MSRB Municipal Advisor Review - Summer 2014

MA Review

Upcoming Events

The MSRB will host a free educational webinar on its consolidated registration rules and form on Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. EST. Register for the webinar.

The MSRB will continue to host webinars on its requests for comment on draft rules for municipal advisors. Learn more about upcoming webinars and eventsView presentations from past webinars.

Did You Know?

On May 19, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) updated its frequently asked questions on its permanent registration rule for municipal advisors. Read the SEC’s updated FAQs.

MSRB to Survey Municipal Advisors for Development of Qualifications Exam

The MSRB will survey registered municipal advisors later this month about their business activities to further inform the development of a professional qualification exam for advisors. The confidential electronic survey will be distributed to the primary regulatory contact at each registered municipal advisor firm on June 17, 2014. The MSRB encourages survey recipients to distribute the survey to other advisors within their firm to ensure the MSRB has as much information as possible about the nature of municipal advisory activities. The survey concludes July 1, 2014. Responses to the survey will help guide the development of a professional qualifications program, including an exam, for municipal advisors. 

The MSRB previously solicited public comment on a draft rule that would require that all municipal advisor professionals take an exam to demonstrate a minimum level of competency before providing or continuing to provide municipal advisory services to state and local governments. The public comment period ended on May 16, 2014 and the MSRB is evaluating comments received. The MSRB will continue working to develop the content outline for a qualification exam with the goal of implementing a pilot exam in 2015.

Reminder: Complete New MSRB Registration Form by August 10

Effective May 12, 2014, MSRB Rule A-12 was amended to consolidate MSRB registration requirements into a single rule and to create a simplified electronic registration form. Municipal advisor firms that are currently registered with the MSRB under the previous requirements must verify, update and complete their registration information in the new form by August 10, 2014. The MSRB provides a number of educational resources below to assist municipal advisors with submitting their first Form A-12.

Municipal Advisor Fees

The MSRB also reminds municipal advisors that an annual fee of $300 per professional is being implemented beginning in the second half of 2014 in conjunction with the SEC’s permanent registration process for municipal advisors. Municipal advisor firms will not be invoiced for the fee and advisors are required to remit the fee directly to the MSRB. The professional fee is part of the MSRB’s effort to establish appropriate and equitable assessments on municipal advisors to fairly distribute assessments across all regulated entities.

Rulemaking Roundup

To date the MSRB has published three draft municipal advisor rules for public comment. The draft rules cover core standards of conduct, supervision and the establishment of professional qualifications for municipal advisors. The MSRB is revising the draft standards of conduct rule in light of comments received. Next steps will be announced soon. Comments received on the draft supervision and professional qualification rules are still under review.

MSRB Enhances Categorization of Rules on its Website

To assist municipal advisors in identifying the MSRB rules that are applicable to them, the sorting function in the rules section of the MSRB website has been enhanced. Municipal advisors may choose the “municipal advisor” option from the drop-down menu in the “Rules for” tab of the MSRB rules section on This will display only those rules that are currently in effect for municipal advisors. Municipal advisors may also wish to click on the “Upcoming Changes” tab to learn about new rules or amended rules with future effective dates.

MSRB rules

For State and Local Governments: Issuer Homepages

Municipal advisors may wish to alert their state and local government clients to the opportunity for them to create a customized “issuer homepage” on the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website. The free pilot feature provides investors with a consolidated view of all bond issues from a particular state or local government, recent trade activity and disclosure documents. State and local governments can also add contact information and links to their investor websites. Issuer homepages are easy for investors to find from an interactive map in the “Browse Issuers” section of the EMMA website. Read instructions for issuers on how to customize an EMMA issuer homepage.

EMMA map