MSRB NOTICE 2007-20 (JUNE 13, 2007)

NOTICE OF FILING OF PROPOSED RULE CHANGE RELATING TO REPORTING SPECIAL CONDITION INDICATORS FOR CERTAIN SPECIAL TRADING SITUATIONS

Today the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (“MSRB”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) a proposed rule change to Rule G-14, Reports of Sales or Purchases (the “proposed rule change”).[1]  The proposed rule change would: (i) clarify transaction reporting requirements and require use of the existing M9c0 special condition indicator on trade reports of three types of transactions arising in certain special trading situations that do not represent typical arms-length transactions negotiated in the secondary market; (ii) provide an end-of-day exception from real-time transaction reporting for trade reports containing the M2c0 or M9c0 special condition indicator; and (iii) create two new special condition indicators for purposes of reporting certain inter-dealer transactions “late.”[2]  The MSRB proposed a January 2, 2008, effective date for this proposed rule change.  (Click here to access a redline copy of relevant portions of Version 2.0 Specifications for Real-Time Reporting of Municipal Securities Transactions reflecting the transaction reporting procedures contained in the proposed rule change.) 

BACKGROUND

The MSRB Real-Time Transaction Reporting System (RTRS) serves the dual purposes of price transparency and market surveillance.  Because a comprehensive database of transactions is needed for the surveillance function of RTRS, MSRB Rule G-14, with limited exceptions, requires dealers to report all of their purchase-sale transactions to RTRS.  All reported transactions are entered into the RTRS surveillance database used by market regulators and enforcement agencies.  However, not all of these reported transactions are equally useful for price transparency.  To address this problem, RTRS was designed so that a dealer can code a specific transaction report with a “special condition indicator” to designate the transaction as being subject to a special condition.  Depending on the special condition that is indicated, RTRS either can suppress dissemination of the transparency report to prevent publication of a potentially misleading price or take other action.

TRANSACTIONS EXECUTED WITH SPECIAL PRICING CONDITIONS

The MSRB has identified three trading scenarios that have generated questions from dealers and users of the MSRB price transparency products.  Each of the three trading scenarios described below represents a situation where the transaction executed is not a typical arms-length transaction negotiated in the secondary market and thus may be a misleading indicator of the market value of the security.  To clarify transaction reporting requirements and to prevent publication of potentially misleading prices, the proposed rule change would require dealers to report the transactions identified in the trading scenarios with the existing M9c0 special condition indicator.[3]  Transactions reported with this special condition indicator would be entered into the surveillance database but suppressed from price dissemination to ensure that transparency products do not include prices that might be confusing or misleading.

Customer Repurchase Agreement Transactions

Some dealers have programs allowing customers to finance municipal securities positions with repurchase agreements (“repos”).  Typically, a bona fide repo consists of two transactions whereby a dealer will sell securities to a customer and agree to repurchase the securities on a future date at a pre-determined price that will produce an agreed-upon rate of return.  Since both the sale and purchase transactions resulting from a customer repo do not represent a typical arms-length transaction negotiated in the secondary market, the proposed rule change would clarify that both the sale and purchase transactions resulting from a repo would be required to be reported with the M9c0 special condition indicator.

UIT-Related Transactions

Dealers sponsoring Unit Investment Trusts (“UIT”) or similar programs sometimes purchase securities through several transactions and deposit such securities into an “accumulation” account.  After the accumulation account contains the necessary securities for the UIT, the dealer transfers the securities from the accumulation account into the UIT.  Purchases of securities for an accumulation account are presumably done at market value and are required to be reported normally.  The transfer of securities out of the accumulation account and into the UIT, however, does not represent a typical arms-length transaction negotiated in the secondary market.  The proposed rule change would clarify that dealers are required to report the subsequent transfer of securities from the accumulation account to the UIT with the M9c0 special condition indicator.

