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Comparison of Inter-Dealer Deliveries That Do Not Represent Inter-Dealer Transactions—”Step Out" Deliveries: Rules G-12(f) and G-14

The MSRB reminds dealers of trade reporting procedures with respect to “step outs” and other inter-dealer deliveries that are not the result of inter-dealer transactions.

Rule G-14 requires that inter-dealer purchase-sale transactions eligible for comparison through the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) automated comparison system (RTTM) be reported to the MSRB Transaction Reporting System. For these inter-dealer transactions, trade reporting to the MSRB is accomplished by both the purchasing and selling dealers submitting the trade for comparison following NSCC’s procedures, and ensuring that the trade record includes certain additional data required by Rule G-14.  NSCC then forwards each dealer’s trade submission to the MSRB. In effect, the comparison submission to NSCC doubles as the trade report to the MSRB.

In certain situations, deliveries of securities occur between two dealers even though the two dealers did not effect a purchase-sale transaction with each other. Dealers using the comparison system to facilitate these deliveries must be careful not to report the deliveries as inter-dealer transactions. A frequent example of this situation occurs when an independent investment advisor effects a transaction with a dealer (the “executing dealer”) and instructs the executing dealer to deliver securities to another dealer (the “custody dealer”) for unnamed clients of the investment advisor. The resulting delivery between the executing dealer and the custody dealer may be handled through NSCC by submitting the delivery to RTTM for comparison, even though there was no purchase-sale transaction between the two dealers. However, in these cases, the executing dealer and the custody dealer each must indicate that the submissions are for RTTM Matching Only (Destination 01, see below) to ensure that the submissions do not also constitute trade reports under Rule G-14. Failure to do so by either party will result in a violation of Rule G-14.[1]

NSCC has published procedures for identifying comparison submissions as step outs, meaning comparison submissions that do not represent reportable inter-dealer transactions.[2] Although the full procedures are not repeated here, they basically require dealers using interactive messaging to submit data to NSCC with “DEST 01” (and no other “DEST”) in the destination indicator message field and dealers using RTTM Web to select the “RTTM” trade reporting indicator.[3] To avoid violations of Rule G-14, dealers also should be careful to use NSCC’s step out procedures only when applicable (i.e., when there is an inter-dealer delivery being compared, but there was no purchase-sale transaction between the dealers).[4]

It is worth noting that comparison submissions will compare against each other in RTTM regardless of whether their step out indicators match. When two dealers submit “mismatched” destination indicators and a comparison occurs, NSCC forwards data about both submissions to the MSRB, but the MSRB is unable to determine which dealer was correct as to whether the comparison represents a transaction or a step out. However, it is clear in such a case that at least one of the dealers has violated Rule G-14, either by reporting a true inter-dealer trade as a step out or by reporting an inter-dealer transaction that did not occur.

The MSRB is developing a report that will identify such “mismatched” inter-dealer trade comparisons as an aid to dealers and enforcement personnel. The MSRB will publish a notice when the report is available. However, dealers should at this time review their comparison and trade reporting procedures to ensure that their comparison submissions correctly use the step out indicator and use it only when appropriate.

Questions about the procedure for processing step out deliveries should be directed to NSCC. Questions about whether a particular type of delivery is reportable as an inter-dealer purchase-sale transaction may be directed to MSRB staff.

[1] In this example, the executing dealer has an additional duty to report its execution of the investment advisor’s order to the MSRB as a dealer sale to a customer; the submission of the “step out” delivery to NSCC does not substitute for this customer trade report. See MSRB Notice 2003-20, “Notice on Reporting and Comparison of Certain Transactions Effected by Investment Advisors: Rules G-12(f) and G-14,” May 23, 2003.

[2] For NSCC’s complete procedure on comparing step out deliveries, see e.g., NSCC Important Notice A5943/P&S5513, “Changes to Municipal Bond ‘Step Out’ Processing,” December 2, 2004, on

[3] To further distinguish step out submissions, dealers also should include “STEP” in the Trader ID contra party field.

[4] Another example of a transfer of securities between dealers that is not the result of a purchase-sale transaction was described in MSRB Notice 2004-14, “Notice on Certain Inter-Dealer Transfers of Municipal Securities: Rules G-12(f) and G-14,” June 4, 2004.