on the date they occur and should be posted to the appropriate records no later than the end of the following business day.
Commission rule 17a-11 requires municipal securities dealers, other than bank dealers, to give immediate notice to the Commission and their designated examining authorities of any failure to make and keep current the required records, and to take corrective action within forty-eight hours after the transmittal of such notice.
Unit System Method of Recordkeeping
Under rule G-8, records may be maintained in a variety of ways, including a unit system of recordkeeping. In such a system, records are kept in the form of a group of documents or related groups of documents. For example, customer account records may consist of copies of confirmations and other related source documents, if necessary, arranged by customer.
A unit system of recordkeeping is an acceptable system for purposes of rule G-8 if the information required to be shown is clearly and accurately reflected and there is an adequate basis for audit. This would require in most instances that each record in a unit system be arranged in appropriate sequence, whether chronological or numerical, and fully integrated into the overall recordkeeping system for purposes of posting to general ledger accounts.
Rules G-8(a)(ii)—Account Records
Rule G-8(a)(ii) requires every municipal securities broker and municipal securities dealer to maintain account records for each customer account and the account of the municipal securities broker and municipal securities dealer, showing all purchases and sales, all receipts and deliveries of securities, all receipts and disbursements of cash, and all other debits and credits to such account.
The account records may be kept in several different formats. Ledger entries organized separately for each customer and for the municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer, showing the requisite information, would clearly satisfy the requirements of rule G-8(a)(ii).
The requirements of rule G-8(a)(ii) can also be satisfied by a unit system of recordkeeping. See discussion above. Under such a system, a municipal securities professional might maintain files, organized by customer, containing copies of confirmations and other pertinent documents, if necessary, which reflect all the information required by rule G-8(a)(ii).
The question has also been raised whether the account records requirement of rule G-8(a)(ii) can be satisfied by an electronic data processing system which can produce account records by tracing through separate transactions. The Board is of the view that such a system is acceptable if the account records should be obtainable without delay, although the records need not be maintained by customer prior to being produced. The account records so produced must also reflect clearly and accurately all the required information, provide an adequate basis for audit and be fully integrated into the overall recordkeeping system. Under rule G-27, on supervision, a municipal securities principal is required to supervise the activities of municipal securities representatives with respect to customer accounts and other matters. In this connection, it may be appropriate to obtain printouts of customer accounts on a periodic basis.
The Board believes that it is important to maintain account records in the fashion described above in view of several of the Board’s fair practice rules, such as the rules on suitability and churning. Account records will be important both as a tool for management to detect violations of these rules and for enforcement of these rules by the regulatory agencies conducting compliance examinations or responding to complaints.
The requirement to maintain account records does not apply to a firm which effects transactions exclusively with other municipal securities professionals and has no customers, as defined in paragraph (e) of rule G-8.
Rule G-8(a)(iii)—Securities Records
Rule G-8(a)(iii) requires that records be kept showing separately for each municipal security all long and short positions carried by a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer for its account or for the account of a customer, the location of all such securities long and the offsetting position to all such securities short, and the name or other designation of the account in which each position is carried.
The securities records should reflect not only purchases and sales, but also any movement of securities, such as whether securities have been sent out for validation or transfer. If there is no activity with respect to a particular security, it is not necessary to make daily entries for the security in the securities records. The last entry will be deemed to be carried forward until there is further activity involving the security.
Rule G-8(a)(iii) requires that the securities records show all long security count differences and short count differences classified by the date of physical count and verification on which they were discovered. The Board currently has no rule requiring municipal securities professionals to make periodic securities counts. However, if such counts are made, all count differences must be noted as provided in this section. Commission rule 17a-13 requires municipal securities dealers, other than bank dealers and certain securities firms exempted from the rule, to examine and count securities at least once in each quarter.
The requirement to maintain securities records under rule G-8 does not apply to a firm which effects municipal securities transactions exclusively with other municipal securities professionals and has no customers, as defined in paragraph (e) of rule G-8, provided the firm does not carry positions for its own account and records or fails to deliver, fails to receive and bank loans are reflected in other records of the firm.
Rules G-8(a)(vi) and (vii)—Records for Agency and Principal Transactions
Rules G-8(a)(vi) and (vii) require municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers to make and keep records for each agency order and each transaction effected by the municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer as principal. The records may be in the form of trading tickets or similar documents. In each case, the records must contain certain specified information, including "to the extent feasible, the time of execution."
The phrase "to the extent feasible" is intended to require municipal securities professionals to note the time of execution for each agency and principal transaction except in extraordinary circumstances when it is impossible to determine the exact time of execution. In such cases, the municipal securities professional should note the approximate time of execution and indicate that it is an approximation.
Rule G-8(a)(xi)—Customer Account Information
Rule G-8(a)(xi) requires a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer to obtain certain information for each customer. Several distinct questions have been raised with respect to this provision.
