Rule G-1 Separately Identifiable Department or Division of a Bank

Inclusion of IDB-related activities - July 26, 1983

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

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

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

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


Portfolio credit analyst - June 8, 1978

Portfolio credit analyst. This will acknowledge with thanks receipt of your letter dated May 2, 1978 concerning the status of persons occupying the position of portfolio credit analyst at your bank. Your letter, as well as our telephone conversations prior and subsequent to the letter, raise two questions concerning the status of such persons under Board rules. First, are the functions of a portfolio credit analyst subject to the requirements of rule G-1, which defines a separately identifiable dealer department or division of a bank? Second, must a portfolio credit analyst qualify as a municipal securities representative or municipal securities principal under Board rule G-3?

Although we recognize that the primary purpose of the portfolio credit analyst, as set forth in the material you furnished to me, is to review your bank's investment portfolio, a function not subject to Board regulation, to the extent that the analyst provides research advice and analysis in connection with your bank's underwriting, trading or sales activities, the analyst must be included within the municipal securities dealer department for purposes of rule G-1, and is subject to the qualification requirements of rule G-3.

Under Board rule G-1, a separately identifiable department or division of a bank is that unit of the bank which conducts all of the municipal securities dealer activities of the bank. Section (b) of the rule defines municipal securities dealer activities to include research with respect to municipal securities to the extent such research relates to underwriting, trading, sales or financial advisory and consultant services performed by the bank. Thus, we think it clear that for purposes of rule G-1, persons functioning as portfolio credit analysts who render research in connection with underwriting, trading or sales activities at your bank must be included within the separately identifiable department or division of the bank for purposes of rule G-1. This is consistent with the underlying purpose of rule G-1 to assure that all of the functions performed at the bank relating to the business of the bank as a municipal securities dealer are appropriately identified for purposes of supervision, inspection and enforcement.

Under rule G-3(a)(iii)[*] a municipal securities representative is defined as a person associated with a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer who performs certain functions similar to those defined as municipal securities dealer activities in rule G-1. The position of portfolio credit analyst as described in your letter and accompanying material appears to fit the definition of municipal securities representative to the extent that persons occupying such position perform research in connection with the bank's underwriting, trading or sales activities. Under rule G-3(e)[†], municipal securities representatives are required to qualify in accordance with Board rules. A similar result would obtain with respect to qualification as a municipal securities principal, if the portfolio credit analyst functions in a supervisory capacity. MSRB interpretation of June 8, 1978.


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

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


Separately identifiable department or division of a bank - November 17, 1975

Separately identifiable department or division of a bank. This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of November 12, 1975, in which you request, on behalf of the Dealer Bank Association, an interpretative opinion with respect to the rule of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the "Board") defining the term "separately identifiable department or division of a bank," as used in section 3(a)(30) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Act"). Such rule was originally numbered rule 4 of the Board and became effective on October 15, 1975. The rule is presently numbered rule G-1 of the Board.

In your letter you pose a series of questions concerning rule G-1, as follows: 

  1. A bank has an operations department that performs processing and clearance activities, and maintains records, with respect to the bank's underwriting, trading and sales of municipal securities, as well as with respect to certain other bank activities. Can this bank have a "separately identifiable department or division" as defined in rule G-1?
  2. In a bank with numerous branches, an employee or officer in a branch will on occasion accept or solicit an order from a customer for municipal securities. Does this preclude a finding that the bank has a "separately identifiable department or division"?
  3. Mr. X is a senior vice president of a bank. He is not a director. Mr. X's only relationship to the bank's municipal securities dealer activities is that he is a member of a management committee within the bank that determines the amount of the bank's funds that will be made available for the bank's municipal securities dealer activities, as well as for other bank activities. The bank has a separately identifiable department or division that otherwise meets the requirements of rule G-1. Is Mr. X a person who must be designated by the board of directors of the bank under rule G-1(a)(1)?
  4. A bank has a corporate trust department that, among other things, serves as paying agent for certain municipal securities and performs clearing functions in municipal securities, in addition to the processing and clearance activities performed in connection with the bank's underwriting, trading and sales of municipal securities. Are the persons in the bank's corporate trust department who engage solely in activities that do not relate to the underwriting, trading and sales of municipal securities by the bank performing municipal securities dealer activities?

