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Regulatory Document Type
Clerical or Ministerial Duties
Clerical or ministerial duties. This will acknowledge receipt of your letter in which you request advice concerning whether certain persons employed by [Name deleted] must qualify as municipal securities representatives under rule G-3.
In the case of one of the individuals, you state in your letter that he is responsible for calculating coupon rates for new issue securities, based on information provided to him by persons in [Name deleted] underwriting department. According to your letter, the individual has some discretion to "revise coupon rates to a more marketable figure," but all of his activities are subject to the approval of, and supervised by, municipal securities professionals in the department. We understand that he does not communicate with issuers, customers or other municipal securities dealers.
Based upon the facts set forth in your letter, we are of the view that the individual described performs only clerical or ministerial functions in calculating the coupon scale, and he is therefore not a municipal securities representative within the meaning of rule G-3.
In your letter, you also request advice regarding certain individuals whose only function is to receive telephonic orders for municipal securities from municipal securities dealers. We understand that these individuals do not solicit orders, negotiate prices or the terms of transactions, or transmit offers to prospective purchasers, nor do they communicate at any time with customers. Based upon the facts you have provided, we are of the opinion that these individuals perform only clerical or ministerial functions, and they are therefore also not municipal securities representatives within the meaning of rule G-3. MSRB interpretation of December 8, 1978.
Communication of Information
Communication of information. I refer to your letter dated October 23, 1978 in which you request advice concerning the application of certain provisions of rule G-11. In your letter, you state that it is your understanding that the requirement in the rule for a syndicate manager to communicate information regarding the priority to be accorded to different orders could be satisfied if an agreement among underwriters provides for the managing underwriters, in their discretion, to establish the priorities to be accorded to different types of orders for the purchase of bonds from the syndicate so long as information as to the priorities so established is furnished to the members of the syndicate prior to the beginning of the order period.
Rule G-11 would permit the inclusion of a provision delegating to the managing underwriters the authority to establish the priority provisions under which the syndicate would operate. However, under section (f) of rule G-11, such information must be provided by the senior syndicate manager in writing to other members of a syndicate "prior to the first offer of any securities by a syndicate." Accordingly, if there is a presale period, the required disclosure must be made prior to the commencement of such period, and not prior to "the beginning of the order period." The procedures outlined in your letter would be permissible under the rule only if no securities are offered by a syndicate prior to the order period. MSRB interpretation of November 9, 1978.
Settlement of Syndicate Accounts
Settlement of syndicate accounts. Your letter dated September 25, 1978, regarding rule G-12 has been referred to me for reply. In your letter, you inquire as to whether the requirement in section (j) of rule G-12 to settle syndicate accounts within 60 days following the date all securities are delivered to syndicate members, applies in all circumstances. Specifically, you ask whether the time for settlement may be extended under the rule in the event that the syndicate has not received all expense bills prior to the expiration of that period.
There is no provision in rule G-12 for extending the 60-day period in the circumstances which you described. In adopting this requirement, the Board sought to achieve an equitable balance between the interests of syndicate members and syndicate managers in settling syndicate accounts. The Board believes that the 60-day period provides sufficient time to enable syndicate managers to settle on syndicate accounts and represents a reasonable time within which such accounts should be settled. It is therefore incumbent upon a syndicate manager to encourage persons to submit bills to the syndicate on a timely basis. The syndicate manager will otherwise have to settle the account within the prescribed time period and make adjustments subsequently when late bills are finally received. MSRB interpretation of November 1, 1978.
Municipal securities representative
Municipal securities representative. Your letter dated October 16, 1978, has been referred to me for response. In your letter, you request clarification of whether personnel in your firm will have to take and pass the Board's qualification examination for municipal securities representatives, since they only effect transactions with other municipal securities professionals.
Board rule G-3(a)(iii)[*] defines the term "municipal securities representative" to mean a natural person associated with a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer who performs certain specified functions, which include "trading or sales of municipal securities." A person is deemed to be a municipal securities representative under the rule whether he or she engages in such activities with customers or only other municipal securities professionals. Accordingly, personnel in your firm who only trade with, or sell securities to other municipal securities professionals will have to take and pass the examination for municipal securities representatives, unless they are exempted under the provisions of rule G-3(e)(ii)[†]. MSRB interpretation of October 27, 1978.
[*] [Currently codified at rule G-3(a)(i)]
[†] [Currently codified at rule G-3(a)(ii)(B)]
Records of Original Entry
Records of original entry. Your letter dated October 13, 1978, has been referred to me for response. In your letter you inquire whether a certain method of keeping "records of original entry" is satisfactory for purposes of the requirement to maintain "current" books and records. In particular, you suggest that such records could be maintained by means of a "unit" or "ticket" system during the period from trade date to settlement date, and then recorded on a blotter as of the settlement date.
