WASHINGTON - The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to delay by roughly six months, to July 1, 2009, the implementation of the proposed continuing disclosure component of EMMA so that muni issuers and others will have more time to familiarize themselves with it through a pilot system.
The board also asked the commission to push back until Jan. 1, 2010, the date when muni issuers and others will be required to submit documents in word-searchable PDF files to the continuing disclosure system. Though all filings to the system must be PDFs, the original proposal did not require that they be word searchable until the first calendar quarter at least nine months after the SEC approved changes to its Rule 15c2-12 on disclosure.
Both changes were spurred by market participants who pressed the board for additional time.
Specifically, the board would like muni issuers and others to have until the later of either July 1, 2009, or when changes to 15c2-12 become effective, before the use of EMMA, the Electronic Municipal Market Access system, becomes mandatory. The proposed changes to 15c2-12 would designate EMMA as the sole centralized repository for secondary market disclosure documents, effectively replacing the four existing nationally recognized municipal securities information repositories, or NRMSIRs.
The board made its requests in the form of amendments sent to the SEC late Wednesday. The amendments would modify the filing the MSRB made to the commission in July to establish the continuing disclosure component of EMMA.
The MSRB must next file a request with the SEC to establish a pilot continuing disclosure system for EMMA, which would be launched in late winter or early spring. Currently, EMMA is functioning in a pilot format but only for primary market disclosure documents and trade data.
Ultimately, the system will also warehouse secondary market disclosures, as well as data and documents collected through a transparency system for variable-rate demand obligations and auction-rate securities that the board plans to launch in three phases beginning next year.