Municipal bonds may be purchased in the initial offering of the bonds, typically through municipal securities dealers that underwrite the bonds or assist the underwriters to distribute the newly issued bonds. This type of transaction may be referred to as a primary market transaction or a new issue transaction, in contrast to secondary market transactions that take place following the initial issuance. Virtually all buying and selling by customers occurs with the assistance of municipal securities dealers that are subject to MSRB rules.
In new issues, list offering prices typically are disclosed as the prices at which a substantial portion of the issue was offered to the public. Thus, many – but by no means all – primary market trades during the initial distribution of a new issue will occur at this list offering price. The issuer’s official statement is intended specifically for new issue customers and serves as the primary source of information about the issuer and the securities for primary market transactions. Securities that are in the new issue period are displayed on the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website with an indicator flag. EMMA also allows the public to request to be notified if the official statement or any amendment or supplement has been posted on EMMA for a new issue.