As indicated to you, such a method of preserving these records is acceptable, provided that all information required to be shown is clearly and accurately reflected in both forms of the record, and both forms provide adequate audit controls. MSRB interpretation of October 26, 1978.
Excerpt from Notice of Approval of Fair Practice Rules
Rule D-10 defines a discretionary account as an account for which a municipal securities professional has been authorized to determine what municipal securities will be purchased, sold or exchanged by or for the account. The definition covers accounts for which a municipal securities professional exercises discretionary authority from time to time, as well as accounts in which the customer sometimes, but not always, makes investment decisions. Under rule D-10, a discretionary account will not be deemed to exist if the professional’s discretion is limited to the price at which, or the time at which, an order given by a customer for a definite amount of a specified security is executed. The definition relates to discretion concerning what municipal securities will be purchased, sold or exchanged, rather than when or at what price such transactions may occur.
Approval of Fair Practice Rules
Rule D-11 is designed to eliminate the need to make specific reference to personnel of securities firms and bank dealers in each Board rule that applies both to the organization and its personnel.
The term “associated person” in rule D-11 has the same meaning as set forth in section 3(a)(18) and 3(a)(32) of the Act, except that clerical and ministerial personnel are excluded from the definition for purposes of the Board’s rules, unless otherwise specified. Although the statutory definitions of associated persons include individuals and organizations in a control relationship with the securities professional, the context of the fair practice rules indicates that such rules will ordinarily not apply to persons who are associated with securities firms and bank deal- ers solely by reason of a control relationship.
Approval of Fair Practice Rules
Rule D-9 codifies, as a definitional rule of general application, the definition of the term “customer” presently set forth in various Board rules. Employees and other associated persons of brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers would, under this definition, be “customers” with respect to transactions effected for their personal accounts. An issuer would be a “customer” within the meaning of the rule except in the case of a sale by it of a new issue of its securities.
Callable Securities: Pricing to Call
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.
Portfolio Credit Analyst
Portfolio credit analyst. This will acknowledge with thanks receipt of your letter dated May 2, 1978 concerning the status of persons occupying the position of portfolio credit analyst at your bank. Your letter, as well as our telephone conversations prior and subsequent to the letter, raise two questions concerning the status of such persons under Board rules. First, are the functions of a portfolio credit analyst subject to the requirements of rule G-1, which defines a separately identifiable dealer department or division of a bank? Second, must a portfolio credit analyst qualify as a municipal securities representative or municipal securities principal under Board rule G-3?
Although we recognize that the primary purpose of the portfolio credit analyst, as set forth in the material you furnished to me, is to review your bank's investment portfolio, a function not subject to Board regulation, to the extent that the analyst provides research advice and analysis in connection with your bank's underwriting, trading or sales activities, the analyst must be included within the municipal securities dealer department for purposes of rule G-1, and is subject to the qualification requirements of rule G-3.
Under Board rule G-1, a separately identifiable department or division of a bank is that unit of the bank which conducts all of the municipal securities dealer activities of the bank. Section (b) of the rule defines municipal securities dealer activities to include research with respect to municipal securities to the extent such research relates to underwriting, trading, sales or financial advisory and consultant services performed by the bank. Thus, we think it clear that for purposes of rule G-1, persons functioning as portfolio credit analysts who render research in connection with underwriting, trading or sales activities at your bank must be included within the separately identifiable department or division of the bank for purposes of rule G-1. This is consistent with the underlying purpose of rule G-1 to assure that all of the functions performed at the bank relating to the business of the bank as a municipal securities dealer are appropriately identified for purposes of supervision, inspection and enforcement.
Under rule G-3(a)(iii)[*] a municipal securities representative is defined as a person associated with a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer who performs certain functions similar to those defined as municipal securities dealer activities in rule G-1. The position of portfolio credit analyst as described in your letter and accompanying material appears to fit the definition of municipal securities representative to the extent that persons occupying such position perform research in connection with the bank's underwriting, trading or sales activities. Under rule G-3(e)[†], municipal securities representatives are required to qualify in accordance with Board rules. A similar result would obtain with respect to qualification as a municipal securities principal, if the portfolio credit analyst functions in a supervisory capacity. MSRB interpretation of June 8, 1978.
[*] [Currently codified at rule G-3(a)(i)]
[†] [Currently codified at rule G-3(a)(ii)]
Extent and Type of Municipal Securities Activities
Extent and type of municipal securities activities. Your letter dated March 23, 1978 concerning compliance with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board's requirements has been referred to me for response.