The requirement to obtain the requisite information may be satisfied in a number of ways. Some municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers have prepared questionnaires which they have had their customers complete and return. Others have instructed their salesmen to obtain the information from customers over the telephone at the time orders are placed. It is not necessary to obtain a written statement from a customer to be in compliance with the provision.
Except for the tax identification or social security number of a customer, the customer account information required by this provision must be obtained prior to the settlement of a transaction. The Board believes that such a requirement is reasonable since the information is basic and important.
The requirement in subparagraph (C) of rule G-8(a)(xi) to obtain the tax identification or social security number of a customer tracks the requirement in section 103.35, Part 103 of Title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which was adopted by the Treasury Department and became effective in June 1972. Under this section, every broker, dealer and bank must obtain the tax identification or social security number of customers. If a broker, dealer or bank is unable to secure such information after reasonable effort, it must maintain a record identifying all such accounts. The Board interprets subparagraph (C) of rule G-8(a)(xi) in a similar fashion to require municipal securities professionals to make a reasonable effort to obtain a customer’s tax identification or social security number and, if they are unable to do so, to keep a record of that fact.
Several inquiries have focused on the scope of subparagraph (G) of rule G-8(a)(xi) which requires that a record be made and kept of the name and address of the beneficial owner or owners of such account if other than the customer and transactions are to be confirmed to such owner or owners.
This provision applies to the situation in which securities are confirmed to an account which has not directly placed the order for the securities. This frequently occurs in connection with investment advisory accounts, where the investment advisor places an order for a client and directs the executing firm to confirm the transaction directly to the investment advisor’s client.
Under rule G-8, the only information which must be obtained in such circumstances for the account to which the transaction is confirmed is the name and address of the account, information which would have to be obtained in any event in order to transmit the confirmation. Since the investment advisor itself is the customer, the other items of customer account information set forth in rule G-8(a)(xi) need not be obtained for the investment advisor’s client. The customer account information applicable to institutional accounts, however, must be obtained with respect to the investment advisor. Also, the account records required by rule G-8(a)(ii) would not be required to be maintained for the investment advisor’s client, although such records would have to be maintained with respect to the account of the investment advisor.
A municipal securities professional is not required to ascertain the name and address of the beneficial owner or owners of an account if such information is not voluntarily furnished. Subparagraph G-8(a)(xi)(G) applies only when an order is entered on behalf of another person and the transaction is to be confirmed directly to the other person.
A recent court decision, Rolf v. Blyth Eastman Dillon & Co. Inc., et al. issued on January 17, 1977, in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, may have important implications with respect to the obligations generally of securities professionals to beneficial owners of accounts, especially to clients of investment advisors. We commend your attention to this decision, which has been appealed.
Rule G-8(c)—Non-Clearing Municipal Securities Brokers and Municipal Securities Dealers
Rule G-8(c) provides that a non-clearing municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer is not required to make and keep the books and records prescribed by rule G-8 if they are made and kept by a clearing broker, dealer, bank or clearing agency. Accordingly, to the extent that records required by rule G-8 are maintained for a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer by a clearing agent, the municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer does not have to maintain such records. A non-clearing municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer is still responsible for the accurate maintenance and preservation of the records if they are maintained by a clearing agent other than a clearing broker or dealer, and should assure itself that the records are being maintained by the clearing agent in accordance with applicable recordkeeping requirements of the Board.
In the case of a bank dealer, clearing arrangements must be approved by the appropriate regulatory agency for the bank dealer. The bank regulatory agencies are each considering the adoption of procedures to approve clearing arrangements. It is contemplated that these procedures will require the inclusion of certain provisions in clearing agreements, such as an undertaking by the clearing agent to maintain the bank dealer’s records in compliance with rules G-8 and G-9, and will specify the mechanics for having such arrangements considered and approved. The bank regulatory agencies indicate that they will advise bank dealers subject to their respective jurisdictions on this matter in the near future.
In the case of a securities firm, Commission approval is required for all clearing arrangements with entities other than a broker, dealer or bank. The Commission has recently proposed an amendment to its rule 17a-4 which would eliminate the need to obtain Commission approval of clearing arrangements with such other entities, provided that certain specified conditions are met. If the proposed rule is adopted, the Board would make a corresponding change in rule G-8.
If an agent clears transactions, but transmits copies of all records to the municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer, and these records are preserved by the municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer in accordance with rule G-9, the clearing arrangement is not subject to the rule G-8(c).
Rule G-9(b)(viii)(C)—Preservation of Written Communications
Subparagraph (C) of rule G-9(b)(viii) requires municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers to preserve for three years all written communications received or sent, including inter-office memoranda, relating to the conduct of the activities of such municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer with respect to municipal securities.
The communications required to be preserved by this provision relate to the conduct of a firm’s activities with respect to municipal securities. Accordingly, such documents as internal memoranda regarding offerings or bids, letters to or from customers and other municipal securities professionals regarding municipal securities, and research reports must be preserved. Documents pertaining purely to administrative matters, such as vacation policy and the like, would not have to be preserved for purposes of the rule.