WASHINGTON Jan 28 Indices and other benchmarks
used for pricing debt in the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal bond
market, for which investors and traders often pay, may soon
appear on the free public website known as EMMA.
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board said on Monday it
had "agreed to advance a plan to work with the private sector to
provide new tools - including one or more yield curves or other
market indices - to help market participants better assess
The board, a self-regulatory organization made up of
bankers, issuers and advisers, writes the rules that the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission enforces. It also operates
EMMA, or Electronic Municipal Marketplace Access, a centralized
repository of market information().
Since creating EMMA about five years ago, the board has
sought to provide almost all market information that the public
could access for free. The addition of the municipal yield
curves will take the site one step further by giving retail
investors free access to information on price levels in the
secondary bond market.
In a call with reporters, MSRB Chair Jay Goldstone said the
board could post the yield curves "in maybe the next quarter."
"It's all about transparency and trying to provide the
investor community and the issuer community with more and more
information and data as they're trying to make decisions," he
said. "It's not something the MSRB is owning. It's sort of like
when we're posting the ratings from the rating agencies."
MSRB Executive Director Lynnette Kelly said the board was
working with "private vendors" about posting their products on
EMMA, but is not ready to announce which companies will
"This was all articulated in the long-range plan that we put
out a year ago. This is the next logical step," she said.
Municipal Market Data, a Thomson Reuters company that
publishes a widely used daily scale of yields, is "always
speaking with the MSRB and the market on ways to support
industry objectives," said Kate Reid, a spokeswoman. She did not
During an August roundtable the board held with 10 index
providers, "they were asking who would give their data to the
MSRB and a couple of people said, 'We'll give you something,'"
said Thomas Doe, chief executive officer of Municipal Market
Advisors, the other major provider of data on yields in the
"But there was nothing coordinated at the time," he said,
adding that his firm has not been contacted by the board on the
issue since then.
Doe expressed reservations about both distributing his
company's product on EMMA and about giving retail investors a
wide range of yield curves, as that could be confusing.
Still, he said the firm is open to working with the board.