SEC Approves Measures to Create Comprehensive Source of Municipal Bond Information

Date: July 31, 2008

Contacts:         Ernesto A. Lanza, Senior Associate General Counsel
                       (703) 797-6600

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

 Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board Would Provide Disclosure
Documents Through EMMA, the Electronic Municipal Market Access System

Washington, D.C. – The Securities and Exchange Commission voted unanimously on July 30, 2008 to seek public comment on plans by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board to collect annual financial information and notices of material events from municipal bond issuers, and to make the data available to the investing public.  In support of the MSRB’s proposal, the SEC also voted unanimously to seek comment on amendments to SEC rules to designate the MSRB as the central repository for all such disclosures by municipal issuers.

If the proposals are approved by the SEC, the MSRB would for the first time make available to the public, at no charge, a single comprehensive collection of financial and other disclosure documents – such as notices of default, rating downgrades and other material events – provided by municipal bond issuers.   These issuer disclosures would be made available online and for free on EMMA, the Electronic Municipal Market Access system ( Currently, bond issuers submit such disclosures to repositories that primarily resell the information, creating significant barriers for retail investors to access information about municipal bonds in an efficient and economical manner.

EMMA is an electronic research tool that already provides official statements for municipal bonds as well as real-time trade data for the municipal market.  Adding annual financial and other continuing disclosure information from issuers to EMMA would create the first-ever free, centralized database for the municipal market covering both the primary and secondary market.

“The centralized collection and dissemination by the MSRB of ongoing financial documents will allow fair and equal access to information about municipal issuers and their bonds,” said MSRB Chair Frank Chin.  “EMMA will give investors an efficient and easy way to get key data about issuers as soon as it becomes available.”

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox added, “One-stop, immediate – and free – access to disclosure documents for municipal bonds is a giant step forward for bond investors. Even better, EMMA will soon become a complete public repository for all kinds of municipal bond data, providing both increased transparency and stronger protection for investors,” Cox said.

EMMA, which the MSRB launched on a pilot basis in March 2008, would be expanded to include continuing disclosure documents starting Jan. 1, 2009 upon approval by the SEC.

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.