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Notice

Order Regarding the Collateral Broker-Dealers Must Pledge When Borrowing Customer Securities

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble April 16, 2003.

Section 36 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) authorizes the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”), by rule, regulation, or order, to conditionally or unconditionally exempt any person, security, or transaction, or any class or classes of persons, securities, or transactions from any provision or provisions of the Exchange Act or any rule or regulation thereunder, to the extent that such exemption is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, and is consistent with the protection of investors.

By this Order, the Commission will allow broker-dealers that borrow fully-paid [1] and excess margin [2] securities from customers to pledge a wider range of collateral than is currently permitted under paragraph (b)(3) of rule 15c3-3 (17 CFR 240.15c3-3). Most of the categories of permissible collateral added by this Order were selected based on their high quality and liquidity. The remaining categories, certain sovereign debt securities and foreign currencies, are being added because they may be pledged only when borrowing non-equity securities issued by entities (including the sovereign entity) from the same sovereign jurisdiction or denominated in the same currency, respectively. In these cases, market declines affecting the pledged collateral should be expected to have a related affect on the borrowed securities. By adding only highly liquid collateral or, with respect to two categories, collateral that is restricted in its use, the Order is consistent with the objectives of paragraph (b)(3) of rule 15c3-3, which is designed to ensure borrowings from customers remain fully collateralized.

The Commission took into account several considerations in deciding whether to provide this exemptive relief and designate additional categories of permissible collateral. For example, the Commission considered whether the risks of customer losses associated with permitting a new category of collateral were sufficiently small relative to the benefits the additional kinds of collateral will provide. Those benefits include adding liquidity to the securities lending markets and lowering borrowing costs for broker-dealers. In issuing this Order, the Commission is drawing on its experience in assessing the liquidity of markets in a variety of contexts including, for example, the net capital requirements for broker-dealers.

The rule currently requires that the collateral provided by a broker-dealer fully collateralize its obligation to a customer, and that the value of the loaned securities and the collateral be marked to market on a daily basis to meet this requirement. The Order requires, in addition to the rule's requirements, over-collateralization when the collateral is denominated in a different currency than the borrowed securities. The daily marking to market and over-collateralization should serve to buffer fluctuations in value.

The Commission finds that this exemption is appropriate in the public interest, and consistent with the protection of investors. The exemption will add liquidity to the securities lending markets and lower borrowing costs while maintaining the customer protection objectives of rule 15c3-3.

Accordingly, it is ordered, pursuant to section 36 of the Exchange Act, that, broker-dealers may pledge, in accordance with all applicable conditions set forth below and in paragraph (b)(3) of rule 15c3-3, the following types of collateral (in addition to those permitted under paragraph (b)(3) of rule 15c3-3) when borrowing fully paid and excess margin securities from customers:[3]

1. “Government securities” as defined in section 3(a)(42)(A) and (B) of the Exchange Act may be pledged when borrowing any securities.

2. “Government securities” as defined in section 3(a)(42)(C) of the Exchange Act issued or guaranteed as to principal or interest by the following corporations may be pledged when borrowing any Start Printed Page 19865securities: (i) The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, (ii) the Federal National Mortgage Association, (iii) the Student Loan Marketing Association, and (iv) the Financing Corporation.

3. Securities issued by, or guaranteed as to principal and interest by, the following Multilateral Development Banks—the obligations of which are backed by the participating countries, including the U.S.—may be pledged when borrowing any securities: (i) The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, (ii) the Inter-American Development Bank, (iii) the Asian Development Bank, (iv) the African Development Bank, (v) the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and (vi) the International Finance Corporation.

4. Mortgage-backed securities meeting the definition of a “mortgage related security” set forth in section 3(a)(41) of the Exchange Act may be pledged when borrowing any securities.

5. Negotiable certificates of deposit and bankers acceptances issued by a “bank” as that term is defined in section 3(a)(6) of the Exchange Act, and which are payable in the United States and deemed to have a “ready market” as that term is defined in 17 CFR 240.15c3-1 (“rule 15c3-1”),[4] may be pledged when borrowing any securities.

