SEC Approves MSRB Transparency Program for ARS and VRD

Date: January 9, 2009

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


SEC APPROVES TRANSPARENCY PROGRAM FOR AUCTION RATE SECURITIES
AND VARIABLE RATE DEMAND OBLIGATIONS

Alexandria, VA - The Securities and Exchange Commission today approved the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board's request to collect and disseminate critical market information on auction rate securities and other variable rate municipal securities. The plan includes publishing this information on EMMA, the MSRB's Electronic Municipal Market Access system, where it will be available to the public for free.

As part of the transparency program, municipal bond securities dealers are required to provide the MSRB with interest rate information for auction rate securities beginning January 30, 2009.  They are required to do the same for variable rate demand obligations beginning April 30, 2009. The MSRB will then post information and data it collects about these municipal securities at www.emma.msrb.org.

"The MSRB identified - and is meeting - a need in the municipal marketplace for increased information about these types of municipal securities" said MSRB Executive Director Lynnette Kelly Hotchkiss.  "Investors need access to interest-rate and other information about auction rate and variable-rate municipal instruments, and EMMA will provide it." 

The MSRB plans to add other components to the short-term debt transparency system in later phases, such as auction rate security bidding information, documents detailing liquidity arrangements and auction procedures for the bonds.  This information also will be made available on EMMA.


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.