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Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB)


The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) is a self-regulatory organization established by the U.S. Congress to create and enforce rules that govern the trading, selling, and buying of municipal securities. These securities are bonds issued by local governments or agencies to finance public projects. The MSRB’s objective is to protect investors while promoting fair and transparent markets in municipal securities.


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Key Takeaways

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  1. The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) is a self-regulatory organization authorized by the United States Congress to protect investors, municipal entities such as states and governmental entities along with the general public. They do this by fostering transparency in the municipal securities market.
  2. The MSRB is responsible for establishing and enforcing rules for municipal securities dealers, municipal advisors, and brokers of municipal securities. The organization doesn’t have enforcement authority but instead establishes the rules that other regulatory organizations, like the SEC and FINRA, enforce.
  3. MSRB also provides resources for education and market transparency. It offers free electronic access to municipal disclosures, market data, and education resources through its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system.

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The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) is an important organization in business and finance given its role in maintaining the safety and transparency of the municipal securities market. This self-regulatory entity establishes rules and regulations for broker-dealers and banks that engage in the purchase, sale, trading, and underwriting of municipal securities, which are bonds issued by local and state governments. Through its regulatory oversight and policies, MSRB ensures that these cross-state transactions are ethical and protect the interests of investors and the public. A well-regulated municipal securities market contributes significantly to the sound infrastructure of public finance in the US, thereby making MSRB integral to the overall financial system.


The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) serves a critical purpose in overseeing the American municipal securities market. This self-regulatory organization’s main agenda is to create rules and policies to govern companies and individuals that deal with issuing and trading municipal securities, which include bonds that are issued to fund public projects like schools, hospitals, and transportation infrastructure. The MSRB is authorized by the Federal Government and it functions primarily to protect investors, municipal entities, and the public interest by promoting a fair and transparent market.The MSRB uses its regulatory capacity to set standards for market professionals in terms of conduct, practices, and communication with clients. In practical application, it means the MSRB safeguards the integrity of the municipal securities market through policy formulation, investor protection, and market efficiency enhancement. It is the primary agency to ensure that deals transacted in this market are carried out with utmost transparency and honesty, aiming to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts. By doing so, it provides a strong confidence boost for investors, knowing that they are participating in a well-regulated and controlled marketplace.


1. Municipal Bonds Issuance: The City of Los Angeles decides to issue municipal bonds to fund a new public transportation project. The process and regulations pertaining to the issuance, sale, and trading of these bonds are governed by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB). The adherence to these rules ensure transparency and protects interests of both buyers and sellers.2. Financial Advisors Registration: A financial advisor in New York, dealing in advising clients about investment in municipal bonds, needs to register with the MSRB. This ensures that the advisor is adhering to the MSRB’s professional qualification standards and fair practice rules meant to protect investors.3. Disclosure of Financial Information: The MSRB has implemented the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system for the municipal securities market. This system provides free access to municipal disclosures and data. For instance, if the City of Chicago issues bonds, it must disclose financial data and updates through the EMMA system. This ensures transparency and provides investors with valuable information.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB)?

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) is a self-regulatory organization created by Congress to protect investors, municipal entities and the general public who interact with municipal securities markets.

What is the role of MSRB?

The MSRB protects investors, and the public interest by promoting fairness, transparency, and efficiency in the municipal securities market. It establishes rules for dealing in municipal securities and supervises securities firms and banks that engage in municipal securities activities.

Who regulates the MSRB?

The MSRB is subject to supervision by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Does the MSRB sell municipal securities?

No, the MSRB does not sell municipal securities. Its primary role is to develop rules and policies for municipal securities firms.

What are municipal securities?

Municipal securities are debt securities that are issued by states, cities, counties and other governmental entities to fund public projects such as the construction of schools, highways, hospitals etc.

Can a private investor buy municipal securities?

Yes, private investors can buy municipal securities. These are often considered attractive investment vehicles because the interest earned on many types of municipal securities is exempt from federal income taxes.

Where can I find a list of MSRB rules?

You can find a complete list of current MSRB rules on the MSRB’s official website.

How does the MSRB impact the average investor?

MSRB rules ensure that the municipal securities market operates transparently and fairly. Investors are protected against fraudulent and manipulative practices, providing a safer investment environment.

What initiatives does the MSRB take to educate the public about municipal securities?

The MSRB provides a variety of educational resources to the general public, including brochures, online courses, webinars, and guidance on understanding municipal market activities.

Does the MSRB provide any tools or data services related to municipal securities?

Yes, MSRB provides several tools such as EMMA (Electronic Municipal Market Access) which serves as the official repository for information on all municipal bonds.

Related Finance Terms

  • Rule G-37: A regulation by the MSRB to prevent pay-to-play practices where broker dealers with political contribution ties are prohibited from doing business.
  • Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO): An entity like the MSRB that has the power to create enforcement regulations within a particular industry or profession.
  • Municipal Bonds: Debt securities issued by a state, municipality, or county to finance its capital expenditures, and are one of the main areas governed by the MSRB.
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): The federal agency whom the MSRB operates under, and that oversees all rule proposals put forth by the MSRB.
  • Underwriting: The process which investment banks go through to raise investment capital from investors on behalf of corporations and governments that are issuing securities, a process regulated by the MSRB.

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