Update: Series 54 Deadline Extended to November 30

Principals at municipal advisor firms must pass the Series 54 exam by November 30, 2021, to continue acting as principals. Continue reading

As we covered in a previous blog post on the Solomon Industry News Blog, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) had announced plans to push back the deadline for municipal advisor principals to take the new Series 54 exam. However, the MSRB did not say how much of an extension they intended to give.

Now we know. On September 2, the MSRB filed a request with the SEC to extend the Series 54 deadline from November 12 to November 30.

The SEC must still approve the extension before it becomes official.

UPDATE – September 30, 2021: The MSRB issued a notice stating that November 30, 2021, is the deadline for passing the Series 54 exam.

Read the full MSRB notice here.

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November 12 deadline for MSRB Series 54 Municipal Advisor Principal Exam

Principals at municipal advisor firms must pass the Series 54 exam by November 12, 2021, to continue acting as principals. Continue reading

When the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) created an exam specifically for principals at municipal advisor (MA) firms, the plan was for all MA principals to take it within a year.

The exam, known as the Series 54, was first made available on November 12, 2019. The MSRB required that all MA principals who wanted to continue acting as principals would have to pass the Series 54 by November 12, 2020.

But like many plans in 2020, the MSRB’s plan for the Series 54 was disrupted by Covid-19. With FINRA testing centers shut down for months, and uncertainty regarding when testing would resume, the MSRB added a one-year grace period to its original deadline. MA principals would now have until November 12, 2021, to pass the Series 54 exam.

The regulator recently reminded MA firms that “those who engage in the management, direction or supervision of…municipal advisory activities” will need to pass the Series 54 on or before November 12.

UPDATE: On August 11, the MSRB announced that it would seek SEC approval for an additional extension. The MSRB did not say how long the planned extension would be, but the regulator plans to announce this by September 10. The MSRB also announced an “interim accommodation” allowing those who need to take the Series 54 exam online to do so. Details about how to apply for this accommodation will be posted on MSRB.org no later than August 20.

UPDATE: On September 2, the MSRB announced that it has filed a request with the SEC to extend the Series 54 deadline from November 12 to November 30, 2021. View the blog post about this announcement here.   

What is a Municipal Advisor?

A municipal advisor, or MA, differs from a municipal securities dealer in that an MA does not underwrite and sell municipal securities. Instead, an MA gives advice about structuring an issue of municipal securities, selecting an underwriter, investing the proceeds, and related matters. Unlike a municipal securities dealer, an MA is the municipality’s fiduciary, which means that the MA must put the municipality’s interests before its own. MAs became regulated in a manner like municipal securities dealers as one of the reforms resulting from the 2008 financial crisis.

When MAs first came under the MSRB’s jurisdiction, the MSRB only had one qualification exam for MA personnel: the Series 50, which is taken by representatives and principals alike. During the grace period, principals who have only passed the 50 have been allowed to continue as principals. After the deadline, MA principals will need to have passed both the Series 50 and the Series 54.

Solomon Exam Prep has helped hundreds pass the Series 50 and Series 54 exams.

Solomon offers an innovative suite of exam prep products for the Series 54 to help you pass this difficult test, plus a step-by-step study schedule to tell you how to do it. Choose from an easy-to-understand Study Guide, an Exam Simulator with hundreds of relevant practice questions and detailed rationales, and a Video Lecture to help you learn and highlight the most critical information for the exam.

Solomon recommends at least 40 hours of studying to give yourself the best chance at passing this challenging principal exam.

Do yourself a favor and start studying well before the deadline, and let Solomon help you on your road to success! Explore Solomon’s Series 54 study materials by clicking the link below.

The Series 54 Exam Is Coming …

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) has received approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to amend MSRB Rule G-3, on professional qualification requirements, to establish a qualification exam for municipal advisor professionals who act in a principal capacity at their firms. Continue reading

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) has received approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to amend MSRB Rule G-3, on professional qualification requirements, to establish a qualification exam for municipal advisor professionals who act in a principal capacity at their firms. The MSRB says it will “pilot” the Municipal Advisor Principal Qualification Examination (Series 54) from February 2019 through June 2019. Any municipal advisor principal may take the pilot Series 54 examination during the pilot period and if that individual achieves a passing score or better, the individual will be considered qualified as a municipal advisor principal when the MSRB permanently establishes the Series 54 in the fall of 2019. Go to SolomonExamPrep.Com to be notified when Solomon Exam Prep’s Series 54 Exam Study materials are launched.

November Study Question of the Month

Submit your answer to info@solomonexamprep.com to be entered to win a $10 Starbucks gift card. Continue reading

Submit your answer to info@solomonexamprep.com to be entered to win a $10 Starbucks gift card.

Question

Relevant to the Series 50Series 51, Series 52, and Series 53.

