MSRB Seeks Public Comment on Proposal to Improve Investor Access to Preliminary Official Statements

Date: December 12, 2012

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


Alexandria, VA – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) is requesting public comment on a concept proposal to improve investor access to information about new issues of municipal securities. The MSRB is proposing to increase the availability of preliminary official statements for all investors on its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website, a free resource for municipal securities information.

“One of the MSRB’s investor protection priorities is improving disclosure and the availability of information about municipal securities through the EMMA website,” said MSRB Executive Director Lynnette Kelly. “Making preliminary official statements more widely available on the EMMA website would improve investors’ access to the information they need to make informed decisions about purchasing a new offering.”

To ensure the widest possible access to preliminary official statements at the earliest possible time, the MSRB’s proposal would require underwriters to submit preliminary official statements to EMMA by the end of the day the underwriter receives it from a municipal securities issuer. The MSRB’s proposal would provide a centralized online resource for easy public access to preliminary official statements, expanding the information available for investors to consider.

While some municipal securities issuers voluntarily post preliminary official statements and other pre-sale data on EMMA, preliminary official statements are not yet widely available on a centralized platform. As the MSRB increases the quantity of pre-sale information available on the EMMA website, EMMA will be better positioned to support the investment decisions of investors about municipal securities, from pre-issuance through maturity. The MSRB is interested in hearing from market participants whether its proposed requirements for underwriters would effectively enhance the timeliness and availability of key information for primary market investors.

Consistent with issuers’ rights to control access to information about new bond issues prior to the time of the first trade, the concept proposal affords issuers the right to restrict the posting of preliminary official statements until that time.

Comments should be submitted no later than February 8, 2013.

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.