Select regulatory documents by category:

Regulatory Document Type

Back to top
Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:
Notice of Interpretation of Rule G-17 Concerning Prompt Delivery of Securities
Rule Number:

Rule G-17

From time to time the Board has received inquiries from purchasers of municipal securities concerning the duty of municipal securities brokers and dealers to deliver securities to customers under the Board’s rules. In particular, customers have asked what, if any, remedies are available when long delays occur between the purchase, payment and delivery of municipal securities. The Board has advised such individuals that under rule G-17, the Board’s fair dealing rule, a municipal securities broker or dealer has a duty to deliver securities sold to customers in a prompt fashion.

The Board is mindful that a dealer’s failure to deliver municipal securities often is caused by its failure to receive delivery of the securities from another dealer or by other circumstances beyond its control. It nevertheless believes that a dealer’s duty to deliver securities promptly to customers is inherent in rule G-17.[1] A violation of that duty could occur, for example, if a dealer sells securities to a customer when it knows that it cannot effect delivery by the specified settlement date or within a reasonable length of time thereafter and does not disclose that fact to its customer.

The Board notes that customers who fail to receive securities are not entitled to take advantage of the Board’s procedures to close out a failed transaction which are available only for inter-dealer transactions under rule G-12. However, if a customer sustains a loss or otherwise is damaged by his dealer’s failure to deliver securities, he may seek recovery through the Board’s arbitration program or through litigation. These remedies may accrue to the customer whether or not a dealer’s failure to deliver violates rule G-17.


 

[1] The duty of a securities professional to complete promptly transactions with customers also has been found to flow from the federal securities laws by the SEC and the courts.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:
Automated Clearance: "Internal" Transactions
Rule Number:

Rule G-15

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

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

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

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

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:
Financial Advisory Relationship: Potential Underwriter
Rule Number:

Rule G-23

Financial advisory relationship: potential underwriter. This responds to your letter of July 20, 1983, requesting our view on the applicability of Board rule G-23 to the following situation:

Your firm, a registered municipal securities dealer, along with an architectural firm and a construction firm, plans to present to a municipality a proposal to design, build and finance a criminal justice facility. If the municipality shows interest, the team members will suggest that the municipality engage them to put together a specific, customized proposal for review. If the municipality accepts this proposal, the team will ask the municipality to execute a contract covering the additional services. This contract will provide for compensation to be paid to the firm in connection with the creation of a financing proposal. This proposal could encompass such issues as those set forth in Rule G-23(b). Further, it is the intent of the team members that a project may ultimately be brought to fruition by all or any one of the team members. Therefore, the firm may make the final financing proposal but fail to be retained by the municipality to actually finance the construction. In this event, the other two team members will proceed and the municipality will obtain another underwriter. However, it will be the firm's intent throughout the negotiation phase to ultimately be retained as the municipality's underwriter.

You express concern whether the above facts create a financial advisory relationship under rule G-23(b). Board rule G-23(b), concerning activities of financial advisors, provides that a financial advisory relationship shall be deemed to exist:

"when a broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer renders or enters into an agreement to render financial advisory or consultant services to or on behalf of an issuer with respect to a new issue or issues of municipal securities,..."

The rule provides, however, that a financial advisory relationship shall not be deemed to exist

"when, in the course of acting as an underwriter , a municipal securities dealer renders advice to an issuer, including advice with respect to the structure, timing, terms and other similar matters concerning a new issue of municipal securities." [Emphasis added]

It does not appear that your firm would be rendering advice to the municipality "in the course of acting as an underwriter." In the beginning of the firm's relationship with the municipality, it is acting as a financial advisor, and being compensated as such. No underwriting agreement has been executed with the municipality. Therefore, based upon the representations in your letter, it appears that the firm's activities would be subject to the requirements of rule G-23. MSRB interpretation of September 7, 1983.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:
Inclusion of IDB-Related Activities
Rule Number:

Rule G-1, Rule G-3

Inclusion of IDB-related activities. This responds to your letter of June 14, 1983 concerning your request for an interpretation of Board rule G-1, which defines a "separately identifiable department or division" of a bank. In particular, you request our advice concerning whether certain activities engaged in by your Corporate Finance Division (the "Division") should be considered "municipal securities dealer activities" for purposes of the rule. Your letter and a subsequent telephone conversation set forth the following facts:

The Division acts as financial advisor to certain corporate customers of the Bank. Some of these customers wish to raise money through the issuance of IDBs. In order to assist these corporations in the placement of the IDBs, the Division contacts from one to ten institutional investors and provides them with information regarding the terms of the proposed financing and basic facts about the corporation. If the investor expresses interest in the financing, a confidential memorandum describing the financing, prepared by the corporation with the assistance of the Division, is sent.

