MSRB Provides SEC with Information on Municipal Advisory Activities

Date: November 10, 2011

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


Alexandria, VA – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) has provided information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to assist the agency as it finalizes its definition of municipal advisors under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) and addresses the activities of these financial professionals that provide advice and services to state and local governments.

The information, which includes a list of traditional municipal advisory activities, follows a meeting the MSRB Board of Directors held with SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro where they discussed, among other things, the issue of unregistered municipal advisors who are providing municipal advisory activities on behalf of state and local governments.

The letter expresses concern that there are professionals engaging in traditional municipal advisory activities not registered with the SEC or MSRB as required under federal securities law. This registration helps ensure these municipal market professionals adhere to appropriate standards of conduct, which include meeting minimum standards of professional qualifications and a fiduciary duty to state and local government issuer clients. The MSRB’s letter states that, “In such instances, we transmit referrals of specific firms for which we have no record of registration to the Commission for further investigation and possible enforcement action."

The list of municipal advisory activities provided to the SEC by the MSRB includes transaction-related and strategic services. “[T]his list is intended to provide a fuller understanding of the range of municipal advisory activities for which there can be little dispute as to whether those activities were intended to be covered by Section 975 of the Dodd-Frank Act,” the MSRB’s letter states.

Read the MSRB's November 9, 2011 letter to the SEC on municipal advisory activities.

Read the MSRB's February 22, 2011 comment letter to the SEC's proposed rules on registration of municipal advisors.

Read the SEC's December 20, 2010 proposed Registration of Municipal Advisors Exchange Act Release No 63576.

Read more about MSRB municipal advisor registration.

Access a list of municipal advisors registered with the MSRB.

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.