Welcome!

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
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...
Get deep visibility into the performance of your databases and expert advice for performance optimization and tuning. You can't get application performance without database performance. Give everyone on the team a comprehensive view of how every aspect of the system affects performance across SQL database operations, host server and OS, virtualization resources and storage I/O. Quickly find bottlenecks and troubleshoot complex problems.
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
"Coalfire is a cyber-risk, security and compliance assessment and advisory services firm. We do a lot of work with the cloud service provider community," explained Ryan McGowan, Vice President, Sales (West) at Coalfire Systems, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service. In his session at 19th Cloud Exp...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
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, sha...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
CloudJumper, a Workspace as a Service (WaaS) platform innovator for agile business IT, has been recognized with the Customer Value Leadership Award for its nWorkSpace platform by Frost & Sullivan. The company was also featured in a new report(1) by the industry research firm titled, “Desktop-as-a-Service Buyer’s Guide, 2016,” which provides a comprehensive comparison of DaaS providers, including CloudJumper, Amazon, VMware, and Microsoft.
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Qosmos has launched L7Viewer, a network traffic analysis tool, so it analyzes all the traffic between the virtual machine and the data center and the virtual machine and the external world," stated Sebastien Synold, Product Line Manager at Qosmos, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...