MSRB NOTICE 2013-06 (MARCH 5, 2013)

MSRB SEEKS INPUT ON ANNUAL PLANNING

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) conducts an annual assessment to establish regulatory and other priorities for the next fiscal year, which begins October 1. This planning process takes into account market risks, enforcement actions, market trends and other developments that inform the MSRB’s activities. Consideration of new municipal market products and transactions, the information needs of investors and state and local governments, and the conduct of municipal market professionals also support the MSRB’s annual assessment of priorities. This year, the assessment will include comments received as part of a review of the MSRB Rule Book as well as development of initiatives described in the MSRB’s Long-Range Plan for Market Transparency.[1]

To formally engage market participants in the MSRB’s annual prioritization assessment, the MSRB is seeking comment on what participants believe to be priority issues for the MSRB.  Suggested priorities or initiatives should relate to any of the MSRB’s core activities. These activities are: 1) regulating municipal securities dealers and municipal advisors, 2) operating market transparency systems, and 3) providing education, outreach and market leadership.

Decisions about the MSRB’s fiscal year priorities remain the responsibility of the MSRB Board of Directors, which is responsible for ensuring that the MSRB carries out its statutory mandate to promote a fair and efficient municipal market. The Board must balance competing priorities and resource limitations.

Comments should be submitted no later than March 29, 2013, and may be submitted in electronic or paper form. Comments may be submitted electronically by clicking here. Comments submitted in paper form should be sent to Ronald W. Smith, Corporate Secretary, Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, 1900 Duke Street, Suite 600, Alexandria, VA 22314. All comments will be available for public inspection on the MSRB’s website.[2]

Questions about this notice should be directed to Jennifer Galloway, Chief Communications Officer, at 703-797-6600.

MSRB INITIATIVES

As the MSRB implements initiatives throughout the fiscal year, the public and others will have additional opportunities to comment on individual aspects of these initiatives as they are advanced by the MSRB.

The MSRB has published on its website its priorities for the current fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2012. These priorities include:

  1. Implementing Long-Range Plan for Market Transparency. The MSRB is in its second year of work on its long-range plan to enhance its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®)[3] website and other market transparency systems with more data and better usability. The MSRB continues to seek public input on various elements of the plan.
  2. Promoting Regulatory Efficiency. The MSRB this year sought public comment on a full-scale review of its rule book to identify opportunities to streamline or consolidate MSRB rules and related guidance. The MSRB also adopted a simplified format for MSRB rules that aligns with the format of other regulators.
  3. Improving Continuing Disclosure Practices. The MSRB is expanding its education and outreach to state and local governments and enhancing the EMMA website to increase the quality and amount of continuing disclosures made available to the public through EMMA.
  4. Advancing Municipal Advisor Regulation. The MSRB is prepared to establish a core set of rules and standards of professional qualification for municipal advisors as soon as the Securities and Exchange Commission finalizes its definition of municipal advisor, expected this year.

While work on these current initiatives will continue into the next fiscal year, the MSRB is seeking feedback on how to prioritize these ongoing efforts and what additional issues should be considered. When providing feedback, the MSRB encourages commenters to be as specific as possible and provide as much information as possible about particular issues and topics. In addition to providing the MSRB with specific concerns about regulatory and market transparency issues, the MSRB encourages commenters to provide input on its education, outreach and market leadership initiatives, specifically:

  1. What, if any, changes should be made to the educational materials the MSRB provides on its website for investors, state and local governments, municipal advisors, and municipal securities dealers (quantity, content, format, etc.)?
  2. What, if any, changes should be made to the program, format and locations of the MSRB outreach events?
  3. Are there significant market issues that the MSRB should address through educational materials, webinars or other market leadership activities?

BACKGROUND

The MSRB is a Congressionally-chartered, self-regulatory organization governed by a 21-member board of directors with primary responsibility under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for rulemaking in the municipal securities market. The mission of the MSRB is to protect 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 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 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 does not regulate municipal entities or obligated persons, and has no jurisdiction over their activities. The MSRB does not examine for compliance with its rules, as examination and enforcement activities are conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and bank regulators.

March 5, 2013


[1] Published in February 2012.

[2] Comments are posted on the MSRB website without change. Personal identifying information such as name, address, telephone number, or email address, will not be edited from submissions. Therefore, commenters should submit only information that they wish to make available publicly.

[3] EMMA is a registered trademark of the MSRB.