During negotiations between the corporation and the investor, the Division may act as a liaison between the two parties in the communication of comments on the financing documents. According to the bank, the Division is not an agent of the corporation and is not authorized to act on behalf of the corporation in accepting any terms or conditions associated with the proposed financing. For its services, the Division usually receives a percentage of the total dollar amount of securities issued, with a minimum contingent on the successful completion of the deal. While the bank has established a separately identifiable division pursuant to rule G-1, the Division is not part of it.

Your inquiry was discussed by the Board at its July meeting. The Board is of the view that the activities of the Division, as described, constitute the sales of municipal securities for purposes of the definition of municipal securities dealer activities in Board rule G-1. Therefore, these activities should be conducted in the bank's registered separately identifiable department by persons qualified under the Board's professional qualifications rules. MSRB interpretation of July 26, 1983.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:
Use of Formulas: Annual Interest Securities
Rule Number:

Use of formulas: annual interest securities. I am writing in response to your letter of June 1, 1983 regarding the appropriate method of calculating yield and dollar price on periodic-interest municipal securities which pay interest on an annual, rather than the more customary semi-annual, basis. You note in your letter that Board rule G-33 requires the use for purposes of computations of yield and dollar price on such securities of a formula which presumes semi-annual payment of interest (i.e., that formula set forth in subparagraph (b)(i)(B)(2) of the rule). You suggest that the rule should be amended to require the use of a formula that recognizes the annual interest payment cycle on the securities.

As I indicated to you in our previous telephone conversation on this subject, the industry has traditionally disregarded the unusual nature of the interest payment cycle on these securities when computing yields and dollar prices on them, and has followed the practice of using the standard formula for computing yield and dollar price on a security paying interest on a semi-annual basis for these purposes. As a result of this traditional practice, all of the calculators presently available for use by industry members when computing yields and dollar prices have been designed in accordance with the assumption that all periodic-interest municipal securities pay interest on a semi-annual basis; these calculator models cannot be used to compute yields and dollar prices on such securities on any other basis. Therefore, the adoption of a requirement that yields and dollar prices on securities which pay interest on an annual basis be computed by means of a formula which recognizes the annual nature of the interest payment cycle, such as you suggest, would render all of the existing calculator models obsolete, and require that all industry members incur the cost of purchasing new calculator equipment capable of performing such computations (equipment which does not, to my knowledge, exist as of yet).

It is because of the substantial compliance expense that would have been imposed on the industry that the Board declined to adopt a requirement such as you suggest at the time rule G-33 was promulgated, even though it recognized that the requirement that was adopted mandated the use of a formula that would produce slightly less accurate results. MSRB interpretation of June 6, 1983.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:
Microfilming of Records
Rule Number:

Rule G-9

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.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:
Application of Board Rules to Financial Advisory Services Rendered to Corporate Obligors on Industrial Development Bonds

In a recent letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission has taken the position that private placements of industrial development bonds ("IDBs") constitute transactions in municipal securities as defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board has received a number of inquiries concerning this letter. The Board is publishing this notice for the purposes of: (1) reviewing the application of its rules to private placements of municipal securities and (2) expressing its views concerning whether certain Board rules apply to financial advisory services rendered by municipal securities dealers and brokers to corporate obligors on IDBs.

A. Private Placements of IDBs

The Board’s rules apply, of course, to all transactions in municipal securities, including securities which are IDBs. The SEC letter dealt in particular with the activities of commercial banks. That letter pointed out that if a commercial bank has a registered municipal securities dealer department, under Board rule G-1, which defines the term "separately identifiable department or division of a bank," any private placement activities of the bank in securities which are IDBs must be conducted as a part of the registered dealer department. The Board urges all bank dealers which have registered as a separately identifiable department or division to review their organizations and assure that all departments or units which engage in the private placement of IDBs are designated on the bank’s Form MSD registration and other applicable bank records as part of its separately identifiable department or division. The Board also notes that such activities must be under the supervision of a person designated by the bank’s board of directors as responsible for these activities. In addition, under Board rule G-3, concerning professional qualifications, persons who are engaged in privately placing municipal securities must be qualified as municipal securities representatives and be supervised with respect to that activity by a qualified municipal securities principal.