TOB Program-Related Transactions

Dealers sponsoring tender option bond programs (“TOB Programs”) for customers sometimes transfer securities previously sold to a customer into a derivative trust from which derivative products are created.  If the customer sells the securities held in the derivative trust, the trust is liquidated, and the securities are reconstituted from the derivative products and transferred back to the customer.  The transfer of securities into the derivative trust and the transfer of securities back to the customer upon liquidation of the trust do not represent typical arms-length transactions negotiated in the secondary market.  The proposed rule change would clarify that dealers are required to report the transfer of securities into the derivative trust and the transfer of securities back to the customer upon liquidation of the trust using the M9c0 special condition indicator.[4]

INTER-DEALER TRANSACTIONS REPORTED LATE

Inter-dealer transaction reporting is accomplished by both the purchasing and selling dealers submitting the trade to the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation’s (DTCC) automated comparison system (RTTM) following DTCC’s procedures.  RTTM forwards information about the transaction to RTRS.  The inter-dealer trade processing situations described below are the subject of dealer questions and currently result in dealers being charged with “late” reporting or reporting of a trade date and time that differs from the date and time of trade execution.  The proposed rule change would create new special condition indicator Mc40 to identify certain inter-dealer transactions that are ineligible for comparison on trade date, and new special condition indicator Mc50 to identify resubmissions of certain uncompared inter-dealer transactions that have been cancelled by RTTM.  These new special condition indicators would allow dealers to report these types of transactions without receiving a late error and allow enforcement agencies to identify these trades as reported under special circumstances.

Inter-Dealer Ineligible on Trade Date

Certain inter-dealer transactions are not able to be submitted to RTTM on trade date or with the accurate trade date either because all information necessary for comparison is not available or because the trade date is not a “valid” trade date in RTTM.  The proposed rule change identifies two of these inter-dealer trading scenarios and prescribes a procedure for reporting such transactions using a new Mc40 special condition indicator.

VRDO Ineligible on Trade Date

On occasion, inter-dealer secondary market transactions are effected in variable rate demand obligations (VRDOs) in which the interest rate reset date occurs between trade date and the time of settlement.  Since dealers in this scenario cannot calculate accrued interest or final money on trade date, they cannot process the trade through RTTM until the interest rate reset has occurred.  Reporting the trade after the interest rate reset occurs would currently result in a late trade report.  The proposed rule change would require both dealers that are party to the transaction to report the transaction by the end of the day that the interest rate reset occurs, including the trade date and time that the original trade was executed.  Both dealers would be required to include a new Mc40 special condition indicator that would cause RTRS not to score either dealer late.  RTRS would disseminate the trade reports without a special condition indicator and the trade report would reflect the original trade date and time.

Invalid RTTM Trade Dates

Dealers sometimes execute inter-dealer transactions on weekends and on certain holidays that are not valid RTTM trade dates.  Such trades cannot be reported to RTRS using the actual trade date if they occur on a weekend or holiday.  To accomplish automated comparison and transaction reporting of such transactions, dealers are required to submit these inter-dealer transactions to RTTM no later than fifteen minutes after the start of the next RTRS Business Day and to include a trade date and time that represents the next earliest “valid” values that can be submitted.[5]  Dealers also would be required to include a new Mc40 special condition indicator that would allow RTRS to identify these transactions so that enforcement agencies would be alerted to the fact that the trade reports were made under special circumstances using a special trade date and time.  RTRS would disseminate the trade reports without a special condition indicator and the trade report would include the trade date and time reflecting the next earliest “valid” values that can be submitted.

Resubmission of an RTTM Cancel

A dealer may submit an inter-dealer trade to RTTM and find that the contra-party fails to report its side of the trade.  Such “uncompared” trades are not disseminated by RTRS on price transparency products.  After two days, RTTM removes the uncompared trade report from its system and the dealer originally submitting the trade must resubmit the transaction in a second attempt to obtain a comparison with its contra-party, which currently results in RTRS scoring the resubmitted trade report “late.”

The proposed rule change would require the dealer that originally submitted information to RTTM to resubmit identical information about the transaction in the second attempt to compare and report the trade by the end of the day after RTTM cancels the trade.  The resubmitting dealer would include a new Mc50 special condition indicator that would cause RTRS not to score the resubmitting dealer late.  The indicator may only be used by a dealer resubmitting the exact same trade information for the same trade.[6]  For example, the contra-party that failed to submit its side to the trade accurately, thus preventing comparison of the transaction, would not be able to use the indicator.  RTRS would disseminate the trade without an indicator once RTTM compares the trade and the trade report would reflect the original trade date and time.

