MSRB Request for Comment on “Not Reoffered” Designation

On March 13, the MSRB requested comment on a proposal to prohibit brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers from using the term “not reoffered” or “NRO”, which indicates that certain maturities of a new issue are not offered to investors, in any written communication unless it also includes the initial offering price or yield information about the municipal securities.  Comments are due by April 10.  MSRB Release.  Request for Comment.

MSRB Seeks SEC Approval for Broker’s Brokers Rule

On March 5, the MSRB requested approval from the SEC to put in place a new rule that would: (i) establish specific obligations for firms that provide secondary market liquidity for municipal securities retail investors and (ii) increase the duties of dealers that use these firms.  The MSRB expects the rules to be effective six months after approval by the SEC.  MSRB Release.  Rule Proposal.

MSRB Request for Comment on Retail Order Period Proposal

On March 6, the MSRB requested comments on rule amendments that would govern the responsibilities of dealers in the conduct of retail order periods.  The proposed rule changes seek to address concerns about dealers’ disregard of municipal securities issuers’ terms and conditions for bond sales.  Comments are due by April 13.  MSRB Release.  Request for Comment.

MSRB Proposed Rules on Subscription Services

On February 27, the MSRB filed with the SEC two proposed rule changes that would establish subscription access to historical information and documents submitted to: (i) the MSRB Short-Term Obligation Rate Transparency (SHORT) system (which provides information and documents for municipal auction rate securities and variable rate demand obligations) and (ii) the MSRB Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system (which provides access to primary market disclosure documents and information for the municipal securities market).  The proposed rule changes will be effective upon approval by the SEC.  MSRB Release (SHORT).  MSRB Release (EMMA).

MSRB Request for Comment on Bondholder Consent Proposal

On February 7, the MSRB requested comments on a draft proposal on the circumstances under which municipal bond underwriters would violate their duty to deal fairly by consenting to certain amendments to bond authorizing documents. The proposal would describe circumstances where an underwriter’s consent to an amendment would violate Rule G-17’s requirements that brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers deal fairly with all persons in the conduct of their municipal securities activities. Comments must be submitted by March 6. MSRB Release. Draft Proposal.

MSRB Request for Comment on Definition of Sophisticated Municipal Market Professional

On November 8, the MSRB requested comment on updating its definition of sophisticated municipal market professional to reflect recent changes to both the availability of municipal market information and to FINRA’s rules on suitability for institutional accounts. Comments to the proposed definition must be submitted by December 13. MSRB Release.

MSRB Amendments to Underwriter Fair Dealing Proposal

On November 3, the MSRB filed amendments to its proposal regarding the duties of underwriters of municipal securities to state and local governments. The amendments would enhance certain disclosure requirements for underwriters as well as clarify the risk disclosure requirements of the proposal. Comments on the proposal should be submitted to the SEC. MSRB Release. MSRB Amendments.

MSRB Advisory on Applicability of Rules to Bank Loans and Direct Purchases

On September 12, the MSRB issued an advisory on the potential applicability of MSRB rules to certain municipal finance transactions, known as “bank products“, which may entail securities transactions that trigger regulatory requirements. The advisory covers “bank loans” that could, depending on the nature of the transactions, be placements of municipal securities, as well as “direct purchases” by banks of securities that are later so significantly restructured that they may constitute primary offerings of securities. MSRB Release. MSRB Advisory.