MSRB to Apply Customer Complaint Rules to Municipal Advisors and Modernize Existing Rules for Dealers

Date: January 18, 2017

Contact: Jennifer A. Galloway, Chief Communications Officer


Washington, DC – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) has received approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to apply its customer complaint rules to municipal advisors while also modernizing the rules, which currently apply to municipal securities dealers. The updated rules, which take effect in nine months, will more clearly focus on customer and municipal advisory client education and protection.

“These positive changes will improve the ability of investors and state and local governments to understand what to do if they have a complaint about their municipal finance professional,” said MSRB Executive Director Lynnette Kelly. “They also align the MSRB’s customer complaint requirements more closely with those of other regulators and provide greater regulatory consistency for dealers and municipal advisors.”

The MSRB’s updated MSRB Rule G-10 and related interpretive guidance require dealers and municipal advisors to provide annual written notifications to customers and municipal advisory clients about their registration status, the MSRB’s website address, the availability of a brochure that describes regulatory protections in place under MSRB rules and how to report a complaint to a regulator. Those notifications may be made electronically and may be included with other materials. The updates include changes to MSRB recordkeeping rules, and both dealers and municipal advisors will be required to retain an electronic complaint log of written complaints from customers or municipal advisory clients for six years.

Updates to the MSRB’s customer complaint and related recordkeeping rules are part of its ongoing effort to promote regulatory efficiency, consistency and clarity in municipal securities regulation. With many MSRB rules in place for more than 35 years, the MSRB recognizes the need to regularly review rules to identify potential changes to ensure that they function as efficiently as possible, reflect current market practices and are consistent with rules of other regulators, where appropriate. 

The MSRB protects investors, state and local governments and other municipal entities, and the public interest by promoting a fair and efficient municipal securities market. The MSRB fulfills this mission by regulating the municipal securities firms, banks and municipal advisors that engage in municipal securities and advisory activities. To further protect market participants, the MSRB provides market transparency through its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website, the official repository for information on all municipal bonds. The MSRB also serves as an objective resource on the municipal market, conducts extensive education and outreach to market stakeholders, and provides market leadership on key issues. The MSRB is a self-regulatory organization governed by a 21-member 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.