END-OF-DAY DEADLINE FOR “AWAY FROM MARKET” TRADE REPORTS

Currently, the two special condition indicators used to identify “away from market” trade reports, M2c0[7] and M9c0, do not provide dealers with an extension to the fifteen minute transaction reporting deadline.  The purpose of fifteen minute reporting is to provide real-time price transparency.  “Away from market” trade reports are not included on price transparency products and are not relevant to the transparency purpose of RTRS so there is not a need to have such transactions reported to RTRS in real-time.  In addition, many special condition indicator situations require manual processing by dealers or use of different trade processing systems.  Therefore, the proposed rule change includes an end-of-day exception from the fifteen minute transaction reporting deadline for any transaction that correctly includes the M2c0 or M9c0 special condition indicator

Questions about this notice may be directed to Justin R. Pica, Uniform Practice Policy Advisor, or Sara K. Pranio, Uniform Practice Assistant.

June 13, 2007

 

TEXT OF PROPOSED RULE CHANGE [8]

Rule G-14 Reports of Sales or Purchases

(a) – (b)  No change.

Rule G-14 RTRS Procedures

(a) General Procedures.

            (i)  No change.

            (ii) Transactions effected with a Time of Trade during the hours of the RTRS Business Day shall be reported within 15 minutes of Time of Trade to an RTRS Portal except in the following situations:

                        (A) – (C) No Change.

                        (D) A dealer reporting an “away from market” trade as described in Section 4.3.2 of the Specifications for Real-Time Reporting of Municipal Securities Transactions shall report such trade by the end of the day on which the trade is executed.

                        (E) A dealer reporting an inter-dealer “VRDO ineligible on trade date” as described in Section 4.3.2 of the Specifications for Real-Time Reporting of Municipal Securities Transactions shall report such trade by the end of the day on which the trade becomes eligible for automated comparison by a clearing agency registered with the Commission.

                        (F) A dealer reporting an inter-dealer “resubmission of an RTTM cancel” as described in Section 4.3.2 of the Specifications for Real-Time Reporting of Municipal Securities Transactions shall resubmit identical information about the trade cancelled by the end of the RTRS Business Day following the day the trade was cancelled.

            (iii) – (vi) No change.

(b) No change.

*                      *                      *

Reporting of Transactions in Certain Special Trading Situations: Rule G-14

The MSRB Real-Time Transaction Reporting System (RTRS) serves the dual purposes of price transparency and market surveillance.  Because a comprehensive database of transactions is needed for the surveillance function of RTRS, MSRB Rule G-14, on transaction reporting, with limited exceptions, requires dealers to report all of their purchase-sale transactions to RTRS within fifteen minutes.  All reported transactions are entered into the RTRS surveillance database used by market regulators and enforcement agencies.  However, the special nature of some transactions effects their value for price transparency and the ability of dealers to meet the fifteen minute reporting deadline.  To address these issues, RTRS was designed so that a dealer can code a specific transaction report with a “special condition indicator” to designate the transaction as being subject to a special condition.1 

TRANSACTIONS EXECUTED WITH SPECIAL PRICING CONDITIONS

Three trading scenarios recently have generated questions from dealers and users of the MSRB price transparency products.  Each of the three trading scenarios described below represents situations where the transaction executed is not a typical arms-length transaction negotiated in the secondary market and thus may be a misleading indicator of the market value of a security.  To clarify transaction reporting requirements and to prevent publication of a potentially misleading price, dealers are required to report these transactions with the M9c0 special condition indicator.2  Transactions reported with this special condition indicator are entered into the surveillance database but suppressed from price dissemination to ensure that transparency products do not include prices that might be confusing or misleading.

Customer Repurchase Agreement Transactions

Some dealers have programs allowing customers to finance municipal securities positions with repurchase agreements (“repos”).  Typically, a bona fide repo consists of two transactions whereby a dealer will sell securities to a customer and agree to repurchase the securities on a future date at a pre-determined price that will produce an agreed-upon rate of return.  Both the sale and purchase transactions resulting from a customer repo do not represent typical arms-length transactions negotiated in the secondary market and are therefore required to be reported with the M9c0 special condition indicator.

