MSRB Current Priorities

In the current fiscal year (October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019), the MSRB is focused on the following key issues in support of the organization’s long-term strategic vision for a fair, transparent and efficient municipal securities market.

1. MSRB Role in Municipal Market Data: This year, the MSRB is undertaking two strategic initiatives related to cloud computing and “big data.” A feasibility assessment of a potential migration of MSRB market transparency systems to the cloud will help determine how to best ensure long-term reliability, data quality and security. The MSRB also will leverage the power of cloud computing to begin an analysis of unstructured market data to evaluate its potential value to the market and its participants. This project supports the MSRB’s effort to evolve the understanding of currently available market data and future analytical capabilities.

2. Regulatory Effectiveness and Efficiency: In FY2019, the MSRB is renewing its commitment to ensuring that its rules are up-to-date, effective and reflective of current market practices. This commitment includes a retrospective rule review based on clarity, outcomes, developments in technology and economic impact, among other principles. The MSRB will support regulatory efficiency by ensuring that municipal securities regulations—and interpretive guidance – are appropriately tailored, function efficiently and are consistent with those of other regulators, when possible. As part of our commitment to prudent regulation, the MSRB will increase assistance provided to other regulators in their examination of MSRB-regulated entities with the goal of consistent interpretation of rules and alignment of enforcement activities that promote regulatory certainty.

3. Listening to Stakeholders: In FY2019, stakeholder feedback will continue to feature prominently in many of MSRB initiatives. As a self-regulatory organization, the MSRB’s success depends on the ability to listen thoughtfully to its various stakeholders, carefully weigh their input and incorporate it in sensible and appropriate ways. This year, to enhance existing feedback mechanisms, the MSRB is forming new advisory groups that will add greater insight to policy questions considered by the Board of Directors. These groups, which expand the MSRB’s access to balanced, expert market knowledge from a variety of professionals in the municipal securities market, will complement industry listening sessions and Town Hall meetings. The MSRB also will use stakeholder feedback to continue to refine its approach to providing additional compliance support to regulated entities.

4. Enhancing EMMA for Issuers: The Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website has served the municipal securities market for more than a decade by providing unparalleled access to data and information. The MSRB continues to ensure a productive user experience and the availability of market data and information for all stakeholders. To assist issuers of municipal securities that submit to the MSRB essential information about their bonds for investors and other market participants, we are simplifying the submission process based on substantive feedback from the issuer community. Goals of this project include improving the quality of indexing data for disclosure documents, integrating relevant tools and resources for issuers throughout the submission process and improving the submission interface.

5. Responsibly Managing Reserves and Revenues: The MSRB remains highly attuned to concerns of regulated entities about organizational financial reserve levels. In response, the Board and management has developed a long-term strategy to responsibly reduce reserves that includes a deficit budget in fiscal year 2019, with no increases in spending and a reduction in headcount. Strict management of operational expenses will be accompanied by temporary relief for regulated entities through a three-month reduction in the assessment rate for underwriting, transaction and technology fees for activity from October-December 2018. The MSRB will continue to evaluate its data subscription pricing model as we explore diversifying funding sources and promote the organization’s financial sustainability.