"In the year ahead, the MSRB is focused on enhancing the integrity of the municipal market by improving pricing for investors and issuers and implementing a regulatory framework for municipal advisors."
- Daniel Heimowitz, Chair
Lynnette Kelly, Executive Director
For almost four decades, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) has served the public interest by promoting a fair and efficient municipal securities market. Each year we set clear priorities and engage municipal market participants in constructive dialogue about effective ways to achieve those priorities.
In the year ahead, the MSRB is focused on enhancing the integrity of the municipal market by improving pricing for investors and issuers and implementing a regulatory framework for municipal advisors.
Price transparency is essential to fulfilling the MSRB’s mission to protect investors, state and local governments and other issuers of municipal bonds. The MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website has brought transparency of the municipal market to new levels by providing free public access to real-time trade prices and other data and disclosure documents. The MSRB is working to enhance EMMA with better usability and still more data, particularly related to pricing. In fiscal year 2014, the MSRB plans to move forward with developing a platform to provide comprehensive, interactive and real-time display of both pre- and post-trade pricing data. This is a gradual process that will involve extensive opportunities for market feedback on how best to expand public access to “live” information about the current state of the municipal market.
Implementing a regulatory framework for municipal advisors is another priority. With the Securities and Exchange Commission’s final guidance on the definition of “municipal advisor” released in September 2013, the MSRB will carefully study the guidance and continue its outreach to municipal advisors as it assumes oversight responsibilities. The MSRB will take an incremental approach to rulemaking in light of the SEC’s final guidance and seek public comment on all rule proposals. It will also continue to work with the municipal advisory industry to develop a professional qualification exam to establish standards of competency for municipal advisors.
In addition to these top priorities, the MSRB continues to focus on improving regulatory efficiency by streamlining or consolidating MSRB rules and related guidance and aligning the MSRB rule book with the rules of other regulators as appropriate. For example, the MSRB is moving forward with a package of rule proposals to simplify interpretive guidance associated with MSRB Rule G-17 on fair dealing by consolidating key principles into stand-alone rules. The MSRB also plans to consolidate the numerous provisions and rules related to registering with the MSRB into a single MSRB registration rule. Importantly, all MSRB rule proposals are informed by a thorough process to assess the costs, benefits and alternatives to proposed rulemaking.
We also remain committed to providing education, outreach and market leadership on a range of municipal market topics. Our online Investor Toolkit and State and Local Government Toolkit are frequently updated with new information and resources. The MSRB is also expanding its use of video to educate investors and issuers about working with financial professionals in the municipal market.
We encourage you to explore the MSRB website to access up-to-date information about the MSRB’s priorities in market transparency, rulemaking and education. We welcome your feedback on these priorities, whether through the formal process of responding to requests for comment on potential rules, or through contact forms on the MSRB websites. Input from a wide variety of market stakeholders helps us ensure that our efforts contribute to our goal of a fair and efficient municipal market.
Daniel Heimowitz, Chair Lynnette Kelly, Executive Director