MSRB Publishes Report on Municipal Variable Rate Securities Interest Rate and Trading Data

Date: June 19, 2012

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


Alexandria, VA – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) today published its third annual report summarizing interest rate, trading and other data on municipal variable rate securities reported to the MSRB between early 2009 and April 2012.

Included in the report is information on the size of the market for auction rate securities (ARS) and variable rate demand obligations (VRDO), liquidity facilities associated with VRDOs, trading volume, interest rates and number of rate resets. The report reflects a continued contraction in the size of the ARS and VRDO markets as well as a continued decline in new issuance and trading of municipal variable rate securities.

Data aggregated in the MSRB’s report is available for individual municipal securities on its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website.

The report including the following highlights:

  • Between April 2011 and April 2012, the size of the ARS market decreased nearly 30 percent to $39 billion, while the size of the VRDO market decreased 12 percent to $283 billion.
  • In 2011, new issuance of VRDOs decreased to the lowest levels since 1989 when it reached $13.6 billion.
  • Liquidity facilities that support 20 percent or $53 billion VRDOs outstanding are set to expire by the end of 2012.
  • Approximately 22,730 ARS interest rate resets were reported in 2011 compared to 28,250 rate resets in 2010.

The MSRB began collecting information about ARS and VRDOs through its Short-term Obligation Rate Transparency (SHORT) System in early 2009. In conjunction with related trade data collected through the Real-Time Transaction Reporting System (RTRS), these systems create a comprehensive source of data for the ARS and VRDO markets. The EMMA website provides free public access to this collected information. In May 2011, the MSRB expanded its program to provide information that allows investors to assess the level of demand, liquidity provisions and auction procedures for the securities.  

The MSRB also publishes an annual Fact Book and quarterly municipal securities statistics, which are available electronically on

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.