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Rule G-32

Disclosures In Connection With Primary Offerings

Rule
Summary

Requires underwriters to submit certain information to the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) system and dealers to provide certain information to customers in connection with primary offerings.

(a) Customer Disclosure Requirements.

(i) No broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer shall sell, whether as an underwriter or otherwise, any offered municipal securities to a customer unless such broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer delivers to the customer by no later than the settlement of the transaction a copy of the official statement or, if an official statement is not being prepared, a written notice to that effect together with a copy of a preliminary official statement, if any.

(ii) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(i) of this rule, the delivery obligation thereunder shall be deemed satisfied if the following conditions are met:

(A) the offered municipal securities being sold are not municipal fund securities; and

(B) the underwriter has made the submissions to EMMA required under paragraph (b)(i)(A) or (b)(i)(B)(1) of this rule; provided that the condition in this paragraph (B) shall apply solely to sales to customers by brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers acting as underwriters in respect of the offered municipal securities being sold.

(iii) Any broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer that sells any offered municipal securities to a customer with respect to which the delivery obligation under subsection (a)(i) of this rule is deemed satisfied pursuant to subsection (a)(ii) of this rule shall provide or send to the customer, by no later than the settlement of such transaction, either:

(A) a copy of the official statement (or, if an official statement is not being prepared, a written notice to that effect together with a copy of a preliminary official statement, if any), and, in connection with offered municipal securities sold by the issuer on a negotiated basis to the extent not included in the official statement, (1) the underwriting spread, if any, (2) the amount of any fee received by the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer as agent for the issuer in the distribution of the securities; and (3) the initial offering price for each maturity in the offering, including maturities that are not reoffered; or

(B) a notice advising the customer:

(1) how to obtain the official statement from EMMA, which notice may be combined, at the election of the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer, with notice of the availability of the official statement from a qualified portal; and

(2) that a copy of the official statement will be provided by the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer upon request.

If a broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer provides notice to a customer pursuant to paragraph (a)(iii)(B), such broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer shall, upon request from the customer, send a copy of the official statement to the customer, together with the information required pursuant to paragraph (a)(iii)(A) in connection with a negotiated offering to the extent not included in the official statement, within one business day of request by first class mail or other equally prompt means.

(iv) In the case of a sale by a broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer of municipal fund securities to a customer, the following additional provisions shall apply:

(A) notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(i) of this rule, if a customer who participates in a periodic municipal fund security plan or a non-periodic municipal fund security program has previously received a copy of the official statement in connection with the purchase of municipal fund securities under such plan or program, a broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer that sells additional shares or units of the municipal fund securities under such plan or program to the customer will be deemed to have satisfied the delivery obligation under subsection (a)(i) of this rule if such broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer sends to the customer a copy of any new, supplemented, amended or “stickered” official statement, by first class mail or other equally prompt means, promptly upon receipt thereof; provided that, if the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer sends a supplement, amendment or sticker without including the remaining portions of the official statement, such broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer includes a written statement describing which documents constitute the complete official statement and stating that the complete official statement is available upon request; and

(B) the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer shall provide to the customer, by no later than the settlement of the transaction, written disclosure of the amount of any fee received by the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer as agent for the issuer in the distribution of the municipal fund securities; provided, however, that if a broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer selling municipal fund securities provides periodic statements to the customer pursuant to Rule G-15(a)(viii) in lieu of individual transaction confirmations, this paragraph (iv)(B) shall be deemed to be satisfied if the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer provides this information to the customer at least annually and provides information regarding any change in such fee on or prior to the sending of the next succeeding periodic statement to the customer.

(v) If two or more customers share the same address, a broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer may satisfy the delivery obligations set forth in this section (a) by complying with the requirements set forth in Rule 154 of the Securities Act of 1933, on delivery of prospectuses to investors at the same address.  In addition, any such broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer shall comply with section (c) of Rule 154, on revocation of consent, to the extent that the provisions of paragraph (a)(iv)(A) relating to a customer who participates in a periodic municipal fund security plan or a non-periodic municipal fund security program apply.

(b) Underwriter Submissions to EMMA.

(i) Official Statements, Preliminary Official Statements, and Information Concerning Exempt Offerings.

(A) Form G-32 Information Submission.  Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (F) of this subsection (i), the underwriter of a primary offering of municipal securities shall submit, in addition to any applicable documents and information required to be submitted pursuant to paragraphs (B) through (E) of this subsection (i), Form G-32 information relating to the offering in a timely and accurate manner as follows:

(1) NIIDS-Eligible Primary Offerings. For any primary offering of municipal securities that is a new issue eligible for submission of information to NIIDS under Rule G-34(a)(ii)(C), the underwriter of such offering shall submit all information required to be submitted under this paragraph (A) on Form G-32 relating to such offering at such times and in such manner as required under Rule G-34(a)(ii)(C), and the submission of such information under Rule G-34(a)(ii)(C) in a full and timely manner shall be deemed to be in compliance with the submission requirement of this subparagraph (b)(i)(A)(1); provided, however, that:

(a) Any items of information required to be included on Form G-32 but for which no corresponding data element then is available through NIIDS shall be submitted through EMMA on Form G-32 at such times and in such manner as required under subsection (b)(vi) of this rule and as set forth in the EMMA Dataport Manual; and

(b) Any corrections to data submitted pursuant to Rule G-34(a)(ii)(C) shall be made promptly and, to the extent feasible, in the manner originally submitted.

(2) Primary Offerings Ineligible for NIIDS. For any primary offering of municipal securities that is not a new issue eligible for submission of information to NIIDS under Rule G-34(a)(ii)(C) or is exempt from such submission requirement under Rule G-34(d), the underwriter of such offering shall initiate the submission of Form G-32 information relating to the offering on or prior to the date of first execution, and shall complete the submission of all information required to be submitted by Form G-32 relating to such offering at such times and in such manner as required under subsection (b)(vi) of this rule and as set forth in the EMMA Dataport Manual.

(B) Official Statement Submission.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (C), (E) or (F) of this subsection (i), the underwriter of a primary offering of municipal securities shall submit the official statement for such offering to EMMA within one business day after receipt of the official statement from the issuer or its designee, but by no later than the closing date.

(2) If for any reason the official statement for a primary offering of municipal securities subject to this paragraph (B) is not submitted by the underwriter to EMMA by the closing date, the underwriter shall submit to EMMA:

(a) by no later than the closing date, notice to the effect that the official statement has not been submitted by the underwriter to EMMA by the closing date and that the official statement will be submitted to EMMA when it becomes available;

(b) within one business day after receipt from the issuer or its designee, the official statement; and

(c) the preliminary official statement or notice required pursuant to paragraph (D) of this subsection (i);

provided, however, that compliance with the requirements of this subparagraph (2) will not cure the failure to comply with subparagraph (1) of this paragraph (B).

(C) No Official Statement Prepared for Offering Exempt from Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12. If an official statement will not be prepared for a primary offering of municipal securities exempt from Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12, the underwriter shall submit to EMMA, by no later than the closing date:

(1) notice to the effect that no official statement will be prepared; and

(2) the preliminary official statement or notice required pursuant to paragraph (D) of this subsection (i).

(D) Preliminary Official Statement Submission.  The underwriter of a primary offering of municipal securities to which subparagraph (B)(2) or paragraph (C) of this subsection (i) applies shall submit to EMMA, by no later than the closing date, either:

(1) the preliminary official statement for such offering; or

(2) if no preliminary official statement has been prepared for such offering, notice that no preliminary official statement has been prepared.

(E) Exemption for Certain Limited Offerings.  The underwriter of a primary offering of municipal securities not subject to Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12 by virtue of paragraph (d)(1)(i) thereof for which an official statement has been prepared shall not be required to submit the official statement or any preliminary official statement to EMMA if the underwriter:

(1) complies with the requirements of paragraph (A) of this subsection (i);

(2) submits to EMMA, by no later than the closing date:

(a) notice that such primary offering is not subject to Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12 by virtue of paragraph (d)(1)(i) thereof and that an official statement has been prepared but is not being submitted to EMMA; and

(b) contact information, including mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address and name of an associated person of the underwriter from whom customers may request the official statement; and

(3) delivers the official statement to each customer purchasing the offered municipal securities from the underwriter or from any other broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer, upon request, by the later of one business day after request or the settlement of the customer’s transaction.

(F) Exemption for Certain Commercial Paper Offerings or Remarketings.  The underwriter of a primary offering of municipal securities that consists of commercial paper not subject to Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12 by virtue of paragraph (d)(1)(ii) thereof or of a remarketing of municipal securities not subject to paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(4) of Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12 by virtue of paragraph (d)(5) thereof shall not be required to comply with the requirements of paragraph (A) of this subsection (i) or to submit the official statement or any preliminary official statement to EMMA if:

(1) no official statement is prepared for the offering; or

(2) the official statement used in connection with such offering:

(a) has previously been properly submitted to EMMA in connection with a prior primary offering; and

(b) has not been supplemented or amended subsequent to such prior submission.

(ii) Advance Refunding Documents.  If a primary offering advance refunds outstanding municipal securities and an advance refunding document is prepared, each underwriter in such offering is required to provide access to such information by all market participants at the same time by submitting, no later than five business days after the closing date:

(A) the advance refunding document to EMMA; and

(B) all information required to be submitted by Form G-32 relating to the advance refunding document as required under subsection (b)(vi) of this rule and as set forth in the EMMA Dataport Manual.

(iii) Amendments to Official Statements, Preliminary Official Statements and Advance Refunding Documents.  In the event the underwriter for a primary offering has previously submitted to EMMA an official statement, preliminary official statement or advance refunding document and such document is amended by the issuer during the primary offering disclosure period, the underwriter for such primary offering must, within one business day after receipt of the amendment from the issuer or an agent of the issuer, submit:

(A) the amendment to EMMA; and

(B) all information required to be submitted by Form G-32 relating to the amendment as required under subsection (b)(vi) of this rule and as set forth in the EMMA Dataport Manual.

(iv) Cancellation of All or Part of Primary Offering.  In the event an underwriter provides to EMMA the documents and information referred to in subsection (i), (ii) or (iii) above, but the primary offering is later cancelled, the underwriter shall notify EMMA of this fact promptly through Form G-32.  If only a portion of a primary offering is cancelled, the underwriter shall amend or supplement information submitted to EMMA to reflect such partial cancellation by no later than the closing date.

(v) Underwriting Syndicate.  In the event a syndicate or similar account has been formed for the underwriting of a primary offering, the managing underwriter shall take the actions required under the provisions of this rule.

(vi) Procedures for Submitting Documents and Form G-32 Information.

(A) All official statements, preliminary official statements, advance refunding documents and amendments thereto submitted to EMMA under this rule shall be in a designated electronic format.

(B) All submissions of information required under this rule shall be made by means of Form G-32 submitted electronically to EMMA in such format and manner, and including such items of information provided at such times, as specified herein, in Form G-32 and in the EMMA Dataport Manual.

(C) The underwriter in any primary offering of municipal securities for which a document or information is required to be submitted to EMMA under this section (b) shall submit such information in a timely and accurate manner as follows:

(1) Form G-32 information submissions pursuant to paragraph (b)(i)(A) hereof with respect to a primary offering shall be:

(a) initiated on or prior to the date of first execution with the submission of CUSIP numbers (except if such CUSIP numbers are not required under Rule G-34 and have not been assigned), initial offering prices or yields (including prices or yields for maturities designated as not reoffered), if applicable, the expected closing date, whether the issuer or other obligated persons have agreed to undertake to provide continuing disclosure information as contemplated by Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12, and if there was a retail order period (as defined in Rule G-11(a)(vii)) as part of a primary offering, information indicating whether a retail order period was conducted, each date and each time (beginning and end) it was conducted, together with such other items of information as set forth in Form G-32 and the EMMA Dataport Manual; and

(b) completed by no later than the closing date, except to the extent that the provisions of subsection (b)(i) otherwise require a submission after the closing date.

