PHOENIX - The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board is launching third-party yield curve and bond index information on EMMA Monday, giving users access to more detailed data than was previously available on the site.

The MSRB previewed the new information in a July 21 morning webinar hosted primarily by MSRB market research director Marcelo Vieira. Investors, issuers and other EMMA users will gain access to bond indices from AP/MBIS as well as S&P, and will be able to view yield curves for different maturities in either graph or chart form via a drop-down menu.

MSRB's Marcelo Vieira led a demo of the new tools Friday
MSRB's Marcelo Vieira

“It’s very dynamic, Vieira said. “It’s very fast.”

The MSRB has been discussing adding this kind of information to EMMA for several years, announcing back in 2012 that it was conducting an extensive review of muni bond indexes with the aim of increasing transparency and educating market participants.

That announcement followed questions about whether an index in the municipal market market was being manipulated similarly to what was going on with the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor. But Alan Polsky, who was then MSRB chairman at that time, said that there was no indication of manipulation of muni indexes.

MSRB executive director Lynnette Kelly said that the kind of information EMMA will now provide will be new for many investors, and that the MSRB is working to expand its analytical offerings even more in the future.

“Municipal yield curves historically have not been widely or freely available to investors that purchase municipal bonds or municipalities that issue them,” Kelly said. “The MSRB is bridging that gap by adding third-party yield curves and indices on the EMMA website to dramatically expand access to these important benchmarking and analytical tools. We continue to explore partnerships with additional market data providers to enhance EMMA with more yield curves, indices and other interactive tools that help facilitate decision-making in the municipal market.”

Triet Nguyen, managing director and head of public finance credit at NewOak Fundamental Credit, said the new tools are a good step but also questioned their overall usefulness for retail investors.

“We think it’s a positive step toward more transparency, however, we’re not sure if retail investors need more market data or better, more user-friendly tools to assess the data,” he said.

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