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board was established by the Securities Acts Amendments of 1975 as the primary rulemaking authority with respect to the activities of municipal securities brokers and dealers and with respect to transactions in municipal securities. The Board's rules apply to each municipal securities broker and municipal securities dealer within the meaning of sections 3(a)(31) and 3(a)(30), respectively, of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Act"), and all municipal securities brokers and dealers regardless of the volume of their municipal securities business, are subject to the rules promulgated by the Board insofar as transactions in municipal securities are concerned, whether such transactions are solicited or unsolicited.
Under section 15B(b)(2)(J) of the Act, the Board is directed to prescribe fees and charges payable by each municipal securities dealer and municipal securities broker to defray the costs and expenses of operating the Board. Pursuant to this authority, the Board adopted rules A-12 and A-14 which impose an initial fee and an annual fee on each municipal securities broker and municipal securities dealer. A copy of these rules are enclosed.
In approving MSRB rules A-12 and A-14, the Securities and Exchange Commission determined that these assessments are consistent with the statutory requirement that the MSRB be self-funding. We therefore request that you comply with these rules and forward your checks to us promptly. MSRB interpretation of May 3, 1978.
Securities control. Your letter dated February 24, 1978, has been referred to me for response. In addition, I understand that you have had several subsequent telephone conversations about your question. In these conversations, you describe the procedures for securities control followed by your bank's dealer department.
Briefly, as we understand your procedures, the dealer department records all certificate numbers of municipal securities received or delivered by the department. This information is recorded in a manner which relates the physical receipt and delivery of specific certificates to specific transactions. Once in safekeeping, the certificates are kept in a vault, and filed by issue, rather than filed separately by account, chronologically, or by transaction. In your letter, you inquired whether this system of filing in the vault raises problems of compliance with Board rule G-8.
Since your bank records in records of original entry the certificate numbers upon receipt and delivery of municipal securities by your dealer department, it appears that your system satisfies the requirement under rule G-8(a)(i) that such information be recorded on the "record of original entry." The safekeeping procedures used by the bank are specifically excluded from the scope of the rule under the provisions of paragraph G-8(a)(iii), which requires
[r]ecords showing...all positions (including, in the case of a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer other than a bank dealer, securities in safekeeping)...
Therefore, based on the information you have provided, we believe that your system is in compliance with the applicable provisions of rule G-8. MSRB interpretation of April 10, 1978.
Securities record. In your letter, you question the application of Board rule G-8(a)(iii) and, in particular, the requirement that "such [securities] records shall consist of a single record system," to a situation in which a securities firm maintains such records organized by ownership of the securities. It is my understanding that the firm in question maintains records showing securities in the firm's trading account, and offsetting positions long and short, and separate records showing securities owned by customers and the offsetting location for those securities.
Rule G-8(a)(iii) requires, in part
[r]ecords showing separately for each municipal security all positions ... carried by such municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer for its account or for the account of a customer...
Therefore, securities records should be maintained by security, although this can be accomplished by separate sheets showing positions in that security held for trading or investment purposes and positions owned by customers. A record organized by customer, showing several securities and offsetting positions held by that customer, is not acceptable for purposes of rule G-8(a)(iii).
With respect to your question regarding the multiple maturity provision of rule G-8(a)(iii), the relevant position of the rule states
multiple maturities of the same issue of municipal securities, as well as multiple coupons of the same maturity, may be shown on the same record, provided that adequate secondary records exist to identify separately such maturities and coupons.
Therefore, the securities to be shown on a single securities record must be identical as to issue date or maturity date. Securities which are identical as to issuer may be shown on a single securities record only if the securities have either the same issue date or the same maturity date, and if adequate secondary records exist to identify separately the securities grouped on the record. MSRB interpretation of April 8, 1978.
Fully Disclosed Broker
Fully disclosed broker. I refer to your letter of March 24, 1978 in which you request a determination concerning whether as a broker who passes all of his business through a dealer on a fully disclosed basis you are subject to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board's rules A-12 and A-14 which impose an initial and annual fee on municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealer.
I note that the term "broker" as defined in section 3(a)(4) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Act") is not restricted to securities firms that directly effect transactions in securities for the account of others. I call your attention to various rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission governing the activities of "brokers" and "dealers" that recognize introducing brokers as "brokers" under the Act. See e.g., rules 15c-3-1 1(a)(2) and 15c3-3(k)(2). The definition of the term "municipal securities broker" set forth in section 3(a)(31) of the Act incorporates the statutory definition of "broker" and therefore appears similarly not limited to firms directly effecting transactions in municipal securities for the account of others.
Pursuant to rule D-1 of the Board, which incorporates the definition of terms used in the Act for purposes of the Board's rules, the term "municipal securities broker" as used in rules A-12 and A-14 has the same meaning as set forth in section 3(a)(31) of the Act.