With respect to question (1) above, paragraph (d) of rule G-1 contemplates that the municipal securities dealer activities of a bank, as such activities are defined in paragraph (b) of the rule, may be conducted in more than one organizational or operational unit of the bank, for example, underwriting, trading and sales activities in the bond department, and processing and clearance activities in the operations department of the bank. Under the rule, all such units can be aggregated to constitute a separately identifiable department or division within the meaning of section 3(a)(30) of the Act, provided that each such unit is identifiable and under the direct supervision of an officer designated by the board of directors of the bank as responsible for the day-to-day conduct of the bank's municipal securities dealer activities. The officer so designated need not be the same for all such units. For example, the senior officer of the bank's bond department may be designated as responsible for the municipal securities dealer activities conducted by that department, while the senior officer of the bank's operations department may be designated as responsible for the municipal securities dealer activities conducted by that department. In addition, the records of each such unit relating to municipal securities dealer activities must be separately maintained or separately extractable so as to permit independent examination of such records and enforcement of applicable provisions of the Act, the rules and regulations of the Commission thereunder and the rules of the Board. Finally, each such unit comprising the separately identifiable department or division may be engaged in activities other than those relating to municipal securities dealer activities. For example, the bond department may also engage in activities relating to United States government obligations, while the operations department may perform processing and clearance functions for departments of the bank other than the bond department.

With respect to question (2) above, paragraph (d) of rule G-1 also contemplates that the municipal securities dealer activities of a bank may be conducted at more than one geographic location. However, in order for such a bank to have a separately identifiable department or division, the branch employees who accept or solicit orders for municipal securities must, with respect to acceptance or solicitation of such orders, be affiliated with one of the identifiable units of the bank comprising such department or division and must, with respect to acceptance or solicitation of such orders, be responsible to an officer designated by the board of directors of the bank as responsible for the day-to-day conduct of the bank's municipal securities dealer activities. Further, the bank's records relating to the transactions effected by such branch employees must meet the criteria of paragraph (a) of rule G-1 with respect to separate maintenance and accessibility.

With respect to question (3) above, paragraph (c) of rule G-1 recognizes that senior officers of a bank may make determinations affecting bank policy as a whole which have an indirect effect on the municipal securities dealer activities of the bank. For example, determinations with respect to the deployment of the bank's funds may affect the size of the bank's inventory of municipal securities or volume of underwriting. Ordinarily such determinations would not directly relate to the day-to-day conduct of the bank's municipal securities dealer activities and senior officers making such determinations need not be designated by the board of directors of the bank as responsible for the conduct of such activities. However, if the determinations of senior officers have a direct and immediate impact on the day-to-day conduct of the bank's municipal securities dealer activities, whether by reason of the scope of such determinations, the frequency with which such determinations are made, or by reason of other factors, such officers may be considered to be directly engaged in the conduct of the bank's municipal securities dealer activities and required to be designated by the board of directors of the bank as responsible for the day-to-day conduct of such activities.

With respect to question (4) above, the regulatory focus of section 15B(b)(2)(H) of the Act is on the dealer activities of a bank. Accordingly, subparagraph (b)(2) of rule G-1 was intended to relate to such dealer activities, and not to describe other activities of the bank which might involve municipal securities. Employees of a bank's corporate trust department who perform clearance and other functions with respect to municipal securities, but which do not relate to the underwriting, trading and sales activities of the bank, do not perform municipal securities dealer activities within the meaning of rule G-1.

This opinion is rendered on behalf of the Board, pursuant to authority delegated by the Board. Copies of this opinion are being sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the bank regulatory agencies and the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. MSRB interpretation of November 17, 1975.


Separately identifiable department or division of a bank - November 17, 1975

Separately identifiable department or division of a bank. This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of November 12, 1975, in which you request, on behalf of the Dealer Bank Association, an interpretative opinion with respect to the rule of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the "Board") defining the term "separately identifiable department or division of a bank," as used in section 3(a)(30) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Act"). Such rule was originally numbered rule 4 of the Board and became effective on October 15, 1975. The rule is presently numbered rule G-1 of the Board.

