The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that its Office of Municipal Securities has issued interpretive guidance to address questions from market participants regarding the implementation of new final SEC rules requiring municipal advisors to register with the SEC.
The staff guidance, in the form of answers to frequently asked questions, or FAQs, covers topics including:
- the advice standard, including the general information exclusion and the treatment of business promotional materials used by underwriters
- the request for proposals-request for qualifications exemption
- the exemption for independent municipal advisors
- the exclusion for registered investment advisers
- the underwriter exclusion, including engagements as underwriters
- issuance of municipal securities and post-issuance advice
- remarketing agent services
- opinions by citizens in public discourse
- the effective date of the final rules and the compliance period for using the final registration forms
State and local governments frequently use paid advisors to help them decide how and when to issue municipal securities and how to invest proceeds from the sales. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act required these advisors to register with the SEC like other market intermediaries. The SEC’s final rule was adopted in September 2013. Presently, more than 1,100 municipal advisors are registered with the SEC under a temporary registration regime. The SEC staff may provide periodic updates to the interpretive guidance issued today.