MSRB Begins New Era In Municipal Bond Disclosure

Date: July 1, 2009

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


MUNICIPAL SECURITIES RULEMAKING BOARD BEGINS
NEW ERA IN MUNICIPAL BOND DISCLOSURE

Electronic Document Collection To Become Vast Resource for Investors  

Alexandria, VA - The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) today began a new era in municipal bond disclosure in assuming the role as the centralized, electronic repository for all municipal bond disclosure documents and trade data.  The MSRB now collects - and makes available to investors for free through its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) website - all disclosure documents associated with municipal bonds, as well as real-time trade data on the approximately 1.2 million outstanding municipal bonds.

"This is a historic day for the municipal bond market," said Lynnette Kelly Hotchkiss, Executive Director of the MSRB. "The MSRB's creation of EMMA and the market transparency it provides catapults municipal bond disclosure decades ahead of the fragmented and cumbersome system that preceded it.  With EMMA, we have created a system that promotes public access to disclosure documents and shines light on the disclosure practices of issuers."

While the MSRB has operated EMMA in various pilot stages since March 2008, today it launches the final feature of providing electronic access to market-wide continuing disclosure documents.  This important information, which includes annual financial statements and notices of material events, reflects the financial or operating condition of the issuer and events occurring throughout the life of a bond that can affect the ability of an issuer to repay its bonds and the value of the bond, among other things.  Beginning today, municipal bond issuers, obligated persons and those that act on their behalf are obligated to provide these documents to the MSRB, which will make them immediately available to the public on the EMMA website.   Previously these documents were collected by private enterprises that charged investors for the information.

"For the first time, individual investors have access to the same disclosure and pricing information that securities professionals use," Hotchkiss said.  "EMMA removes existing impediments to investors buying and selling municipal bonds based on the most up-to-date disclosures."

EMMA, at www.emma.msrb.org, also collects and makes available to investors hundreds of thousands of municipal bond offering documents, the prices of millions of municipal trades, as well as interest rates and auction results for auction rate securities, interest rates for variable rate demand obligations, daily market statistics and educational material about municipal bonds.    

Through EMMA, the MSRB seeks to improve transparency in the municipal securities market and offer resources to investors.  Today's launch of EMMA as the official repository for all municipal bond disclosure documents and trade data significantly increases the volume of EMMA activity – both the collection and dissemination of this information. The MSRB recognizes that these changes are new to the investor, issuer and dealer communities, and is working to make the transition as smooth as possible.  The MSRB is providing ongoing training to market participants and is committed to resolving issues related to EMMA as they arise.


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.