MSRB Monthly Update - March 2015

Coming Soon

Webinar: MSRB Rule G-44 on Supervisory and Compliance Obligations of Municipal Advisors

March 19, 2015
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET 

The MSRB will host a webinar to review MSRB Rule G-44, on Supervisory and Compliance Obligations of Municipal Advisors and related amendments to MSRB Rules G-8 and G-9, on books and records.

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Webinar: Amendments to MSRB Rule G-3 on Professional Qualification Standards for Municipal Advisors

April 2, 2015
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET   

The MSRB will host a webinar to review amended MSRB Rule G-3 and related rules, which, effective April 27, 2015, will create baseline standards of professional qualification for municipal advisors.

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Did You Know?

Disclosures about municipal asset backed securities (ABS) are now available on EMMA. Check “ABS” in EMMA's Advanced Search


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EMMA Helps the Sun Shine In

Next week, the MSRB joins reporters, civic groups and others in celebrating the importance of government transparency and public access to information during Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Sunshine Week is organized by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Throughout the week, the MSRB will highlight the free public information available on its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website. The MSRB’s EMMA website is the national repository for annual financial information and other disclosures from states and municipalities that have issued debt to finance public projects.

Follow the MSRB on Twitter @MSRB_News and use the hashtag #SunshineWeek.


Moody’s Public Finance Ratings Coming to EMMA

The MSRB recently announced that Moody's Investors Service public finance ratings will be available on EMMA as soon as this summer. The addition will make all ratings from the largest municipal securities ratings agencies readily available to investors in a consolidated format together with all other key information about a municipal security.

Credit ratings on EMMA are displayed along with the trading and disclosure information for each municipal security, and are also integrated into EMMA’s advanced search function and price discovery tool. The MSRB invited all Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations (NRSROs) to make their municipal credit ratings available on EMMA. EMMA currently provides free public access to public finance ratings from Fitch Ratings, Kroll Bond Rating Agency and Standard &Poor’s. Read more about ratings information available on EMMA.


Municipal Finance Experts Join MSRB

Robert Fippinger

The MSRB recently announced that Robert A. Fippinger, one of the country’s preeminent municipal securities attorneys, is now the MSRB’s Chief Legal Officer. Fippinger is responsible for all MSRB legal and external affairs. He oversees market regulation, professional qualification and enforcement support programs, corporate governance, legislative affairs, education and outreach, and communications for the organization.

Prior joining the MSRB as Chief Legal Officer, Fippinger was a senior counsel and partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, which has a large practice area in public finance, and served on the MSRB Board of Directors from 2010 to 2014.

Dall Forsythe

Also in February, the MSRB announced that Dall W. Forsythe would join the MSRB Board of Directors as a public member to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Fippinger. Forsythe is a distinguished visiting scholar at the New York University Wagner School of Public Service, where he focuses his academic research on state and local government financial management and securities regulation. Forsythe held positions at Columbia University, the Kennedy School at Harvard, the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College (City University of New York) and State University of New York's University of Albany. He also served as a senior fellow at the Rockefeller Institute of Government. He also earlier served as budget director for the State of New York, authored Memos to the Governor: An Introduction to State Budgetingand was managing director of public finance for Lehman Brothers. 


Percentage of Fixed Rate Securities Traded Increases in Early 2015


The early months of 2015 showed a noticeable change in the proportion of municipal fixed and variable rate securities traded compared to a year earlier. Par amount traded of municipal fixed rate securities accounted for 75 and 70 percent of all transactions in January and February 2015, respectively. This level is up considerably from a year ago and from the monthly average of 60 percent over the past two years.  Municipal variable rate securities, mainly auction rate securities and variable rate demand obligations, accounted for 21 and 26 percent of all par traded during the first two months of 2015. In 2007, the proportions of these types of securities were nearly opposite: fixed rate securities accounted for 26 percent of all municipal securities traded while variable rate securities accounted for 72 percent. 


Regulatory Roundup

MSRB to Amend Rules to Create Professional Qualification Standards for Municipal Advisors March 2, 2015