SEC Chairman Supports MSRB's Leadership in Moving Toward EDGAR-Like Municipal Securities Market Web-Based Disclosure Portal

Date: November 29, 2007

Contact:               Lynnette Kelly Hotchkiss, Executive Director
                           (703) 797-6600
                           lhotchkiss@msrb.org 

Contact:               Ernesto A. Lanza, Senior Associate General Counsel
                           (703) 797-6600
                           elanza@msrb.org


SEC Chairman Supports MSRB's Leadership in Moving Toward EDGAR-like
Municipal Securities Market Web-Based Disclosure Portal;
SEC to Propose MSRB as Central Disclosure Utility

Alexandria, VA - In a letter to Frank Chin, Chairman of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox expressed his support for the MSRB's plan to streamline the existing municipal securities disclosure system by creating a centralized filing venue similar to the SEC's EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval) system. In a recent filing with the SEC, the MSRB proposed to establish a pilot Internet-based disclosure portal to provide free public access to official statements for new issues of municipal securities and related documents for advance refundings of outstanding municipal securities, together with real-time municipal securities trade price data. At that time, the MSRB noted that it would stand ready to expand this planned disclosure portal to also include secondary market disclosures (consisting of annual financial information and notices of specific material events provided by municipal issuers under SEC Rule 15c2-12), should the SEC determine to modify the rule to provide for a centralized electronic submission and dissemination model.

In his letter, SEC Chairman Cox noted that he has instructed SEC staff to prepare a proposal to amend SEC Rule 15c2-12 to provide that municipal securities issuers file their secondary market disclosures centrally with the MSRB, rather than with multiple repositories as under the current rule. SEC Chairman Cox stated, Replacing the multiple paper filing venues of the existing system with an electronic filing system that is freely accessible to the investing public on the Internet would be a significant step forward to increase public access to municipal securities disclosure.

If the rulemaking proposal is approved, the MSRB would transition its pilot disclosure portal to a permanent centralized Internet-based system for free real-time public access to all primary market, secondary market and trade price data for municipal securities submitted to the MSRB. MSRB Chairman Chin stated, The MSRB's current initiative to develop an efficient and cost-effective system for free public access to all primary market municipal securities disclosure provides the perfect opportunity to take the next logical step of integrating the full municipal securities disclosure regime into a single comprehensive and centralized disclosure utility. This MSRB web-based information portal would provide investors and the general public with free and immediate access to all available primary market disclosure, secondary market disclosure and transaction price information on a single screen or related set of screens.

A copy of SEC Chairman Cox's letter is attached. Information about MSRB regulation of broker-dealer and bank dealer activities in the municipal securities market and the existing data services provided by the MSRB is available at www.msrb.org. A sample comprehensive disclosure display is available at www.msrb.org/msrb1/accessportal/SampleComprehensiveDisclosureDisplay.htm.

 


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 Congressionally-chartered, 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 subject to oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission.