2020 GASB Accounting Support Fee to Fund the Governmental Accounting Standards Board
In February 2012, pursuant to an SEC order, FINRA established an accounting support fee (GASB Accounting Support Fee) to adequately fund the annual budget of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). The GASB Accounting Support Fee is collected on a quarterly basis from member firms that report trades to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB). Each member firm’s assessment is based on its portion of the total par value of municipal securities transactions reported by all FINRA member firms to the MSRB during the previous quarter. FINRA will assess and collect a total of $10,022,000 to adequately fund GASB’s annual budget by collecting $2,505,500 from its member firms each calendar quarter beginning in April 2020.
Questions regarding this Notice should be directed to the:
- Finance Department at (240) 386-5910; or
- Office of General Counsel at (202) 728-8071.
Background & Discussion
Pursuant to Section 14 of Schedule A to FINRA’s By-Laws, which was adopted in response to the SEC’s 2011 order under Section 19(g) of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act),1 FINRA assesses a reasonable annual accounting support fee to adequately fund the annual budget of GASB.2 The GASB Accounting Support Fee is assessed on a quarterly basis and is based on member firms’ municipal securities trading volume reported to the MSRB during the previous calendar quarter.
Each quarter, FINRA collects one-fourth of the annual GASB Accounting Support Fee from its member firms. A firm’s quarterly assessment reflects its portion of the total par value of municipal securities transactions reported to the MSRB by all FINRA members in the previous calendar quarter. To exclude firms with de minimis transactions in municipal securities in a given quarter from being assessed the fee, firms with a quarterly assessment of less than $25 are not charged the fee for that quarter, and any amounts originally assessed to those firms are reallocated among the firms with an assessment that quarter of $25 or more. Firms that do not engage in reportable municipal securities transactions during a particular calendar quarter are not subject to the GASB Accounting Support Fee for that quarter.
For 2020, GASB’s annual budget expenses of $11,490,500 will be partially funded from $1,468,500 of excess reserves of the Financial Accounting Foundation. As a result, the recoverable annual budgeted expense for purposes of the GASB Accounting Support Fee is $10,022,000;3 therefore, FINRA will collect $2,505,500 from its member firms each quarter beginning in April 2020.4
Because some firms may seek to pass the GASB Accounting Support Fee onto customers engaged in municipal securities transactions, FINRA will continue to provide an estimated fee rate (per $1,000 par value) based on the GASB recoverable annual budgeted expenses reported to FINRA for that year, as well as historical municipal security trade reporting volumes so that firms will have a basis on which to establish a fee. Based on reported municipal trading activity by FINRA member firms in 2019 and the 2020 GASB budget, FINRA estimates that the GASB Accounting Support Fee for 2020 will be between $0.0024 and $0.0030 per $1,000 par value.
Firms are reminded that if they choose to pass along the fee, they must ensure any such fees are properly disclosed, including (if applicable) that the fee is an estimate and that the firm ultimately may pay more or less than the fee charged to the customer. In addition, any disclosure used by a firm cannot be misleading and must conform to FINRA rules, including just and equitable principles of trade, as well as any applicable MSRB rules.
1 Securities Exchange Act Release No. 64462 (May 11, 2011), 76 FR 28247 (May 16, 2011). Section 19(g) of the Securities Act, as added by Section 978 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), gave the SEC the authority to require a national securities association to establish a reasonable annual accounting support fee to adequately fund the annual budget of GASB and to draft the rules and procedures necessary to equitably assess the fee on the association’s members. See 15 U.S.C. 77s(g); Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub. L. No. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010).
2 See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 66454 (February 23, 2012), 77 FR 12340 (February 29, 2012); see also Regulatory Notice 19-14 (April 17, 2019); Regulatory Notice 18-12 (April 17, 2018); Regulatory Notice 17-10 (March 2017); Regulatory Notice 16-16 (May 2016); Regulatory Notice 15-12 (April 2015); Regulatory Notice 14-17 (April 2014); Regulatory Notice 13-17 (April 2013); Regulatory Notice 12-15 (February 2012). In accordance with Section 19(g)(5)(B) of the Securities Act, collection of the GASB Accounting Support Fee shall not be construed to provide the SEC or FINRA direct or indirect oversight of the budget or technical agenda of GASB, or to affect the setting of generally accepted accounting principles by GASB. See 15 U.S.C. 77s(g)(5)(B).
3 For purposes of the GASB Accounting Support Fee, the annual budget of GASB is the annual budget reviewed and approved according to the internal procedures of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF). See 15 U.S.C. 77s(g)(2). GASB’s 2020 budget includes an administrative fee to FINRA of $30,000 that is intended to cover FINRA’s costs associated with calculating, assessing, and collecting the GASB Accounting Support Fee. The amount of the administrative fee is reviewed and evaluated each year by FINRA and the FAF in light of FINRA’s experience in assessing and collecting the GASB Accounting Support Fee and the actual costs incurred by FINRA.
4 The invoice firms received in January 2020 covers the fourth quarter of GASB’s 2019 budget and is based on the amounts set forth in Regulatory Notice 19-14. As required by Section 19(g) of the Securities Act, any GASB Accounting Support Fees collected by FINRA are remitted to the FAF and used to support the efforts of the GASB to establish standards of financial accounting and reporting applicable to state and local governments. See 15 U.S.C. 77s(g)(1), (3). Section 19(g)(4) of the Securities Act prohibits FINRA from collecting GASB Accounting Support Fees for a fiscal year in excess of GASB’s recoverable annual budgeted expenses. See 15 U.S.C. 77s(g)(4).