MSRB Publishes First Report on Timing of Municipal Bond Annual Financial Disclosures

Date: October 8, 2013

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


Alexandria, VA – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) today released a report that documents for the first time statistics on the average time after the end of a fiscal year it takes issuers of municipal securities and other obligated persons to make their financial information available to the public.

The report analyzes submissions of financial disclosures made to the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) system between January 2010 and June 2013 and measures the number of days after the end of a fiscal year that audited financial statements and annual financial information were made available. The report presents two sets of averages—one based on the full data set and a subset that includes only submissions made in the normal course of the annual disclosure process that excludes delayed, “catch-up” submissions intended to correct a prior year’s failure to make a timely submission.

When focusing solely on normal-course submissions that exclude catch-up submissions made more than 12 months after the end of a fiscal year, the timing of audited financial statement submissions averaged approximately 202 calendar days after the end of the applicable fiscal year. Annual financial information submissions averaged 188 calendar days after the end of the applicable fiscal year. The average timing of these normal-course submissions, made within 12 months of the most recent fiscal year, remained consistent from year to year.

When analyzing the full data set, the statistics indicate that, in any given year, audited financial statements were submitted, on average, between 306 to 339 calendar days after the end of the applicable fiscal year, while annual financial information submissions were made, on average, between 222 and 260 calendar days after the end of the applicable fiscal year. The average timing of submissions in the full data set varied considerably from year to year as a result of volatility in the timing of delayed catch-up submissions, illustrating the tendency of catch-up submissions to skew the data.

Audited financial statements and annual financial information report key financial and operating data for municipal bond issuers and obligated persons over time. The timeframe for issuers to make annual financial information available is set forth in continuing disclosure agreements. The MSRB does not regulate issuers of municipal securities or other obligated persons and therefore does not establish requirements or set recommended timeframes for the content or timing of disclosures. In support of its mission, the MSRB promotes timely and complete disclosure and provides resources and other information to assist submitters in fulfilling their contractual obligations.

Today’s report provides objective, factual information about the timing of the public availability of financial information. The MSRB provides municipal market statistics and related reports as part of its mission to promote a fair and efficient municipal securities 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.