 

 

 

 

 

A municipal finance professional decides to donate his time to a municipal official’s campaign. He donates his time outside of work hours. Which of the following is true?
 
A. This would not be considered a contribution under G-37, and would not need to be disclosed and would not trigger the ban
B. This is considered a contribution that will need to be reported and may trigger the ban
C. This will need to be disclosed by the dealer, but it would not trigger the ban

D. This is considered a contribution that may trigger the ban, but will not need to be reported

Answer: A. An employee of a dealer generally can donate his or her time to a municipal official’s campaign without it being considered a contribution to the official, as long as the employee is volunteering his or her time during non-work hours, or is using previously accrued vacation time or the dealer is not otherwise paying the employee’s salary (e.g., an unpaid leave of absence). Because the volunteering takes place outside of work hours, it would not be considered a contribution and will not trigger the ban or need to be disclosed.

Don’t Forget! Now You Can Register for the Series 50 Permanent Exam

As of September 12, 2016, the MSRB has opened the Series 50 permanent exam for municipal advisor firms to register their municipal advisor representatives. Continue reading

As of September 12, 2016, the MSRB has opened the Series 50 permanent exam for municipal advisor firms to register their municipal advisor representatives.

Here are a few things to remember:

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  • If you are required to take the Series 50 exam, you have a one-year grace period (ending September 12, 2017) during which you can engage in municipal advisory activities before you must pass the exam.
  • If you took the Series 50 pilot exam and did not pass, your first attempt at the Series 50 permanent exam is free.
  • The passing score for the Series 50 exam is 71%.
  • You have 180 minutes to complete the test.
  • The exam fee is $265.
  • If you used Solomon’s pilot exam study materials and did not pass, we will renew your materials at no charge. Just give us a call at 503-601-0212.

Visit http://apps.finra.org/testcenter/1/locations.aspx to find a testing location near you!

Now Effective: MSRB Rule G-37

On August 17, 2016, MSRB Rule G-37, known as the “pay to play” rule, will be extended to apply to municipal advisors. Continue reading

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On August 17, 2016, MSRB Rule G-37, known as the “pay to play” rule, will be extended to apply to municipal advisors.

The rule has two main components. First, it prohibits municipal securities dealers and municipal advisors from engaging in certain types of business with a municipality if they have made political contributions to an official of the municipality. This ban on business lasts two years from the date of the triggering contribution. Second, the rule requires municipal securities dealers and municipal advisors to disclose specific information related to political contributions.

The pay to play rule does carve out an exception for small contributions in elections by municipal finance professionals (MFPs) and municipal advisory professionals (MAPs) who are entitled to vote for an elected official. MFPs and MAPs are allowed to contribute up to $250 per election in which they are entitled to vote.

MSRB Rule G-37 is covered in Solomon Exam Prep Series 50, Series 51, Series 52, and Series 53 study materials. For more information, visit www.SolomonExamPrep.com or call us at 503-601-0212.

New MSRB Rule G-42: Duties of Non-Solicitor Municipal Advisors

MSRB Rule G-42, Duties of Non-Solicitor Municipal Advisors, will be effective June 23, 2016, and was recently added to the outline for the Series 50 exam. Continue reading

G-42MSRB Rule G-42, Duties of Non-Solicitor Municipal Advisors, will be effective June 23, 2016, and was recently added to the outline for the Series 50 exam.

The rule requires that municipal advisors meet certain standards of conduct in their dealings with municipal entities, which includes fulfilling two duties: a duty of care and a duty of loyalty.  Though G-42 goes into great detail about municipal advisor responsibilities, the duties of care and loyalty are the basis for everything included in the rule.

In order to fulfill its duty of care, the municipal advisor must:

• Have enough knowledge and expertise to give informed advice to the municipal entity

• Reasonably inquire into all relevant facts before allowing a municipality to proceed on a particular course of action or before giving advice

• Undertake a reasonable investigation to determine that its advice is not based on materially inaccurate or incomplete information

In order to fulfill its duty of loyalty, a municipal advisor must:

• Be honest and act in good faith

• Put the municipal client’s interests before its own financial or other interests

• Not perform municipal advisory activities for the client if its conflicts of interests will prevent it from acting in the client’s best interests

The rule requires municipal advisors to put their municipal advisory relationships in writing “prior to, upon or promptly after” the relationship begins, and requires them to disclose all conflicts of interest in writing to the municipal client.

Finally, Rule G-42 provides a list of specifically prohibited activities and explains how a firm must respond if it inadvertently provides advice to a municipal entity.

The rule was written to conform to the fiduciary duty placed on municipal advisors by the Dodd-Frank Act.

Solomon Exam Prep has helped thousands pass the Series 6, 7, 63, 65, 66, 24, 26, 27, 50, 51, 52, 53, 62, 79, 82 and 99 exams. For more information visit http://www.solomonexamprep.com/