Contact: Leah Szarek, Chief External Relations Officer
MSRB SEEKS STAKEHOLDER PERSPECTIVES ON ESG-RELATED DISCLOSURE AND ESG-LABELED BOND PRACTICES IN THE MUNICIPAL SECURITIES MARKET
Washington, DC – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) today issued a request for information to solicit public perspectives on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices in the municipal securities market. The MSRB is seeking this input as part of its broader stakeholder engagement on ESG trends in the municipal securities market and to help inform its mandate of protecting investors, municipal issuers, and the public interest by promoting a fair, efficient and transparent municipal market.
“Investors are increasingly adopting sustainable or impact investing strategies, and the market for ESG investment products has grown significantly,” said MSRB CEO Mark Kim. “These dynamic market trends have drawn attention to the quantity and quality of ESG-related disclosures and practices, and the labeling and marketing of ESG-designated bonds and funds in the municipal securities market. Given the absence of uniform standards surrounding ESG disclosures and bond labeling, we want to want to hear from stakeholders on their perspectives for how to enhance issuer and investor protections related to these matters.”
The $4 trillion municipal securities market by its nature finances many environmental or social related projects in communities across the country – including funding for clean energy and water, educational attainment, heath care outcomes, affordable housing, and economic redevelopment.
“The municipal market is in many ways the original ESG market, having financed trillions of dollars in environmentally and socially impactful projects over the past two centuries,” said MSRB Chair Patrick Brett. “This defining characteristic of municipals attracts both talent and capital to our market, benefiting issuers, investors and the general public. As the pace of ESG-related projects and capital formation accelerates across the global capital markets, it raises important questions for the municipal market, and those are the focus of today’s request for information.”
Evolving market practices in the area of ESG raise considerations for investor protection, issuer protection and the overall fairness and efficiency of the municipal market, as well as opportunities for increasing data transparency and accessibility through enhancements to the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) system.
The MSRB’s request for information directs a number of questions specifically to issuers, investors, dealers and municipal advisors, but the MSRB welcomes responses from all stakeholders and the general public on any aspect of ESG they wish to address. The comment period is open for 90 days, with comments due to be submitted by March 8, 2022.
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) protects and strengthens the municipal bond market, enabling access to capital, economic growth, and societal progress in tens of thousands of communities across the country. The MSRB fulfills this mission by creating trust in our market through informed regulation of dealers and municipal advisors that protects investors, issuers and the public interest; building technology systems that power our market and provide transparency for issuers, institutions, and the investing public; and serving as the steward of market data that empowers better decisions and fuels innovation for the future. The MSRB is a self-regulatory organization governed by a board of directors that has a majority of public members, in addition to representatives of regulated entities. The MSRB is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress.