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Confirmation Disclosure: Put Option Bonds

Confirmation disclosure: put option bonds. This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of May 6, 1981, requesting further clarification of the application of Board rules to municipal securities with "put option" or "tender option" features. In your letter you note that I had previously indicated that, in some circumstances, Board rules would require inter-dealer and customer confirmations to set forth a yield to the "put option" date, designated as such. You suggest that presentation of this information on confirmations would require reprogramming of many computerized confirmation-processing systems, and you inquire whether the Board intends that

dealers should possess the capability to "price to the put" and [to] indicate the appropriate yield in their confirmation systems[.]

In my previous letter of April 24, 1981, I advised that Board rules G-12(c), on inter-dealer confirmations, and G-15, on customer confirmations, would require the following with respect to transactions in securities with "put option" features:

(1) If the transaction is effected on the basis of a yield price, the confirmation must state the yield at which the transaction was effected and the resulting dollar price. The dollar price must be computed to the maturity date, since, in most instances, these securities will not have call features. If the securities do have a refunding call feature, the requirement for pricing to the lowest of the premium call, par option, or maturity would obtain.

(2) If the transaction is effected on the basis of a dollar price, the confirmation must state the dollar price, and, in the case of a customer confirmation, the resulting yield to maturity. If the securities have a call feature, the customer confirmation would state the yield to premium call or the yield to par option in lieu of the yield to maturity, if either is lower than the yield to maturity.

In neither case does the rule require the presentation of a yield or a dollar price computed to the "put option" date as a part of the standard confirmation processing. Further, the Board does not at this time plan to adopt any requirement for a calculation of yield or dollar price to the lower of the put option or maturity dates, comparable to the calculation requirement involving call features. I would therefore have to respond to your inquiry by stating that the Board does not at this time intend to require, as an aspect of standard confirmation processing, that dealers have the capability to "price to the put."

In your May 6 letter you quote a paragraph from my previous correspondence, which stated the following:

If the parties explicitly agree that the transaction is effected at a yield to the "put option" date, then such yield may be shown on the confirmation, together with a statement that it is a yield to the (date) put option, and an indication of the date the option first becomes available to the holder.

As this paragraph indicates, in some circumstances the parties to a particular transaction may agree between themselves that the transaction is effected on the basis of a yield to the "put option" date, and that the dollar price will be computed in that fashion. In such circumstances, the yield to the "put option" date is the "yield at which [the] transaction was effected" and must be disclosed as such; it must also be identified in order to evidence the agreement of the parties that the transaction is priced in this fashion. However, since the sale of securities on the basis of a yield to the "put option" is at the discretion of the parties to the transaction, and is a special circumstance requiring a mutual agreement of such parties, I suggest that the reprogramming you mention would be necessary only if your bank elects to treat securities with "put option" features in this special fashion. Further, given the fact that these would be exceptional transactions, and would require special handling at the time of trade itself (viz., the conclusion of the mutual agreement concerning the pricing), I suggest that manual processing of these transactions on an "exception" basis appears to be a viable alternative to the reprogramming. MSRB interpretation of May 11, 1981.