Letter of Interpretation
Rule G-15, on Confirmations, Clearance and Settlement of Transactions with Customers
This is in response to your letter in which you ask when an issue of municipal securities may be described as prerefunded for purposes of Board rule G-12, on uniform practice, and rule G-15, on confirmation, clearance and settlement of transactions with customers. You describe a situation in which an outstanding issue of municipal securities is to be prerefunded by a new issue of municipal securities. You note that information on the issue to be prerefunded "is usually available within a few days of the new issue being priced. . .[but that the] new issue's settlement date is usually several weeks later, . . .[and] it is not until that date that funds will be available to establish the escrow to refund the bonds." You ask whether the outstanding issue of securities is considered prerefunded upon the final pricing of the refunding issue or upon settlement of that issue.
Rule G-15 governs the items of disclosure required on customer confirmations. This rule provides that, if securities are called or prerefunded, dealers must note this fact (along with the call price and the maturity date fixed by the call notice) on the customer's confirmation.(1) In situations where an issuer has indicated its intent to prerefund an outstanding issue, it is the Board's position that the issue is not, in fact, prerefunded until the issuer has taken the necessary official actions to prerefund the issue, which would include, for example, closing of the escrow arrangement. We note further that until such official action occurs, the fact that the issuer intends to prerefund the issue may well be "material" information under rule G-17, the Board's fair dealing rule.(2)
MSRB interpretation of February 17, 1998
1. Rule G-12(c), on uniform practice, applies to confirmations of inter-dealer transactions, and requires similar disclosures. Transactions submitted to a registered clearing agency for comparison, however, are exempt from the confirmation requirements of section (c). Since almost all inter-dealer transactions are eligible for automated comparison in a system operated by a registered clearing agency, very few dealers exchange confirmations.
2. Rule G-17 requires each dealer, in the conduct of its municipal securities business, to deal fairly with all persons and prohibits the dealer from engaging in any deceptive, dishonest or unfair practice. The Board has interpreted this rule to require that a dealer must disclose, at or before the sale of municipal securities to a customer, all material facts concerning the transaction which could affect the customer's investment decision, including a complete description of the security, and must not omit any material facts which would render other statements misleading. Dealers also must fulfill their obligations under rule G-19, on suitability, and rule G-30, on pricing.
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