The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board yesterday submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission a proposal to establish a continuing disclosure component to the Electronic Municipal Market Access, or EMMA system.

The SEC is expected today to vote to publish the proposal for public comment and to consider proposing changes to the commission's Rule 15c2-12 that will designate EMMA as the replacement for the four nationally recognized municipal securities information repositories, or NRMSIRs.

The move marks the expected evolution of EMMA from a primary market pilot portal that was launched in late March to a centralized warehouse for both primary market and secondary market disclosures and trade data that will be posted on a near-real time basis. Market participants will be able to submit and access documents for free. The MSRB hopes to complete the system sometime in the winter.

A 30-day comment period for both proposals will begin once they are published in the Federal Register, sources said.

Under the MSRB's proposal, continuing disclosure submissions to EMMA must be made as portable document format, or PDF, files. Beginning with the first calendar quarter at least nine months after approval by the SEC, such files must be word-searchable, so that users will be able to search for specific terms used within documents through a search-or-find function. Implementation of the word-searchable requirement is being deferred to give issuers and other market participants time to ensure that their software is compliant, the notice said.

Issuers, other borrowers called "obligated persons," or their designated agents, will be able to submit continuing disclosure documents to EMMA through password-protected accounts.

They will be able to file continuing disclosures through a Web site or by computer-to-computer data connections on a bulk or continuous basis, the later of which would utilize XML files for data and PDF files for documents.

The SEC is expected to publicly release its proposed changes to 15c2-12 within days after voting to propose them.

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