Last Sept. 12, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (“MSRB”) began offering the Municipal Advisor Representative Qualification Examination. known as the “Series 50 Exam." Municipal advisor professionals must pass the Series 50 Exam by this Sept. 12. After that, municipal advisor representatives who have not passed the Series 50 Exam may not engage in municipal advisory activities on behalf of municipal advisors. Additionally, municipal advisor principals who have not passed the Series 50 Exam may not directly engage in the management, direction or supervision of the municipal advisory activities of municipal advisors.

Municipal advisory activities means, absent the availability of an exclusion or exemption: (i) providing advice to or on behalf of a municipal entity or obligated person with respect to municipal financial products or the issuance of municipal securities, including advice with respect to the structure, timing, terms, and other similar matters concerning such financial products or issues; or (ii) solicitation of a municipal entity or obligated person.

For Municipal Entities and Obligated Persons: Municipal entities and obligated persons should verify whether the municipal advisor professionals that they have engaged or plan to engage have passed the Series 50 Exam. Verification could help ensure there are no disruptions in the delivery of municipal advisory services. The MSRB provides a list of municipal advisor professionals that have passed the Series 50 Exam on its website here.

For Municipal Advisors: Municipal advisors should ensure that their municipal advisor professionals have taken and passed the Series 50 Exam. The MSRB has reminded municipal advisors that they owe municipal entity and obligated person clients a duty of care and it could be deemed inconsistent with that duty if a municipal advisor undertakes to provide municipal advisory services when it knows or should know that it will not be able to complete the engagement for such services beyond Sept. 12, 2017.

Municipal advisors have an obligation to ensure that every associated natural person is qualified. After Sept. 12, 2017, municipal advisors should make certain that non-qualified associated natural persons are not engaging in regulated activity until qualified. Municipal advisors seeking to qualify their municipal advisor professionals should consult the MSRB’s website here.

Municipal advisors also have an obligation to update certain regulatory filings. For example, after September 12, 2017, municipal advisors must update each Form MA-I for non-qualified associated natural persons that no longer engage in regulated activity. Similarly, municipal advisors that seek to withdrawal from registration must make certain regulatory filings, such as filing a Form MA- W.

Paul S.   Maco

Paul S. Maco

Paul S. Maco, a partner in Bracewell LLP’s Washington, D.C. office and a former senior official at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, defends municipal bond issuers, underwriters, municipal advisors, lawyers, rating agencies, companies and their employees in government enforcement matters as well as advises on regulatory and compliance matters. He can be reached at paul.maco@bracewell.com.
Edward Fierro

Edward Fierro

Edward Fierro is senior counsel in Bracewell LLP’s public finance practice in Houston.
Britt Cass Steckman

Britt Cass Steckman

An associate in Bracewell’s Houston office, Britt Cass Steckman focuses her practice on civil and criminal litigation and federal securities law. Her clients include individuals, broker-dealers and municipal securities dealers, municipal advisors, large and medium sized investment banks, municipal issuers and nationally recognized statistical rating organizations. She can be reached at britt.steckman@bracewell.com.