UIT-Related Transactions

Dealers sponsoring Unit Investment Trusts (“UIT”) or similar programs sometimes purchase securities through several transactions and deposit such securities into an “accumulation” account.  After the accumulation account contains the necessary securities for the UIT, the dealer transfers the securities from the accumulation account into the UIT.  Purchases of securities for an accumulation account are presumably done at market value and are required to be reported normally.  The transfer of securities out of the accumulation account and into the UIT, however, does not represent a typical arms-length transaction negotiated in the secondary market.  Dealers are required to report the subsequent transfer of securities from the accumulation account to the UIT with the M9c0 special condition indicator.

TOB Program-Related Transactions

Dealers sponsoring tender option bond programs (“TOB Programs”) for customers sometimes transfer securities previously sold to a customer into a derivative trust from which derivative products are created.  If the customer sells the securities held in the derivative trust, the trust is liquidated and the securities are reconstituted from the derivative products and transferred back to the customer.  The transfer of securities into the derivative trust and the transfer of securities back to the customer upon liquidation of the trust do not represent typical arms-length transactions negotiated in the secondary market.  Such transactions are required to be reported using the M9c0 special condition indicator.3

INTER-DEALER TRANSACTIONS REPORTED “LATE”

Inter-dealer transaction reporting is accomplished by both the purchasing and selling dealers submitting the trade to the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation’s (DTCC) automated comparison system (RTTM) following DTCC’s procedures.  RTTM forwards information about the transaction to RTRS.  The inter-dealer trade processing situations described below are the subject of dealer questions and currently result in dealers being charged with “late” reporting or reporting of a trade date and time that differs from the date and time of trade execution.  To allow dealers to report these types of transactions without receiving a late error and to allow enforcement agencies to identify these trades as reported under special circumstances, the MSRB has added two new special condition indicators.New special condition indicator Mc40 is used to identify certain inter-dealer transactions that are ineligible for comparison on trade date, and new special condition indicator Mc50 is used to identify resubmissions of certain uncompared inter-dealer transactions that have been cancelled by RTTM.  Described below are the procedures for reporting transactions arising in three inter-dealer transaction reporting scenarios using the new special condition indicators.

Inter-Dealer Ineligible on Trade Date

Certain inter-dealer transactions are not able to be submitted to RTTM on trade date or with the accurate trade date either because all information necessary for comparison is not available or because the trade date is not a “valid” trade date in RTTM.  The two inter-dealer trading scenarios described below are required to be reported using the new Mc40 special condition indicator.

VRDO Ineligible on Trade Date

On occasion, inter-dealer secondary market transactions are effected in variable rate demand obligations (VRDOs) in which the interest rate reset date occurs between trade date and the time of settlement.  Since dealers in this scenario cannot calculate accrued interest or final money on trade date, they cannot process the trade through RTTM until the interest rate reset has occurred.  To report such transactions, both dealers that are party to the transaction are required to report the transaction by the end of the day that the interest rate reset occurs, including the trade date and time that the original trade was executed.  Both dealers are required to include the new Mc40 special condition indicator that causes RTRS not to score either dealer late.  Transactions reported using this procedure are disseminated without a special condition indicator and the trade reports reflect the original trade date and time.

Invalid RTTM Trade Dates

Dealers sometimes execute inter-dealer transactions on weekends and on certain holidays that are not valid RTTM trade dates.  Such trades cannot be reported to RTRS using the actual trade date if they occur on a weekend or holiday.  To accomplish automated comparison and transaction reporting of such transactions, dealers are required to submit these inter-dealer transactions to RTTM no later than fifteen minutes after the start of the next RTRS Business Day and to include a trade date and time that represents the next earliest “valid” values that can be submitted.5   Dealers also are required to include the new Mc40 special condition indicator that allows RTRS to identify these transactions so that enforcement agencies can be alerted to the fact that the trade reports were made under special circumstances using a special trade date and time.  RTRS disseminates these trade reports without a special condition indicator and the trade report includes the trade date and time reflecting the next earliest “valid” values that can be submitted.6

Resubmission of an RTTM Cancel

A dealer may submit an inter-dealer trade to RTTM and find that the contra-party fails to report its side of the trade.  Such “uncompared” trades are not disseminated by RTRS on price transparency products.  After two days, RTTM removes the uncompared trade report from its system and the dealer originally submitting the trade must resubmit the transaction in a second attempt to obtain a comparison with its contra-party, which currently results in RTRS scoring the resubmitted trade report “late.”

