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Financial Advisory Relationship: Mortgage-Related Services

Financial advisory relationship: mortgage-related services. This is in response to your letter of March 26, 1982 requesting an opinion regarding whether Board rule G-23 concerning the activities of financial advisors applies to certain activities of [name deleted] (the "Company").

Your letter states that the Company, a mortgage banker and wholly-owned subsidiary of [name deleted] (the "Bank"), identifies "proposed real estate development projects which it believes are economically feasible" and attempts to "arrange for the financing of such projects ..." You note that a common means of financing such projects involves the issuance and sale of tax-exempt obligations, with the proceeds of the sale being made available by the issuing entity to a mortgage approved by the Federal Housing Administration ("FHA"), which in turn provides financing secured by the FHA mortgage. You indicate that the services the Company performs in such instances include "... making the initial determination as to whether the contemplated project meets FHA criteria, negotiating with the developer regarding financing terms and conditions relating to the mortgage, contacting the issuer regarding its interest in issuing the bonds for the project, and, in certain cases where the issuer is not familiar or experienced in the area, assisting the issuer in understanding the rules and regulations of the FHA or the Development of Housing and Urban Development ..." You add that "the Company may also act as servicer of the construction loans which entails processing FHA insurance request forms, disbursing funds for completed work, etc." You state that "the Company does not provide financial advice to issuers regarding the structuring of the bond issues, or receive any fees, directly or indirectly, from issuers." You emphasize that any advice regarding the structuring of the actual bond issues is provided by the issuers’ "staffs, financial advisors, bond counsel, or the underwriters of the issues." Your specific question concerns whether rule G-23 applies where the Company acts as mortgage banker and the Bank underwrites the bonds.

As you know, rule G-23(b) states that "... a financial advisory relationship shall be deemed to exist when a broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer renders or enters into an agreement to render financial advisory or consultant services to or on behalf of an issuer with respect to a new issue or issues of municipal securities, including advice with respect to the structure, timing, terms and other similar matters concerning such issue or issues for a fee or other compensation ..." Based upon the representations contained in your letter, it would appear that the Company does not render financial advisory services to issuers with respect to new issues of municipal securities. Since the activities which you state the Company performs in the ordinary course of its mortgage banking business do not constitute financial advisory activities for the purposes of rule G-23, the rule would not apply to those financings where the Bank serves as underwriter and the Company performs its mortgage banking functions, as described. MSRB interpretation of April 12, 1982.