MSRB Holds Final Quarterly Board Meeting of FY 2019

Date: July 29, 2019

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

MSRB HOLDS FINAL QUARTERLY BOARD MEETING OF FY 2019

Washington, DC – The Board of Directors of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) convened on July 23–25, 2019 for its final in-person meeting of Fiscal Year 2019. The Board adopted a $42 million budget for the fiscal year that begins October 1, 2019 and elected new leadership and members, who will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Our rigorous annual budget planning process places a strategic emphasis on the equitability of funding sources and sustainability of the MSRB’s long-term ability to carry out our mission,” said Board Chair Gary Hall. To advance these strategic goals, the Board discussed changes to the current fee structure for regulated entities.

For the third year, the MSRB will publish an executive budget summary at the beginning of FY 2020. “The MSRB is strongly committed to following best practices in corporate transparency and governance processes,” Chair Hall said.

The Board also advanced the following market transparency and regulatory initiatives.

Market Transparency
As part of its strategic focus on the evolution of market transparency and the role of the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website, the Board adopted a new long-term vision and strategic objectives for EMMA’s future development. The EMMA website has served as the official repository for municipal market trade data and disclosure documents for more than 10 years.

“We see tremendous opportunity as part of our investment of reserves in an enterprise migration to the cloud to optimize the value of market data and strengthen EMMA’s role as the centralized information source for our industry,” Chair Hall said. “The Board envisions EMMA evolving beyond transparency to facilitate the use of municipal market data for dynamic comparison, regulatory compliance and deeper market analysis.”

The Board voted to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a proposal to enhance the EMMA website with new features to emphasize the timing of issuers’ annual financial disclosures. “This is a topic that has been under Board consideration since January, and we look forward to hearing from stakeholders during the public comment process about the Board’s proposed approach to improve market transparency,” Chair Hall said.

Market Regulation
The Board authorized the publication of interpretive guidance to remind dealers of the application of MSRB rules to certain prearranged trading scenarios in connection with a primary offering of municipal securities. The Board’s action stems from concerns about compliance with, among other things, priority of order provisions under MSRB Rule G-11 and fair dealing obligations under Rule G-17.

As part of the MSRB retrospective rule review, the Board reconsidered the recently implemented provision of MSRB Rule G-34, which was amended to require all municipal advisors, dealer and non-dealer alike, to apply for CUSIP numbers in a competitive transaction on which they advise. The Board authorized staff to file with the SEC a proposed rule change to eliminate this requirement for both dealer and non-dealer municipal advisors. “It is a rare step for the MSRB to rescind a new requirement so soon after adoption, but we learned through the comment process that the requirement imposed burdens on municipal advisors that were not necessary or appropriate in light of the limited benefits to the functioning of the market,” Chair Hall said.

The Board established several priority areas for the MSRB’s ongoing retrospective rule review, including a review of MSRB rules in light of the SEC's adoption of Regulation Best Interest.


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.