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Municipal Market 101

Want to know how state and local governments often pay for public projects such as bridges, roads and schools? Follow a city as it borrows money from investors to pay for a new school. Then, learn more about the $4 trillion municipal bond market and how its primary regulator, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, protects the city and its investors along the way.

Considers Financing Options

City uses MSRB Education Center to learn about the issuance process.

City decides whether to hire a municipal advisor. If no, skip ahead two spaces.

City Hires Municipal Advisor

Municipal advisors owe a fiduciary duty to put City’s interest first.

City Selects Underwriter

Underwriter must deal fairly with City and investors and offer a fair price.

City determines priority of orders from investors.

Underwriter provides City’s Preliminary Official Statement to investors.

Underwriter Sells Bonds to Investors

City Has Money for New School

MSRB Education Center resources help City understand disclosure obligations.

City Makes Ongoing Continuing Disclosures

Investors use EMMA to access information about City’s bonds.

City Pays Interest Until Bonds Mature

City Repays Principal at Maturity

Real-time trade prices available on EMMA.

Brokers Report Trades to EMMA

Brokers must give suitable recommendations, disclose risks and provide a fair price for investors.

Investors Trade Bonds Through Brokers

Investors learn about buying and selling bonds in the MSRB Education Center.


  • Regulation of Municipal Advisors, Underwriters and Broker-Dealers

  • Transparency through Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) Website

  • Resources in MSRB Education Center


  • City Officials

  • Investors

  • Municipal Advisor

  • Underwriter

  • Broker-Dealer