MSRB Publishes New Guidance and Educational Resources about State and Local Government Financial Disclosure

Date: August 12, 2013

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


Alexandria, VA – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) today published an advisory and set of guides to help issuers of municipal bonds better understand the types of information they must publicly disclose and how to use the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website to make these disclosures. The advisory also highlights the role of EMMA as the central repository for continuing disclosures on municipal bonds and the benefits of timely and complete disclosures for issuers and investors alike.    

The MSRB is providing this information at a time of heightened regulatory scrutiny on the degree to which state and local governments are fulfilling their obligations to disclose key financial information to investors. Issuers’ disclosure obligations are established by Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 15c2-12 and the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws, and are documented in issuers’ continuing disclosure agreements. 

The MSRB’s advisory notes that recent SEC enforcement and investigation activities relating to disclosure practices in the municipal securities market “have highlighted the key role that good disclosure practices are expected to play in promoting a fair and efficient market and in avoiding incomplete or misleading disclosure to the marketplace resulting in harm to investors and potential federal securities law violations.” It goes on to say that “accurate, timely and complete public disclosures made through the EMMA continuing disclosure service represent the most direct and effective manner for issuers and obligated persons to address these recent findings of the SEC.” 

The MSRB’s advisory and related guides supplement a new email reminder tool from the MSRB to help issuers keep track of deadlines for submitting recurring financial disclosures to the EMMA website. The MSRB also today made available on its website a list of third-party organizations that provide guidance to issuers on preparing continuing disclosure documents. 

“State and local governments, and their advisors, now have a detailed set of documents that thoroughly explain their continuing disclosure obligations relating to financial disclosures and how best to comply with those obligations through EMMA,” said MSRB Executive Director Lynnette Kelly. “The MSRB is providing this information to help issuers assure themselves that they are taking appropriate steps to comply with their obligations.”

Making Financial Disclosures: A Guide for Issuers describes the different types of financial disclosure documents and provides help with submitting financial disclosure documents to EMMA. A companion guide, The Conduit Issuer’s Guide to Continuing Disclosures, provides information for state or local governments issuing municipal securities on behalf of private entities through a conduit financing. The Investor’s Guide to Financial Disclosures explains the various types of financial disclosures and how investors can use EMMA to locate these documents.  

The new disclosure resources are available in the MSRB’s online toolkits. The Investor Toolkit provides information for investors in municipal securities. The State and Local Government Toolkit includes tools and resources for issuers.

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.