MSRB Plans To Accept and Post Voluntary Issuer Disclosures

Date: April 14, 2009

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

Municipal Bond Issuer Information Would Be Available to Investors

Alexandria, VA - The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) today requested permission from the Securities and Exchange Commission to accept and make publicly available on the Internet, voluntary continuing disclosure documents by municipal bond issuers.  These documents, which include quarterly financial statements, budgets, changes in accounting standards and other disclosures, would be posted on the MSRB's Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) website so investors can view and download information relevant to municipal issuers.  Today's SEC filing follows numerous developments over the last few months with respect to EMMA, including the planned collection and dissemination of required disclosure documents from issuers and the transition to an all-electronic distribution system for municipal bond official statements.

"Today's filing adds yet another dimension to the MSRB's commitment to put information in the hands of investors," said MSRB General Counsel Ernesto Lanza.  "We think that accepting voluntary disclosures by issuers that choose to provide them will create even more robust resources on EMMA for municipal bond investors."  

The MSRB regulates municipal securities dealers and operates information systems to promote investor protection.  It does not regulate municipal bond issuers.  Lanza noted that the MSRB's planned collection of voluntary disclosures does not establish an obligation upon any issuer or obligated person to submit any voluntary continuing disclosure document.  Issuers are however obligated to provide non-voluntary continuing disclosures.  Under SEC rules, issuers agree to provide documents such as annual financial and operating information, audited financial statements and notices of material events.  On July 1, 2009, the MSRB becomes the SEC-designated central repository for all continuing disclosures by municipal issuers and will collect and post these documents on EMMA beginning on July 1 where they will be freely available to investors for the first time. Voluntary continuing disclosure documents would be submitted, processed and disseminated in the same manner.

Today's announcement follows the MSRB's request for SEC permission to make EMMA a permanent, all-electronic disclosure system, and its plan to host a continuing disclosure pilot program. The MSRB also this week published specifications for EMMA's primary market automated submission interface and for EMMA's primary market subscription service. 

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.