MSRB Seeks Approval of Proposal to Enhance Price Transparency for Large Trades

Date: August 24, 2012

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


Alexandria, VA – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) today sought approval of a proposal from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to provide for more rapid public dissemination of trade size information for municipal securities transactions valued between $1 million and $5 million through the MSRB Real-Time Transaction Reporting System (RTRS).

RTRS is the centralized system for collection and market-wide dissemination of all transactions in municipal securities by dealers. Transaction data is published on the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website on a real-time basis for free public access and is also offered on a subscription basis to, among others, market data vendors. 

Currently, transaction information disseminated from RTRS and published on the EMMA website on a real-time basis includes the par value on all transactions with a value of $1 million or less but uses an indicator of “1MM+” in place of the par value for five business days following transactions where the value is greater than $1 million.

The proposed amendment, filed with the SEC, would enhance the transaction data publicly disseminated from RTRS in real-time by immediately displaying the exact par value of trades up to $5 million. An indicator of “MM+” would be used in place of the exact par value on transactions where the par value is greater than $5 million. Five business days after the trade, RTRS would disseminate and the EMMA website would display the exact par value of trades of $5 million or more. 

“The MSRB believes disseminating the exact trade size of all transactions under $5 million in real time is an appropriate first step toward ensuring the fairest and most accurate pricing of municipal securities transactions,” said MSRB Executive Director Lynnette Kelly. “The MSRB plans to continue to evaluate whether this threshold can be raised further or even eliminated to achieve the goal of more complete and immediate price transparency in the municipal market.”

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.