Most municipal securities offerings are exempt from the registration provisions of the federal securities laws. That means municipal issuers do not have to file a registration statement with the SEC. But you can still obtain information about municipal securities from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), through its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) website.
EMMA provides free public access to official disclosures, trade data, credit ratings and other resources and tools for understanding the municipal securities market. The disclosure documents available on EMMA include official statements (functional equivalents of a prospectus) and refunding documents submitted to the MSRB since 1990, annual financial information and operating data, notices of certain important events, and voluntary disclosures. In addition to municipal disclosure documents, EMMA also provides free market transparency data, which includes real-time prices and yields at which bonds and notes are bought and sold, for most trades occurring on or after January 31, 2005.
In addition to the MSRB’s EMMA website, some states (such as Texas, Michigan, and Ohio) operate their own web-based municipal securities disclosure depositories, known as State Information Depositories (SIDs), that make available information about municipal securities issued in their states. Also, some frequent and/or large issuers of municipal securities (such as New York City) maintain websites that publish information about the issuer and the municipal securities that it has issued and/or will issue in the future.
For information about municipal securities offerings before 1990, or for continuing disclosure information published before July 1, 2009, you may be able to obtain information about particular municipal securities from a formerly designated Nationally Recognized Municipal Securities Information Repository (NRMSIR). Prior to July 1, 2009, NRSMIRs were entities, designated by the SEC, to which an issuer or obligated person that entered into a continuing disclosure agreement was contractually required to send annual financial information and event disclosures. EMMA has since replaced the role of NRMSIRs under SEC rules and now serves as the official repository for information on virtually all municipal securities.