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Underwriting Aassessment: Application to Private Placements

Underwriting assessment: application to private placements. This is in response to your request for a clarification of the application of Board rule A-13, concerning the underwriting assessment for municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers, to private placements of municipal securities.

Rule A-13 imposes an assessment fee on the underwriting of new issue municipal securities as an equitable means of defraying the costs and expenses of operating the Board. The assessment fee applies to new issue municipal securities which are "... purchased from an issuer by or through [a] municipal securities broker, or municipal securities dealer, whether acting as principal or agent." The Board has consistently interpreted the rule as requiring payment of the assessment fee where a municipal securities dealer acting as agent for the issuer arranges the direct placement of new issue municipal securities with institutional customers or individuals. In such cases it can be said that the securities are purchased from an issuer "through" the municipal securities dealer.

Of course, a municipal securities dealer who serves in an advisory role to an issuer on such matters as the structure or timing of a new issue, but who plays no part in arranging a private placement of the securities, would not be required to pay the assessment fee prescribed by rule A-13. MSRB interpretation of February 22, 1982.