Confirmation Disclosures: Tender Option Bonds with Adjustable Tender Fees
Confirmation disclosures: tender option bonds with adjustable tender fees. This is in response to your inquiry concerning the application of the Board’s rules to certain tender option bonds with adjustable tender fees issued as part of a recent [name of bond deleted] issue. Apparently, there is some uncertainty as to the interest rate which should be shown on the confirmation, and the appropriate yield disclosure required by rule G-15 with respect to customer confirmations in transactions involving these securities.
The securities in question are tender option bonds with a 2005 maturity which may be tendered during an annual tender period for purchase on an annual purchase date each year until the 2005 maturity date. To retain this tender option for the first year after issuance, the option bond owner must pay a tender fee of $27.50 per $1,000 in principal amount of the bonds. Beginning in the second year, however, the tender fee may vary each year and will be in an amount determined by the company granting the option (the "Company"), in its discretion, and approved by the bank which issued a letter of credit securing the obligations of the Company. The tender fee must, however, be in an amount which, in the judgment of the Company based upon consultation with not less than five institutional buyers of short term securities, would under normal market conditions permit the bonds to be remarketed at not less than par. If at any time these fees are not paid, the trustee will pay the fee to the Company on behalf of the owner and deduct that amount from the next interest payment sent to the owner unless the owner tenders the bonds prior to the fee payment date. While a system has been set up to receive payment of these tender fees, we understand that the trustee of the issue is assuming that most of the tender fees will be paid through a deduction from the interest payment.
You have advised us that confirmations of the original syndicate transactions in these securities stated the interest rate on the securities as 7-1/8%, which is the current effective rate on the bonds taking into account the tender fees during the first year after issuance (i.e., the 9-7/8% rate less the 2-6/8% fee) and which, because of the yearly tender fee adjustment, is fixed only for one year. The interest rate shown on the bond certificates, however, is the 9-7/8% total rate, and no reference is made to the 7-1/8% effective rate. In addition, the bonds are traded on a dollar price basis as fixed-rate securities and are sold as one year tender option bonds (although the 2005 maturity date is disclosed). The yield to the one year tender date is the only yield customer confirmations.
You inquire whether it is proper that the confirmation show the interest rate on these securities as 7-1/8% and whether the yield disclosure requirements of rule G-15 are met with the disclosure of the yield to the one year tender date. Your inquiry was referred to the Committee of the Board which has responsibility for interpreting the Board's confirmation rules. The Committee has authorized this reply.
Rules G-12(c)(v)(E) and G-15(a)(i)(E).[*] require that dealer and customer confirmations contain a description of the securities including, among, other things, the interest rate on the bonds. The Committee believes that the stated interest rate on these bonds of 9-7/8% should be shown as the interest rate in the securities description on confirmations to reduce the confusion that may arise when the bond certificates are delivered and to ensure that an outdated effective rate is not utilized. In order to fully describe the rate of return on these bonds, however, the Committee believes that immediately after the notation of the 9-7/8% rate on the confirmations, the following phrase must be added—"less fee for put." Thus, it will be the responsibility of the selling dealer to determine the current effective rate applicable to these bonds and to disclose this to purchasing dealers and customers at the time of trade.
In regard to yield disclosure, rule G-15(a)(i)(I)[†] requires that the yield to maturity be disclosed because these securities are traded on the basis of a dollar price. The Board has determined that, for purposes of making this computation, only "in whole" calls should be used. Thus, for these tender option bonds, the yield to maturity is required to be disclosed. It appears, however, that an accurate yield to maturity cannot be calculated for these securities. While it is possible to calculate a yield to maturity using the stated 9-7/8% interest rate, this figure might be misleading since the adjustable tender fees would not be taken into account. Similarly, a yield calculated from the current effective rate of return would not be meaningful since it would not reflect subsequent changes in the amounts of the tender fees deducted. In view of these difficulties, the Committee believes that confirmations of these securities need not disclose a "yield to maturity." The Committee is also of the view, however, that dealers must include the yield to the one year tender date on the confirmations as an alternative form of yield disclosure. MSRB interpretation of October 3, 1984.
 We understand that these tender option bonds are the first of a series of similar issues and on subsequent issues of this nature the phrase “Bond subject to the payment of tender fee” will be printed on the bond certificates next to the interest rate. This additional description on the bond certificates, although helpful, is not a substitute for complete confirmation disclosure and this interpretation applies to these subsequent issues as well.
 Rule G-15(a)(i)(I)[†] requires that on customer confirmations
for transactions effected on the basis of a dollar price…the lowest of the resulting yield to call, yield to par option, or yield to maturity shall be shown.
[*] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(B)(4)(c)]
[†] [Currently codified at rule G-15(a)(i)(A)(5)(b)]