Rule G-20 Gifts, Gratuities, Non-Cash Compensation and Expenses of Issuance

Authorization of sales contests - June 25, 1982

Authorization of sales contests. Your letter of May 27, 1982 has been referred to me for response. In your letter you request an interpretation regarding the applicability of Board rule G-20 concerning gifts and gratuities to sales contests offered by an underwriter to participating members of a syndicate. Your letter asks specifically whether such sales contests are considered compensation for services as described in paragraph (c) of rule G-20, and, if they are, whether the requirements of rule G-20 imposed on agreements for the compensation of services must be met by the underwriter sponsoring the sales contest.

The Board believes that sales contests which provide gifts or payments to employees of municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers other than the broker or dealer sponsoring the contest constitute compensation for services as described in rule G-20(c). Consequently, the requirements of that rule must be met: that is, the sponsoring dealer must obtain

prior to the time of employment or before the services are rendered a written agreement between the municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer subject to this rule and the person who is to perform such services; ... such agreement [to] include the nature of the proposed services, the amount of the proposed compensation, and the written consent of such person's employer.

In the context of sales contests, agreements of the kind referred to in the rule are required between the municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer sponsoring the contest and all contestants employed by other municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions concerning this matter. MSRB interpretation of June 25, 1982.

"Person." - March 19, 1980

"Person." Your letter regarding rule G-20 has been referred to me. Rule G-20 prohibits a municipal securities professional from giving gifts or providing services to a person in relation to the municipal securities activities of such person's employer, in excess of a specified amount.

In your letter, you inquire whether the term "person" in rule G-20 is intended to include "a ‘corporate’ person as well as a ‘real’ person."As used in the rule, the term "person" refers only to a natural person. The rule is intended to discourage municipal securities professionals from attempting to induce individual employees from acting in a manner inconsistent with their obligations to, or contrary to the interests of, their employers. MSRB interpretation of March 19, 1980.