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Securities Exchange Act of 1934





Section 15B -- Municipal Securities


  1. Registration of municipal securities dealers

    1. It shall be unlawful for any municipal securities dealer (other than one registered as a broker or dealer under section 15) to make use of the mails or any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce to effect any transaction in, or to induce or attempt to induce the purchase or sale of, any municipal security unless such municipal securities dealer is registered in accordance with this subsection.

    2. A municipal securities dealer may be registered by filing with the Commission an application for registration in such form and containing such information and documents concerning such municipal securities dealer and any persons associated with such municipal securities dealer as the Commission, by rule, may prescribe as necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors. Within forty-five days of the date of the filing of such application (or within such longer period as to which the applicant consents), the Commission shall--

      1. by order grant registration, or

      2. institute proceedings to determine whether registration should be denied. Such proceedings shall include notice of the grounds for denial under consideration and opportunity for hearing and shall be concluded within one hundred twenty days of the date of the filing of the application for registration. At the conclusion of such proceedings the Commission, by order, shall grant or deny such registration. The Commission may extend the time for the conclusion of such proceedings for up to ninety days if it finds good cause for such extension and publishes its reasons for so finding or for such longer period as to which the applicant consents.

      The Commission shall grant the registration of a municipal securities dealer if the Commission finds that the requirements of this section are satisfied. The Commission shall deny such registration if it does not make such a finding or if it finds that if the applicant were so registered, its registration would be subject to suspension or revocation under subsection (c).

    3. Any provision of this title (other than section 5 or paragraph (1) of this subsection) which prohibits any act, practice, or course of business if the mails or any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce is used in connection therewith shall also prohibit any such act, practice, or course of business by any registered municipal securities dealer or any person acting on behalf of such municipal securities dealer, irrespective of any use of the mails or any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce in connection therewith.

    4. The Commission, by rule or order, upon its own motion or upon application, may conditionally or unconditionally exempt any broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer or class of brokers, dealers, or municipal securities dealers from any provision of this section or the rules or regulations thereunder, if the Commission finds that such exemption is consistent with the public interest, the protection of investors, and the purposes of this section.

  2. Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; rules and regulations

    1. Not later than one hundred twenty days after the date of enactment of the Securities Acts Amendments of 1975 [enacted June 4, 1975], the Commission shall establish a Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (hereinafter in this section referred to as the "Board"), to be composed initially of fifteen members appointed by the Commission, which shall perform the duties set forth in this section. The initial members of the Board shall serve as members for a term of two years, and shall consist of (A) five individuals who are not associated with any broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer (other than by reason of being under common control with, or indirectly controlling, any broker or dealer which is not a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer), at least one of whom shall be representative of investors in municipal securities, and at least one of whom shall be representative of issuers of municipal securities (which members are hereinafter referred to as "public representatives"); (B) five individuals who are associated with and representative of municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers which are not banks or subsidiaries or departments or divisions of banks (which members are hereinafter referred to as ''broker-dealer representatives"); and (C) five individuals who are associated with and representative of municipal securities dealers which are banks or subsidiaries or departments or divisions of banks (which members are hereinafter referred to as "bank representatives"). Prior to the expiration of the terms of office of the initial members of the Board, an election shall be held under rules adopted by the Board (pursuant to subsection (b)(2)(B) of this section) of the members to succeed such initial members.

    2. The Board shall propose and adopt rules to effect the purposes of this title with respect to transactions in municipal securities effected by brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers. (Such rules are hereinafter collectively referred to in this title as "rules of the Board".) The rules of the Board, as a minimum, shall:

      1. provide that no municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer shall effect any transaction in, or induce or attempt to induce the purchase or sale of, any municipal security unless such municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer meets such standards of operational capability and such municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer and every natural person associated with such municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer meet such standards of training, experience, competence, and such other qualifications as the Board finds necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors. In connection with the definition and application of such standards the Board may--

        1. appropriately classify municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers (taking into account relevant matters, including types of business done, nature of securities other than municipal securities sold, and character of business organization), and persons associated with municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers;

        2. specify that all or any portion of such standards shall be applicable to any such class;

        3. require persons in any such class to pass tests administered in accordance with subsection (c)(7); and

        4. provide that persons in any such class other than municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers and partners, officers, and supervisory employees of municipal securities brokers or municipal securities dealers, may be qualified solely on the basis of compliance with such standards of training and such other qualifications as the Board finds appropriate.

