Market Perspectives on ESG
Message from Mark Kim, CEO
When we asked the market to share information with us on environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices in the municipal securities market, we expected a robust response, and the market delivered. A total of 52 commenters from across the municipal market offered a broad range of perspectives on ESG in response to our request for information put out in December 2021. You may have seen that the MSRB recently published a report synthesizing the comments received according to three broad themes:
- The evolving nature of ESG practices in the municipal securities market
- Challenges associated with ESG integration in the municipal securities market
- Opportunities to improve market transparency through the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website.
We believe the comments received have achieved our goal of advancing our own and the broader market’s understanding of the current challenges and opportunities presented by two distinct and evolving market trends: disclosure of ESG-related information and the marketing of municipal securities with ESG designations.
We will continue to monitor and engage with the broader market on understanding emerging ESG practices and their implications for market fairness, efficiency and transparency.
MSRB Focuses on Market Structure and Efficiency with Request for Comment on Trade Reporting
Evolving technology and market practices across the fixed income markets present opportunities to enhance the efficiency, transparency and liquidity of the municipal market. As part of its focus on market structure, on August 2, 2022, the MSRB opened a 60-day comment period to re-examine time of trade reporting requirements first established in 2005 and last considered in 2013. The MSRB’s request for comment was released in coordination with a parallel proposal by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Specifically, the MSRB is seeking public comment on the potential benefits and challenges of a proposed amendment to MSRB Rule G-14 to generally require that transactions in municipal securities are reported as soon as practicable, but no later than within one minute of the time of trade, down from the long-standing 15-minute reporting requirement. Comments should be submitted no later than October 3, 2022.
Latest News from the Board: MSRB Elects New Leadership and Announces New Members for FY 2023
Last month, the Board of Directors held its final quarterly meeting of Fiscal Year 2022, where it elected new officers and announced four new members who will join the Board in Fiscal Year 2023.
The Board elected public member Meredith L. Hathorn, Managing Partner, Foley & Judell, L.L.P. in Baton Rouge, LA, to serve as FY 2023 Chair of the Board. Hathorn will take the reins from Patrick Brett, whose term as Chair and Board member ends September 30, 2022. Public member Carol Kostik, retired former deputy comptroller for public finance for the City of New York, will serve as Vice Chair.
New public members joining the MSRB Board in Fiscal Year 2023 are institutional investor representative David F. Belton, Director, American Family Insurance; and municipal issuer representative Horatio Porter, Chief Financial Officer, North Texas Tollway Authority. Joining the Board as regulated members are: bank representative Patrick O. Haskell, Managing Director and Head of Municipal Securities and Co-Head of Fixed Income Retail Capital Markets, Morgan Stanley; and municipal advisor representative Jill Jaworski, Managing Director and Partner, PFM Financial Advisors.
In addition to electing new Board leadership and members, the Board considered and advanced several market regulation and market structure initiatives. These include conducting a review of the potential implications to MSRB rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposal to bring more Alternative Trading Systems (ATSs) under the regulatory umbrella, as well as developing coordinated proposals with fellow regulators on the collection of pre-trade data in the fixed income markets. The Board also discussed potential new opportunities to support the market’s use of structured data by leveraging EMMA Labs, the MSRB’s innovation sandbox, to advance transparency and the quality and comparability of data in the municipal securities market.
Read the press release for further detail and to learn other highlights from the meeting.
Rules and Guidance Roundup
Visit the Rules and Guidance page of msrb.org to stay up-to-date with the latest requests for comment, proposed rule changes, rule approval notices and market advisories.
Visit the online Compliance Center for resources and information to help regulated entities understand and comply with MSRB rules.
Recent Press Releases
Read the MSRB’s latest press releases on msrb.org.