Primary Market Documents

The MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website provides access to primary market documents, including official statements, advance refunding documents, and other documents that establish the terms and conditions of a new bond issue.

What Is an Official Statement?
An official statement is a document prepared by or on behalf of a state or local government or other issuer of municipal securities in connection with a new issue of municipal securities that discloses material information on the offering of the securities.

An official statement describes the essential terms of the bonds. It typically provides the most detailed description of the terms and features of the bonds through maturity. Information in an official statement includes, but is not limited to, the terms under which the bond can be redeemed prior to maturity; financial information or operating data concerning the issuer and other entities,enterprises, funds, accounts or other persons material to an evaluation of the offering; the source of money pledged to repay the bonds; and the state or local government’s covenants for the benefit of investors.

Learn more about official statements here.

How Can Investors Use an Official Statement?

The official statement typically discloses details of the offering, including any information about the financial condition of the state or local government or obligor. Investors may use information provided in an official statement to evaluate the credit quality of newly issued securities.

Investors buying and selling municipal bonds in the secondary market should not rely on information included in the official statement. Certain information may continue to be useful, but any financial information presented in the official statement may be outdated for purposes of the secondary market trades.

What Is an Advance Refunding Document?
A refunding is a refinancing of existing "refunded" bonds with new "refunding" bonds. Similar to a homeowner who obtains a new mortgage with a lower rate to pay off an older, more expensive mortgage, an issuer of refunding bonds often seeks to lower its interest payments by paying off bonds it has previously issued with newly issued refunding bonds that pay interest at a lower rate than the original refunded bonds.

In an advance refunding, rather than paying off the old debt immediately, the proceeds of the new refunding bonds are placed in an escrow account to be applied according to a predetermined schedule to the future payment of principal and interest on the old refunded bonds. The advanced refunding of a bond can also change the bond’s terms, including altering the timing of repayment of principal on the bond, the bond’s credit rating and the current value of the bond. An advance refunding document provides the terms of how and when a municipal bond that has been advance refunded ultimately will be paid.

Learn more about Advance Refunding Documents here.

How Can Investors Use Advance Refunding Documents?
The advance refunding document sets out important terms of how and when a bond that has been advance refunded ultimately will be paid. The escrow account for the refunded bonds is typically established under the advance refunding document, with the document describing how funds in the escrow account will be invested prior to being used to pay the refunded bonds.

How Can Primary Market Documents Be Accessed? 
The MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website provides free access to official statements, preliminary official statements, and advance refunding documents.  EMMA’s database contains most official statements produced in connection with municipal securities since January 1, 1990. Users may also obtain an electronic feed of official statements, together with advance refunding documents, through an MSRB subscription.