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Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:
Uniform Practice and Rule G-15 on Customer Confirmations
Rule Number:

Rule G-12, Rule G-15

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)]

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:
Agency Transactions: Remuneration
Rule Number:

Rule G-15

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)]

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:
Callable Securities: "Catastrophe" Calls
Rule Number:

Rule G-12, Rule G-15

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)]

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:
INTERPRETIVE NOTICE ON RECORDKEEPING
Rule Number:

Rule G-8, Rule G-9

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.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:
Quotation of municipal securities
Rule Number:

Rule G-13

Quotation of municipal securities. This will acknowledge receipt of your letter dated February 9, 1977 concerning the Board’s proposed rule G-13 on quotations relating to municipal securities. In your letter you raise certain questions concerning the intent and application of paragraph (b)(ii) of proposed rule G-13, which prohibits a municipal securities professional from distributing or publishing a municipal securities quotation, or causing such a quotation to be distributed or published, unless the quotation is based upon the professional’s best judgment as to the fair market value of the security.

While the provision in question would undoubtedly apply to situations involving outright fraud, the Board believes the rule to have appropriate application in other circumstances as well.  Thus, the Board has attempted in paragraph (b)(ii) to proscribe conduct which, in the Board’s opinion, constitutes bad business practice but may not, depending on the circumstances, constitute fraud. The Board firmly believes that as a matter of just and equitable principles of trade in the municipal securities industry and with a view to promoting free and open markets in municipal securities, certain practices should not be condoned, even though they do not necessarily rise to the level of fraud or cannot be proven to constitute fraud.

Some examples of how paragraph (b)(ii) would operate may be useful.  First, assume that a dealer submits a bid for bonds, knowing that they have been called by the issuer.  The bonds are not general market bonds and the fact that they have been called is not widely known. While called bonds ordinarily trade at a premium, the dealer’s bid is based on the value of the bonds as though they had not been called and is accepted by the dealer on the other side of the trade who is unaware of the called status of the bonds.  In these circumstances, the bid clearly would not have been based upon the best judgment of the dealer making it as to the fair market value of the bonds. While one might argue that the dealer accepting the bid should have known of the called status of the bonds, the dealer making the bid acted unethically and in a manner not conducive to free and open markets in municipal securities. In the Board’s view, the actions of the dealer making the bid should not be condoned, although a charge of fraud might be difficult to sustain in dealings between professionals and might be inappropriate. The improper nature of the dealer’s conduct would be exacerbated, of course, if the person on the other side of the transaction is a non-professional.  However, difficulties in proof that the conduct of the dealer was fraudulent suggest that the best judgment rule would provide an appropriate alternative basis for enforcement action.

Another situation that would be covered by the best judgment rule is one in which a dealer submits a bid for bonds based on valuations obtained from independent sources, which in turn are based on mistaken assumptions concerning the nature of the securities in question.  The circumstances indicate that the dealer submitting the bid knows that the securities have a substantially greater market value than the price bid, but the fact that independent valuations were obtained, albeit based on mistaken facts, clouds the dealer’s culpability.

A third situation to which the best judgment rule would apply is one in which a dealer makes a bid for or offer of a security without any knowledge as to the value of the security or the value of comparable securities. While the Board does not intend that the best judgment of a dealer as to the fair market value of a security be second-guessed for purposes of the proposed rule, the Board does intend that the dealer be required to act responsibly and to exercise some judgment in submitting a quotation.  In other words, a quotation which has been “pulled out of the air” is not based on the best judgment of the dealer and, in the interests of promoting free and open markets in municipal securities, should not be encouraged.

Given the manner in which the Board intends the “best judgment” rule to operate, the Board concluded that it would not have an anti-competitive impact on the municipal markets. The proposed rule is not intended to prohibit legitimate price discounts or mark-ups, as the case may be, based upon a dealer’s anticipation of the direction of the movement of the markets and other factors. The Board does not intend to interfere with legitimate pricing mechanisms and recognizes that there may be a variety of quotations with respect to a given security, each of which would comply with the terms of the proposed rule.

While it is not possible to anticipate all of the specific fact situations that might run afoul of the “best judgment” rule, I would like to make some general observations concerning the operation of the proposed rule. As you know, one of Congress’ principal purposes in calling for the establishment of the Board was to promote the development of a body of rules for the municipal securities industry that would furnish quidelines for good business conduct. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs observed in its Report on the Securities Acts Amendments of 1975 that prior to the legislation, the conduct of municipal market professionals could be controlled only after the fact through enforcement by the Commission of the fraud prohibitions of the federal securities laws.  The Senate Committee expressed hope that a self-regulatory body like the Board would develop prophylactic rules for the industry which would deter unethical and fraudulent practices in the first instance. See Senate Report 94-75, 94thCong., 1st Sess., 42-43. MSRB interpretation of February 24, 1977.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:
Interpretive Notice on Professional Qualifications
Rule Number:

Rule G-3

On December 23, 1976, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the "Board") issued an interpretive notice addressing certain questions received by the Board with respect to its professional qualifications rules (rules G-2 through G-7). Since that time, the Board has received additional questions concerning rule G-3 which are discussed in this interpretive notice.