Specific items of information required by Form G-32 shall be submitted at such times and in such manners as set forth in the EMMA Dataport Manual.

(2) Form G-32 information submissions pursuant to paragraph (b)(ii)(B) hereof with respect to an advance refunding shall be completed by no later than five business days after the closing date with the submission of CUSIP numbers, if any, of the advance refunded municipal securities (including any CUSIP numbers newly assigned to some or all of the advance refunded municipal securities), together with such other items of information as set forth in Form G-32 and the EMMA Dataport Manual.

(3) Form G-32 information submissions pursuant to paragraph (b)(iii)(B) hereof with respect to an amendment to a previously submitted document shall be completed by no later than one business day after receipt of such amendment from the issuer or an agent of the issuer with the submission of such items of information as set forth in Form G-32 and the EMMA Dataport Manual.

(4) Form G-32 information submissions pursuant to subsection (b)(iv) hereof with respect to a cancellation of a primary offering shall be completed:

(a) in the case of a partial cancellation, by no later than the closing date for the remaining portion of such primary offering; and

(b) in the case of a cancellation of the entire primary offering, promptly after a final determination by the issuer that such offering is cancelled, provided that such information shall be deemed to have been submitted on a timely basis if submitted within five business days after cancellation by the underwriter of its transactions with customers or other brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers in connection with such cancelled offering.

(D) Form G-32 and any related documents shall be submitted by the underwriter or by any submission agent designated by the underwriter pursuant to procedures set forth in the EMMA Dataport Manual.  The failure of a submission agent designated by an underwriter to comply with any requirement of this rule shall be considered a failure by such underwriter to so comply.

(c) Definitions. For purposes of this rule, the following terms have the following meanings:

(i) The term "advance refunding document" shall mean the refunding escrow trust agreement or its equivalent prepared by or on behalf of the issuer.

(ii) The term “closing date” shall mean the date of first delivery by the issuer to or through the underwriter of municipal securities sold in a primary offering.

(iii) The term “designated electronic format” shall mean portable document format, with files configured to permit documents to be saved, viewed, printed and retransmitted by electronic means.  For files submitted to EMMA on or after January 1, 2010, documents in designated electronic format must be word-searchable (without regard to diagrams, images and other non-textual elements).

(iv) The term “EMMA” shall mean the Board’s Electronic Municipal Market Access system, or any other electronic municipal securities information access system designated by the Board for collecting and disseminating primary offering documents and information.

(v) The term “EMMA Dataport Manual” shall mean the document(s) designated as such published by the Board from time to time setting forth the processes and procedures with respect to submissions to be made to the primary market disclosure service of EMMA by underwriters under Rule G-32(b).

(vi) The term “offered municipal securities” shall mean municipal securities that are sold by a broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer during the securities’ primary offering disclosure period, including but not limited to municipal securities reoffered in a remarketing that constitutes a primary offering and municipal securities sold in a primary offering but designated as not reoffered.

(vii) The term “official statement” shall mean (A) for an offering subject to Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12, a document or documents defined in Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12(f)(3), or (B) for an offering not subject to Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12, a document or documents prepared by or on behalf of the issuer that is complete as of the date delivered to the underwriter and that sets forth information concerning the terms of the proposed offering of securities.  A notice of sale shall not be deemed to be an “official statement” for purposes of this rule.

(viii) The term “primary offering” shall mean an offering defined in Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12(f)(7), including but not limited to any remarketing of municipal securities that constitutes a primary offering as such subsection (f)(7) may be interpreted from time to time by the Commission.

(ix) The term “primary offering disclosure period” shall mean, with respect to any primary offering, the period commencing with the first submission to an underwriter of an order for the purchase of offered municipal securities or the purchase of such securities from the issuer, whichever first occurs, and ending 25 days after the final delivery by the issuer or its agent of all securities of the issue to or through the underwriting syndicate or sole underwriter.

(x) The term “qualified portal” shall mean an Internet-based utility providing access by any purchaser or potential purchaser of offered municipal securities to the official statement for such offered municipal securities in a designated electronic format, and allowing such purchaser or potential purchaser to search for (using the nine-digit CUSIP number and other appropriate search parameters), view, print and save the official statement, at no charge, for a period beginning on the first business day after such official statement becomes available from EMMA and ending no earlier than 30 calendar days after the end of the primary offering disclosure period for such offered municipal securities; provided that any such utility shall not be a qualified portal unless notice to users that official statements are also available from EMMA and a hyperlink to EMMA are posted on the page on which searches on such utility for official statements may be conducted.

(xi) The term “date of first execution” shall mean the date on which the underwriter executes its first transactions with a customer or another broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer in any security offered in a primary offering; provided that, for offerings subject to Rule G-34(a)(ii)(C), “date of first execution” shall mean the date corresponding to the Time of First Execution as defined in Rule G-34(a)(ii)(C)(1)(b); further provided that, solely for purposes of this rule, the date of first execution shall be deemed to occur by no later than the closing date.

(xii) The term “underwriter” shall mean a broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer that is an underwriter as defined in Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12(f)(8), including but not limited to a broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer that acts as remarketing agent for a remarketing of municipal securities that constitutes a primary offering.

(xiii) The term “commercial paper” shall mean municipal securities having a maturity of nine months or less issued pursuant to a commercial paper program permitting such municipal securities to be rolled over upon maturity into new commercial paper.

(xiv) The term "obligated person" shall mean an obligated person defined in Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12(f)(10).

(xv) The term “NIIDS” shall have the meaning set forth in Rule G-34(a)(ii)(C)(3)(b).

Compliance Resource
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Compliance Resource
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Compliance Resource
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Compliance Resource
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MSRB Form G-32

Rule Number:
Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:

Notice Regarding Electronic Delivery and Receipt of Information by Municipal Advisors

 

In November 1998, the MSRB published an interpretation about the use of electronic media to deliver and receive information by brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers under Board rules (the “1998 interpretation”).  Since that time, the MSRB has been granted rulemaking authority over municipal advisors, and in the exercise of that authority, the MSRB has been developing a comprehensive regulatory framework for municipal advisors.

 

The Board believes that the use of electronic media to deliver and receive information under Board rules also is important for municipal advisors, and extends the guidance provided in the 1998 interpretation, as relevant, to municipal advisors.  See Rule G-32 Interpretation – Notice Regarding Electronic Delivery and Receipt of Information by Brokers, Dealers and Municipal Securities Dealers (November 20, 1998).

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:

Build America Bonds and Other Tax Credit Bonds

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 added a provision to the Internal Revenue Code that authorizes state and local governments to issue two types of “Build America Bonds” as taxable governmental bonds with Federal subsidies for a portion of their borrowing costs.

The first type of Build America Bond provides a Federal subsidy through Federal tax credits to investors in the bonds.  The tax credits may also be “stripped” and sold to other investors, pursuant to regulations to be issued by the Treasury Department.  In its Notice 2009-26, the Treasury Department refers to this type of Build America Bond as “Build America Bonds (Tax Credit).”

The second type of Build America Bond provides a Federal subsidy through a refundable tax credit paid to state or local governmental issuers by the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service.  The Treasury Department refers to this type of Build America Bond as “Build America Bonds (Direct Payment).”  This Notice refers to both Build America Bonds (Tax Credit) and Build America Bonds (Direct Payment) as “Build America Bonds.”

Some municipal market participants have requested guidance on whether Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board rules are applicable to Build America Bonds.  Build America Bonds are municipal securities, because they are issued by States and their political subdivisions and instrumentalities.  Accordingly, all of the MSRB’s rules apply to transactions effected by brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers (“dealers”) in Build America Bonds, including rules regarding uniform and fair practice, political contributions, automated clearance and settlement, the payment of MSRB underwriting and transaction assessment fees, and the professional qualifications of registered representatives and principals.

For example, dealers in the primary market should note that current Rule G-36 requires underwriters to submit official statements to the MSRB, accompanied by completed Form G-36 (OS), for most primary offerings of municipal securities.  Dealers also have official statement delivery responsibilities to customers under Rule G-32.  Once final, recently proposed revisions to Rule G-32 will require underwriters to satisfy their official statement submission obligations electronically through use of the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access system (“EMMA”) and will allow dealers to satisfy their official statement delivery obligations by means of appropriate notice to customers.

The MSRB understands that many Build America Bonds may be sold by dealers’ taxable desks and reminds dealers that Rule G-27 requires that municipal securities principals must supervise all municipal securities activities, including such sales.

Dealers in the secondary market should note that Rule G-14 requires that all transactions in municipal securities must be reported to the MSRB within certain prescribed time periods. 

The following additional types of tax credit bonds are also municipal securities subject to MSRB rules: Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds, Qualified School Construction Bonds, Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, Midwestern Tax Credit Bonds, Energy Conservation Bonds, and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds.

This Notice does not address the securities law characterization of the tax credit component of Build America Bonds (Tax Credit) or other tax credit bonds, whether the credits are used by investors in the bonds or stripped and sold to other investors.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:

Non-Material Amendments to Official Statements for Municipal Fund Securities

The MSRB understands that an issuer [of municipal fund securities] may make minor modifications to the official statement in order to correct typographical or grammatical errors, or to make such other modifications that the issuer may deem to be immaterial.  If the issuer has acknowledged in writing to the primary distributor that it does not consider such modification to be material to investors and does not believe that such modification is required to make the statements in the official statement not misleading, then the modification need not be sent by a dealer to a customer that has previously received the official statement, notwithstanding the provisions of Rule G-32(a)(i).[1]  The primary distributor must maintain the issuer’s written acknowledgement under Rule G-8(a)(xiii), relating to records concerning deliveries of official statements.  The primary distributor must send all amendments, regardless of materiality, to the MSRB under Rule G-36.


 

ENDNOTES

[*] [This interpretation is an excerpt from “Application of Fair Practice and Advertising Rules to Municipal Fund Securities,” May 14, 2002.  The remaining portions of the 2002 interpretation have been superseded by other interpretations and rule changes.]

[1] Rule G-32(a)(i) requires delivery of an official statement to a customer purchasing municipal fund securities by settlement of the transaction.  In the case of a repeat purchaser who has already received the official statement, dealers generally are required to deliver any amendments or supplements to the official statement in connection with subsequent purchases of the securities. [footnote has been renumbered]

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:

The Application of Rules G-32 and G-36 to New Issue Offerings Through Auction Procedures

The MSRB published a notice regarding Interpretation on the Application of Rules G-32 and G-36 to New Issue Offerings Through Auction Procedures.

 

Traditionally, brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers (“dealers”) have underwritten new issue municipal securities through syndicates in which one dealer serves as the managing underwriter. In some cases, a single dealer may serve as the sole underwriter for a new issue. Typically, these underwritings are effected on an “all-or-none” basis, meaning that the underwriters bid on the entire new issue. In addition, new issues are occasionally sold to two or more underwriters that have not formed a syndicate but instead each underwriter has purchased a separate portion of the new issue (in effect, each underwriter serving as the sole underwriter for its respective portion of the new issue).

In the primary market in recent years, some issuers have issued their new offerings through an electronic “auction” process that permits the taking of bids from both dealers and investors directly. In some cases, these bids may be taken on other than an all-or-none basis, with bidders making separate bids on each maturity of a new issue. The issuer may engage a dealer as an auction agent to conduct the auction process on its behalf. In addition, to effectuate the transfer of the securities from the issuer to the winning bidders and for certain other purposes connected with the auction process, the issuer may engage a dealer to serve in the role of settlement agent or in some other intermediary role.

