MSRB Files Proposal To Post Credit Ratings on EMMA

Date: May 20, 2010

Contact:            Jennifer A. Galloway, Chief Communications Officer
                        (703) 797-6600



Alexandria, VA – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) today filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a proposal to amend the continuing disclosure service of its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system to provide for the posting of municipal securities credit ratings on the EMMA website. The MSRB has requested an effective date for the proposed rule change no later than nine months after SEC approval.

“Today’s filing brings us a step closer to putting real-time municipal bond ratings on EMMA,” said MSRB Board Chair Peter Clarke. “This enhancement will provide all market participants with another key data element for evaluating municipal bonds. The availability of ratings on EMMA, together with trade data and market disclosures, will elevate EMMA to a new level of transparency and usefulness.”   

The MSRB is creating an automated process for posting on EMMA municipal securities ratings issued by credit rating agencies, referred to as nationally recognized statistical rating organizations, or NRSROs, that agree to make such ratings available to the public through the free EMMA website. EMMA would display the credit ratings on a nearly real-time basis, together with other information available on EMMA such as municipal securities offering documents, continuing disclosures, and transaction price data.

EMMA is a centralized online database that provides free public access to official disclosure documents associated with municipal bonds issued in the United States. EMMA also provides real-time trade data for approximately 1.2 million outstanding municipal bonds and current interest rates for auction rate securities and variable rate demand obligations.  EMMA provides transparency of information for investors in this important financial market and makes it easy — and free — for them to access bond disclosures and pricing data that can inform investment decisions.  Information available on EMMA includes snapshots of daily trade data based on security size, sector, maturity and source of repayment, educational material about bonds and their associated documents, and a comprehensive glossary of municipal bond terms.

The MSRB protects investors, state and local governments and other municipal entities, and the public interest by promoting a fair and efficient municipal securities market. The MSRB fulfills this mission by regulating the municipal securities firms, banks and municipal advisors that engage in municipal securities and advisory activities. To further protect market participants, the MSRB provides market transparency through its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website, the official repository for information on all municipal bonds. The MSRB also serves as an objective resource on the municipal market, conducts extensive education and outreach to market stakeholders, and provides market leadership on key issues. The MSRB is a self-regulatory organization governed by a 21-member board of directors that has a majority of public members, in addition to representatives of regulated entities. The MSRB is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress.