MSRB Increases Annual Fee for Dealers

Date: August 13, 2009

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


THE MUNICIPAL SECURITIES RULEMAKING BOARD INCREASES DEALER ANNUAL
FEE AND PROPOSES ELIMINATING UNDERWRITING FEE EXEMPTIONS
Changes Address Higher Oversight Costs for $2.7 Trillion Market

Alexandria, VA -The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) today announced that it is raising its annual dealer fee and eliminating exemptions from assessments on certain municipal bond underwritings.  The modifications are necessary in light of decreased revenue and increased costs related to oversight of the $2.7 trillion municipal securities market.

The annual fee change, which will be applied as of October 1, 2009, was formalized by a filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that amends MSRB Rule A-14 on annual fees.  The rule provides for an annual fee from each dealer that conducts municipal securities activities.  The amendment will set the annual fee for municipal securities dealers at $500 instead of the current $300.  The annual fee was last increased in 2003 when it rose to $300 from $200. 

The MSRB will at a later date file a proposal to amend MSRB Rule A-13, which provides for an underwriting fee of $.03 per $1,000 par value of bonds and $.01 per $1,000 par value of notes to eliminate most of the existing exemptions from the rule.  

"As a not-for-profit regulator, we are managing expenses carefully and examining our budget for efficiencies in this difficult economic climate," said Ronald A. Stack, Chair of the MSRB.  "The expenses associated with regulating our market have risen, primarily due to the collection and dissemination of market data through our EMMA website," he said.  EMMA, at emma.msrb.org, is the MSRB's Electronic Municipal Market Access system, which became the official source for municipal market documents and data on July 1, 2009.

Mr. Stack said that eliminating most of the assessment exemptions from Rule A-13 will introduce a more equitable fee assessment model to the municipal securities industry.  "Short-term securities are a significant part of the market and are equally subject to our rules and oversight," he said.  The planned revisions will eliminate existing exemptions and raise to three cents the one-cent assessment rate for all short-term issues except commercial paper.  The MSRB also is evaluating additional revenue sources including assessments of 529 plan securities, fees for its professional qualifications tests and subscription charges for its information products. 

 


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.