Although the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the “MSRB”) has not examined all forms that these auction agent, settlement agent or other intermediary roles (collectively referred to as “dealer-intermediaries”) may take, it believes that in most cases such dealer-intermediary is effecting a transaction between the issuer and each of the winning bidders. The MSRB also believes that in many cases such dealer-intermediary may be acting as an underwriter, as such term is defined in Rule 15c2-12(f)(8) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”).[1] A dealer-intermediary that is effecting transactions in connection with such an auction process has certain obligations under rule G-32. If it is also an underwriter with respect to an offering, it has certain additional obligations under rules G-32 and G-36.

Application of Rule G-32, on Disclosures in Connection with New Issues 

Rule G-32(a) generally requires that any dealer (i.e., not just the underwriter) selling municipal securities to a customer during the issue’s underwriting period must deliver the official statement in final form, if any, to the customer by settlement of the transaction. Any dealer selling a new issue municipal security to another dealer is obligated under rule G-32(b) to send such official statement to the purchasing dealer within one business day of request. In addition, under rule G-32(c), the managing or sole underwriter for new issue municipal securities is obligated to send to any dealer purchasing such securities (regardless of whether the securities were purchased from such managing or sole underwriter or from another dealer), within one business day of request, one official statement plus one additional copy per $100,000 par value of the new issue municipal securities sold by such dealer to customers. Where multiple underwriters underwrite a new issue without forming an underwriting syndicate, each underwriter is considered a sole underwriter for purposes of rule G-32 and therefore each must undertake the official statement delivery obligation described in the preceding sentence.

If a dealer-intermediary is involved in an auction or similar process of primary offering of municipal securities in which all or a portion of the securities are sold directly to investors that have placed winning bids with the issuer, the dealer-intermediary is obligated under rule G-32(a) to deliver an official statement to such investors by settlement of their purchases. If all or a portion of the securities are sold to other dealers that have placed winning bids with the issuer, the dealer-intermediary is obligated under rule G-32(b) to send an official statement to such purchasing dealers within one business day of a request. Further, to the extent that the dealer-intermediary is an underwriter, such dealer-intermediary typically would have the obligations of a sole underwriter under rule G-32(c) to distribute the official statement to any other dealer that subsequently purchases the securities during the underwriting period and requests a copy. Any dealer that has placed a winning bid in a new issue auction would have the same distribution responsibility under rule G-32(c), to the extent that it is acting as an underwriter.

The MSRB views rule G-32 as permitting one or more dealer-intermediaries involved in an auction process to enter into an agreement with one or more other dealers that have purchased securities through a winning bid in which the parties agree that one such dealer (i.e., a dealer-intermediary or one of the winning bidders) will serve in the role of managing underwriter for purposes of rule G-32. In such a case, such single dealer (rather than all dealers individually) would have the responsibility for distribution of official statements to the marketplace typically undertaken by a managing or sole underwriter under rule G-32(c).[2] Such an agreement may be entered into by less than all dealers that have purchased securities through the auction process. All dealers that agree to delegate this duty to a single dealer may rely on such delegation to the same extent as if they had in fact formed an underwriting syndicate.

Application of Rule G-36, on Delivery of Official Statements, Advance Refunding Documents and Forms G-36(OS) and G-36(ARD) to the MSRB

Rule G-36 requires that the managing or sole underwriter for most primary offerings send the official statement and Form G-36(OS) to the MSRB within certain time frames set forth in the rule. In addition, if the new issue is an advance refunding and an advance refunding document has been prepared, the advance refunding document and Form G-36(ARD) also must be sent to the MSRB by the managing or sole underwriter. Where multiple underwriters underwrite an offering without forming an underwriting syndicate, the MSRB has stated that each underwriter would have the role of sole underwriter for purposes of rule G-36 and therefore each would have a separate obligation to send official statements, advance refunding documents and Forms G-36(OS) and G-36(ARD) to the MSRB.[3]

To the extent that the dealer-intermediary in an auction or similar process of primary offering of municipal securities is an underwriter for purposes of the Exchange Act, such dealer-intermediary would have obligations under rule G-36. If all or a portion of the securities are sold directly to investors that have placed winning bids with the issuer, the dealer-intermediary would be obligated to send the official statement and Form G-36(OS) (as well as any applicable advance refunding document and Form G-36(ARD)) to the MSRB with respect to the issue or portion thereof purchased by investors. If all or a portion of the securities are sold to other dealers that have placed winning bids with the issuer, the dealer-intermediary and each of the purchasing dealers (to the extent that they are underwriters for purposes of the Exchange Act) also typically would be separately obligated to send such documents to the MSRB with respect to the issue or portion thereof purchased by dealers.

To avoid duplicative filings under rule G-36, the MSRB believes that one or more dealer-intermediaries involved in an auction process may enter into an agreement with one or more other dealers that have purchased securities through a winning bid in which the parties agree that one such dealer (i.e., a dealer-intermediary or one of the winning bidders) will serve in the role of managing underwriter for purposes of rule G-36. In such a case, such single dealer (rather than all dealers individually) would have the responsibility for sending the official statement, advance refunding document and Forms G-36(OS) and G-36(ARD) to the MSRB.[4] Such an agreement may be entered into by less than all dealers that have purchased securities. All dealers that agree to delegate this duty to a single dealer may rely on such delegation to the same extent as if they had in fact formed an underwriting syndicate.

March 26, 2001


[1] Questions regarding whether an entity acting in an intermediary role is effecting a transaction or whether a dealer acting in such an intermediary role for a particular primary offering of municipal securities would constitute an underwriter should be addressed to staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

[2] Each dealer that is party to this agreement would be required to inform any dealer seeking copies of the official statement from such dealer under rule G-32(c) of the identity of the dealer that has by agreement undertaken this obligation or, in the alternative, may fulfill the request for official statements. In either case, the dealer would be required to act promptly so as either to permit the dealer undertaking the distribution obligation to fulfill its duty in a timely manner or to provide the official statement itself in the time required by the rule. Such agreement would not affect the obligation of a dealer that sells new issue securities to another dealer to provide a copy of the official statement to such dealer upon request as required under rule G-32(b), nor would it affect the obligation to deliver official statements to customers as required under rule G-32(a).

[3] See Rule G-36 Interpretive Letter – Multiple underwriters, MSRB interpretation of January 30, 1998, MSRB Rule Book (January 1, 2001) at 189.

[4] The dealer designated to act as managing underwriter for purposes of rule G-36 would be billed the full amount of any applicable underwriting assessment due under rule A-13, on underwriting and transaction assessments. Such dealer would be permitted, in turn, to bill each other dealer that is party to the agreement for its share of the assessment.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:

Sales of Municipal Fund Securities in the Primary Market

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the “Board”) has learned that sales of certain interests in trust funds held by state or local governmental entities may be effected by or through brokers, dealers or municipal securities dealers (“dealers”). In particular, the Board has reviewed two types of state or local gov-ernmental programs in which dealers may effect transactions in such interests: pooled investment funds under trusts established by state or local governmental entities (“local government pools”) [1] and higher education savings plan trusts established by states (“higher education trusts”).[2] In response to a request of the Board, staff of the Division of Market Regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) has stated that “at least some interests in local government pools and higher education trusts may be, depending on the facts and circumstances, ‘municipal securities’ for purposes of the [Securities] Exchange Act [of 1934].” [3] Any such interests that may, in fact, constitute municipal securities are referred to herein as “municipal fund securities.” To the extent that dealers effect transactions in municipal fund securi-ties, such transactions are subject to the jurisdiction of the Board pursuant to Section 15B of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).

With respect to the applicability to municipal fund securities of Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12, relating to municipal securities disclosure, staff of the SEC’s Division of Market Regulation has stated:

[W]e note that Rule 15c2-12(f)(7) under the Exchange Act defines a “primary  offering” as including an offering of municipal securities directly or indirectly by or on behalf of an issuer of such securities. Based upon an analysis of programs that have been brought to our attention, it appears that interests in local government pools or higher education trusts generally are offered only by direct purchase from the issuer. Accordingly, we would view those interests as having been sold in a “primary offering” as that term is defined in Rule 15c2-12. If a dealer is acting as an “underwriter” (as defined in Rule 15c2-12(f)(8)) in connection with that primary offering, the dealer may be subject to the requirements of Rule 15c2-12. [4]

Rule 15c2-12(f)(8) defines an underwriter as “any person who has purchased from an issuer of municipal securities with a view to, or offers or sells for an issuer of municipal securities in connection with, the offering of any municipal security, or participates or has a direct or indirect participation in any such undertaking, or participates or has a participation in the direct or indirect underwriting of any such undertaking.” [5]

Consistent with SEC staff’s view regarding the sale in primary offerings of municipal fund securities, dealers acting as underwriters in primary offerings of municipal fund securities generally would be subject to the requirements of rule G-36, on delivery of official statements, advance refunding documents and Forms G-36(OS) and G-36(ARD) to Board or its designee. Thus, unless such primary offering falls within one of the stated exemptions in Rule 15c2-12, the Board expects that the dealer would receive a final official statement from the issuer or its agent under its contractual agreement entered into pursuant to Rule 15c2-12(b)(3). [6] Such final official statement should be received from the issuer in sufficient time for the dealer to send it, together with Form G-36(OS), to the Board within one business day of receipt but no later than 10 business days after any final agreement to purchase, offer, or sell the municipal fund securities, as required under rule G-36(b)(i). [7]  “Final official statement,” as used in rule G-36(b)(i), has the same meaning as in Rule 15c2-12(f)(3), which states, in relevant part:

The term final official statement means a document or set of documents prepared by an issuer of municipal securities or its representatives that is complete as of the date delivered to the Participating Underwriter(s) and that sets forth information concerning the terms of the proposed issue of securi- ties; information, including financial information or operating data, concerning such issuers of municipal securities and those other entities, enterprises, funds, accounts, and other persons material to an evaluation of the Offering; and a description of the undertakings to be provided pursuant to paragraph (b)(5)(i), paragraph (d)(2)(ii), and paragraph (d)(2)(iii) of this section, if applicable, and of any instances in the previous five years in which each person specified pursuant to paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of this section failed to comply, in all material respects, with any previous undertakings in a written contract or agreement specified in paragraph (b)(5)(i) of this section. [8]

The Board understands that issuers of municipal fund securities typically issue and deliver the securities continuously as customers make purchases, rather than issuing and delivering a single issue on a specified date. As used in Board rules, the term “underwriting period” with respect to an offering involving a single dealer (i.e., not involving an underwriting syndicate) is defined as the period (A) commencing with the first submission to the dealer of an order for the purchase of the securities or the purchase of the securities from the issuer, whichever first occurs, and (B) ending at such time as the following two conditions both are met: (1) the issuer delivers the securities to the dealer, and (2) the dealer no longer retains an unsold balance of the securities purchased from the issuer or 21 calendar days elapse after the date of the first submission of an order for the securities, whichever first occurs. [9] Since an offering consisting of securities issued and de-livered on a continuous basis would not, by its very nature, ever meet the first condition for the termination of the underwriting period, such offering would continuously remain in its underwriting period. [10] Further, since rule G-36(d) requires a dealer that has previously provided an official statement to the Board to send any amendments to the official statement made by the issuer during the underwriting period, such dealer would remain obligated to send to the Board any amendments made to the official statement during such continuous underwriting period. However, in view of the increased possibility that an issuer may change the dealer that participates in the sale of its securities during such a continuous underwriting period, the Board has determined that rule G-36(d) would require that the dealer that is at the time of an amendment then serving as underwriter for securities that are still in the underwriting period send the amendment to the Board, regardless of whether that dealer or another dealer sent the original official statement to the Board.