In your letter you pose a series of questions concerning rule G-1, as follows: 

  1. A bank has an operations department that performs processing and clearance activities, and maintains records, with respect to the bank's underwriting, trading and sales of municipal securities, as well as with respect to certain other bank activities. Can this bank have a "separately identifiable department or division" as defined in rule G-1?
  2. In a bank with numerous branches, an employee or officer in a branch will on occasion accept or solicit an order from a customer for municipal securities. Does this preclude a finding that the bank has a "separately identifiable department or division"?
  3. Mr. X is a senior vice president of a bank. He is not a director. Mr. X's only relationship to the bank's municipal securities dealer activities is that he is a member of a management committee within the bank that determines the amount of the bank's funds that will be made available for the bank's municipal securities dealer activities, as well as for other bank activities. The bank has a separately identifiable department or division that otherwise meets the requirements of rule G-1. Is Mr. X a person who must be designated by the board of directors of the bank under rule G-1(a)(1)?
  4. A bank has a corporate trust department that, among other things, serves as paying agent for certain municipal securities and performs clearing functions in municipal securities, in addition to the processing and clearance activities performed in connection with the bank's underwriting, trading and sales of municipal securities. Are the persons in the bank's corporate trust department who engage solely in activities that do not relate to the underwriting, trading and sales of municipal securities by the bank performing municipal securities dealer activities?

With respect to question (1) above, paragraph (d) of rule G-1 contemplates that the municipal securities dealer activities of a bank, as such activities are defined in paragraph (b) of the rule, may be conducted in more than one organizational or operational unit of the bank, for example, underwriting, trading and sales activities in the bond department, and processing and clearance activities in the operations department of the bank. Under the rule, all such units can be aggregated to constitute a separately identifiable department or division within the meaning of section 3(a)(30) of the Act, provided that each such unit is identifiable and under the direct supervision of an officer designated by the board of directors of the bank as responsible for the day-to-day conduct of the bank's municipal securities dealer activities. The officer so designated need not be the same for all such units. For example, the senior officer of the bank's bond department may be designated as responsible for the municipal securities dealer activities conducted by that department, while the senior officer of the bank's operations department may be designated as responsible for the municipal securities dealer activities conducted by that department. In addition, the records of each such unit relating to municipal securities dealer activities must be separately maintained or separately extractable so as to permit independent examination of such records and enforcement of applicable provisions of the Act, the rules and regulations of the Commission thereunder and the rules of the Board. Finally, each such unit comprising the separately identifiable department or division may be engaged in activities other than those relating to municipal securities dealer activities. For example, the bond department may also engage in activities relating to United States government obligations, while the operations department may perform processing and clearance functions for departments of the bank other than the bond department.

With respect to question (2) above, paragraph (d) of rule G-1 also contemplates that the municipal securities dealer activities of a bank may be conducted at more than one geographic location. However, in order for such a bank to have a separately identifiable department or division, the branch employees who accept or solicit orders for municipal securities must, with respect to acceptance or solicitation of such orders, be affiliated with one of the identifiable units of the bank comprising such department or division and must, with respect to acceptance or solicitation of such orders, be responsible to an officer designated by the board of directors of the bank as responsible for the day-to-day conduct of the bank's municipal securities dealer activities. Further, the bank's records relating to the transactions effected by such branch employees must meet the criteria of paragraph (a) of rule G-1 with respect to separate maintenance and accessibility.

With respect to question (3) above, paragraph (c) of rule G-1 recognizes that senior officers of a bank may make determinations affecting bank policy as a whole which have an indirect effect on the municipal securities dealer activities of the bank. For example, determinations with respect to the deployment of the bank's funds may affect the size of the bank's inventory of municipal securities or volume of underwriting. Ordinarily such determinations would not directly relate to the day-to-day conduct of the bank's municipal securities dealer activities and senior officers making such determinations need not be designated by the board of directors of the bank as responsible for the conduct of such activities. However, if the determinations of senior officers have a direct and immediate impact on the day-to-day conduct of the bank's municipal securities dealer activities, whether by reason of the scope of such determinations, the frequency with which such determinations are made, or by reason of other factors, such officers may be considered to be directly engaged in the conduct of the bank's municipal securities dealer activities and required to be designated by the board of directors of the bank as responsible for the day-to-day conduct of such activities.

With respect to question (4) above, the regulatory focus of section 15B(b)(2)(H) of the Act is on the dealer activities of a bank. Accordingly, subparagraph (b)(2) of rule G-1 was intended to relate to such dealer activities, and not to describe other activities of the bank which might involve municipal securities. Employees of a bank's corporate trust department who perform clearance and other functions with respect to municipal securities, but which do not relate to the underwriting, trading and sales activities of the bank, do not perform municipal securities dealer activities within the meaning of rule G-1.

This opinion is rendered on behalf of the Board, pursuant to authority delegated by the Board. Copies of this opinion are being sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the bank regulatory agencies and the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. MSRB interpretation of November 17, 1975.