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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Consisting of Establishment of a Subscription to Historical Information and Documents Submitted to the MSRB's Short-Term Obligation Rate Transparency System

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

March 6, 2012.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) [1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, [2] notice is hereby given that on February 27, 2012, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (“MSRB”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the MSRB. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change Back to Top

The MSRB is hereby filing with the Commission a proposed rule change to establish a subscription to historical information and documents submitted to the MSRB's Short-Term Obligation Rate Transparency System (“SHORT System”). The SHORT System collects and disseminates information and documents for municipal Auction Rate Securities and municipal Variable Rate Demand Obligations.

The text of the proposed rule change is available on the MSRB's Web site at http://www.msrb.org/Rules-and-Interpretations/SEC-Filings/2012-Filings.aspx, at the MSRB's principal office, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change Back to Top

In its filing with the Commission, the MSRB included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The MSRB has prepared summaries, set forth in Sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

1. Purpose

In January 2009, the MSRB implemented an electronic system to collect and disseminate information about securities bearing interest at short-term rates and making such information and documents publicly available through a dissemination service (“SHORT System”). In May 2011, MSRB enhanced the SHORT System to add documents to the information collected and disseminated. Information and documents collected by the SHORT System are made available for free on the MSRB's Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) Web site pursuant to the EMMA short-term obligation rate transparency service. [3] MSRB also makes the information and documents collected by the SHORT System available through a subscription service, which is available for an annual fee of $10,000. The proposed rule change would clarify that subscribers to the SHORT subscription service would be able to access historical data for the most recent six months on a daily rolling basis and establish purchase agreements for historical products consisting of twelve consecutive complete month data sets of the documents and related indexing information collected by the SHORT System (the “SHORT Historical Data Product”) dating to January 30, 2009. [4] The purpose of the proposed rule change is to provide another avenue for obtaining the information and documents provided through the SHORT subscription service, which is currently only available on a current basis through the real-time data stream.

The SHORT Historical Data Product would be made available to purchasers in electronic format using a physical medium (such as an optical disc, flash memory card or external hard drive), [5] pursuant to the terms of the MSRB Historical Transaction Data Purchase Agreement, which would be executed by purchasers prior to delivery of the historical data product. [6] The MSRB proposes to charge $5,000 for any twelve consecutive complete month data set of information and documents collected by the SHORT System. [7] In general, no smaller data sets will be made available. [8] A one-time set-up fee of $2,000 (the “set-up fee”) would be charged to new purchasers of the SHORT Historical Data Products, unless the purchaser is a current subscriber to an MSRB Subscription Service, including, but not limited to, the MSRB Real-Time Transaction Data Subscription Service, Comprehensive Transaction Data Subscription Service, SHORT Subscription Service, Primary Market Disclosure Subscription Service, or the Continuing Disclosure Subscription Service or has previously purchased a historical product. [9]

2. Statutory Basis

The MSRB has adopted the proposed rule change pursuant to Section 15B(b)(2)(C) of the Exchange Act, which provides that MSRB's rules shall:

Be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in municipal securities and municipal financial products, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market in municipal securities and municipal financial products, and, in general, to protect investors, municipal entities, obligated persons, and the public interest; and

The MSRB has also adopted the proposed rule change pursuant to Section 15B(b)(3)(B)(ii) of the Exchange Act, which provides that the MSRB shall:

Not be prohibited from charging commercially reasonable fees for automated subscription-based feeds or similar services, or for charging for other data or document-based services customized upon request of any person, made available to commercial enterprises, municipal securities market professionals, or the general public, whether delivered through the Internet or any other means, that contain all or part of the documents or information, subject to approval of the fees by the Commission under section 19(b).

The MSRB believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the Exchange Act. The proposed rule change would establish a subscription service that would make information collected by the SHORT System available to market participants as an additional avenue for obtaining information that is submitted to the EMMA short-term obligation rate transparency service. Broad access to the information collected by the SHORT System, in addition to the public access through the EMMA short-term obligation rate transparency service web portal, should further assist in preventing fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices by improving the opportunity for public investors to access material information about SHORT System disclosure information. The proposed rule change also provides for commercially reasonable fees to partially offset costs associated with operating the SHORT System and producing and disseminating information products to purchasers.

B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

The MSRB does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Exchange Act since it will apply equally to all persons who choose to purchase [10] the SHORT Historical Data Product, and those who choose not to pay the charge may view the same information for free on the EMMA Web site.

C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments Received on the Proposed Rule Change by Members, Participants, or Others

Written comments were neither solicited nor received on the proposed rule change.

III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action Back to Top

Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period (i) as the Commission may designate up to 90 days of such date if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the self-regulatory organization consents, the Commission will:

(A) by order approve or disapprove such proposed rule change, or

(B) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be disapproved.

IV. Solicitation of Comments Back to Top

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Exchange Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

Electronic Comments

Paper Comments

  • Send paper comments in triplicate to Elizabeth M. Murphy, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File Number SR-MSRB-2012-03. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the MSRB's offices. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-MSRB-2012-03 and should be submitted on or before April 2, 2012.

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority. [11]

Kevin M. O'Neill,

Deputy Secretary.

[FR Doc. 2012-5906 Filed 3-9-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P

Footnotes Back to Top

3. See Exchange Act Release No. 59212 (January 7, 2009).

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4. The SHORT Subscriber Manual provides a complete, up-to-date listing of all data elements made available through the SHORT Subscription Service. The information provided in the SHORT Historical Data Product are the same as those currently provided in the SHORT Subscription Service.

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5. The MSRB will choose an appropriate physical medium for delivering the EMMA SHORT historical data product based upon the quantity of data included in a data set and technological advances in physical media.

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6. Purchasers would be subject to all of the terms of the MSRB Historical Transaction Data Purchase Agreement to be entered into between the MSRB and each purchaser, including terms relating to the proprietary and intellectual property rights of third parties in information provided by such third parties that is made available through the products.

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7. The purchase price does not include sales tax as required by Virginia state law. The purchase price is a one-time charge for the SHORT Historical Data Products, as applicable, and will not include any future additions or enhancements that may be added to the data. The MSRB could, in its discretion, waive or reduce the purchase price for not-for-profit organizations that desire the product for non-profit or research purposes consistent with their stated charitable or other public purpose.

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8. The SHORT system became effective January 30, 2009. Accordingly, a purchaser of all historical information and documents will be charged $5,000 for each twelve consecutive month data set and a prorated amount for any remaining months.

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9. The MSRB could, in its discretion, waive or reduce the product set-up fee(s) for not-for-profit organizations that desire the product for non-profit or research purposes consistent with their stated charitable or other public purpose.

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10. The MSRB notes that purchasers may be subject to proprietary rights of third parties in information provided by such third parties that is made available through the purchase agreement.

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