      2. establish fair procedures for the nomination and election of members of the Board and assure fair representation in such nominations and elections of municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers. Such rules shall provide that the membership of the Board shall at all times be equally divided among public representatives, broker-dealer representatives, and bank representatives, and that the public representatives shall be subject to approval by the Commission to assure that no one of them is associated with any broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer (other than by reason of being under common control with, or indirectly controlling, any broker or dealer which is not a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer) and that at least one is representative of investors in municipal securities and at least one is representative of issuers of municipal securities. Such rules shall also specify the term members shall serve and may increase the number of members which shall constitute the whole Board provided that such number is an odd number.

      3. be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in municipal securities, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market in municipal securities, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest; and not be designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, issuers, municipal securities brokers, or municipal securities dealers, to fix minimum profits, to impose any schedule or fix rates of commissions, allowances, discounts, or other fees to be charged by municipal securities brokers or municipal securities dealers, to regulate by virtue of any authority conferred by this title matters not related to the purposes of this title or the administration of the Board, or to impose any burden on competition not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of this title.

      4. if the Board deems appropriate, provide for the arbitration of claims, disputes, and controversies relating to transactions in municipal securities: Provided, however, That no person other than a municipal securities broker, municipal securities dealer, or person associated with such a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer may be compelled to submit to such arbitration except at his instance and in accordance with section 29.

      5. provide for the periodic examination in accordance with subsection (c)(7) of municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers to determine compliance with applicable provisions of this title, the rules and regulations thereunder, and the rules of the Board. Such rules shall specify the minimum scope and frequency of such examinations and shall be designed to avoid unnecessary regulatory duplication or undue regulatory burdens for any such municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer.

      6. include provisions governing the form and content of quotations relating to municipal securities which may be distributed or published by any municipal securities broker, municipal securities dealer, or person associated with such a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer, and the persons to whom such quotations may be supplied. Such rules relating to quotations shall be designed to produce fair and informative quotations, to prevent fictitious or misleading quotations, and to promote orderly procedures for collecting, distributing, and publishing quotations.

      7. prescribe records to be made and kept by municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers and the periods for which such records shall be preserved.

      8. define the term "separately identifiable department or division", as that term is used in section 3(a)(30), in accordance with specified and appropriate standards to assure that a bank is not deemed to be engaged in the business of buying and selling municipal securities through a separately identifiable department or division unless such department or division is organized and administered so as to permit independent examination and enforcement of applicable provisions of this title, the rules and regulations thereunder, and the rules of the Board. A separately identifiable department or division of a bank may be engaged in activities other than those relating to municipal securities.

      9. provide for the operation and administration of the Board, including the selection of a Chairman from among the members of the Board, the compensation of the members of the Board, and the appointment and compensation of such employees, attorneys, and consultants as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out the Board's functions under this section.

      10. provide that each municipal securities broker and each municipal securities dealer shall pay to the Board such reasonable fees and charges as may be necessary or appropriate to defray the costs and expenses of operating and administering the Board. Such rules shall specify the amount of such fees and charges.

      11. establish the terms and conditions under which any municipal securities dealer may sell, or prohibit any municipal securities dealer from selling, any part of a new issue of municipal securities to a municipal securities investment portfolio during the underwriting period.

    3. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit the power of the Commission under this title.

  3. Discipline of municipal securities dealers; censure; suspension or revocation of registration; other sanctions; investigations

    1. No broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer shall make use of the mails or any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce to effect any transaction in, or to induce or attempt to induce the purchase or sale of, any municipal security in contravention of any rule of the Board.

