News Feed Item

MSRB Advances Municipal Market Improvements and Municipal Advisor Regulations

The Board of Directors of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) held its quarterly meeting April 30 – May 2, 2014, where it advanced several initiatives to improve the structure, efficiency and transparency of the municipal securities market. The Board also continued to develop a regulatory framework for municipal advisors, agreeing to propose extending its landmark pay-to-play rule to municipal advisors, among other actions.

Best Execution

The Board agreed to seek approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to implement a “best-execution” standard for transactions in the municipal market. The rule would establish for the first time an explicit obligation for dealers to use “reasonable diligence” when handling and executing municipal security trades for retail investors to achieve a price that is as favorable as possible under prevailing market conditions.

“Building on the MSRB’s existing fair-pricing rules, the best-ex rule would add an additional layer of protection for retail investors while remaining flexible for dealers operating in a unique marketplace,” said MSRB Board Chair Daniel Heimowitz.

Municipal Advisor Regulation

The Board continued its development of a regulatory framework for municipal advisors by agreeing to develop draft amendments to its pay-to-play rule for dealers to also include municipal advisors.

“For two decades, MSRB Rule G-37 has played a central role in curbing the use of, and the appearance of the use of, political contributions to secure municipal securities business,” Heimowitz said. “Extending these provisions to municipal advisors will help prevent quid pro quo political corruption, or the appearance of such corruption, in public contracting for both dealers and municipal advisors.”

To date, the MSRB has sought comment on draft rules for municipal advisors to establish core duties and standards of conduct, supervisory and compliance obligations, and baseline professional qualification requirements. The Board reviewed comments received on the first of these proposals, draft MSRB Rule G-42, on the duties of non-solicitor municipal advisors. The Board began revising the draft rule to clarify and respond to concerns raised by commenters, including concerns about the treatment of principal transactions. It will continue to consider the comments received and will announce next steps soon.

Price Transparency

The Board also advanced three initiatives to enhance price transparency for municipal securities investors. The first is the introduction of a “price discovery tool” on the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website that will soon allow investors to easily find and compare prices of municipal securities with similar characteristics. A new graphical view of historical pricing will make data on EMMA even more useful and enable investors to clearly see prices at which any municipal security and other securities with similar characteristics were bought and sold over a specified period of time. The EMMA website, at emma.msrb.org, is the official source of municipal market disclosures and data, including trade prices for virtually all municipal securities.

“EMMA’s innovative price discovery tool will break new ground in terms of transparency for investors in the municipal market,” Heimowitz said. “This improved display of transaction prices has the potential of becoming a significant new tool for empowering investors to make more informed investment decisions.”

Second, the Board authorized MSRB staff to develop a concept release on the presentation of market information to aid investors in assessing markups or markdowns on their transactions. The MSRB supports a holistic review of the data available on the EMMA website and the ways that such data may enhance post-trade price transparency for investors and other market participants. The concept release will not contain a specific rule proposal, but will seek broad industry and public input in this area, including ways to address the topic of markup disclosure. Given many of the existing enhancements in post-trade price transparency on EMMA, fresh commenter input on markups and markdowns, including those on so-called “riskless principal” transactions or “matched trades,” may guide future rulemaking.

Third, the Board agreed to take the next steps toward expanding the pricing-related data available on EMMA as part of its central transparency platform initiative. The MSRB will develop a proposed framework for enhancing its Real-time Transaction Reporting System (RTRS) to collect additional post-trade information for public display on EMMA as well as a potential framework for a phased approach for the collection and dissemination of relevant pre-trade data. The MSRB will engage in outreach with market participants in advance of seeking formal comment, beginning this summer, on these two frameworks on separate tracks, consisting of a request for comment on proposed RTRS changes, followed by a concept release on a potential first phase of an incremental approach for collecting and disseminating relevant selected pre-trade data.

Dealer Continuing Education

At its meeting, the Board also agreed to file with the SEC a modified proposal to require that dealers provide annual training on municipal securities to registered persons regularly engaged in municipal securities activities as part of the MSRB’s firm element continuing education requirements. Although not specifying a minimum amount of training time, as originally proposed, the Board believes that the unique nature of the municipal securities market and its regulatory environment necessitate annual municipal securities training to persons regularly engaged in this business. This requirement will help ensure that firms consider the particular training needs of personnel responsible for understanding municipal securities products and complying with MSRB rules. The MSRB makes available a number of free educational resources about its rules on its website, including webinars about proposed and final rules.

Other Business

Finally, the Board met with SEC Commissioner Michael S. Piwowar, whose extensive background in economic analysis and municipal market structure lends an important perspective to the oversight of the municipal securities market. The Board and Commissioner Piwowar discussed the shared priorities of the MSRB and the SEC related to market structure issues and economic analysis of rulemaking.

About the MSRB

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 Congressionally-chartered, 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 subject to oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
Fact: storage performance problems have only gotten more complicated, as applications not only have become largely virtualized, but also have moved to cloud-based infrastructures. Storage performance in virtualized environments isn’t just about IOPS anymore. Instead, you need to guarantee performance for individual VMs, helping applications maintain performance as the number of VMs continues to go up in real time. In his session at Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, Product and Marketing at Tintri, wil...
Enterprises have been using both Big Data and virtualization for years. Until recently, however, most enterprises have not combined the two. Big Data's demands for higher levels of performance, the ability to control quality-of-service (QoS), and the ability to adhere to SLAs have kept it on bare metal, apart from the modern data center cloud. With recent technology innovations, we've seen the advantages of bare metal erode to such a degree that the enhanced flexibility and reduced costs that cl...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will discuss how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and microservices. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your conta...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Streamlyzer will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Streamlyzer is a powerful analytics for video streaming service that enables video streaming providers to monitor and analyze QoE (Quality-of-Experience) from end-user devices in real time.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
Intelligent machines are here. Robots, self-driving cars, drones, bots and many IoT devices are becoming smarter with Machine Learning. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Sudha Jamthe, CEO of IoTDisruptions.com, will discuss the next wave of business disruption at the junction of IoT and AI, impacting many industries and set to change our lives, work and world as we know it.
The IoT industry is now at a crossroads, between the fast-paced innovation of technologies and the pending mass adoption by global enterprises. The complexity of combining rapidly evolving technologies and the need to establish practices for market acceleration pose a strong challenge to global enterprises as well as IoT vendors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Smith, senior product manager for Numerex, will discuss how Numerex, as an experienced, established IoT provider, has embraced a ...
DevOps theory promotes a culture of continuous improvement built on collaboration, empowerment, systems thinking, and feedback loops. But how do you collaborate effectively across the traditional silos? How can you make decisions without system-wide visibility? How can you see the whole system when it is spread across teams and locations? How do you close feedback loops across teams and activities delivering complex multi-tier, cloud, container, serverless, and/or API-based services?