WASHINGTON — The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board announced Monday that it has begun a multi-year campaign to expand outreach to state and local issuers, emphasizing how they can use its EMMA website for disclosure compliance and education.
The new "Putting EMMA to Work for You" campaign is designed to raise awareness among small and mid-sized municipal issuers about the importance of communicating with their investors on an ongoing basis, the MSRB said in a release.
The MSRB will provide guidance and tips through both live and internet-based events, such as seminars, webinars and webcasts. The effort is an extension of the MSRB's existing education and outreach program.
"The MSRB is committed to improving disclosure and transparency in the municipal market," said MSRB executive director Lynnette Kelly. "We are eager to spread the word among municipal issuers about how they can use the EMMA website to their advantage to communicate with investors and comply with their disclosure obligations."
The MSRB provides a "State and Local Government Toolkit" section on its website to answer questions and address concerns of issuers, which sometimes are not aware of the capabilities of the MSRB site.
The board envisions EMMA functioning as a one-stop disclosure shop for all market participants, including issuers, investors, and dealers. Issuers can maintain information on all of their bond issuances in a single place, and can sign up for email alerts reminding them of deadlines to file annual and quarterly financial reports.
The disclosure issues addressed in the outreach program are especially important for governments trying to comply with securities laws.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has put renewed emphasis on enforcement of disclosure violations in recent months, and federal officials have said that even state and local officials can face securities fraud charges if they fail to live up to their obligations to investors.
Harrisburg, Pa., was hit with SEC charges after failing to properly disclose financial information led to an "information vacuum," forcing investors to rely on inaccurate information gleaned from other sources.
While the focus of the expanded outreach effort is on state and local government issuers, the MSRB release said, the board continues to provide education and outreach for all municipal market participants.