MSRB Monthly Update - March 2014

MSRB Monthly Update March 2014 Banner
Upcoming Events

On Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. ET, the MSRB will host an educational webinar on its draft municipal advisor supervision rule. Read the draft rule. 
Register for the webinar.

Did You Know?

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Highlight of the Month


New Feature for Comparing Municipal Bond Prices Coming to EMMA®

As part of the MSRB’s ongoing effort to improve municipal market price transparency, the MSRB is developing an interactive price comparison feature on its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website. New functionality to be added this spring will allow EMMA users to easily find and compare trade prices for municipal securities with similar characteristics. The MSRB will also be enhancing the display of trade data on EMMA with new graphical representations of historical trade prices to help users visualize trends in municipal market trading for individual securities.

The MSRB's January 2012 Long Range Plan for Market Transparency Products included improvements to the accessibility of trade price information on EMMA, and the price comparison feature advances that goal. It also aligns with recommendations of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s July 2012 report on the municipal market.

Sign up to receive EMMA Updates to stay informed about upcoming enhancements to EMMA’s pricing-related information.


New and Noteworthy

MSRB Advances Regulatory Framework for Municipal Advisors

As part of its development of a comprehensive regulatory framework for municipal advisors, the MSRB has requested public comment on two draft rules and continues to develop its professional qualifications program and fee structure for municipal advisors. The MSRB is now reviewing comments received on the first draft rule, on core standards of conduct for municipal advisors not acting as solicitors. The second draft rule, on supervisory and compliance obligations for municipal advisors when engaging in municipal advisory activities, was published on February 25, 2014. Comments on the draft supervision rule should be submitted to the MSRB no later than April 28, 2014.

The MSRB will soon be publishing its third draft rule on establishing professional qualification requirements for municipal advisors. The MSRB also is developing a professional qualification test for municipal advisor professionals that will be informed by a survey of municipal advisors on their core activities.

The MSRB will soon seek approval from the SEC to charge municipal advisor firms an annual fee of $300 per professional, to be implemented during the second half of 2014 in parallel with the SEC’s permanent registration process for municipal advisors. The MSRB has been working to establish appropriate and equitable assessments on municipal advisors to fairly distribute assessments across all regulated entities.


EMMA Market Statistics

Individual Investor Holdings of Municipal Securities Fell Again in 2013

March 2014 Market Statistics Graph

The size of the municipal securities market decreased to $3.67 trillion in 2013, compared to $3.71 trillion at the end of 2012, according to the Federal Reserve Board's Flow of Funds Account released on March 6, 2014. While small, the year-over-year decrease is a trend that began in 2011 after the size of the municipal market reached a high of $3.77 trillion in 2010. Furthermore, direct holdings of municipal securities by households, or individual investors, fell to 44.1 percent at end of the year, lower than the 44.6 percent in 2012 and the 49.6 percent in 2010. Including investments through mutual funds, individual investors accounted for 69.1 percent of all municipal securities holdings in 2013, down from 70.5 percent in 2012. Holdings of banks and depository institutions increased to 11.4 percent in 2013 from 9.8 percent in 2012.

For municipal new issuance and trading activity, continuing disclosures or variable rate resets, visit the MSRB’s EMMA website. 

2013 Fact Book

MSRB Publishes 2013 Fact Book

The MSRB recently published its annual Fact Book, an online sourcebook that analyzes trading data and other statistics for the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market. The new Fact Book contains data from 2013 and an analysis of the more 50 million trades that occurred in the municipal market during the last five years. It also presents year-over-year comparisons of data on financial and other disclosures made by municipal bond issuers over the last two years.

Click here to read more from the MSRB 2013 Fact Book.


Regulatory Roundup

Fee Changes for Data Subscription Products and Services February 28, 2014

SEC Approves New Consolidated Registration Rule and Registration Form for Dealers and Municipal Advisors  February 27, 2014

Request for Comment on Draft MSRB Rule G-44, on Supervisory and Compliance Obligations of Municipal Advisors  February 25, 2014

MSRB to Collect Additional Data About 529 College Savings Plans  February 24, 2014

Request for Comment on Draft Best-Execution Rule, Including Exception for Transactions with Sophisticated Municipal Market Professionals  February 19, 2014