    2. The Commission, by order, shall censure, place limitations on the activities, functions, or operations, suspend for a period not exceeding twelve months, or revoke the registration of any municipal securities dealer, if it finds, on the record after notice and opportunity for hearing, that such censure, placing of limitations, denial, suspension, or revocation, is in the public interest and that such municipal securities dealer has committed or omitted any act, or is subject to an order or finding, enumerated in subparagraph (A), (D), (E), (H), or (G) of paragraph (4) of section 15(b), has been convicted of any offense specified in subparagraph (B) of such paragraph (4) within ten years of the commencement of the proceedings under this paragraph, or is enjoined from any action, conduct, or practice specified in subparagraph (C) of such paragraph (4).

    3. Pending final determination whether any registration under this section shall be revoked, the Commission, by order, may suspend such registration, if such suspension appears to the Commission, after notice and opportunity for hearing, to be necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors. Any registered municipal securities dealer may, upon such terms and conditions as the Commission may deem necessary in the public interest or for the protection of investors, withdraw from registration by filing a written notice of withdrawal with the Commission. If the Commission finds that any registered municipal securities dealer is no longer in existence or has ceased to do business as a municipal securities dealer, the Commission, by order, shall cancel the registration of such municipal securities dealer.

    4. The Commission, by order, shall censure or place limitations on the activities or functions of any person associated, seeking to become associated, or, at the time of the alleged misconduct, associated or seeking to become associated with a municipal securities dealer, or suspend for a period not exceeding twelve months or bar any such person from being associated with a municipal securities dealer, if the Commission finds, on the record after notice and opportunity for hearing, that such censure, placing of limitations, suspension, or bar is in the public interest and that such person has committed any act, or is subject to an order or finding, enumerated in subparagraph (A), (D), (E), (H), or (G) of paragraph (4) of section 15(b), has been convicted of any offense specified in subparagraph (B) of such paragraph (4) within 10 years of the commencement of the proceedings under this paragraph, or is enjoined from any action, conduct, or practice specified in subparagraph (C) of such paragraph (4). It shall be unlawful for any person as to whom an order entered pursuant to this paragraph or paragraph (5) of this subsection suspending or barring him from being associated with a municipal securities dealer is in effect willfully to become, or to be, associated with a municipal securities dealer without the consent of the Commission, and it shall be unlawful for any municipal securities dealer to permit such a person to become, or remain, a person associated with him without the consent of the Commission, if such municipal securities dealer knew, or, in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, of such order.

    5. With respect to any municipal securities dealer for which the Commission is not the appropriate regulatory agency, the appropriate regulatory agency for such municipal securities dealer may sanction any such municipal securities dealer in the manner and for the reasons specified in paragraph (2) of this subsection and any person associated with such municipal securities dealer in the manner and for the reasons specified in paragraph (4) of this subsection. In addition, such appropriate regulatory agency may, in accordance with section 1818 of Title 12, enforce compliance by such municipal securities dealer or any person associated with such municipal securities dealer with the provisions of this section, section 17, the rules of the Board, and the rules of the Commission pertaining to municipal securities dealers, persons associated with municipal securities dealers, and transactions in municipal securities. For purposes of the preceding sentence, any violation of any such provision shall constitute adequate basis for the issuance of any order under section 1818(b) or 1818(c) of Title 12, and the customers of any such municipal securities dealer shall be deemed to be "depositors" as that term is used in section 1818(c) of Title 12. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to affect in any way the powers of such appropriate regulatory agency to proceed against such municipal securities dealer under any other provision of law.

      1. The Commission, prior to the entry of an order of investigation, or commencement of any proceedings, against any municipal securities dealer, or person associated with any municipal securities dealer, for which the Commission is not the appropriate regulatory agency, for violation of any provision of this section, section 15(c)(1) or 15(c)(2), any rule or regulation under any such section, or any rule of the Board, shall (i) give notice to the appropriate regulatory agency for such municipal securities dealer of the identity of such municipal securities dealer or person associated with such municipal securities dealer, the nature of and basis for such proposed action, and whether the Commission is seeking a monetary penalty against such municipal securities dealer or such associated person pursuant to section 21B; and (ii) consult with such appropriate regulatory agency concerning the effect of such proposed action on sound banking practices and the feasibility and desirability of coordinating such action with any proceeding or proposed proceeding by such appropriate regulatory agency against such municipal securities dealer or associated person.