In addition, municipal fund securities sold in a primary offering would constitute new issue municipal securities for purposes of rule G-32, on disclosures in connection with new issues, so long as the securities remain in their underwriting period. Rule G-32 generally requires that a dealer selling a new issue municipal security to a customer must deliver the official statement in final form to the customer by settlement of such transaction. Thus, a dealer effecting transactions in municipal fund securities that are sold during a continuous underwriting period would be required to deliver to the customer the official statement by settlement of each such transaction. However, in the case of a customer purchasing such securities who is a repeat purchaser, no new delivery of the official statement would be required so long as the customer has previously received it in connection with a prior purchase and the official statement has not been changed from the one previously delivered to that customer. [11]

Certain other implications arise under Board rules as a result of the status, in the view of SEC staff, of sales of municipal fund securities as primary offerings. For example, dealers are reminded that the definition of “municipal securities business” under rule G-37, on political contributions and prohibitions on municipal securities business, and rule G-38, on consultants, includes the purchase of a primary offering from the issuer on other than a competitive bid basis or the offer or sale of a primary offering on behalf of any issuer. Thus, a dealer’s transactions in municipal fund securities may affect such dealer’s obligations under rules G-37 and G-38. In addition, rule G-23, on activities of financial advisors, applies to a dealer’s financial advisory or consultant services to an issuer with respect to a new issue of municipal securities.

[1]The Board understands that local government pools are established by state or local governmental entities as trusts that serve as vehicles for the pooled investment of public moneys of participating governmental entities. Participants purchase interests in the trust and trust assets are invested in a manner consistent with the trust’s stated investment objectives. Investors generally do not have a right to control investment of trust assets. See generally National Association of State Treasurers, Special Report: Local Government Investment Pools (July 1995); Standard & Poor’s Fund Services, Local Government Investment Pools (May 1999).

[2] The Board understands that higher education trusts generally are established by states under section 529(b) of the Internal Revenue Code as “qualified state tuition programs” through which individuals make investments for the purpose of accumulating savings for qualifying higher education costs of beneficiaries. Individuals purchase interests in the trust and trust assets are invested in a manner consistent with the trust’s stated investment objectives. Investors do not have a right to control investment of trust assets. See generally College Savings Plans Network, Special Report on State and College Savings Plans (1998).

[3] Letter dated February 26, 1999 from Catherine McGuire, Chief Counsel, Division of Market Regulation, SEC, to Diane G. Klinke, General Counsel of the Board, in response to letter dated June 2, 1998 from Diane G. Klinke to Catherine McGuire, published as Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, SEC No-Action Letter, Wash. Serv. Bur. (CCH) File  No.032299033 (Feb. 26, 1999) (the “SEC Letter”).

[4] SEC Letter.

[5] The definition of underwriter excludes any person whose interest is limited to a commission, concession, or allowance from an underwriter or dealer not in excess of the usual and customary distributors’ or sellers’ commission, concession, or allowance.

[6] Section (b)(3) of Rule 15c2-12 requires that a dealer serving as a Participating Underwriter in connection with a primary offering subject to the Rule contract with an issuer of municipal securities or its designated agent to receive copies of a final official statement at the time and in the quantities set forth in the Rule.

[7] If a primary offering of municipal fund securities is exempt from Rule 15c2-12 (other than as a result of being a limited offering as described in section (d)(1)(i) of the Rule) and an official statement in final form has been prepared by the issuer, then the dealer would be expected to send the official statement in final form, together with Form G-36(OS), to the Board under rule G-36(c)(i).

[8] Dealers seeking guidance as to whether a particular document or set of documents constitutes a final official statement for purposes of rule G-36(b)(i) should consult with SEC staff to determine whether such document or set of documents constitutes a final official statement for purposes of Rule 15c2-12.

[9] See rule G-32(c)(ii)(B). If approved by the SEC, the proposed rule change will redesignate this section as rule G-32(d)(ii)(B).

[10] Similarly, an offering involving an underwriting syndicate and consisting of securities issued and delivered on a continuous basis also would remain in its underwriting period under the definition thereof set forth in rule G-11(a)(ix).

[11] This is equally true for other forms of municipal securities for which a customer has already received an official statement in connection with an earlier purchase and who proceeds to make a second purchase of the same securities during the underwriting period. Furthermore, in the case of a repeat purchaser of municipal securities for which no official statement in final form is being prepared, no new delivery of the written notice to that effect or of any official statement in preliminary form would be required so long as the customer has previously received it in connection with a prior purchase. However, if an official statement in final form is subsequently prepared, the customer’s next purchase would trigger the delivery requirement with respect to such official statement. Also, if an official statement which has previously been delivered is subsequently amended during the underwriting period, the customer’s next purchase would trigger the delivery requirement with respect to such amendment.

 

 

 

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:

Electronic Delivery and Receipt of Information by Brokers, Dealers and Municipal Securities Dealers

On May 9, 1996, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) issued an interpretative release expressing its views on the use of electronic media for delivery of information by, among others, brokers and dealers.[1] The SEC stated that brokers, dealers and others may satisfy their delivery obligations under federal securities laws by using electronic media as an alternative to paper-based media within the framework established in the SEC’s October 1995 interpretive release on the use of electronic media for delivery purposes.[2] The SEC also indicated that an electronic communication from a customer to a broker or dealer generally would satisfy the requirements for written consent or acknowledgment under the federal securities laws.

 

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the “Board”) is publishing this notice to address the use by brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers (“dealers”) of electronic media to deliver and receive information under Board rules.[3] The Board will permit dealers to transmit documents electronically that they are required or permitted to furnish to customers under Board rules provided that they adhere to the standards set forth in the SEC Releases and summarized below.[4] Dealers also may receive consents and acknowledgments from customers electronically in satisfaction of required written consents and acknowledgments. Furthermore, the Board believes that the standards applied by the SEC to communications with customers should also apply to communications among dealers and between dealers and issuers. However, although it is the Board’s goal ultimately to permit dealers to make required submissions of materials to the Board electronically if possible, this notice does not affect existing requirements for the submission of materials to the Board, its designees and certain other entities to which information is required to be delivered under Board rules.[5]

Dealers are urged to review the SEC Releases in their entirety to ensure that they comply with all aspects of the SEC’s electronic delivery requirements. Although the examples provided in the SEC Releases are based on SEC rules, the examples nonetheless provide important guidance as to the intended application of the standards set out by the SEC with respect to electronic communications.

Electronic Communications from Dealers to Customers

General. According to the standards established by the SEC, dealers may use electronic media to satisfy their delivery obligations to customers under Board rules, provided that the electronic communication satisfies the following principles:[6]

1. Notice – The electronic communication should provide timely and adequate notice to customers that the information is available electronically.[7] Since certain forms of electronic delivery may not always provide a likelihood of notice that recipients have received information that they may wish to review, dealers should consider supplementing such forms of electronic communication with a separate communication, providing notice similar to that provided by delivery in paper through the postal mail, that information has been sent electronically that the recipients may wish to review.[8]

2. Access – Customers who are provided information through electronic delivery should have access to that information comparable to the access that would be provided if the information were delivered in paper form.[9] The use of a particular electronic medium should not be so burdensome that intended recipients cannot effectively access the information provided.[10] A recipient should have the opportunity to retain the information through the selected medium (e.g., by downloading or printing the information) or have ongoing access equivalent to personal retention.[11] Also, as a matter of policy, the SEC believes that a person who has a right to receive a document under the federal securities laws and chooses to receive it electronically should be provided with a paper version of the document upon specific request or if consent to receive documents electronically is revoked.[12]

3. Evidence to Show Delivery – Dealers must have reason to believe that electronically delivered information will result in the satisfaction of the delivery requirements under the federal securities laws. Dealers should consider the need to establish procedures to ensure that applicable delivery obligations are met, including recordkeeping procedures to evidence such satisfaction.[13] Such procedures should also be designed to ensure the integrity and security of information being delivered so as to ensure that it is the information that was intended to be delivered.[14] Dealers may be able to evidence satisfaction of delivery obligations, for example, by:

(1) obtaining the intended recipient’s informed consent [15] to delivery through a specified electronic medium and ensuring that the recipient has appropriate notice and access;

(2) obtaining evidence that the intended recipient actually received the information, such as by an electronic mail return-receipt [16] or by confirmation that the information was accessed, downloaded, or printed; or

(3) disseminating information through certain facsimile methods (e.g., faxing information to a customer who has requested the information and has provided the telephone number for the fax machine).

Personal Financial Information. The SEC has noted, and the Board agrees, that special precautions are appropriate when dealers are delivering information to customers that is specific to that particular customer’s personal financial information, including but not limited to information contained on confirmations and account statements.[17] In transmitting such personal financial information, dealers should consider the following factors:

1. Confidentiality and Security – Dealers sending personal financial information through electronic means or in paper form should take reasonable precautions to ensure the integrity, confidentiality, and security of that information. Dealers transmitting personal financial information electronically must tailor those precautions to the medium used in order to ensure that the information is reasonably secure from tampering or alteration.

2. Consent – Unless a dealer is responding to a request for information that is made through electronic media or the person making the request specifies delivery through a particular electronic medium, the dealer should obtain the intended recipient’s informed consent prior to delivering personal financial information electronically. The customer’s consent may be made either by a manual signature or by electronic means.

Electronic Communications from Customers to Dealers

Consistent with the position taken by the SEC, dealers may rely on consents and acknowledgments received from customers by electronic means for purposes of Board rules. In relying on such communications from customers, dealers must be cognizant of their responsibilities to prevent, and the potential liability associated with, unauthorized transactions. In this regard, the SEC states, and the Board agrees, that dealers should have reasonable assurance that the communication from a customer is authentic.

Electronic Transmission of Non-Required Communications

The 1996 SEC Release states that the above standards are intended to permit dealers to comply with their delivery obligations under federal securities laws when using electronic media. While compliance with the guidelines is not mandatory for the electronic delivery of non-required information that, in some cases, is being provided voluntarily to customers, the Board believes adherence to the guidelines should be considered, especially with respect to delivery of personal financial information.

Electronic Communications Among Dealers and Between Dealers and Issuers

The Board believes that the standards applied by the SEC to communications with customers should also apply to mandated communications among dealers and between dealers and issuers. Thus, a dealer that undertakes communications required under Board rules with other dealers and with issuers in a manner that conforms with the principles stated above relating to customer communications will have met its obligations with respect to such communications. In addition, a dealer may rely on consents and acknowledgments received from other dealers or issuers by electronic means for purposes of Board rules, provided that the dealer should have reasonable assurance that the communication from such other party is authentic. However, any Board rule that explicitly requires that a dealer enter into a written agreement with another party will continue to require that such agreement be in written form.[18] Financial information, as well as other privileged or confidential information, relating to another dealer or an issuer (or relating to another person or entity contained in a transmission between a dealer and another dealer or an issuer) should be transmitted using precautions similar to those used by a dealer in transmitting personal financial information to a customer.

Rules to Which this Notice Applies

Set forth below is a list of current Board rules to which dealers may apply the guidance provided in this notice. The Board believes that the list sets forth all of the rules that require or permit communications among dealers and between dealers and customers and issuers.[19] The summaries provided of the delivery obligations under the listed rules is intended for ease of reference only and are not intended to be complete statements of all the requirements under such rules.

  • Rule G-8, on books and records to be made by dealers, prohibits dealers from obtaining or submitting for payment a check, draft or other form of negotiable paper drawn on a customer’s checking, savings, share or similar account without the customer’s express written authorization.

