Bonds

The Securities and Exchange Commission has added a section to its 18-part frequently asked questions page to help registered municipal advisors complete Forms MA, MA-I and MA-NR.

“In our efforts to make the municipal advisor registration process as transparent and efficient as possible, the Office of Municipal Securities published new staff guidance to address common questions regarding Forms MA, MA-I and MA-NR,” said Dave Sanchez, director of the Office of Municipal Securities. “This update will offer more clarity to registrants and help streamline the process.”

The questions address certain ambiguities in the Commission’s language, such as what constitutes “prompt filing” of forms (30 days) under Exchange Act Rules 15Ba1-5 on amendments to Form MA and MA-I and 15Ba1-6 on consent to service by non-resident municipal advisors, unless a more specific time period has been identified.

The new guidance provides some specific information regarding filling out Form MA-I, such as specifying that other current employment by an advisor should be included in each applicable field, even if filled out elsewhere.

Additionally, a municipal advisor should disclose if an associated person is employed by or otherwise associated with an affiliate of the municipal advisor firm that is filing the Form MA-I, the Commission said.

The identification of the chief compliance officer on Item 1-G of Form MA also isn’t optional, and each municipal advisor should provide the name and contact information of the individual even if it’s already included elsewhere in the form, the SEC said.

“We appreciate the expansion of the FAQs or MAs done recently by the SEC’s Office of Municipal Securities,” said Susan Gaffney, executive director of the National Association of Municipal Advisors. “The questions are especially helpful related to the timing for making changes to MA Forms, required information about the firm’s chief compliance officer, and information that is required related to other employment and work for firm affiliates that an MA may be engaged in.”

On Item 6-A(20) of Form MA, concerning the other activities of associated persons, a municipal advisor should only check the box if an associated person of the municipal advisor is a municipal advisor, works for an MA or is otherwise affiliated with an MA that is not the subject of the Form MA being completed.

“For example, some associated persons of a municipal advisor may work for more than one municipal advisory firm,” the Commission said. “A municipal advisory firm that has such an associated person would check the box in Item 6-A(20) of Form MA indicating that it has an associated person affiliated with another municipal advisor and complete the applicable portions of Section 6 of Schedule D to the Form MA.”

The added section also points out that an MA shouldn’t include Social Security numbers or other personally identifiable information in completing any MA forms and that any MA’s filings accepted by the Commission can be located by searching the MA’s name under “company filings” on the Commission’s website.

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