B. Financial Advisory Services Rendered to Corporate Obligors on IDBs

Board rules G-1 and G-3 provide that rendering "financial advisory or consultant services for issuers" is an activity to which those rules are applicable (emphasis added). Similarly, Board rule G-23, on the activities of financial advisors, applies to brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers who agree to render "financial advisory or consultant services to or on behalf of an issuer" (emphasis added). Clearly these rules are applicable to financial advisory services rendered to state or local governments and their agencies, as well as to municipal corporations. In the Board’s view, however, rules G-1, G-3, and G-23 do not apply to financial advisory services which are provided to corporate obligors in connection with proposed IDB financings.

The Board wishes to emphasize that the scope of its definition of financial advisory services is limited to "advice with respect to the structure, timing, terms, and other similar matters" concerning a proposed issue.[1] If persons providing such advice to the corporate obligor on an IDB issue also participate in negotiations with prospective purchasers or are otherwise engaged in effecting placement of the issue, then, as indicated above, rules G-1 and G-3 would apply to their activities.

[Excerpts of the Commission letter follow:]

This is in response to your letter of December 1, 1981, requesting our views concerning certain activities by commercial banks in connection with industrial development bonds ("IDBs").[2] Specifically, you asked (1) whether the private placement activities of banks in IDBs involve transactions in municipal securities, (2) whether involvement in such activities alone would require such banks to register with the Commission under Section 15B of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act") as municipal securities dealers, (3) whether a bank that had registered a separately identifiable department or division with the Commission as a municipal securities dealer would be required to conduct such activities through such separately identifiable department or division, and (4) if such bank activities are required to be conducted in the separately identifiable department or division, whether the advisory services provided by those banks to the corporate obligor on an IDB should be regarded as advisory services provided to an issuer of municipal securities in connection with the issuance of municipal securities. Pursuant to your letter and subsequent telephone conversations, we understand the following facts to be typical of the activities in question.

A commercial bank offers private placement and financial advisory services to corporate entities on a regular and continuous basis. From time to time the bank recommends to the corporate entity that IDBs be used to raise capital. The bank advises the corporate entity regarding the terms and timing of the proposed IDB issuance, prepares the Direct Placement Memorandum describing the terms of the IDB, and contacts potential purchasers of the IDB. Such purchasers then make independent reviews of the corporate entity’s financial status. The bank then obtains comments from the potential buyers and relays such comments to the corporate entity. The bank might also assist the corporate entity in subsequent negotiations with the purchasers. An industrial development authority nominally issues the IDB on behalf of the corporate entity which becomes the economic obligor on the issue.

The bank engages in these activities in order to assist the corporate obligor in the sale of the IDBs. In return for its services, the bank receives from the corporate entity either a fixed fee or a percentage of the proceeds of the sale. The bank does not purchase any of the IDBs. The bank could, however, supply "bridge loans" to the corporate entity pending receipt of the proceeds of the IDB sale. In addition, the bank might provide investors with a letter of credit committing the bank to pay any interest or principal not paid by the corporate issuer. The bank might also act as trustee or paying agent for the nominal issuer of the IDB, for which the bank would receive a set fee.

IDBs AS MUNICIPAL SECURITIES

Section 3(a)(10) of the Exchange Act defines a "security" as, among other things, "any note… bond, debenture… investment contract, …or in general, any instrument commonly known as a ‘security’… " Section 3(a)(29) of the Exchange Act defines "municipal securities" to include any security which is an industrial development bond as defined in Section 103(b)(2) of the Code the interest on which is tax-exempt under Sections 103(b)(4) or 103(b)(6) of the Code. In our opinion, the private placement activities you have described involve transactions in municipal securities as defined in the Exchange Act.[3]

REGISTRATION AS MUNICIPAL SECURITIES DEALER

Section 15B(a) of the Exchange Act makes it unlawful for any municipal securities dealer to use the mails or any instrumentality of interstate commerce to "effect any transaction in, or to induce or attempt to induce the purchase or sale of, any municipal security unless such municipal securities dealer is registered" with the Commission. Section 3(a)(30) of the Exchange Act defines "municipal securities dealer" to include a bank or a separately identifiable department or division of a bank if that bank is engaged in the business of buying and selling municipal securities for its own account other than in a fiduciary capacity, through a broker or otherwise. Banks that engage solely in private placement activities in IDBs as described by you would not be required to register as municipal securities dealers since they do not appear to be engaged in the business of buying and selling municipal securities for their own accounts, but rather appear to be acting as brokers. Section 3(a)(4) of the Exchange Act defines the term broker as "any person engaged in the business of effecting transactions in securities for the account of others, but does not include a bank." Since they are excluded from the definition of broker, banks that act solely as brokers need not register under the Exchange Act.[4]

