FIXED INCOME

General

(New) Financial Disclosures about Guarantors and Issuers of Guaranteed Securities and Affiliates Whose Securities Collateralize a Registrant’s Securities

The SEC is adopting amendments to the financial disclosure requirements for guarantors and issuers of guaranteed securities registered or being registered, and issuers’ affiliates whose securities collateralize securities registered or being registered in Regulation S-X to improve those requirements for both investors and registrants. The changes are intended to provide investors with material information given the specific facts and circumstances, make the disclosures easier to understand, and reduce the costs and burdens to registrants. In addition, by reducing the costs and burdens of compliance, issuers may be encouraged to offer guaranteed or collateralized securities on a registered basis, thereby affording investors protection they may not be provided in offerings conducted on an unregistered basis. Finally, by making it less burdensome and less costly for issuers to include guarantees or pledges of affiliate securities as collateral when they structure debt offerings, the revisions may increase the number of registered offerings that include these credit enhancements, which could result in a lower cost of capital and an increased level of investor protection.

SEC Release No. 33-10762 (March 2, 2020), 85 FR 21940 (April 20, 2020) (File No. S7-19-18; Final Rule): Financial Disclosures about Guarantors and Issuers of Guaranteed Securities and Affiliates Whose Securities Collateralize a Registrant’s Securities

 

Pricing Disclosure in the Fixed Income Markets

Effective May 14, 2018, members are subject to new disclosure requirements, set out in Rule 2232, for corporate and agency debt securities concerning confirmation disclosure of mark-ups and mark-downs, time of execution, and a security-specific URL for webpages that contain relevant information about the traded securities. The new requirements, approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission in November 2016, require member firms to disclose additional transaction-related information to retail customers for trades in certain fixed income securities. 

FINRA Regulatory Notice 17-24 (July 2017): FINRA Issues Guidance on the Enhanced Confirmation Disclosure Requirements in Rule 2232 for Corporate and Agency Debt Securities

Fixed Income Confirmation Disclosure: Frequently Asked Questions

 

Best Execution Rule

In light of the increasingly automated market for equity securities and standardized options, and recent advances in trading technology and communications in the fixed income markets, FINRA reiterates the best execution obligations that apply when firms receive, handle, route or execute customer orders in equities, options and fixed income securities. FINRA reminds firms of their obligations, as previously articulated by the SEC and FINRA, to regularly and rigorously examine execution quality likely to be obtained from the different markets trading a security.

• FINRA Regulatory Notice 15-46 (November 2015):  Guidance on Best Execution Obligations in Equity, Options and Fixed Income Markets

Supervision

Municipal Advisors

FINRA is issuing this Notice to remind member firms of their supervisory obligations under FINRA Rules 3110 (Supervision) and 3120 (Supervisory Control System) if they hold or transact in customer accounts owned by municipal entities or obligated persons (municipal clients), as defined in Section 15B of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act), and participate in investment-related activities with municipal clients, such as recommending or selling non-municipal securities products to such municipal clients. Under these circumstances, member firms are obligated to determine if such activities require registration as a municipal advisor.

FINRA Regulatory Notice 19-28 (August 16, 2019): Guidance Regarding Member Firms’ Supervisory Obligations When Participating in Investment-Related Activities with Municipal Clients