The dealer that originally submitted information to RTTM is required to resubmit identical information about the transaction in the second attempt to compare and report the trade by the end of the day after RTTM cancels the trade.  The resubmitting dealer also is required to include the new Mc50 special condition indicator that causes RTRS to not score the resubmitting dealer late.  The indicator may only be used by a dealer resubmitting the exact same trade information for the same trade.7 For example, the contra-party that failed to submit its side to the trade accurately, thus preventing comparison of the transaction, is not allowed to use the indicator.  RTRS disseminates trade reports made under this procedure without a special condition indicator once RTTM compares the trade and the trade report reflects the original trade date and time. 

Questions about this notice may be directed to Justin R. Pica, Uniform Practice Policy Advisor, or Sara K. Pranio, Uniform Practice Assistant.

1          See Specifications for Real-Time Reporting of Municipal Securities Transactions Section 4.3.2.

2          In addition to the special trading situations identified in this notice, the M9c0 special condition indicator, “away from market – other reason,” is required to be included on a trade report if the transaction price differs substantially from the market price for multiple reasons or for a reason not covered by another special condition indicator.

3          In some cases, the transfer of securities into the derivative trust and the transfer of securities back to the customer upon liquidation of the trust do not represent purchase-sale transactions due to the terms of the trust agreement.  MSRB rules on transaction reporting do not require a dealer to report a transfer of securities to RTRS that is not a purchase-sale transaction in municipal securities.

4          See [reference to MSRB Notice of SEC approval of proposed rule change SR-MSRB-2007-01]

5          The MSRB previously provided an example of a trade date and time that would be included on a trade report using this procedure.  See “Reporting of Inter-Dealer Transactions That Occur Outside of RTRS Business Day Hours or on Invalid RTTM Trade Dates,” MSRB Notice 2007-12 (March 23, 2007).

6          Using this procedure will result in transactions reported with a trade date and time that differs from what is recorded in a dealer’s books and records.  Dealers are reminded that books and records are required to reflect the date and time of trade execution. 

7          The resubmitting dealer would not be required to resubmit the same reference number or preparation time on the resubmitted transaction; however, other information about the transaction, such as price, quantity, trade date and time, would be required to be identical to information included in the original trade submission.



[1] SR-MSRB-2007-01.  Comments on the proposed rule change should be submitted to the Commission and should reference this file number.

[2] The MSRB previously requested comment on most of the transaction reporting procedures described in the proposed rule change.  See “Request for Comment on Draft Procedures for Reporting Special Condition Indicators for Certain Special Trading Situations,” MSRB Notice 2006-20 (July 31, 2006).

[3] In addition to the special trading situations identified in the proposed rule change, the existing M9c0 special condition indicator, “away from market – other reason,” is required to be included on a trade report if the transaction price differs substantially from the market price for multiple reasons or for a reason not covered by another special condition indicator.

[4] In some cases, the transfer of securities into the derivative trust and the transfer of securities back to the customer upon liquidation of the trust do not represent purchase-sale transactions due to the terms of the trust agreement.  MSRB rules on transaction reporting do not require a dealer to report the transfer of securities to RTRS that does not represent a purchase-sale transaction.

[5] The MSRB previously provided an example of a trade date and time that would be included on a trade report using this procedure.  See “Reporting of Inter-Dealer Transactions That Occur Outside of RTRS Business Day Hours or on Invalid RTTM Trade Dates,” MSRB Notice 2007-12 (March 23, 2007).

[6] The resubmitting dealer would not be required to resubmit the same reference number or preparation time on the resubmitted transaction; however, other information about the transaction, such as price, quantity, trade date and time, would be required to be identical to information included in the original trade submission.

[7] The M2c0 special condition indicator, “away from market – extraordinary settlement,” is used to identify transactions where the price differs from the market price because the settlement was (a) for regular way trades, other than T+3, or (b) for new issue trades, other than the initial settlement date of the issue.  The indicator is not used for new issue, extended settlement or cash/next-day trades at the market price.

[8] New language is underlined; deletions are in brackets.