A key way the MSRB protects investors and municipal entities in the municipal market is by making market information as transparent and widely available as possible. By providing free access to municipal bond offering documents, continuing disclosures, trade prices, interest rates and other information, investors and others can better understand the terms, characteristics and risks of a particular security. At the same time, the mechanisms of a transparent market allow issuers of municipal securities to provide information to existing and potential investors and to gain a comprehensive view of the marketplace allowing them to compare their securities with other bonds.
The MSRB continues to evolve and enhance its market transparency systems, maximizing their benefits for the protection of investors, state and local governments, and other market participants.
Hear MSRB CEO Mark Kim share how the MSRB is shaping the future:
- CUSIP Management:
The MSRB’s CUSIP Management and Clean Up project, which has an objective to improve data quality and accessibility on EMMA in response to user feedback, will continue to hit key milestones.
- EMMA Alert Enhancements:
Improvements will be rolled out for MyEMMA alerts, such as adding new types of alerts for users and fixing common user experience pain points.
- Search Enhancements:
Enhancements will be rolled out for search on EMMA, improving the experience for users and modernizing search for market data and information.
- Continuing Disclosure Submission:
Improvements will be made to an issuer's ability to control the information associated with their securities on EMMA by implementing changes to continuing disclosure submission account options.
- Registration Form:
Enhancements will be made to the usability of MSRB Form A-12, the form used by municipal securities dealers and municipal advisor firms to register with the MSRB.
History of EMMA Enhancements
Market Transparency Programs
Below are descriptions of the MSRB's integrated market transparency programs, products and services that promote a fair and efficient municipal market. The MSRB offers system manuals and tutorials to provide step-by-step instructions for submitting information to these market transparency systems.
- Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) Website – The MSRB launched its EMMA website – http://emma.msrb.org – in March 2008 as a free online source of key municipal market information for retail investors. The EMMA website serves as the venue for public access to variable rate security information, transaction data, primary market disclosures and continuing disclosures described below, as well as market statistics and investor education. The MSRB Education Center includes a wealth of resources for investors, issuers and others on how to use the EMMA website to find information.
- Primary Market Disclosures – The MSRB makes available official statements, preliminary official and advance refunding documents for free on the EMMA website. Underwriters have been required by MSRB rules to provide these documents along with related information about the issues to the MSRB since 1990. The MSRB also collects and makes available 529 plan documents and ABLE program documents.
- Continuing Disclosures – Continuing disclosures consist of material information about a municipal security that arises after its initial issuance. Since July 2009, EMMA has been the centralized repository of all continuing disclosures in the municipal market pursuant to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 15c2-12. In addition to disclosures identified in SEC rules, the MSRB also provides issuers and obligated persons with the ability to voluntarily post additional disclosures about their securities to EMMA.
- Trade Price Data – All transactions in municipal securities are reported to the Real-Time Transaction Reporting System (RTRS) for price transparency and market surveillance purposes. Dealers have reported this information to the MSRB under MSRB Rule G-14 since the mid 1990s and on a real-time basis since 2005. The MSRB is the only comprehensive source of data on the approximately 40,000 daily municipal market transactions and the availability of this data to market participants is crucial to promoting the fair pricing of municipal securities transactions. All transaction data is provided to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and made available to the SEC and bank regulators and serves as a key resource for monitoring dealer activity in the municipal market.
- Short-Term Interest Rate Disclosures – A centralized, comprehensive source of current information for Auction Rate Securities (ARS) and Variable Rate Demand Obligations (VRDOs) is provided through the Short-term Obligation Rate Transparency (SHORT) System. Since 2009, the SHORT System has collected current interest rates and key descriptive data for ARS and VRDOs from dealers under MSRB Rule G-34(c). In May 2011, the SHORT System was expanded to add information about orders submitted to an ARS auction and additional key data for VRDOs as well as ARS program documents and VRDO liquidity facility documents. This collection of data and documents provides first-of-its-kind transparency to the municipal securities market and assists investors in making informed decisions about their investments.
- Political Contributions Disclosures – Under its pay-to-play rules, the MSRB requires municipal securities dealers to disclose certain information in connection with political contributions they make to governmental issuer officials, state and local political parties, and bond ballot referendum committees. The MSRB makes all political contribution disclosure information available to the public on its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website.
- Regulatory Services Products – The MSRB operates an extensive collection of products that provide support to the various federal regulatory agencies that enforce MSRB rules. Many of these regulatory services products leverage the information provided through market transparency products. Regulatory services products also include automated public and regulatory subscriptions to the disclosures and information provided through MSRB market transparency products.