MSRB NOTICE 2011-64 (NOVEMBER 14, 2011)

AMENDMENTS TO EMMA TO PROVIDE CREDIT RATINGS AND RELATED INFORMATION FOR MUNICIPAL SECURITIES ON EMMA EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 21, 2011

On November 21, 2011, amendments to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s (“MSRB”) continuing disclosure service of the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access system (“EMMA”) become effective.[1]  The amendments provide for the posting of credit rating and related information on the EMMA public website.

BACKGROUND

Currently, the continuing disclosure service of EMMA receives submissions of continuing disclosure documents and related indexing information from issuers, obligated persons and their agents pursuant to continuing disclosure undertakings entered into consistent with Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12, as well as other voluntary continuing disclosure documents concerning municipal securities.  The amendments to the continuing disclosure service of EMMA allow for the posting of credit rating information and related information to provide additional information to retail investors and other market participants regarding municipal securities. 

Two Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations (NRSROs) have agreed to provide credit rating and related information regarding municipal securities to the MSRB, at no charge, through an automated data feed for dissemination on the EMMA public website.[2]  EMMA will display this information, along with any documents and identifying information relating to the applicable municipal security otherwise displayed.  Currently, such other documents or information displayed on the EMMA website may include official statements, advance refunding documents, continuing disclosure documents, transaction price data, interest rate reset information and identifying information relating to a specific municipal security.

For purposes of displaying such information on EMMA, the credit rating and related information normally will be posted on EMMA within 15 minutes of successful transmission to the MSRB during the hours of 8:30 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Eastern time on an MSRB business day, and any such information successfully transmitted outside of the MSRB’s normal business hours would be posted as soon as practicable.  The MSRB has no obligation to supplement, modify or confirm credit rating and related information received by it through an NRSRO’s automated data feed based on information available from any other source, including but not limited to any such information made publicly available by an NRSRO by any means other than its automated data feed. 

Questions about this notice may be directed to Justin R. Pica, Director of Product Management - Market Transparency, at 703-797-6716.

November 14, 2011

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TEXT OF THE RULE CHANGE[3]  

MUNICIPAL SECURITIES RULEMAKING BOARD

ELECTRONIC MUNICIPAL MARKET ACCESS SYSTEM –

EMMA®  

EMMA CONTINUING DISCLOSURE SERVICE

The EMMA continuing disclosure service, established as a service of EMMA, receives submissions of continuing disclosure documents, together with related indexing information to allow the public to readily identify and access such documents, from issuers, obligated persons and their agents pursuant to continuing disclosure undertakings entered into consistent with Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12, as well as other continuing disclosure documents concerning municipal securities, at no charge to the submitter. Submissions may be made through a choice of an Internet-based electronic submission interface or electronic computer-to-computer streaming connections.  The EMMA continuing disclosure service makes continuing disclosures and related information available to the public, at no charge, on the Internet through the EMMA portal.  The EMMA continuing disclosure service also makes continuing disclosures available by subscription for a fee.

Submissions to the EMMA Continuing Disclosure Service  

No change.

Public Availability of Continuing Disclosure Documents  

EMMA Portal.   No change to first paragraph. 

The EMMA portal provides on-line search functions utilizing available indexing information to allow users of the EMMA portal to readily identify and access documents and related information provided through the EMMA continuing disclosure service.  Basic identifying information relating to specific municipal securities and/or specific issues accompanies the display of continuing disclosure documents.  In addition, if and to the extent that one or more Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (NRSRO) has agreed to provide credit rating and related information regarding municipal securities to the MSRB, at no charge, through an automated data feed for dissemination on the EMMA portal, the EMMA portal shall display such credit rating and related information along with any documents and identifying information relating to the applicable municipal security otherwise displayed on the EMMA portal.  Credit rating and related information normally will be posted within 15 minutes of successful transmission to the MSRB during the hours of 8:30 am to 6:00 pm Eastern time on an MSRB business day, and any such information successfully transmitted outside of the MSRB’s normal business hours will be posted as soon as practicable.  The MSRB shall have no obligation to supplement, modify or confirm credit rating and related information received by it through an NRSRO’s automated data feed based on information available from any other source, including but not limited to any such information made publicly available by an NRSRO by any means other than its automated data feed.

No change to third paragraph. 

The MSRB reserves the right to restrict or terminate malicious, illegal or abusive usage for such periods as may be necessary and appropriate to ensure continuous and efficient access to the EMMA portal and to maintain the integrity of EMMA and its operational components.  The MSRB is not responsible for the content of the information or documents submitted by submitters or information provided by an NRSRO or any other entity displayed on the EMMA portal or distributed to subscribers of the EMMA continuing disclosure subscription service. 

Subscriptions.  Users wishing to obtain the continuing disclosure documents provided through the EMMA continuing disclosure service through a data stream rather than through viewing on and downloading from the EMMA portal may purchase a subscription for such documents from the MSRB.  The EMMA continuing disclosure subscription service makes available to subscribers all continuing disclosure documents and related indexing information posted on the EMMA portal, but does not include credit rating and related information provided by an NRSRO, simultaneously with the posting thereof on the EMMA portal.  The EMMA continuing disclosure service subscription is provided through a web service accessible by subscribers using various commercially available products.  Data is streamed, depending on the subscriber’s own software settings, using XML files with embedded, or accompanying transmissions of, PDF files of continuing disclosure documents.  The MSRB makes the EMMA continuing disclosure subscription service available on an equal and non-discriminatory basis.  In addition, the MSRB does not impose any limitations on or additional charges for redistribution of such documents by subscribers to their customers.


[1] The amendments originally were approved by the SEC on October 13, 2010.  See MSRB Notice 2010-44 (October 21, 2010).  On September 12, 2011, the MSRB extended the effective date of the amendments.  See MSRB Notice 2011-53 (September 12, 2011).

[2] The credit rating information and related information would not be available through the subscription for the continuing disclosure service of EMMA.

[3] Underlining indicates additions.