Providers of municipal market data met with Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board staff Thursday to discuss concerns that municipal market participants do not adequately understand muni market indices.

Staff from organizations invited by the MSRB invited to the meeting included representatives from The Bond Buyer, Bloomberg, Interactive Data Corp., Markit, Municipal Market Data, Municipal Market Advisors, Standard & Poor's, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and Thomson Reuters.

The meeting was closed to media outlets, and the MSRB declined to comment on the outcome of the meeting or additional steps the board intends to take.

The board said in a statement that the goal of the meeting “was to determine how the MSRB can work with market indices and benchmark providers to increase the market’s understanding of the methodologies and mechanics” of indices and benchmarks.

The meeting follows an MSRB announcement in July that it was beginning a multi-month review of muni bond indexes with the aim of increasing transparency and educating market participants.  That announcement followed allegations of widespread manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor.

But MSRB chair Alan Polsky said in July he has "no reason to believe" there has been manipulation of other indexes.

The board’s Thursday statement noted that data vendors do not fall under the MSRB’s jurisdiction. The board’s interest in market indices comes from the board’s statutory obligation to promote a fair and efficient market, said the statement.

The board said it is preparing education materials about LIBOR and municipal market indices, benchmarks and yield curves.

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