6. Foreign sovereign debt securities may be pledged when borrowing any securities, provided that, (i) at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”) has rated in one of its two highest rating categories either the issue, the issuer or guarantor, or other outstanding unsecured long-term debt securities issued or guaranteed by the issuer or guarantor; and (ii) if the securities pledged are denominated in a different currency than those borrowed,[5] the broker-dealer shall provide collateral in an amount that exceeds the minimum collateralization requirement in paragraph (b)(3) of rule 15c3-3 (100%) by 1% when the collateral is denominated in the Euro, British pound, Swiss franc, Canadian dollar or Japanese yen, or by 5% when it is denominated in another currency.

7. Foreign sovereign debt securities that do not meet the NRSRO rating condition set forth in item 6 above may be pledged only when borrowing non-equity securities issued by a person organized or incorporated in the same jurisdiction (including other debt securities issued by the foreign sovereign); provided that, if such foreign sovereign debt securities have been assigned a rating lower than the securities borrowed, such foreign sovereign debt securities must be rated in one of the four highest rating categories by at least one NRSRO. If the securities pledged are denominated in a different currency than those borrowed, the broker-dealer shall provide collateral in an amount that exceeds the minimum collateralization requirement in paragraph (b)(3) of rule 15c3-3 by 1% when the collateral is denominated in the Euro, British pound, Swiss franc, Canadian dollar or Japanese yen, or by 5% when it is denominated in another currency.

8. The Euro, British pound, Swiss franc, Canadian dollar or Japanese yen may be pledged when borrowing any securities, provided that, when the securities borrowed are denominated in a different currency than that pledged, the broker-dealer shall provide collateral in an amount that exceeds the minimum collateralization requirement in paragraph (b)(3) of rule 15c3-3 by 1%. Any other foreign currency may be pledged when borrowing any non-equity securities denominated in the same currency.

9. Non-governmental debt securities may be pledged when borrowing any securities, provided that, in the relevant cash market they are not traded flat or in default as to principal or interest, and are rated in one of the two highest rating categories by at least one NRSRO. If such securities are not denominated in U.S. dollars or in the currency of the securities being borrowed, the broker-dealer shall provide collateral in an amount that exceeds the minimum collateralization requirement in paragraph (b)(3) of rule 15c3-3 by 1% when the securities pledged are denominated in the Euro, British pound, Swiss franc, Canadian dollar or Japanese yen, or by 5% when they are denominated in any other currency.

The categories of permissible collateral identified above do not include securities that (i) have no principal component, or (ii) accrue interest at the time of the pledge at a stated rate equal to or greater than 100% per annum (expressed as a percentage of the actual principal amount of the security).

Broker-dealers pledging any of the securities set forth above must, in addition to satisfying the notice requirements already contained in paragraph (b)(3) of rule 15c3-3, include in the written agreement with the customer a notice that some of the securities being provided by the borrower as collateral under the agreement may not be guaranteed by the United States.

Start Signature

By the Commission.

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  As defined in rule 15c3-3, “fully paid” securities are securities carried by a broker-dealer for which the customer has paid the full purchase price in cash. 17 CFR 240.15c3-3(a)(3).

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2.  As defined in rule 15c3-3, “excess margin” securities are securities carried by a broker-dealer that have a market value in excess of 140% of the amount the customer owes the broker-dealer. 17 CFR 240.15c3-3(a)(5).

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3.  All prior staff interpretations and no-action positions concerning the types of collateral that may be pledged under paragraph (b)(3) of rule 15c3-3 are herewith withdrawn.

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4.  Certificates of deposit and bankers acceptances are deemed to have a “ready market” under rule 15c3-1 if, among other things, they are issued by a bank as defined in section 3(a)(6) of the Exchange Act that is (i) subject to supervision by a federal banking authority, and (ii) rated investment grade by at least two nationally recognized statistical rating organizations or, if not so rated, has shareholders' equity of at least $400 million.

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5.  For the purposes of this Order, equity securities will be deemed to be denominated in the currency of the jurisdiction in which the issuer of such securities has its principal place of business.

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[FR Doc. 03-9845 Filed 4-21-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P