Message from Leadership

Dear Municipal Market Stakeholders,

As the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board begins a new fiscal year on October 1, 2019, we are outlining our priorities and finances for the year ahead. FY 2020 will be a year of transformation—regulatory, organizational and technological—grounded in our mission to protect municipal bond investors, issuers and the public interest.

Governance and Leadership. Congress designed our self-regulatory model to permit us to draw upon the diverse expertise and experience of Board members from the issuer, investor, dealer and municipal advisor communities. We see the opportunity for continuous improvement of the MSRB’s corporate governance practices. We have formed a special Board-level committee to conduct a thorough examination of our corporate governance practices, including Board size and composition, among other topics. 

We also will be conducting a broad nationwide search for a president and chief executive officer to lead the organization. In the meantime, we are committed to supporting our incredible team of attorneys, technologists, operations professionals, market experts, educators, communicators and corporate support staff who contribute their time and talents to promoting the fairness and efficiency of this market. Our people are not only the largest single component of our expense budget; they are our greatest asset and the key to the MSRB’s ability to fulfill our mission.

Regulation for the Future. The municipal market is evolving rapidly. We will continue to review our existing rules to ensure they adapt to changing market practices and advance our mission of promoting a fair and efficient market. We also will continue to provide compliance resources and clear guidance when appropriate. These activities will be informed by two Board advisory groups on compliance and municipal fund securities.

Technology and Data. A decade ago, a single website dramatically transformed the fairness and efficiency of our market by ensuring equal access to municipal securities data and disclosures for retail investors, issuers and all market participants at no cost. Today we see enormous potential to strengthen the role of the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website and optimize the quality, reliability and utility of market data. The Board’s designation of $8.5 million of excess reserves to evaluate and undertake an enterprise-wide migration to the cloud positions us to facilitate the use of market data for dynamic comparison, compliance support and deeper market analysis.

Financial Management. Each year, we publish our budget in support of our continued commitment to public accountability, transparency and responsible financial management. Our operating expenses of $42 million reflect a steady commitment to the long-term strategic goals of the organization. As a self regulatory organization, we are funded by those we regulate and receive no taxpayer dollars. Our revenues reflect the increase in the professional fees paid by municipal advisors to advance our goal of fair and equitable fees across regulated entities. We remain committed to responsibly reach a target reserve level that preserves the MSRB’s ability to operate without interruption under all market conditions. This year we will use reserves to fund a $2.3 million operating deficit in addition to funding our technology transition to the cloud. We also will continue to champion the use of MuniEdPro® free interactive courses and other tools to advance education in the market.

Stakeholder Engagement. Each of you has helped shape this vision for MSRB priorities, goals and financial management in FY 2020. Because the Board greatly values this input, we have formed a new standing Board-level committee to ensure a continued focus on stakeholder engagement. We welcome continued feedback and suggestions from regulated entities, investors, issuers, obligated persons, policymakers and the public.

Sincerely,

Ed Sisk, Board Chair

Nanette Lawson, Interim CEO and Chief Financial Officer

October 1, 2019