MSRB Monthly Update: November 2017

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New Budget Summary Demonstrates Commitment to Financial Transparency

Nanette Lawson, MSRB CFO

As a self-regulatory organization that must be a diligent steward of its resources, the MSRB supports public accountability and corporate transparency. To further demonstrate our commitment, last month we released a budget summary for fiscal year 2018. Communicating about how we allocate resources is critical to providing transparency to our stakeholders and underscores our public-purpose mission. Publishing our budget allows us to demonstrate the alignment between our strategic goals and our allocation of resources, reiterate our emphasis on a fair and equitable fee structure for regulated entities, and explain our approach to maintaining appropriate organizational reserve levels.  

Our 2018 budget is based on identified financial priorities, including fair and equitable balance of fees, diversification of revenues, revenue expectations that account for volatile market activity and strict management of expenses. Ensuring appropriate revenue and expense levels and overall financial sustainability of the MSRB is a top organizational priority. Read more about the MSRB’s projected revenue on page 5 of the budget summary and learn about our expenses on page 6

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We also closely monitor our reserves, looking not only to our current position but also to projected trends. This year’s budget lays out a plan to responsibly manage down excess reserves in a manner that supports the fair and equitable balance of fees while above all, preserving the financial sustainability of the MSRB so that it can continue its statutory obligation to oversee the municipal securities market and protect investors, municipal entities and the public interest. Learn about our reserves on page 9 of the budget summary.

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Read more about the MSRB’s strategic objective to promote financial sustainability by assessing fair and equitable fees, diversifying funding sources and spending responsibly.

Outcomes of MSRB Board Decisions on
Strategic Initiatives 

During its quarterly meeting last week, the MSRB Board of Directors discussed several topics related to its strategic initiatives to support regulatory compliance and further evolve the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website into an essential municipal market utility. 

To ensure that the MSRB’s compliance support activities leverage the experience and perspectives of regulated entities and other stakeholders, the Board approved publishing a request for comment in November to solicit public input on how the MSRB can best assist municipal securities dealers and municipal advisors in understanding, implementing and complying with current MSRB rules. In addition, the MSRB established a compliance advisory group that will provide expertise and input to the Board to help inform the organization’s long-term strategic goal to facilitate industry understanding of and compliance with MSRB rules. 

The Board also discussed the MSRB’s ongoing work to further evolve the EMMA website into an industry-leading platform that meets the needs of market participants and established guiding principles for future functionality and improving the overall user experience of the website. The MSRB has been engaged in a year-long series of focus groups that included retail investors, issuers, broker-dealers, municipal advisors, dissemination agents and others to inform its approach. “Nearly 10 years after creating EMMA, we are rethinking and reexamining its future,” said MSRB Executive Director Lynnette Kelly. “Our principles will guide decisions about that path.” Read about the principles hereRead the full Board meeting summary here

View Trading Activity in Your State on EMMA®

The MSRB recently added new market-wide trading statistics to its EMMA® website that for the first time allow EMMA users to view aggregate trading activity in each state and territory. From EMMA’s “Tools and Resources” page, select “Market Statistics.” Click the “State Trade Statistics” link to view the number of securities, par volume and number of trades in each state for the most recent trading day. The data can be filtered by date ranges, tax status and trade type.

The availability of market-wide statistics on EMMA supports the MSRB’s long-term effort to improve access to tools and information that help municipal market participants analyze trends and improve understanding of the market. 

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Read more about the MSRB’s strategic objective to further evolve the EMMA website into a comprehensive transparency platform that meets the needs of municipal market participants and the public.

MSRB Highlights Concerns for Retail
Investors in Muni Market

In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Investor Advocate last month, the MSRB emphasized its concerns about municipal market practices that pose risks for retail investors, and reiterated its commitment to enhancing transparency and fairness in the municipal market through a continued focus on pricing and disclosure. Read the full letter.

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Read more about the MSRB’s strategic objective to leverage the MSRB’s unique perspective and expertise as an independent self-regulatory organization.

Grow your Market Knowledge with MuniEdPro®

MuniEdPro Logo Blue Square NEW

MuniEdPro® is the MSRB’s suite of interactive, online courses designed specifically for municipal market participants. Courses can benefit anyone looking to reinforce understanding of MSRB rules or to strengthen market knowledge. MuniEdPro® courses may be used to help fulfill the firm-element component of continuing education requirements for regulated entities depending on your firm’s annual written training plan. Enhance your firm's compliance program by offering your municipal finance professionals the full MuniEdPro® course catalog at the discounted rate of $100 per person. The discounted rate, which is available from October 1 to December 31, 2017, is a $270 value per person, saving firms over 60 percent on the full course catalog.

For more information about MuniEdPro® or to inquire about taking advantage of discounted subscription pricing, contact Ritta McLaughlin at or 202-838-1306.

Upcoming Events

Compliance Outreach Program for

Municipal Advisors

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET

Join the SEC, MSRB and FINRA via webcast for the Compliance Outreach Program for Municipal Advisors. Topics of discussion will focus on the duties and standards of conduct for non-solicitor municipal advisors under MSRB Rule G-42 and the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as well as municipal advisor compliance with rules concerning supervision, registration and books and records. View the agendaRegister to attend via webcast.

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Read more about the MSRB’s strategic objective to facilitate industry understanding of and compliance with MSRB rules through rule guidance, clarification and education in support of market efficiency.


Recent Press Releases

Read the MSRB’s latest press releases on

Rules and Guidance Roundup

Visit the Rules and Guidance page of to stay up-to-date with the latest requests for comment, proposed rule changes, rule approval notices and market advisories.