MSRB Asks SEC to Approve More Disclosures Related to Bond Ballot Contributions by Municipal Securities Dealers

Date: February 14, 2013

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


Alexandria, VA – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) is seeking approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on a proposal to expand the disclosures made by municipal securities dealers in connection with contributions to bond ballot measure campaigns.The MSRB believes that making additional information available will help it and the public determine the effect to which contributions affect the integrity of the municipal bond underwriting business.

The proposal has been published in the Federal Register. Comments are due to the SEC by March 7, 2013. 

MSRB rules currently require dealers to disclose certain contributions to bond ballot campaigns and issuer officials, as well as payments to political parties of states and political subdivisions. The MSRB is now seeking SEC approval to require dealers to also disclose additional information pertaining to bond ballot campaign contributions and the municipal securities business engaged in by dealers resulting from the bond ballot measure to which such contributions were given. This additional information includes the full issuer name and full issue description of any primary offering resulting from voter approval of a bond ballot measure, the timing of such contributions and the value and nature of the goods or services provided by the dealer to the bond ballot campaign. 

MSRB Executive Director Lynnette Kelly said additional disclosure will assist the MSRB with its efforts to address concerns about market integrity. “More transparency surrounding bond ballot contributions is needed to help the MSRB determine whether such contributions are harming the integrity of the municipal market and whether the MSRB should pursue additional rulemaking in this area to preserve investor confidence in the market,” she said.

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.