  • Rule G-10, on delivery of investor brochure, requires dealers to deliver a copy of the investor brochure to a customer upon receipt of a complaint by the customer.

  • Rule G-11, on sales of new issue municipal securities during the underwriting period, requires certain communications between senior syndicate managers and other members of the syndicate.[20]

  • Rule G-12, on uniform practice, provides for confirmation of inter-dealer transactions and certain other inter-dealer communications.[21]

  • Rule G-15, on confirmation, clearance and settlement of transactions with customers, provides for confirmation of transactions with customers and the provision of additional information to customers upon request.[22]

  • Rule G-19, on suitability of recommendations and transactions and discretionary accounts, requires that dealers obtain certain information from their customers in connection with transactions and recommendations and also receive customer authorizations with respect to discretionary account transactions.

  • Rule G-22, on control relationships, requires certain disclosures from a dealer effecting a transaction for a customer in municipal securities with respect to which such dealer has a control relationship and customer authorization of such transaction with respect to discretionary accounts.

  • Rule G-23, on activities of financial advisors, requires that, under certain circumstances, dealers acting as financial advisors to issuers provide various disclosures to issuers and customers and receive certain consents and acknowledgments from issuers.[23]

  • Rule G-24, on use of ownership information obtained in fiduciary or agency capacity, requires a dealer seeking to use for its own purposes information obtained while acting in a fiduciary or agency capacity for an issuer or other dealer to receive consents to the use of such information.

  • Rule G-25, on improper use of assets, provides that put options and repurchase agreements will not be deemed to be guaranties against loss if their terms are provided in writing to customers with or on the transaction confirmation.

  • Rule G-26, on customer account transfers, provides for written notice from customers requesting account transfers between dealers and the use of Form G-26 to effect such transfer.[24]

  • Rule G-28, on transactions with employees and partners of other municipal securities professionals, requires that a dealer opening an account for a customer who is an employee or partner of another dealer must provide notice and copies of confirmations to such other dealer and permits such other dealers to provide instructions for handling of transactions with such customer.

  • Rule G-29, on availability of Board rules, provides that dealers must make available to customers for examination promptly upon request a copy of the Board’s rules required to be kept in their offices.[25]

  • Rule G-32, on disclosures in connection with new issues, requires dealers selling new issue municipal securities to customers to deliver official statements[26] and certain other information by settlement and requires selling dealers, managing underwriters and certain dealers acting as financial advisors to deliver such materials to dealers purchasing new issue municipal securities, upon request.[27]

  • Rule G-34, on CUSIP numbers and new issue requirements, requires underwriters to communicate information regarding CUSIP numbers and initial trade date to syndicate and selling group members.[28]

  • Rule G-38, on consultants, requires dealers to provide certain information to issuers regarding consulting arrangements.[29]

  • Rule G-39, on telemarketing, prohibits certain telemarketing calls without the prior consent of the person being called.[30]


ENDNOTES

[1] See Securities Act Release No. 7288, Exchange Act Release No. 37182 (May 9, 1996), 61 FR 24644 (May 15, 1996) (the “1996 SEC Release”).

[2] See Securities Act Release No. 7233, Exchange Act Release No. 36345 (October 6, 1995), 60 FR 53458 (October 13, 1995) (the “1995 SEC Release” and, together with the 1996 SEC Release, the “SEC Releases”).

[3] This notice has been filed with the SEC as File No. SR-MSRB-98-12.

[4] The Board also reminds dealers that the SEC indicated in the 1996 SEC Release that dealers may fulfill their obligation to deliver to customers, upon request, preliminary official statements and final official statements in connection with primary offerings of municipal securities subject to SEC Rule 15c2-12 by electronic means, subject to the guidelines set forth in the 1996 SEC Release. See 1996 SEC Release at note 47.

[5] For example, this notice does not apply to any requirements that dealers supply the Board with written information pursuant to Board rules A-12, A-14, A-15, G-36, G-37 and G-38. The Board has begun the planning process for electronic submission of information required under rule A-15 and of Form G-37/G-38 under rules G-37 and G-38. At such time as electronic submission becomes available, the Board will publish notice thereof and of the procedures to be used for such submission. Although submission of Forms G-36(OS) and G-36(ARD) under rule G-36 could also be made electronically by means similar to those which the Board may develop for Form G-37/G-38, such electronic submission is complicated by the requirement that Forms G-36(OS) and G-36(ARD) be accompanied by an official statement or advance refunding document, as appropriate. Given the current debate and lack of consensus among the various sectors of the municipal securities industry regarding electronic formatting of disclosure materials, and since the Board does not have the authority to dictate the format of issuer documents, the Board believes that any further action regarding electronic submissions under rule G-36 should await resolution of these issues. Finally, the Board does not at this time anticipate permitting electronic submission of information required under rules A-12 and A-14 since such information must be accompanied by payment of certain required fees.

Electronic submission of information under rule G-14 will continue to be governed by rule G-14 and associated Transaction Reporting Procedures. In addition, this notice does not alter the current submission standards applicable to the Board’s Continuing Disclosure Information (CDI) System of the Municipal Securities Information Library[®] (MSIL[®]) system. The Municipal Securities Information Library and MSIL are registered trademarks of the Board.

Furthermore, submission of information to the Board’s designees or certain other designated entities under Board rules must continue to be done in accordance with the procedures established by such designees or other entities. Board rules in which such requirements currently appear include rules G-7 (with respect to information required to be filed with the appropriate enforcement agencies), G-12 and G-15 (with respect to information to be submitted to registered clearing agencies and registered securities depositories), G-26 (with respect to customer account transfer instructions (other than Form G-26) required by registered clearing agencies), G-34 (with respect to information to be submitted to the Board’s designee for assignment of CUSIP numbers and to registered securities depositories) and G-37 (with respect to application to the appropriate enforcement agencies for exemptions from the ban on municipal securities business).

[6] Dealers that structure their deliveries in accordance with the principles set forth in this notice can be assured, except where otherwise noted, that they have satisfied their delivery obligations under Board rules. However, as the SEC stated in the 1995 SEC Release, the three enumerated principles are not the only factors relevant to determining whether the legal requirements pertaining to delivery of documents have been satisfied. Consistent with the SEC’s view, the Board believes that, if a dealer develops a method of electronic delivery that differs from the principles discussed herein, but provides assurance comparable to paper delivery that the required information will be delivered, that method may satisfy delivery obligations. See 1995 SEC Release, text following note 22. For example, a dealer can satisfy its obligation to send a confirmation to a customer under rule G-15 by electronic means in a manner that meets the principles set forth in this notice. In addition, dealers may continue to deliver confirmations electronically through the OASYS Global system established by Thomson Financial Services, Inc. on the conditions described in the Board’s Notice Concerning Use of the OASYS Global Trade Confirmation System to Satisfy Rule G-15(a), dated June 6, 1994, without specifically complying with the principles described in this notice. See MSRB Reports, Vol. 14, No. 3 (June 1994) at 37. See also 1996 SEC Release, note 38, and 1995 SEC Release, note 12. Also, rule G-29 provides that dealers must make available to customers for examination promptly upon request a copy of the Board’s rules required to be kept in their offices. Dealers may continue to comply with such requirement by giving customers access to the rules either in printed form or by viewing the rules on screen from the Board’s Internet web site (www.msrb.org) or from software products produced by other companies. See Interpretive Notice on Availability of Board Rules, dated May 20, 1998, in MSRB Reports, Vol. 18, No. 2 (August 1998) at 37.

[7] See 1996 SEC Release, text at note 20.

[8] See 1996 SEC Release, text at note 21, and 1995 SEC Release, text at note 23. The SEC notes, for example, that if information is provided by physically delivering material (such as a diskette or CD-ROM) or by electronic mail, such communication itself generally should be sufficient notice. However, if information is made available electronically through a passive delivery system, such as an Internet web site, separate notice would be necessary to satisfy the delivery requirements unless the dealer can otherwise evidence that delivery to the customer has been satisfied. 1996 SEC Release, note 21.

[9] The SEC states that, regardless of whether information is delivered in paper form or by electronic means, it should convey all material and required information. For example, if a paper document is required to present information in a certain order, then the information delivered electronically should be in substantially the same order. 1996 SEC Release, text at note 14.

[10] The SEC notes, for example, that if a customer must proceed through a confusing series of ever-changing menus to access a required document so that it is not reasonable to expect that access would generally occur, this procedure would likely be viewed as unduly burdensome. In that case, the SEC would deem delivery not to have occurred unless delivery otherwise could be shown. 1995 SEC Release, note 24.

[11] See 1996 SEC Release, note 22 and accompanying text, and 1995 SEC Release, notes 25-26 and accompanying text.

[12] See 1996 SEC Release, note 17 and accompanying text, and 1995 SEC Release, note 27 and accompanying text.

[13] See 1996 SEC Release, text following note 22, and 1995 SEC Release, note 22 and text at note 28. The Board is of the view that dealers that choose to deliver information to customers electronically should consider establishing systems and procedures for providing paper copies or using alternate electronic means in a timely manner should the primary electronic media fail for any reason.

[14] See 1996 SEC Release, text at note 25, and 1995 SEC Release, note 22. Dealers also should consider the need for systems and procedures to deter or detect misconduct by firm personnel in connection with the delivery of information, whether by electronic or paper means. 1996 SEC Release, text at note 16.

[15] In order for a consent to be an informed consent, the SEC has stated that the consent should specify the electronic medium or source through which the information will be delivered and the period during which the consent will be effective, describe the information that will be delivered using such means, and disclose the potential for the customer to incur costs in accessing the information. See 1996 SEC Release, note 23, and 1995 SEC Release, note 29.

[16] To the extent that material is distributed as an attachment to an electronic mail transmission, dealers must have a reasonable basis for believing that the attachment will in fact be transmitted along with the electronic mail transmission and that the attachment will be received by the recipient in an accessible format.

[17] In addition, the Board believes that other information that is privileged or confidential, regardless of whether such information is financial in nature, should be accorded the same precautions as is personal financial information.

[18] For example, the written agreements required under rules G-20(c), G-23(c) and G-38(b) must continue to be entered into in paper form.

[19] Unless otherwise provided in connection with the adoption by the Board of any new rules or amendments to existing rules that require or permit communications among dealers and between dealers and customers, issuers and others, the guidance provided in this notice would also apply to any such communications.

[20] Rule G-11 also requires that syndicate members furnish certain information to others, upon request. The Board believes that, solely for purposes of this requirement under rule G-11, such information may be provided to others by electronic means so long as the standards established in this notice with respect to electronic deliveries to customers are met.

[21] See, however, note 5 above with respect to information to be submitted to registered clearing agencies and registered securities depositories.

[22] See, however, note 5 above with respect to information to be submitted to registered clearing agencies and registered securities depositories. See also note 6 above regarding alternate electronic means previously reviewed by the Board.

[23] See, however, note 18 above and accompanying text regarding the written agreement to be entered into between a dealer acting as financial advisor and the issuer.

[24] See, however, note 5 above with respect to use of customer account transfer instructions (other than Form G-26).

[25] See note 6 above regarding alternate electronic means previously reviewed by the Board.

[26] The Board believes that dealers must be particularly cautious in delivering official statements by electronic means since they may present special challenges in ensuring that they are received by customers and other dealers without material omissions or distortions in formatting (for example, tables in which data is more than negligibly misaligned) that may cause such materials not to meet the standard for electronically transmitted information comparable to information delivered in paper form. See note 9 above and accompanying text.

