Sources of Municipal Securities Information
Jan. 26, 2011
Most municipal securities offerings are exempt from the registration provisions of the federal securities laws. That means municipal issuers do not have to file a registration statement with the SEC. But you can still obtain information about municipal securities from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), through its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) website at www.emma.msrb.org.
Through EMMA, the MSRB provides free public access to municipal disclosure documents. These disclosure documents include official statements (functional equivalents of a prospectus) and refunding documents submitted to the MSRB since 1990, annual financial information and operating data, and notices of certain important events. In addition to municipal disclosure documents, EMMA also provides real-time municipal securities trade price data.
Some states—Texas, Michigan, and Ohio—also have their own municipal disclosure depositories, known as "SIDs," that make available information about municipal bonds issued in their states. The SEC maintains a list of SIDs.
In May 2009, the SEC approved the “access equals delivery” system for primary market disclosures and trade data. Effective June 1, 2009, this rule change permits municipal securities dealers to electronically post official statements and other disclosure documents rather than sending paper copies to investors, unless paper copies are specifically requested.
In May 2010, the SEC approved changes to its rules to increase the quality and timeliness of disclosure about municipal bonds, including newly issued variable rate demand obligations. The new municipal disclosure information resulting from these rule changes is available on EMMA.