MSRB Establishes Effective Date for Advertising Rules and Provides Social Media Guidance and Related Rule Amendments

Date: February 26, 2019

Contact: Jennifer A. Galloway, Chief Communications Officer


Washington, DC – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) today established the effective date for amendments to MSRB Rule G-21, on advertising by brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers, and new MSRB Rule G-40, on advertising by municipal advisors (the “advertising rules”), and established new interpretive guidance to the rules on the use of social media. The MSRB also amended the advertising rules regarding the application of supervisory pre-approval requirements to interactive advertising content.

“Today is the culmination of several years of diligent rulemaking to ensure that our advertising rules are up-to-date and appropriately tailored to achieve their intended purpose of protecting municipal securities investors and municipal entities,” said MSRB President and CEO Lynnette Kelly. “Advertising has rapidly evolved to digital platforms and our rules support dealers’ and municipal advisors’ ability to operate appropriately and effectively in this space.” 

The MSRB has established an August 23, 2019 effective date for all amendments to MSRB Rule G-21 and new MSRB Rule G-40 and for the social media guidance. The MSRB previously submitted a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to extend the original February 7, 2019 effective date of the amendments to the advertising rules to a later date to allow the MSRB to finalize initial guidance on the use of social media and allow dealers and municipal advisors sufficient time to establish and implement effective policies and procedures for compliance with the advertising rules. 

The new interpretive guidance, provided in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs), provides guidance about when use of social media by a regulated entity or its associated person(s) is considered an advertisement under MSRB rules, and addresses third-party posts, recordkeeping and supervision, as well as other regulatory obligations that may be implicated in the use of social media. 

The rule amendments exempt interactive content that is considered an advertisement from the requirement that a firm principal pre-approve the content prior to first use but add supplementary material that discusses supervision of interactive content under other MSRB rules, as relevant.

The amendments reflect feedback received from market stakeholders on the MSRB’s draft social media guidance, which was published earlier for public comment. Commenters requested that the MSRB adopt the concepts of interactive and static content posted or disseminated in an interactive electronic forum, including the corresponding exemption from the requirement for principal pre-approval of interactive content.

Read the MSRB Notice published today about MSRB advertising rules.

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.