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Supervisory Responsibility of Municipal Securities Principals and Municipal Securities Sales Principals

The Board has received questions concerning the appropriate allocation of supervisory responsibility between municipal securities principals and the new category of municipal securities sales principals. The Board recently amended its rule G-3 to permit a person associated with a securities firm whose activities with respect to municipal securities are limited to supervising sales to and purchases from customers to qualify as a "municipal securities sales principal" ("sales principal"). The Board also amended rules G-8 on recordkeeping, G-26 on the administration of customer accounts, and G-27 on supervision to permit securities firms to designate sales principals as responsible for certain supervisory functions insofar as they relate directly to transactions in municipal securities with customers.

In particular, rule G-27 concerning supervision requires municipal securities dealers to designate at least one municipal securities principal as responsible for supervising its municipal securities activities, including the municipal securities activities of branch offices or similar locations. In addition, rule G-27 permits the municipal securities dealer to designate a sales principal (e.g., a branch office manager) as responsible for the "direct supervision of sales to and purchases from customers." The rule also requires that a dealer adopt written supervisory procedures which, among other matters, reflect the delegation of supervisory authority to these personnel.

As a result of these amendments, in designating under rule G-27 one or more municipal securities principals as responsible for supervising the business and activities of the firm’s associated persons, a securities firm may choose to designate a qualified sales principal with limited responsibility for the direct supervision of sales to and purchases from customers. If so, the firm’s written supervisory procedures may allocate responsibility to a sales principal for reviewing and approving (to the extent that they relate to sales to and purchases from customers) the suitability of the opening of, and transactions in, customer accounts, the handling of customer complaints and other correspondence, and other matters permitted by Board rule to be reviewed or approved by a sales principal. A municipal securities principal, however, must be responsible for directly supervising the firm’s other municipal securities activities such as underwriting, trading, and pricing of inventories.

With respect to the relationship between a sales principal and the designated municipal securities principal, Board rule G-27 provides that a branch office manager who acts as the sales principal for his office will be responsible for the municipal securities sales activities under his direct supervision. Rule G-27 also provides that a designated municipal securities principal will be responsible for all municipal securities activities of the branch office including those that may be under the direct supervision of a sales principal. However, the branch office manager, under the particular organizational structure of a firm, may be responsible to some other designated supervisor for the discharge of his other duties.