INCLUSION IN SEPARATELY IDENTIFIABLE DEPARTMENT OR DIVISION

Section 15B(b)(2)(H) of the Exchange Act authorizes the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the "MSRB") to make rules defining the term "separately identifiable department or division" ("SID") of a bank as used in Section 3(a)(30) of the Exchange Act. MSRB rule G-1 defines the SID as "that unit of the bank which conducts all the activities of the bank relating to the conduct of business as a municipal securities dealer…" The rule defines municipal securities dealer activities to include "sales of municipal securities" and "financial advisory and consultant services for issuers in connection with the issuance of municipal securities." Therefore, those banks that have registered an SID with the Commission also must conduct the private placement activities within the SID in accordance with MSRB rules…

Based upon the facts and representations set forth in your letter, it would appear that the private placement activities of banks involving IDBs, as described in your example, constitute transactions in municipal securities that, if done alone, would not require a bank to register with the Commission as a municipal securities dealer. However, such activities, when conducted by a bank municipal securities dealer that had registered a separately identifiable department or division, would be treated as municipal securities dealer activities and, therefore, would be required to be conducted in the bank’s dealer department…


[1] Rule G-23(b).

[2] You have represented that the IDBs involved would be primarily those defined in Section 103(b)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (the "Code"), the interest on which is tax-exempt under Sections 103(b)(4) and 103(b)(6) of the Code.

[3]This determination is based on an analysis of the specific facts as described by you. Different facts and circumstances could result in a transaction involving municipal debt instruments being treated as loan participations not subject to the federal securities laws. Such determinations can only be made on a case by case basis after a thorough examination of the context of the transaction.

[4] See letter dated February 17, 1977, from Anne E. Chafer, Attorney, Securities and Exchange Commission, to Bruce F. Golden and letter dated January 11, 1982, from Thomas G. Lovett, Attorney, Securities and Exchange Commission, to Harriet E. Munrett regarding Citytrust of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:
Municipal Securities Principal: Bank Operations
Rule Number:

Rule G-3

Municipal securities principal: bank operations. I am writing in response to your letter of April 26, 1983 concerning the results of a recent examination of your bank's municipal securities dealer department by examiners from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. In your letter you indicate that the examiners expressed the view that the bank's present organizational structure did not comport with the definition of a "separately identifiable department or division of a bank" set forth in Board rule G-1. You note that the examiners' basis for this conclusion was their belief that the municipal securities processing functions of the bank were not under the supervision of a qualified municipal securities principal. You state that you disagree with the examiners' conclusions, and you request that the Board indicate whether, in its view, the organizational structure through which the bank presently carries on its municipal securities activities is satisfactory for purposes of compliance with Board rules.

As a general matter we would hesitate to disagree with the opinion expressed by on-site examiners in a matter of this sort. The examiners are, of course, in direct contact with the matter in question, and have access to the full details of the situation, rather than an abstraction or summary of the particulars. Accordingly, we are unable to express a view that the examiners' conclusions are incorrect in the circumstances you describe.

With respect to the specific issues which you raise, it is not impossible for a bank to establish a "separately identifiable department or division" for purposes of rule G-1 which includes areas in the bank which, for other purposes (e.g., for general bank organizational and reporting purposes), would be considered separate. To the extent that such areas are engaged in municipal securities dealer activities (as enumerated in rule G-1), however, they must be under the supervision of the person or persons designated by the bank's board of directors, in accordance with rule G-1(a)(1), as responsible for the conduct of such activities.

As you are aware, the person or persons who are responsible for the management and supervision of the day-to-day activities of the municipal securities processing area need not be qualified as municipal securities principals if they do not have policy-making authority with respect to such activities. However, such activities must be subject to the supervision of a municipal securities principal. Therefore, if those directly involved in the day-to-day supervision of the municipal securities processing activities do not have policy-making authority over such activities and, as a consequence, are not qualified as municipal securities principals, a person who is qualified as a municipal securities principal (whether that person designated by the bank's board of directors pursuant to rule G-1(a)(1) or some other person who is subordinate to that person) must be designated as having responsibility for the supervision of the processing activities. The bank's supervisory procedures should appropriately reflect such designation and set forth the manner in which the designated person will carry out these responsibilities. MSRB interpretation of May 13, 1983.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:
Municipal Securities Sales Activities in Branch Affiliate and Correspondent Banks Which Are Municipal Securities Dealers

The Board has received several inquiries from banks concerning the activities which may be performed in connection with the marketing of municipal securities through branch, affiliate, and correspondent banks. Rule G-2 of the Board provides that no municipal securities dealer may effect transactions in, or induce or attempt to induce the purchase or sale of any municipal security, unless the dealer in question and every individual associated with it is qualified in accordance with the rules of the Board. Board rule G-3 establishes qualification requirements for municipal securities representatives and other municipal securities professionals. Board rule G-27 requires supervision of municipal securities activities by qualified municipal securities principals.