[27] The Board believes that, to the extent that rule G-32(b)(i) [currently codified at rule G-32(c)(i)] obligates a managing or sole underwriter to provide, upon request, multiple copies of the official statement to a dealer with respect to new issue municipal securities sold by such dealer to customers, such obligation must continue to be met with paper copies of the official statement unless the purchasing dealer has consented to electronic delivery of the official statement in lieu of delivery of multiple paper copies. Compare 1995 SEC Release, example 11.

[28] See, however, note 5 above with respect to information to be submitted to the Board’s designee with respect to CUSIP number assignment and to registered securities depositories.

[29] See, however, note 18 above and accompanying text regarding the written agreement to be entered into between a dealer and its consultant and note 5 above with respect to submission of Form G-37/G-38 to the Board.

[30] Although the person receiving such telemarketing call may in many cases not be a customer, the Board believes that, solely for purposes of this provision of rule G-39, such consent may be accepted by the dealer by electronic means so long as the standards established in this notice with respect to electronic communications from customers to dealers are met.


Interpretation on the Application of Rules G-32 and G-36 to New Issue Offerings Through Auction Procedures

March 26, 2001

Traditionally, brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers (“dealers”) have underwritten new issue municipal securities through syndicates in which one dealer serves as the managing underwriter. In some cases, a single dealer may serve as the sole underwriter for a new issue. Typically, these underwritings are effected on an “all-or-none” basis, meaning that the underwriters bid on the entire new issue. In addition, new issues are occasionally sold to two or more underwriters that have not formed a syndicate but instead each underwriter has purchased a separate portion of the new issue (in effect, each underwriter serving as the sole underwriter for its respective portion of the new issue).

In the primary market in recent years, some issuers have issued their new offerings through an electronic “auction” process that permits the taking of bids from both dealers and investors directly. In some cases, these bids may be taken on other than an all-or-none basis, with bidders making separate bids on each maturity of a new issue.  The issuer may engage a dealer as an auction agent to conduct the auction process on its behalf. In addition, to effectuate the transfer of the securities from the issuer to the winning bidders and for certain other purposes connected with the auction process, the issuer may engage a dealer to serve in the role of settlement agent or in some other intermediary role.

Although the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the “MSRB”) has not examined all forms that these auction agent, settlement agent or other intermediary roles (collectively referred to as “dealer-intermediaries”) may take, it believes that in most cases such dealer-intermediary is effecting a transaction between the issuer and each of the winning bidders. The MSRB also believes that in many cases such dealer-intermediary may be acting as an underwriter, as such term is defined in Rule 15c2-12(f)(8) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”).[1] A dealer-intermediary that is effecting transactions in connection with such an auction process has certain obligations under rule G-32. If it is also an underwriter with respect to an offering, it has certain additional obligations under rules G-32 and G-36.

Application of Rule G-32, on Disclosures in Connection with New Issues

Rule G-32(a) generally requires that any dealer (i.e., not just the underwriter) selling municipal securities to a customer during the issue’s underwriting period must deliver the official statement in final form, if any, to the customer by settlement of the transaction. Any dealer selling a new issue municipal security to another dealer is obligated under rule G-32(b) to send such official statement to the purchasing dealer within one business day of request. In addition, under rule G-32(c), the managing or sole underwriter for new issue municipal securities is obligated to send to any dealer purchasing such securities (regardless of whether the securities were purchased from such managing or sole underwriter or from another dealer), within one business day of request, one official statement plus one additional copy per $100,000 par value of the new issue municipal securities sold by such dealer to customers. Where multiple underwriters underwrite a new issue without forming an underwriting syndicate, each underwriter is considered a sole underwriter for purposes of rule G-32 and therefore each must undertake the official statement delivery obligation described in the preceding sentence.

If a dealer-intermediary is involved in an auction or similar process of primary offering of municipal securities in which all or a portion of the securities are sold directly to investors that have placed winning bids with the issuer, the dealer-intermediary is obligated under rule G-32(a) to deliver an official statement to such investors by settlement of their purchases. If all or a portion of the securities are sold to other dealers that have placed winning bids with the issuer, the dealer-intermediary is obligated under rule G-32(b) to send an official statement to such purchasing dealers within one business day of a request. Further, to the extent that the dealer-intermediary is an underwriter, such dealer-intermediary typically would have the obligations of a sole underwriter under rule G-32(c) to distribute the official statement to any other dealer that subsequently purchases the securities during the underwriting period and requests a copy. Any dealer that has placed a winning bid in a new issue auction would have the same distribution responsibility under rule G-32(c), to the extent that it is acting as an underwriter.

The MSRB views rule G-32 as permitting one or more dealer-intermediaries involved in an auction process to enter into an agreement with one or more other dealers that have purchased securities through a winning bid in which the parties agree that one such dealer (i.e., a dealer-intermediary or one of the winning bidders) will serve in the role of managing underwriter for purposes of rule G-32. In such a case, such single dealer (rather than all dealers individually) would have the responsibility for distribution of official statements to the marketplace typically undertaken by a managing or sole underwriter under rule G-32(c).[2] Such an agreement may be entered into by less than all dealers that have purchased securities through the auction process. All dealers that agree to delegate this duty to a single dealer may rely on such delegation to the same extent as if they had in fact formed an underwriting syndicate.

Application of Rule G-36, on Delivery of Official Statements, Advance Refunding Documents and Forms G-36(OS) and G-36(ARD) to the MSRB

Rule G-36 requires that the managing or sole underwriter for most primary offerings send the official statement and Form G-36(OS) to the MSRB within certain time frames set forth in the rule. In addition, if the new issue is an advance refunding and an advance refunding document has been prepared, the advance refunding document and Form G-36(ARD) also must be sent to the MSRB by the managing or sole underwriter. Where multiple underwriters underwrite an offering without forming an underwriting syndicate, the MSRB has stated that each underwriter would have the role of sole underwriter for purposes of rule G-36 and therefore each would have a separate obligation to send official statements, advance refunding documents and Forms G-36(OS) and G-36(ARD) to the MSRB.[3]

To the extent that the dealer-intermediary in an auction or similar process of primary offering of municipal securities is an underwriter for purposes of the Exchange Act, such dealer-intermediary would have obligations under rule G-36. If all or a portion of the securities are sold directly to investors that have placed winning bids with the issuer, the dealer-intermediary would be obligated to send the official statement and Form G-36(OS) (as well as any applicable advance refunding document and Form G-36(ARD)) to the MSRB with respect to the issue or portion thereof purchased by investors. If all or a portion of the securities are sold to other dealers that have placed winning bids with the issuer, the dealer-intermediary and each of the purchasing dealers (to the extent that they are underwriters for purposes of the Exchange Act) also typically would be separately obligated to send such documents to the MSRB with respect to the issue or portion thereof purchased by dealers.

To avoid duplicative filings under rule G-36, the MSRB believes that one or more dealer-intermediaries involved in an auction process may enter into an agreement with one or more other dealers that have purchased securities through a winning bid in which the parties agree that one such dealer (i.e., a dealer-intermediary or one of the winning bidders) will serve in the role of managing underwriter for purposes of rule G-36. In such a case, such single dealer (rather than all dealers individually) would have the responsibility for sending the official statement, advance refunding document and Forms G-36(OS) and G-36(ARD) to the MSRB.[4] Such an agreement may be entered into by less than all dealers that have purchased securities. All dealers that agree to delegate this duty to a single dealer may rely on such delegation to the same extent as if they had in fact formed an underwriting syndicate.


ENDNOTES

1 Questions regarding whether  an entity acting in an intermediary role is effecting a transaction or whether a dealer acting in such an intermediary role for a particular primary offering of municipal securities would constitute an underwriter should be addressed to staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

2 Each dealer that is party to this agreement would be required to inform any dealer seeking copies of the official statement from such dealer under rule G-32(c) of the identity of the dealer that has by agreement undertaken this obligation or, in the alternative, may fulfill the request for official statements. In either case, the dealer would be required to act promptly so as either to permit the dealer undertaking the distribution obligation to fulfill its duty in a timely manner or to provide the official statement itself in the time required by the rule. Such agreement would not affect the obligation of a dealer that sells new issue securities to another dealer to provide a copy of the official statement to such dealer upon request as required under rule G-32(b), nor would it affect the obligation to deliver official statements to customers as required under rule G-32(a).

3 See Rule G-36 Interpretive Letter – Multiple underwriters, MSRB interpretation of January 30, 1998, MSRB Rule Book (January 1, 2001) at 189.

4 The dealer designated to act as managing underwriter for purposes of rule G-36 would be billed the full amount of any applicable underwriting assessment due under rule A-13, on underwriting and transaction assessments. Such dealer would be permitted, in turn, to bill each other dealer that is party to the agreement for its share of the assessment.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:

The Disclosure Obligations of Brokers, Dealers and Municipal Securities Dealers in Connection with New Issue Municipal Securities Under Rule G-32

In July 1998, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) approved two sets of amendments to rule G-32, on disclosures in connection with new issues. The first set of amendments permits brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers (“dealers”) that sell new issue variable rate demand obligations qualifying for the exemption provided under subparagraph (d)(1)(iii) of Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12 to deliver the preliminary official statement, rather than the final official statement, to customers by settlement.[1] The second set of amendments strengthens the rule’s existing requirements regarding dissemination of official statements to dealers purchasing new issue municipal securities and incorporates a longstanding Board interpretation regarding disclosure to customers of initial offering prices in negotiated underwritings.[2] In view of these recent amendments and the continuing concerns of the Board and the enforcement agencies that some dealers may have inadequate procedures in place to ensure compliance with rule G-32,[3] the Board is publishing this notice to review the requirements of the rule and to emphasize the importance of full and timely compliance.

Purpose and Structure of Rule G-32

Rule G-32 is designed to ensure that a customer who purchases new issue municipal securities is provided with all available information relevant to his or her investment decision by settlement of the transaction. The rule obligates all dealers selling new issue municipal securities to provide to their customers purchasing the securities certain disclosure materials by settlement. To effectuate this primary obligation, the rule further obligates all dealers that sell new issue municipal securities to other dealers, as well as the managing or sole underwriter for such securities, to provide to such purchasing dealers these disclosure materials so as to permit the purchasing dealers to comply with their primary delivery obligations to their own customers. Finally, the rule provides that a dealer that prepares an official statement in final form on behalf of an issuer while serving in the capacity of financial advisor to such issuer must make the official statement available to the underwriters promptly after the issuer approves its distribution. Compliance with each prong of the rule is crucial to ensure that the primary purpose of the rule is fulfilled.

New Issue Municipal Securities and the Underwriting Period

Rule G-32 applies to the sale of all new issue municipal securities. These are defined in section (c)(i)[*] as any municipal securities (other than commercial paper[4]) that are sold by any dealer during the issue’s underwriting period. Once the underwriting period has ended for an issue of municipal securities, the requirements of rule G-32 no longer apply to transactions in such municipal securities.

