BRADENTON, Fla. – Florida launched a new website Wednesday to enhance transparency and access to information about the state’s debt.
The website is at flabonds.com.
The new portal will give bondholders and market experts more functionality than the state’s “clunky” 15-year-old website, and offers more information than is currently available through EMMA, said Florida Bond Director Ben Watkins.
EMMA, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s electronic filing system, doesn’t provide all the information pertaining to Florida that’s available, he said.
“We’re an $83 billion company with $24 billion of debt outstanding, so people have a right to know,” Watkins said, referring to Florida’s $83 billion budget. “This will provide enhanced transparency in our effort to use technology more efficiently and more effectively to provide ongoing information to investors and the analyst communities.”
The new website, he said, will provide the market with timely details on state revenue collections, the state budget and current affairs, as well as a method to email questions to the division and receive email alerts when documents are posted.
Disclosures required by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Rule 15c2-12 will continue to be posted on EMMA.
Watkins said the division’s current website will remain active although it does not offer the same functionality as the new one.
Florida’s new site is hosted by BondLink, a tech company begun last year to help municipal issuers manage debt programs.
“Florida's debt program is as complex as anything you'd see in the corporate bond market,” said BondLink chief executive officer and co-founder Colin MacNaught. “The new corporate-style investor website is designed to provide continuous information flows to bond investors.”
The platform offers all issuers the technology “to connect directly with the market and provide updates on their credit very efficiently,” said MacNaught, a former debt manager for Massachusetts.
Florida’s website offers pull-down menus on 16 state credits, as well as additional information on bond programs backed by the state’s full faith and credit.
The website currently offers access to more than 500 documents, including the state’s annual Debt Affordability Report.
“We want to be on the leading edge of providing information to our existing bondholders as well as to prospective bondholders, financial advisors and others,” Watkins said. “We want people who own our bonds or who want to own our bonds to know anything they would like about the state and our finances.”