Activities of Branch, Affiliate and Correspondent Bank Personnel

Bank employees who are not qualified municipal securities representatives may perform certain limited functions in connection with the marketing of municipal securities. Namely, such persons may:

  • advise customers that municipal securities investment services are available in the bank;

  • make available to customers material concerning municipal securities investments, such as market letters and listings of issues handled by the bank's dealer department, which has been approved for distribution by the dealer department's municipal securities principal; and,

  • establish contact between the customer and the dealer department.

Further sales-related activity would be construed as inducing or attempting to induce the purchase or sales of a municipal security, and may only be engaged in by duly-qualified municipal securities representatives.

The Board wishes to emphasize that each bank dealer should take steps to assure that its branch, correspondent, and affiliate bank personnel understand and observe the restrictions outlined above concerning referrals of municipal securities customers to the bank's dealer department.

Placement and Supervision of Municipal Securities Representatives

Bank dealers have also directed inquiries to the federal bank regulators and to the Board concerning whether qualified municipal securities representatives in affiliates or branches of a bank dealer may respond to customer inquiries concerning municipal securities and take customer orders for municipal securities if no municipal securities principal is located in such affiliates or branches. Board rule G-27 places on each broker, dealer, and municipal securities dealer the obligation to supervise the municipal securities activities of its associated persons and the conduct of its municipal securities business. The rule requires that municipal securities dealers designate a municipal securities principal as responsible for the supervision and review of municipal securities transactions and other activities. There is no requirement that a municipal securities principal be located in each office or branch of a municipal securities dealer, provided that adequate supervision of all municipal securities activities can be assured. For purposes of the Board rules, each employee of a branch or affiliate of a bank dealer who communicates with public customers on investment opportunities in municipal securities and who takes customers' orders for such securities would be considered an "associated person" to whom the Board's qualification and supervision requirements would apply.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:
Callable Securities: Extraordinary Mandatory Redemption Features
Rule Number:

Rule G-15

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

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

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

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

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:
Put Option Bonds: Safekeeping, Pricing

Put option bonds: safekeeping, pricing. I am writing in response to your recent letter regarding issues of municipal securities with put option or tender option features, under which a holder of the securities may put the securities back to the issuer or an agent of the issuer at par on certain stated dates. In your letter you inquire generally as to the confirmation disclosure requirements applicable to such securities. You also raise several questions regarding a dealer’s obligation to advise customers of the existence of the put option provision at times other than the time of sale of the securities to the customer.

Your letter was referred to a committee of the Board which has responsibility for interpreting the  Board’s confirmation rules, among other matters. That committee has authorized my sending you the following response.

Both rules G-12(c) and G-15, applicable to inter-dealer and customer confirmations respectively, require that confirmations of transactions in securities which are subject to put option or tender option features must indicate that fact (e.g., through inclusion of the designation “puttable” on the confirmation). the date on which the put option feature first comes into effect need be stated on the confirmation only if the transaction is effected on a yield basis and the parties to the transaction specifically agree that the transaction dollar price should be computed to that date. In the absence of such an agreement, the put date need not be stated on the confirmation, and any yield disclosed should be a yield to maturity.

Of course, municipal securities brokers and dealers selling to customers securities with put option or tender option features are obligated to disclose adequately the special characteristics of these securities at the time of trade.  The customer therefore should be advised of information about the put option or tender option feature at this time.

In your letter you inquire whether a dealer who had previously sold securities with a put option or tender option feature to a customer would be obliged to contact that customer around the time the put option comes into effect to remind the customer that the put option is available. You also ask whether such an obligation would exist if the dealer held the securities in safekeeping for the customer. The committee can respond, of course, only in terms of the requirements of Board rules; the committee noted that no Board rule would impose such an obligation on the dealer.

In your letter you also ask whether a dealer who purchased from a customer securities with a put option or tender option feature at the time of the put option exercise date at a price significantly below the put exercise price would be in violation of any Board  rules.  The committee believes that such a dealer might well be deemed to be in violation of Board rules G-17 on fair dealer and G-30 on prices and commissions. MSRB interpretation of February 18, 1983.