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Sending Confirmations to Customers Who Utilize Dealers to Tender Put Option Bonds

The Board has received inquiries whether a municipal securities dealer must send a confirmation to a customer when the customer utilizes the dealer to tender bonds pursuant to a put option. Board rule G-15(a)(i) requires dealers to send confirmations to customers at or before the completion of a transaction in municipal securities. The Board believes that whether a dealer that accepts for tender put bonds from a customer is engaging in "transactions in municipal securities" depends on whether the dealer has some interest in the put option bond.

In the situation in which a customer puts back a bond through a municipal securities dealer either because he purchased the bond from the dealer or he has an account with the dealer, and the dealer does not have an interest in the put option and has not been designated as the remarketing agent for the issue, there seems to be no "transaction in municipal securities" between the dealer and the tendering bondholder and no confirmation needs to be sent. The Board suggests, however, that it would be good industry practice to obtain written approval of the tender from the customer, give the customer a receipt for his bonds and promptly credit the customer's account. Of course, if the dealer actually purchases the security and places it in its trading account, even for an instant, prior to tendering the bond, a confirmation of this sale transaction should be sent.[1]

If a dealer has some interest in a put option bond which its customer has delivered to it for tendering, a confirmation must be sent to the customer. A dealer that is the issuer of a secondary market put option on a bond has an interest in the security and is deemed to be engaging in a municipal securities transaction if the bond is put back to it.

In addition, a remarketing agent, (i.e., a dealer which, pursuant to an agreement with an issuer, is obligated to use its best efforts to resell bonds tendered by their owners pursuant to put options) who accepts put option bonds tendered by customers also is deemed to be engaging in a "transaction in municipal securities" with the customer for purposes of sending a confirmation to the customer because of the remarketing agent's interest in the bonds.[2] The Board's position on remarketing agents is based upon its understanding that remarketing agents sell the bonds that their customers submit for tendering, as well as other bonds tendered directly to the trustee or tender agent, pursuant to the put option. The customers and other bondholders, pursuant to the terms of the issue, usually are paid from the proceeds of the remarketing agents' sales activities.[3]

[1] This would apply equally in circumstances in which the dealer has an interest in the put option bond.

[2] Of course, remarketing agents also must send confirmations to those to whom they resell the bonds.

[3] If these funds are not sufficient to pay tendering bondholders, such bondholders usually are paid from certain funds set up under the issue's indenture or from advances under the letter of credit that usually backs the put option.