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Confirmation: Mailing of WAII, "All or None" Confirmation

Confirmation: Mailing of WAII, "all or none" confirmation. I understand that certain ... firms ... have raised questions concerning the application of a recent Board interpretive letter to certain types of municipal securities underwritings. I am writing to advise that these questions were recently reviewed by the Board which has authorized my sending you the following response.

The letter in question, reprinted in the Commerce Clearing House Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board Manual at ¶ 3556.55 [*], discusses the timing of the mailing of initial "when, as and if issued" confirmations on "pre-sale" orders to which new issue municipal securities have been allocated. Among other matters, the letter states that such confirmations may not be sent out prior to the date of award of the new issue, in the case of an issue purchased at competitive bid, or the date of execution of a bond purchase agreement on the new issue, in the case of a negotiated issue. [Certain] ... firms have questioned whether this interpretation ... is intended to apply to "all or none" underwritings, in which confirmations have been, at times, sent out prior to the execution of a formal purchase agreement.

As the Board understands it, an "all or none" underwriting of a new issue of municipal securities is an underwriting in which the municipal securities dealer agrees to accept liability for the issue at a given price only under a stated contingency, usually that the entire issue is sold within a stated period. The dealer typically "presettles" with the purchasers of the securities, with the customers receiving confirmations and paying for the securities while the underwriting is taking place. Pursuant to SEC rule 15c2-4 all customer funds must be held in a special escrow account for the issue until such time as the contingency is met (e.g., the entire issue is sold) and the funds are released to the issuer; if the contingency is not met, the funds are returned to the purchasers and the securities are not issued. [1]

The Board is of the view that an initial "when, as and if issued" confirmation of a transaction in a security which is the subject of an "all or none" underwriting may be sent out prior to the time a formal bond purchase agreement is executed. This would be permissible, however, only if two conditions are met: (1) that such confirmations clearly indicate the contingent nature of the transaction, through a statement that the securities are the subject of an "all or none" underwriting or otherwise; and (2) that the dealer has established, or has arranged to have established, the escrow account for the issue as required pursuant to rule 15c2-4. MSRB interpretation of October 7, 1982.




[1] I note also that SEC rule 10b-9 sets forth certain conditions which must be met before a dealer is permitted to represent an underwriting as an "all or none" underwriting.


[*] [See Rule G-12 Interpretive Letter - Confirmation: mailing of WAII confirmation, MSRB interpretation of April 30, 1982.]