The Application of Rules G-8 and G-9 to Electronic Recordkeeping
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the “MSRB”) has received requests for interpretive guidance regarding the maintenance in electronic form of records under rule G-8, on books and records, and rule G-9, on preservation of records. As the MSRB has previously noted, rules G-8 and G-9 provide significant flexibility to brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers (“dealers”) concerning the manner in which their records are to be maintained, recognizing that various recordkeeping systems could provide a complete and accurate record of a dealer’s municipal securities activities. Part of the reason for providing this flexibility was that a variety of enforcement agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, NASD Regulation, Inc. and the banking regulatory agencies, all may inspect dealer records.
Rule G-8(b) does not specify that a dealer is required to maintain its books and records in a specific manner so long as the information required to be shown by the rule is clearly and accurately reflected and provides an adequate basis for the audit of such information. Further, rule G-9(e) allows records to be retained electronically provided that the dealer has adequate facilities for ready retrieval and inspection of any such record and for production of easily readable facsimile copies.
The MSRB previously has recognized that efficiencies would be obtained by the replacement of paper files with electronic data bases and filing systems and stated that it generally allows records to be retained in that form. In noting that increased automation would likely lead to elimination of most physical records, the MSRB has stated that electronic trading tickets and automated customer account information satisfy the recordkeeping requirements of rule G-8 so long as such information is maintained in compliance with rule G-9(e). The MSRB believes that this position also applies with respect to the other recordkeeping requirements of rule G-8 so long as such information is maintained in compliance with rule G-9(e) and the appropriate enforcement agency is satisfied that such manner of record creation and retention provides an adequate basis for the audit of the information to be maintained. In particular, the MSRB believes that a dealer that meets the requirements of Rule 17a-4(f) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 with respect to maintenance and preservation of required books and records in the formats described therein would presumptively meet the requirements of rule G-9(e).
March 26, 2001
 See Rule G-8 Interpretation – Interpretive Notice on Recordkeeping, July 29, 1977, reprinted in MSRB Rule Book (January 1, 2001) at 42.
 See Rule G-8 Interpretive Letters – Use of electronic signatures, MSRB interpretation of February 27, 1989, reprinted in MSRB Rule Book (January 1, 2001) at 47.