Accordingly, we are unable to conclude that the fees imposed by the Board are inapplicable to your situation. MSRB interpretation of April 4, 1978.
Underwriting Assessment: Intrastate Underwriting
Underwriting assessment: intrastate underwriting. This will acknowledge receipt of your letter dated March 3, 1978 requesting that [Company name deleted] be granted an exemption from rule A-13 of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the "Board"). Rule A-13 requires municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers to pay a fee to the Board based on their municipal securities underwriting activity. In your letter, you suggest that "the Company" should not be subject to the underwriting assessment imposed by the rule because it engages only in intrastate sales of municipal securities "to registered broker-dealers or institutional investors."
As a technical matter, although the Board has the authority to interpret its rules and to amend them through prescribed statutory procedures, the Board does not have the authority to grant exemptions from the rules. The authority to grant exemptions is vested in the Securities and Exchange Commission by section 15B(a)(4) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Act").
In considering whether "the Company" should request an exemption from the Commission, the following information concerning rule A-13 may be helpful. The purpose of rule A-13 is to provide a reasonable and equitable means of defraying the costs and expenses of operating and administering the Board, as contemplated by section 15B(b)(2)(J) of the Act. The rule applies to all municipal securities dealers, with respect to their municipal securities underwriting activities, and covers situations in which new issue municipal securities are sold by or through a municipal securities professional to other securities professionals and institutional customers, as well as to individuals.
With respect to the intrastate character of "the Company's" underwriting activity, we note that certain provisions of the Securities Acts Amendments of 1975 (Pub. L. 94-29) had the effect of including within the scope of municipal securities dealer regulation the intrastate activities of municipal securities dealers. (See sections 3(a)(17), 15(a)(1) and 15B(a)(1) of the Act.) Rule A-13 makes no distinction between interstate and intrastate offerings. MSRB interpretation of March 27, 1978.
Delivery Requirements: Coupons and Coupon Checks
Delivery requirements: coupons and coupon checks. This letter is to confirm the substance of conversations you had with the Board’s staff concerning the application of certain provisions of rule G-12, the uniform practice rule, to deliveries of securities bearing past-due coupons. You inquire whether, in the case where a transaction is effected for a settlement date prior to the coupon payment date, a delivery of securities with this past-due coupon attached constitutes "good delivery" for purposes of the rule.
Rule G-12(e)(vii)(C) provides that a seller may, but is not required to, deliver a check in lieu of coupons if delivery is made within thirty calendar days prior to an interest payment date. Thus, in the circumstances you set forth, the seller would have the option to detach the coupons and provide a check, but is under no obligation to do so. A delivery with these coupons still attached would constitute "good delivery," and a rejection of the delivery for this reason would be an improper rejection. MSRB interpretation of March 9, 1978.
Delivery Requirements: Partials
Delivery requirements: partials. I am writing to confirm the substance of our telephone conversation concerning the provision of rule G-12(e)(iv) on partial deliveries. In our discussion, you posed a specific example of a single purchase of securities in which half are of one maturity and half of another maturity and inquired whether or not delivery of only one of the maturities would constitute a "partial" under the terms of the rule.
As I stated to you, if the transaction is effected on an "all or none" basis, and your confirmation is marked "all or none" or "AON," this would suffice to indicate that the purchase of both maturities constitutes a single transaction, and that both maturities must be delivered to effect good delivery. MSRB interpretation of February 23, 1978.
Periodic compliance examinations
This will acknowledge receipt of your letter dated February 2, 1978 in which you request a clarification of Board rule G-16 relating to periodic compliance examinations.
In your letter you express your understanding that rule G-16 does not apply to bank dealers. This understanding is incorrect. Rule G-16 applies to all municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers and requires that all such organizations be examined at least once each [two calendar years] to determine compliance with, among other things, rules of the Board. Under section 15B(c)(7) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Act”), such examinations of bank dealers will be conducted by the appropriate federal bank regulatory agency. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is designated by the Act as the appropriate agency for national banks. MSRB interpretation of February 17, 1978.
NOTE: revised to reflect subsequent amendments.
Apprenticeship. This will acknowledge receipt of your letter dated January 30, 1978 and will confirm our recent telephone conversation.
In your letter you seek clarification of the applicability of the requirements of rule G-3(i)[*]relating to apprenticeship periods to a municipal securities representative who has previously qualified as a general securities representative. As I indicated in our conversation, an individual who was previously qualified as a general securities representative is not required to serve the 90-day apprenticeship period. MSRB interpretation of February 17, 1978.
[*] [Currently codified at rule G-3(a)(iii)]