      2. The appropriate regulatory agency for a municipal securities dealer (if other than the Commission), prior to the entry of an order of investigation, or commencement of any proceedings, against such municipal securities dealer or person associated with such municipal securities dealer, for violation of any provision of this section, the rules of the Board, or the rules or regulations of the Commission pertaining to municipal securities dealers, persons associated with municipal securities dealers, or transactions in municipal securities shall (i) give notice to the Commission of the identity of such municipal securities dealer or person associated with such municipal securities dealer and the nature of and basis for such proposed action and (ii) consult with the Commission concerning the effect of such proposed action on the protection of investors and the feasibility and desirability of coordinating such action with any proceeding or proposed proceeding by the Commission against such municipal securities dealer or associated person.

      3. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to impair or limit (other than by the requirement of prior consultation) the power of the Commission or the appropriate regulatory agency for a municipal securities dealer to initiate any action of a class described in this paragraph or to affect in any way the power of the Commission or such appropriate regulatory agency to initiate any other action pursuant to this title or any other provision of law.

      1. Tests required pursuant to subsection (b)(2)(A)(iii) shall be administered by or on behalf of and periodic examinations pursuant to subsection (b)(2)(E) shall be conducted by--

        1. a registered securities association, in the case of municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers who are members of such association; and

        2. the appropriate regulatory agency for any municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer, in the case of all other municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers.

      2. A registered securities association shall make a report of any examination conducted pursuant to subsection (b)(2)(E) of this section and promptly furnish the Commission a copy thereof and any data supplied to it in connection with such examination. Subject to such limitations as the Commission, by rule, determines to be necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors, the Commission shall, on request, make available to the Board a copy of any report of an examination of a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer made by or furnished to the Commission pursuant to this paragraph or section 17(c)(3).

    6. The Commission is authorized, by order, if in its opinion such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise, in furtherance of the purposes of this title, to remove from office or censure any member or employee of the Board, who, the Commission finds, on the record after notice and opportunity for hearing, has willfully (A) violated any provision of this title, the rules and regulations thereunder, or the rules of the Board or (B) abused his authority.

  4. Issuance of municipal securities

    1. Neither the Commission nor the Board is authorized under this title, by rule or regulation, to require any issuer of municipal securities, directly or indirectly through a purchaser or prospective purchaser of securities from the issuer, to file with the Commission or the Board prior to the sale of such securities by the issuer any application, report, or document in connection with the issuance, sale, or distribution of such securities.

    2. The Board is not authorized under this title to require any issuer of municipal securities, directly or indirectly through a municipal securities broker or municipal securities dealer or otherwise, to furnish to the Board or to a purchaser or a prospective purchaser of such securities any application, report, document, or information with respect to such issuer: Provided, however, That the Board may require municipal securities brokers and municipal securities dealers to furnish to the Board or purchasers or prospective purchasers of municipal securities applications, reports, documents, and information with respect to the issuer thereof which is generally available from a source other than such issuer. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to impair or limit the power of the Commission under any provision of this title.


Legislative History


June 6, 1934, c. 404, Title I, § 15B, as added June 4, 1975, Pub.L. 94-29, § 13, 89 Stat. 131, and amended June 6, 1983, Pub.L. 98-38, § 4, 97 Stat. 207; Dec. 4, 1987, Pub.L. 100-181, Title III, §§ 318-320, 101 Stat. 1256, 1257; Oct. 15, 1990, Pub.L. 101-429, Title II, § 205, 104 Stat. 941; Nov. 15, 1990, Pub.L. 101-550, Title II, § 203(c)(1), 104 Stat. 2718; Nov. 3, 1998, Pub.L. 105-353, Title III, § 301(b)(9), 112 Stat. 3236; July 30, 2002, P.L. 107-204, Title VI, § 604(c)(1)(B), 116 Stat. 796.

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