PHOENIX - The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board on Thursday unveiled market-wide trading statistics on EMMA that have not previously been publicly available.

The new data include a daily state-by-state view of municipal bond trading activity highlighting the most actively traded securities and issuers. Users can customize results based on date range, geographic location, tax status of bonds and type of transaction. They can then sort the resulting search results by par traded, number of trades, price, yield, and other information.

MSRB president Lynnette Kelly.
MSRB president Lynnette Kelly.

“We are very focused on transforming EMMA to meet the needs of our diverse marketplace,” said MSRB executive director Lynnette Kelly. “The website was conceived as a platform for investors to find information about a particular security and make a more informed decision when buying or selling that bond. Now, investors and other market participants are seeking a broader view of market activity to inform their decision-making. The MSRB is in a unique position to provide free public access to interactive tools for understanding market trends.”

The new statistics, which are to be updated daily, are available on EMMA’s “Tools and Resources” tab, which also features previously-launched third-party yield curves and indices, a calendar displaying upcoming bond offerings, and an economic calendar showing economic events and market data releases.

“Having these resources on EMMA helps all market participants look beyond individual securities to get a market-wide view,” Kelly said.

The MSRB has rolled out a number of new features on EMMA over the past year or so, for which market groups have shown an appetite and the MSRB has long said it prioritizes. In addition to the third-party indices and curves, the MSRB has also added a custom notifications feature just over the past year.

The market has indicated it is very interested in further developing EMMA. In January, seven municipal market groups sent the board a letter urging it to improve EMMA’s accessibility and usefulness. The groups suggested the board hire "technology and user-experience professionals" to work with market participants to design "a more efficient and intuitive front end" for information providers, such as issuers and their designees, as well as end users, including investors and others.

Launched in 2008, EMMA has succeeded in narrowing measures of market inefficiencies like price volatility and price differentials, but has not totally eliminated the advantage institutional investors have over retail investors, according to a research paper presented at Brookings Institute’s annual Municipal Finance Caucus in July.

The MSRB will host a webinar on Sept. 21, 2017 from 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET to demonstrate the use of the enhanced statistics features.

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Kyle Glazier

Kyle Glazier

Kyle Glazier is the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief of The Bond Buyer. He covers securities law, regulation, and enforcement.