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Rating:529 Plan Selling Rules May Be Amended Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

529 Plan Selling Rules May Be Amended

by: Theresa Sim

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board is doing its share in cracking down on sales practices. The board proposed changes to sales practices on Tuesday.

One amendment seeks to eliminate a loophole allowing brokers to deal out cash compensation for sales in amounts greater than $100. The amendment would require brokers to (what was previously allowed under "normal business dealings") to host or sponsor events. For instance, instead of giving out free tickets to a sporting event, a broker or representative would have to be present.

Another proposed amendment seeks to ban non-cash compensation given in exchange for sales of new offerings of municipal securities, with some exceptions. All gifts must be recorded. Comments on the rule are due by July 30.

The board is also eyeing changes to rules governing municipal fund securities advertisements to bring them closer to mutual fund requirements. The MSRB issued an amendment notice to the current rule on June 10.

The current rule that governs advertisements used by brokers is Rule G-21.

The proposed amendments would require municipal fund securities to include performance information and general disclosure in a manner similar to mutual funds.

The MSRB proposal would limit performance measures for municipal fund securities to measures defined in SEC Rule 482. For instance, a municipal fund securities that behaves like money market funds would be required to include average annual total return if it wanted to publish current yield figures.

The standard "performance data is historical and does not guarantee future results," and "the value of holdings is subject to fluctuation," disclosures would also be required.

Additionally, the MSRB issued additional guidance on Rule G-17, which mandates the disclosure of in-state benefits for college savings plans.

Final comments on the amendments are due by September 15. 

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