Message from Leadership

   

   "Our new focus includes a greater emphasis on facilitating industry understanding of and compliance with MSRB rules." 

- Lucy Hooper (right), Chair
Lynnette Kelly, Executive Director

With a legacy of 42 years overseeing the municipal securities market, the MSRB applies proven methods to ensure the integrity of a capital market that state and local governments rely on to finance infrastructure and which investors turn to for reliable, long-term income. Our rules of conduct for municipal financial professionals ensure that investors and municipal entities are treated fairly and appropriately, and that the availability of information is a key feature of all municipal securities transactions. Our solid regulatory framework underpins our extensive efforts to make municipal market data as freely and widely available as possible. The outreach we conduct and the education we provide reinforces understanding of the market’s regulations and MSRB resources that support all stakeholders.

And yet, as we begin another fiscal year on October 1, 2017, we couldn’t be more determined to demonstrate in new ways our deep commitment to ensuring a fair and efficient municipal securities market. We recognize the great responsibility of being entrusted with oversight of this market and as a self-regulatory organization with the ability and expertise to respond to change, we are evolving ourselves. 

Following an intense period of rulemaking over the last several years, the MSRB is pursuing strategic priorities that reflect the interests of our stakeholders and a continued path to a fair and efficient municipal securities market. We established these goals following extensive long-term planning guided by our Board of Directors and included input from stakeholders, an assessment of market changes and consideration of the economic and technological environment.

Our new focus includes a greater emphasis on facilitating industry understanding of and compliance with MSRB rules. Dealers and municipal advisors say they want our help in the form of rule guidance, clarification and education. We are committed to developing resources that assist and support regulated entities’ ability to comply with new and existing standards of conduct. This year, our compliance support efforts include preparing dealers for an important investor protection rule on mark-up disclosure. We are leveraging the experience and perspectives of our regulated entities in shaping compliance resources, as we did in preparing guidance on the mark-up rule.

Input from and interests of our stakeholders are the drivers of another area of focus for MSRB—evolving the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website, the only free, public repository for all municipal securities data, into an industry-leading platform that meets the needs of many market participants and provides a superior user experience. The MSRB is actively engaged with EMMA users through surveys and user groups to ensure that as EMMA is improved, information is easy to find and data is easy to upload. We’re excited about the changes we have planned. Through this process, EMMA will continue evolving into a one-stop-shop for understanding not only municipal market data and disclosures, but the economic and market context in which municipal securities trade. The quality of data the MSRB displays is just as important as the EMMA user interface, and in this regard, we will be examining data we provide or receive from third parties to ensure it is user-friendly, continuously available and provides the highest-quality information.

While we engage our regulated entities and users of our data this year, we recognize that our congressionally-chartered status as an independent, self-regulatory organization give us deep expertise and a holistic market perspective. The MSRB is positioned to ensure its regulations are appropriate for promoting fair market practices and addressing potential misconduct, but maintain an eye towards capital formation and regulatory efficiency. This year, we will increasingly draw on our expertise and perspective to engage not only with our stakeholders and regulated entities, but with a broad audience through policy papers and commentary that enhances understanding of the relevance of our market, which touches many aspects of daily life, and how we promote market integrity.

For regulation to be efficient, we believe it must be transparent, including a public comment process, dialogue with regulated entities and a commitment to stay connected with stakeholders to understand where the MSRB needs to clarify rules or provide compliance tools. This transparency goes to the root of the MSRB as it fulfills its statutory mandate and responds to oversight by Congress and the SEC. We are always adding new public information to our website, and are pleased to announce we will now publish a summary of our annual budget to highlight projected revenues, spending and strategic goals. In this way, we demonstrate our commitment to corporate transparency, public accountability and efficient, effective regulation of the market.

Lucy Hooper, Chair
Lynnette Kelly, Executive Director
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