1. Requirements for Financial and Operations Principals.

Under the rule G-3(b)(ii)[*], every municipal securities broker and municipal securities dealer other than a bank dealer is required to have at least one qualified financial and operations principal. As defined in the rule, this person is responsible for the overall supervision and preparation of financial reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission and self-regulatory organizations and for the processing, clearance, safekeeping and recordkeeping activities of the firm. If more than one person shares these overall supervisory responsibilities, each such person must be qualified as a financial and operations principal.

The question has been asked whether a financial and operations principal whose duties relate solely to financial and operational matters and not, for example, to underwriting, trading, or sales functions must qualify also as a municipal securities principal by passing the Board's municipal securities principal examination when it is prescribed. The Board does not intend to impose such a requirement on persons whose functions are limited to those set forth in the definition of a financial and operations principal.

The question has also been asked whether a person performing only the functions of a financial and operations principal on and after December 1, 1975 would be "grandfathered" as a municipal securities principal for purposes of taking the Board's municipal securities principal examination when prescribed if such person begins supervising underwriting, trading or sales functions. Activities relating to financial and operational matters are substantially different from those relating to underwriting, trading and sales or other categories of activities supervised by municipal securities principals. The Board does not intend, therefore, that financial and operations principals be "grandfathered" for purposes of the Board's examination requirements for municipal securities principals, or that a financial and operations principal would be qualified to engage in such other supervisory activities solely by reason of having met the Board's requirements for financial and operations principals.

The Board has also been asked whether senior officers or general partners of a firm, who may bear ultimate legal responsibility for the financial and operational activities of the firm, must be qualified as financial and operations principals under the Board's rules. Although the answer depends on the particular factual situation, officers or partners not directly involved in the financial and operations affairs of a firm generally would not be required to qualify as financial and operations principals.

2. Activities Requiring Qualification as a Municipal Securities Principal.

The question has been asked whether supervisory personnel in the processing and clearance areas must qualify as the municipal securities principals under rule G-3. In a securities firm, the financial and operations principal ordinarily would be the only person supervising operations-related activities who will be required to pass an examination. With respect to bank dealer supervisory personnel, to whom the financial and operations principal classification does not apply, qualification in a principal capacity in the operations area will not be required unless the person in question exercises policy-making authority. Thus, an individual may supervise a bank dealer's processing activities without qualifying as a municipal securities principal, regardless of the number of persons supervised by such individual, if policy-making functions and discretionary authority are delegated to a higher level.

Somewhat different considerations apply in determining which persons are required to be qualified as municipal securities principals in connection with underwriting, trading, sales or other activities referred to in the Board's rules as municipal securities principal activities. In these areas, the qualification requirements apply to persons having supervisory responsibility with respect to the day-to-day conduct of the activities in question, even though such persons may not have a policy-making role. The Board's conclusions in this regard are based on the fact that in these other areas the supervisory person is responsible for the activities of personnel who communicate directly with issuers, traders, and investors.

3. Activities Requiring Qualification as a Municipal Securities Representative.

In certain cases, communications from customers may be received at a time when a duly qualified municipal securities representative or municipal securities principal is unavailable. Similarly, there may be situations in which it becomes important to advise a customer promptly of transactions effected and orders confirmed, even though the individual responsible for the account may not be able to communicate with the customer at that time.

In many cases under the rules of other self-regulatory organizations, communications of this nature, which in essence reflect a mechanical function, may be received and made by properly supervised competent individuals whose clerical and ministerial functions would not otherwise subject them to qualification requirements. The Board believes the principle underlying this practice and the application of other self-regulatory organizations' qualification rules is sound.

Accordingly, the Board interprets rule G-3 to permit the recording and transmission in customary channels of orders, the reading of approved quotations, and the giving of reports of transactions by non-qualified clerical personnel when the duly qualified municipal securities representative or municipal securities principal who normally handles the account or customer is unavailable. The foregoing interpretation is applicable only to clerical personnel who are: (a) deemed capable and competent by a municipal securities principal or general securities principal to engage in such activities; (b) specifically authorized in writing to perform such functions on an occasional basis as necessary or directed to perform such functions in specific instances, in either case by a duly qualified municipal securities principal or general securities principal; (c) familiar with the normal type and size of transaction effected with or for the customer or the account; and (d) closely supervised by duly qualified municipal personnel.

All orders for municipal securities received by clerical personnel under the foregoing interpretation must be reviewed and approved by duly qualified municipal personnel familiar with the customer or account prior to being accepted or effected by the municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer. Solicitation of orders by clerical personnel is not permitted. Confirmations of transactions may be given and quotations read by clerical personnel only when approved by duly qualified municipal personnel. Individuals subject to the 90-day apprenticeship requirements of rule G-3(i)[†] are not clerical personnel and are not authorized or permitted to engage in such activities with members of the public.

Also, the question has been raised whether a bank's branch office personnel, who are not otherwise required to be qualified under rule G-3, will be required to take and pass the qualification examination for municipal securities representatives in order to respond to a depositor's inquiry concerning possible investments in municipal securities. Insofar as the branch office personnel merely refer the depositor to qualified bank dealer personnel for discussion concerning the merits of an investment in municipal securities and execution of the depositor's order, the branch office personnel would not be required to be qualified under the Board's professional qualifications requirements. However, if branch office personnel seek to advise the depositor concerning the merits of a possible investment, or otherwise perform more than a purely ministerial function, qualification under the Board's rules would be required.

 


 

[*] [ Currently codified at rule G-3(d)(iii)]

[†] [ Currently codified at rule G-3(a)(iii)]