The underwriting period for an issue of municipal securities begins with the first submission to the underwriters of an order from a potential customer to purchase the securities or the purchase by the underwriters of the securities from the issuer (i.e., the execution of the purchase contract in a negotiated sale or the award of the securities in a competitive sale), whichever occurs first. The underwriting period ends upon delivery by the issuer of the securities to the underwriters (i.e., the bond closing) if the underwriters no longer retain an unsold balance at such time. If, however, the issue is not sold out by the bond closing, the underwriting period continues until the underwriters no longer retain an unsold balance; provided that, in the case of an issue underwritten by a sole underwriter, if the bond closing has occurred and the underwriter retains an unsold balance 21 calendar days after the first submission of an order, the underwriting period nonetheless ends after such 21st day.[5]

delivery obligationS to customers

A dealer selling new issue municipal securities to a customer is required to deliver (not merely send) certain information to such customer prior to settlement of the transaction. The Board has previously noted that the required information will be presumed to have been delivered to the customer if it was sent at least three business days prior to settlement.[6]

Official Statements. With only two exceptions, a dealer violates section (a) of rule G-32 if it sells, either as principal or agent, a new issue municipal security to a customer but fails to deliver an official statement in final form[7] to such customer by no later than settlement of that transaction. Dealers should note that this obligation differs from the obligation imposed by SEC Rule 15c2-12(b)(4) in that rule G-32 mandates that any dealer selling new issue municipal securities (not just participating underwriters of the offering) must deliver (not just send) the official statement to the customer by settlement, regardless of whether the customer has requested a copy of the official statement.[8]

The first exception under rule G-32 arises where the issuer is not preparing an official statement in final form. In that case, the dealer must deliver to the customer by no later than settlement a written notice that an official statement in final form is not being prepared, together with a copy of a preliminary official statement, if one has been prepared.[9] This exception is not available in cases where the official statement in final form is in the process of being prepared but is not yet available at the time that a dealer wishes to settle a transaction with a customer. Thus, in such a case, a dealer would violate rule G-32(a) by settling a customer transaction without delivery of the official statement in final form, even if a preliminary official statement is delivered by settlement and the official statement in final form is delivered to the customer as soon as it becomes available.

The second exception applies solely to municipal securities issued a primary offering that qualifies for the exemption set forth in SEC Rule 15c2-12(d)(1)(iii) (Exempt VRDOs),[10] but only if an official statement in final form is being prepared.[11] This exception permits a dealer to deliver a preliminary official statement to a customer by settlement in substitution for the official statement in final form so long as (1) the dealer provides written notice to the customer by settlement that the official statement in final form will be sent within one business day following its receipt by the dealer and (2) the dealer sends the official statement in final form to the customer within one business day of its receipt.[12] The Board believes, however, that if the official statement in final form is available in sufficient time to permit delivery to the customer by settlement, it would be in the dealer’s best interest to make such delivery by settlement, as it would be required to do for any other new issue municipal securities. This would permit the dealer to satisfy its delivery obligation with a single delivery of the official statement in final form, rather than two separate deliveries of the preliminary and final official statements, thereby reducing the dealer’s compliance burden.[13]

Additional Disclosures for Negotiated Underwritings . Where the underwriters have purchased an issue of municipal securities from the issuer in a negotiated sale, any dealer (not just syndicate or selling group members) selling such securities to a customer during the underwriting period is required to deliver to such customer prior to settlement, in addition to the official statement, information concerning (A) the underwriting spread;[14] (B) the amount of any fee received by such dealer as agent for the issuer in the distribution of the securities, if applicable;[15] and (C) the initial offering price for each maturity in the issue, including the initial offering price of maturities that are not reoffered.[16] The obligation to make these further disclosures may be satisfied by inclusion by the issuer of such information in the official statement in final form and the delivery of such official statement to the customer by settlement. However, should the issuer elect not to include any such information in the official statement or if an official statement that includes this information is not delivered to the customer by settlement, a dealer selling such securities during the underwriting period must nevertheless provide such information in writing to the customer by settlement (for example, in a confirmation or other writing delivered to the customer by settlement). For example, if a dealer delivers a preliminary official statement to a customer at settlement for a new issue Exempt VRDO and any of the required disclosure information is left blank or is noted as preliminary and subject to change (with the expectation of the information being completed or finalized in the official statement in final form to be delivered after settlement), then disclosure of such information would be required in a separate writing delivered at or prior to settlement.

DELIVERY OBLIGATIONS TO PURCHASING DEALERS

Dealers selling new issue municipal securities to other dealers, and dealers serving as managing or sole underwriters for such new issues, are also required to deliver the official statement and the additional disclosures for negotiated underwritings, if applicable, to dealers purchasing such securities during the underwriting period.

Obligations of Selling Dealers. If a dealer sells a new issue municipal security to another dealer, the selling dealer is obligated under rule G-32(a)[†] to send to the purchasing dealer, upon request, (i) the official statement in final form (or if no official statement in final form is being prepared, a written notice to that effect, together with a copy of a preliminary official statement, if one has been prepared) and (ii) if the underwriters originally purchased the securities from the issuer in a negotiated sale, the additional disclosures described above required in connection with a negotiated underwriting. The official statement and the additional disclosures related to negotiated underwritings, if applicable, must be sent by the selling dealer to the purchasing dealer within one business day of the purchasing dealer’s request, provided that, if the official statement in final form is being prepared but has not yet been received from the issuer or its agent, then the official statement in final form and the additional disclosures must be sent no later than the business day following such receipt.[17] These items must be sent by first class mail or other equally prompt means, unless the purchasing dealer arranges some other method of delivery and pays or agrees to pay for such alternate delivery method. This obligation applies with respect to all requests to a selling dealer made by a dealer purchasing new issue municipal securities from such selling dealer during the underwriting period, even where the selling dealer did not participate as a syndicate or selling group member for the underwriting of the new issue municipal securities.

Obligations of Managing and Sole Underwriters . If an official statement in final form is prepared in connection with an issue of municipal securities, the dealer serving as managing underwriter or sole underwriter for such issue is obligated under rule G-32(b)(i)[‡] to send to any dealer purchasing such securities during the underwriting period, upon request, (i) one copy of the official statement in final form plus one additional copy per $100,000 par value purchased by such purchasing dealer for resale to customers and (ii) if the underwriters originally purchased the securities from the issuer in a negotiated sale, the required additional disclosures. Managing and sole underwriters also are required to provide purchasing dealers, upon request, with instructions on how to order copies of the official statement in final form from the printer. The official statement and the additional disclosures related to negotiated underwritings, if applicable, must be sent by the managing or sole underwriter to the purchasing dealer within one business day of the purchasing dealer’s request, provided that, if the official statement in final form is being prepared but has not yet been received from the issuer or its agent,[18] then the official statement in final form and the additional disclosures must be sent no later than the business day following such receipt. These items must be sent by first class mail or other equally prompt means, unless the purchasing dealer arranges some other method of delivery and pays or agrees to pay for such alternate delivery method. This obligation applies with respect to all requests to the managing or sole underwriter made by purchasing dealers during the underwriting period, even where the managing or sole underwriter did not sell the new issue municipal securities to the purchasing dealer.

Obligations of Dealers Acting as Financial Advisors . Rule G-32(b)(ii)[#] provides that, if a dealer that acts as financial advisor to an issuer prepares an official statement in final form on behalf of such issuer, such dealer must make that official statement available to the managing or sole underwriter promptly after the issuer approves distribution of the official statement in final form. This provision is designed to ensure that, once the official statement is completed and approved by the issuer for distribution, dealers acting as financial advisors will be obligated to commence the dissemination process promptly.[19]

Implications for Inter-Dealer Dissemination . The provisions of rule G-32 relating to dissemination among dealers of official statements and the additional disclosures related to negotiated underwritings is designed to ensure that a dealer selling a new issue municipal security to a customer has a reliable and timely source for obtaining such items for delivery to the customer by settlement. In the case of a syndicate member that purchases a new issue municipal security in an underwriting, the rule, in conjunction with The Bond Market Association’s Standard Agreement Among Underwriters, will effectively obligate the managing underwriter to send the official statement in final form (in the required quantity) and the additional disclosures to the syndicate member within one business day of its receipt from the issuer.[20] If for any reason such syndicate member needs to obtain a copy of the official statement more rapidly than by means of first class mail, it may arrange with the managing underwriter for delivery of the official statement by an alternate means so long as the requesting syndicate member covers the cost of such delivery.

For a non-syndicate member that purchases a new issue municipal security from the syndicate or from any other dealer, both the dealer that sold the security to the non-syndicate member and the managing or sole underwriter is obligated, if requested by such non-syndicate member, to send the official statement in final form and the additional disclosures within one business day of such request. If for any reason such non-syndicate member needs to obtain a copy of the official statement more rapidly than by means of first class mail, it may arrange with the dealer that is fulfilling the request for delivery of the official statement by an alternate means so long as the requesting non-syndicate member covers the cost of such delivery. Dealers purchasing new issue municipal securities from another dealer are advised that the obligation of the selling dealer or of the managing or sole underwriter to send an official statement to such purchasing dealer only takes effect upon the request of the purchasing dealer. Therefore, unless the purchasing dealer already has a copy of the official statement or has an alternate source for receiving it and the additional disclosures, such dealer will need to take the affirmative step of requesting such items from the selling dealer or the managing or sole underwriter.

A dealer that sells a new issue municipal security to a customer is not relieved of its obligation to deliver by settlement the official statement in final form and the additional disclosures related to negotiated underwriters because either the dealer from which it acquired the security or the managing or sole underwriter for the issue fails to fulfill its obligation to send these items to such dealer upon request. Such dealer may need to obtain the official statement in final form from other available sources. Such other sources of official statements include, but are not limited to, the nationally recognized municipal securities information repositories, other information vendors, or the Board’s Municipal Securities Information Library® (MSIL®) system.[21] Similarly, a managing or sole underwriter or a dealer selling a new issue municipal security cannot fulfill its obligation to send the official statement in final form and the additional disclosures to a purchasing dealer upon request by referring such dealer to such other sources of official statements.

RECORDKEEPING

Rule G-8(a)(xiii) requires that each dealer make and keep a record of all deliveries of official statements and of the additional disclosures related to negotiated underwritings made to purchasers of new issue municipal securities.[22] Although the rule does not obligate a dealer to maintain such records in any given manner, such records must provide an adequate basis for the audit of such information. To this end, NASD Regulation, Inc. has noted:

Some firms establish a file containing a copy of the customer’s new issue municipal purchase confirmation and/or a mailing label to demonstrate compliance with Rule G-8. However, NASD Regulation does not view this approach as adequately demonstrating compliance with MSRB Rule G-8. Instead, an adequate record of the delivery of new issue municipal securities disclosure information should, at a minimum, contain the following:

  • customer name;

  • security description;

  • settlement date(s);

  • type of disclosure sent (preliminary or final Official Statement);

  • date the required disclosure was sent;

  • and name of person(s) sending the disclosures.

At times, a firm assigns the new issue municipal securities disclosure function to a third party vendor. As a result, the member [dealer] does not maintain “a record of delivery” of the new issue disclosure. Nevertheless, from a regulatory perspective, the firm remains fully responsible for disclosure. When firms have assigned the new issue disclosure function to a third party, NASD Regulation expects that the compliance review process will include, at a minimum, periodic test to assure that the new issue disclosures are being made at or before settlement.[23]

Dealers should consult with the applicable enforcement agency regarding the adequacy of their recordkeeping under rule G-8(a)(xiii).


[1] See MSRB Reports, Vol. 18, No. 2 (Aug. 1998) at 15-17.

[2] See MSRB Reports, Vol. 18, No. 2 (Aug. 1998) at 19-21.

[3 ] See MSRB Reports, Vol. 17, No. 2 (June 1997) at 23-24; see also NASD Regulation, Inc., “Municipal Securities Update – Disclosure to Purchasers of New Issue Securities,” Regulatory & Compliance Alert, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Sept. 1998) at 19-20.

[4] The exception for commercial paper applies solely to true commercial paper issues (i.e., not to variable rate demand obligations with a nominal long maturity and having a so-called “commercial paper” mode).

[5] See rules G-32(c)(ii) [currently codified at rule G-32(d)(ii)] and G-11(a)(ix).

[6] See MSRB Reports, Vol. 7, No. 2 (March 1987) at 12.

