Muni board seeks to make posted trade info more exact

June 1 Fri Jun 1, 2012 12:43pm EDT

June 1 (Reuters) - The board that writes the rules for the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market is trying to give all investors equal access to trade information.

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board on Friday said it was accepting comments through July 2 on changes in posting the exact par amounts in trades with par value equal to more than $1 million. The change would eliminate a five-day window when those large trades are posted simply as "1MM+" on the MSRB's web site, EMMA.

"The MSRB believes disseminating the exact trade size of all transactions will help achieve our goal of ensuring the fairest and most accurate pricing of municipal securities transactions by providing all market participants with equal access to transaction information," said MSRB Executive Director Lynnette Kelly in a statement.

In January, the federal watchdog agency, the Government Accountability Office, said that institutional investors who favor larger transactions trade at more favorable prices than individual investors and are generally better equipped to make independent assessments of a security's value.

That report inspired the board, a self-regulatory organization made up of issuers, advisers and banks, that writes the rules the Securities and Exchange Commission enforces, to consider scratching the delay, which was intended to protect the dealer and the institutional investors involved.

But last month, the board determined that "market efficiency and investor protection would be enhanced by making this information available immediately," according to a statement.

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