Updated MSRB Report Examines Trends in Customer Trading Activity of Municipal Securities Dealers

Date: May 8, 2019

Contact: Jennifer A. Galloway, Chief Communications Officer
202-838-1500
jgalloway@msrb.org

UPDATED MSRB REPORT EXAMINES TRENDS IN CUSTOMER TRADING
ACTIVITY OF MUNICIPAL SECURITIES DEALERS IN 2018

Washington, DC – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) today published a report that examines municipal market dealer concentration and participation in 2018, and is an update and expansion of a previous MSRB report that examined 2017 trends. Dealer Participation and Concentration in Municipal Securities Trading examines dealer participation in municipal securities trading with customers and concentration of customer trades among dealers.

The MSRB’s analysis shows that municipal securities dealer concentration and participation has changed significantly since 2006, and continued to do so last year, with the top 10 dealers accounting for less market share of customer trades in 2018 compared to 2017. The data also show that most dealers that did not conduct trades in 2018 provided little liquidity in the market in 2017, with over half of the dealers participating in fewer than 10 trades. Meanwhile, the number of dealers that executed a substantial amount of business, categorized as more than 25,000 trades per year, continued to increase in 2018 to 43, or 5% of all dealers, up from 39 dealers in 2017, or 4.5% of all dealers, and 27 dealers in 2006, or 1.9% percent of all dealers.

The report notes the continued decrease in the number of municipal securities dealers registered with the MSRB due to the consolidation of broker-dealers and dealers exiting the securities market. The report indicates there was a 5.1% decrease in the number of MSRB-registered dealers between October 1, 2017 and October 1, 2018. The analysis also shows that the decline in participating dealers is largely concentrated in dealers that did not have a significant presence in the municipal securities market. However, 57 new dealers registered with the MSRB in 2017 and 2018. These new registrants accounted for about 680,000 trades and $44.3 billion in trading activity in those two years.

“Our analysis shows that many of those dealers exiting the market did not have a significant presence in the market and traded infrequently,” said MSRB Director of Research Marcelo Vieira. “However, new dealers registered with the MSRB accounted for significant trade activity over the last two years.”

While there are many different measures of liquidity that provide unique insights into the municipal securities market, the report focuses specifically on dealer participation and concentration to examine liquidity. “Changes occurring in these measures provide a means of quantifying how dealer activity has shifted over time concurrent with the decline in the number of MSRB-registered dealers participating in the municipal securities market,” according to the report.

The MSRB evaluates municipal market trends as part of its mission to promote a fair and efficient municipal market and plans to continue studying dealer data. Public and industry input on additional topics, including trends in the inter-dealer market, is welcome and should be referred to Marcelo Vieira at mvieira@msrb.org.


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.