[7] Rule G-32 defines official statement as a document prepared by the issuer or its representatives setting forth, among other matters, information concerning the issuer and the proposed issue of securities. This definition is, of necessity, broader than the definition set forth in SEC Rule 15c2-12(f)(3) for the term “final official statement” since rule G-32 applies to all issues of municipal securities (other than commercial paper issues), not just those issues subject to SEC Rule 15c2-12. However, the Board believes that, in the case of new issue municipal securities subject to SEC Rule 15c2-12, the official statement in final form for purposes of rule G-32 would be the same as the final official statement for purposes of SEC Rule 15c2-12.

[8 ] SEC Rule 15c2-12(b)(4) provides that an underwriter participating in an offering subject to the Rule must send a copy of the final official statement to a potential customer within one business day of a request until the earlier of (i) 90 days from the end of the underwriting period or (ii) the time when the official statement is available from a nationally recognized municipal securities information repository, but in no case less than 25 days following the end of the underwriting period.

[9] Since SEC Rule 15c2-12(3) provides that an underwriter participating in an offering subject to the Rule must contract with the issuer to receive final official statements, the Board expects that a final official statement will be prepared for all such offerings and therefore delivery of preliminary official statements for such issues would never satisfy the delivery obligation under rule G-32(a).

[10] A primary offering qualifies for this exemption if the municipal securities are in authorized denominations of $100,000 or more and, at the option of the holder thereof, may be tendered to the issuer or its designated agent for redemption or purchase at par value or more at least as frequently as every nine months until maturity, earlier redemption or purchase by the issuer or its designated agent.

[11] If an official statement in final form is not being prepared, then the first exception described above would apply.

[12] See MSRB Reports, Vol. 18, No. 2 (Aug. 1998) at 15-17. If no preliminary official statement is prepared for such issue, then the dealer must still provide written notice by settlement that an official statement in final form will be sent within one business day of receipt.

[13] In addition, ensuring that the official statement in final form, rather than merely the preliminary official statement, is in the possession of the customer by settlement may help to avoid potential liabilities that could result if there are any material differences between the preliminary official statement and the official statement in final form. The fact that rule G-32 permits a dealer to deliver the preliminary official statement, rather than the official statement in final form, to a customer by settlement in this specific situation does not in any way limit or reduce the dealer’s disclosure obligations under the federal securities laws, including in particular the dealer’s obligation under rule G-17 to disclose, at or before execution of a transaction, all material facts concerning the transaction which could affect the customer’s investment decision and not omit any material facts which would render other statements misleading.

[14] This provision obligates a dealer to disclose the gross spread (i.e., the difference between the initial offering price and the amount paid to the issuer), expressed either in dollars or points per bond. The underwriting spread may be shown either as a total amount or as a listing of the components of the gross spread. If components of the gross spread are listed, that portion of the proceeds which represents compensation to the underwriters must be clearly identified as such. For example, the Board believes that use of the terms “underwriters’ discount” or “net to underwriters” would be acceptable but that the term “bond discount” is confusing and, therefore, inappropriate. See MSRB Reports, Vol. 7, No. 2 (March 1987) at 13.

[15] If no fee is received by the dealer for acting as an agent for the issuer in the distribution of the securities, the dealer need not affirmatively state that no such fee was received but may instead omit any statement regarding such fee.

[16] The initial offering price may be expressed either in terms of dollar price or yield.

[17] Thus, if a purchasing dealer requests a copy of the official statement in final form from a selling dealer before the issuer has delivered the official statement to the underwriters, then the obligation of the selling dealer to send the official statement is deferred until the business day after the underwriters receive the official statement from the issuer.

[18] The Board is of the view that an underwriter that prepares an official statement on behalf of an issuer would be deemed to have received the official statement from the issuer immediately upon such issuer approving the distribution of the completed official statement in final form (i.e., when the issuer releases the completed official statement for distribution).

[19] The Board urges issuers that utilize the services of non-dealer financial advisors to hold such financial advisors to the same standards for prompt delivery of official statements to the underwriters.

[20] The Bond Market Association’s Standard Agreement Among Underwriters provides that syndicate members must place orders for the official statement by the business day following the date of execution of the purchase contract and states that any syndicate member that fails to place such an order will be assumed to have requested the quantity required under rule G-32(b)(i) [currently codified at rule G-32(c)(i)]. See The Bond Market Association, Agreement Among Underwriters – Instructions, Terms and Acceptance (Oct. 1, 1997) at ¶ 3. Thus, except in the rare instances where an official statement in final form is completed and available for distribution on the date of sale, syndicate members will have made or have been deemed to have made their requests for official statements by the time the managing underwriter receives the official statement from the issuer, thereby obligating the managing underwriter to send the official statement to syndicate members within one business day of receipt.

[21] Municipal Securities Information Library and MSIL are registered trademarks of the Board.

[22] Rule G-9(b)(x) provides that these records must be preserved for a period of not less than 3 years.

[23] NASD Regulation, Inc., “Municipal Securities Update – Disclosure to Purchasers of New Issue Securities,” Regulatory & Compliance Alert, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Sept. 1998) at 19-20. The views of the bank regulatory agencies regarding adequacy of any particular recordkeeping practice for the purpose of demonstrating compliance with rule G-8 may differ.

[*]  [Currently codified at rule G-32(d)(i).]

[]  [Currently codified at rule G-32(b).]

[] [Currently codified at rule G-32(c)(i).]

[#]  [Currently codified at rule G-32(c)(ii).]

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:

Disclosures in Connection with New Issues

Disclosures in connection with new issues. This is in response to your November 30, 1993 letter requesting interpretive guidance regarding Board rule G-32(a)(ii)(C). That provision requires dealers in connection with a negotiated sale of new issue municipal securities to disclose "the initial offering price for each maturity in the issue that is offered or to be offered in whole or in part by the underwriters." You inquired as to whether the term "initial offering price" as used in this provision could be stated in terms of yield. The Board has reviewed your request and authorized this response.

Rule G-32 requires dealers selling new issue municipal securities to provide certain written information to customers. In connection with new negotiated issues, paragraph (a)(ii) of the rule requires that this written information include the underwriting spread, the amount of any fee received by a dealer as agent for the issuer in the distribution of the securities for each maturity in the issue that is offered or to be offered in whole or in part by the underwriters, and the initial offering price of each maturity.[1]

With respect to the "initial offering price," the Board has concluded that this price may be expressed either in terms of dollar price or yield. Since customer confirmations generally must show both dollar price and yield, the Board believes that either form of "initial offering price" would provide customers with the requisite comparative data about the relationship between the initial offering price and the price of the securities being purchased. MSRB Interpretation of December 22, 1993.

[1] If this information is stated in the official statement, compliance can be achieved by delivering the official statement to the customer, prior to settlement, as is required, in any case, by rule G-32(a)(i).  However, if the information is not in the official statement, this information must be delivered no later than the settlement of the transaction.
Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:

Notice Concerning Stripped Coupon Municipal Securities

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

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

Background

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

Application of Board Rules

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

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

Confirmation Requirements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clearance and Settlement of Stripped Coupon Municipal Securities

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

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

Written Disclosures in Connection with Sales of Stripped Coupon Municipal Securities

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Notices
Publication date:

Confirmation, Delivery and Reclamation of Interchangeable Securities

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

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

Deliveries of Interchangeable Securities

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

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

Fees for Conversion

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

Continued Application of the Board's Automated Clearance Rules

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

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

Need for Education of Customers on Benefits of Registered Securities

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:

Advertising of Securities Subject to Alternative Minimum Tax

Advertising of securities subject to alternative minimum tax. This is in response to your letter concerning the application of rule G-21, on advertising, to advertisements for municipal securities subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT). You state that advertisements for municipal securities usually note that the securities are "free from federal and state taxes." You ask whether an advertisement for municipal securities subject to AMT should note the applicability of AMT if such advertisements describe the securities as "tax exempt." The Board has considered the issue and authorized this reply.

Rule G-21(c) prohibits a broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer from publishing any advertisement concerning municipal securities which the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer knows or has reason to know is materially false or misleading. The Board has stated that the use of the term "tax exempt" in advertisements for municipal securities connotes that the securities are exempt from all federal, state and local income taxes. If this is not true of the security being advertised, the Board has required that the use of the term "tax exempt" in an advertisement must be explained, e.g., by footnote[1] In regard to municipal securities subject to AMT, the Board has determined that advertisements for such securities that describe the securities as being exempt from federal income tax also must describe the securities as subject to AMT. MSRB Interpretation of February 23, 1988.


[1] Frequently asked questions concerning advertising, MSRB Reports, Vol. 3, No. 2 (April 1983), at 22.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:

Callable Securities: Pricing to Call and Extraordinary Mandatory Redemption Features

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOTE: Revised to reflect subsequent amendments.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:

Disclosure of Underwriting Spread

Disclosure of underwriting spread. As you know, Board rule G-32 provides that a dealer selling new issue municipal securities must furnish its customers with certain information at or prior to sending final money confirmations. Under subparagraph (a)(ii) of the rule, in the case of a negotiated sale, the dealer must furnish certain specified information about the underwriting arrangements, including the "underwriting spread." The Board has interpreted this provision to require that the gross spread (i.e., the difference between the initial reoffering prices and the amount paid to the issuer) be shown. The Board has also indicated that the gross spread may be expressed either in dollars or in points per bond.

The Board recently issued an interpretation of rule G-32(a)(ii) to the effect that the underwriting spread may be expressed either as a total amount or as a listing of the components of the gross spread. Thus, for example, the following disclosure would meet the requirements of the rule:

Application of Proceeds

 

Construction Costs .............................................................$120,000,000

Underwriter’s discount[1]...........................................................2,500,000

Legal expenses ..........................................................................200,000

Printing and Miscellaneous expenses......................................... ..300,000

Principal amount of bonds ....................................................123,000,000

 Should you have any questions concerning this interpretation, please call me. MSRB interpretation of March 9, 1981.

Note: The above letter refers to the text of rule G-32 as in effect prior to amendments effective on August 30, 1985.


[1] If a dealer expresses the underwriting spread as a listing of the components of the gross spread, that portion of the proceeds which represents compensation to the underwriters must, in the Board's view, be clearly identified as such. Thus, use of the terms "underwriter's discount" or "net to underwriters" would be acceptable; the term "bond discount," however, is confusing and is, therefore, inappropriate.

 

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:

Legend Satisfying Requirement

Legend satisfying requirement. I refer to your letter of June 29, 1979 in which you request advice regarding rule G-21(c) on product advertisements. As you noted in your letter, the notice of approval of rule G-34 [prior rule on advertising] stated that the Board believes that the advertisements may be misleading if they show

only a percentage rate without specifying whether it is the coupon rate or yield and, if yield, the basis on which calculated (for example, discount, par or premium securities and if discount securities, whether before-tax or after-tax yield).

You have requested advice as whether the following legend, to be used in connection with the sale of discount bonds, would be satisfactory for purposes of the rule:

"Discount bonds may be subject to capital gains tax. Rates of such tax vary for individual taxpayers. Discount yields shown herein are gross yields to maturity."

As I previously indicated to you in our telephone conversation, the proposed legend would satisfy the requirements of rule G-21(c). MSRB interpretation of August 28, 1979.

Interpretive Guidance - Interpretive Letters
Publication date:

Furnishing of Official Statements: Duplication of Copies

Furnishing of official statements: duplication of copies. [It] is the Board’s position that if an official statement is made available by an issuer, it is incumbent upon municipal securities dealers to see that their customers receive copies of the official statement. A municipal securities dealer cannot avoid the rule on the grounds that the issuer did not supply a sufficient number of official statements for distribution. The dealer in such a case has to bear the burden of reproducing the official statement. MSRB interpretation of March 7, 1979.

Note: The above letter refers to the text of rule G-32 as in effect prior to the amendments effective on August 30, 1985.