Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”)  and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, notice is hereby given that on February 10, 2011, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (“MSRB”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in items I and II 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
The MSRB is filing with the Commission a proposed rule change to amend the MSRB's Short-term Obligation Rate Transparency subscription service to provide subscribers with additional information as well as documents. The MSRB has requested that the proposed rule change be made effective on May 16, 2011.
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/2011-Fillings.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
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 Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
The Short-term Obligation Rate Transparency (“SHORT”) System is a facility of the MSRB for the collection and dissemination of information about securities bearing interest at short-term rates. Rule G-34(c), on variable rate security market information, currently requires certain dealers to report to the SHORT System interest rates and descriptive information about Auction Rate Securities (“ARS”) and Variable Rate Demand Obligations (“VRDOs”). All reported information is disseminated from the SHORT System to subscribers pursuant to the MSRB SHORT subscription service  and is posted to the MSRB's Electronic Municipal Market Access (“EMMA”) web portal pursuant to the EMMA short-term obligation rate transparency service.
On August 20, 2010, the Commission approved changes to Rule G-34(c) that will increase the information dealers are required to report to the SHORT System. This rule change will add to the SHORT System documents that define auction procedures and interest rate setting mechanisms for ARS and liquidity facilities for VRDOs, information about orders submitted for an ARS auction, and additional information about VRDOs. To provide subscribers with access to these additional items of information and documents, the proposed rule change would amend the SHORT subscription service to include the additional information and documents as well as an ARS “bid to cover” ratio that would be computed by the SHORT System.
2. Statutory Basis
The MSRB believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 15B(b)(2)(C) of the Exchange Act, which provides that the 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.
The MSRB believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. The amendments to the SHORT subscription service would serve as an additional mechanism by which the MSRB works toward removing impediments to and helping to perfect the mechanisms of a free and open market in municipal securities. The subscription service would make the additional information and documents collected by the SHORT System available to market participants for re-dissemination and for use in creating value-added products and services. Such re-dissemination and third-party use would provide market participants, including investors and the general public, additional avenues for obtaining the information collected by the SHORT System and would make additional tools available for making well-informed investment decisions. Broad access to the information and documents collected by the SHORT System, in addition to the public access through the EMMA 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 Auction Rate Securities and Variable Rate Demand Obligations.
Furthermore, broader re-dissemination and third-party use of the information and documents collected by the SHORT System should promote a more fair and efficient municipal securities market in which transactions are effected on the basis of material information available to all parties to such transactions, which should allow for fairer pricing of transactions based on a more complete understanding of the terms of the securities (including any changes thereto).Start Printed Page 11548
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
The MSRB does not believe the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. The proposed rule change would make the information and documents collected by the SHORT System available to all persons on an equal and non-discriminatory basis. The information and documents provided through the subscription service would be available to all subscribers simultaneously with the availability of the information and documents through the EMMA Web portal. In addition to making the information and documents available for free on the EMMA Web portal to all members of the public, the MSRB would make the information and documents collected by the SHORT System available by subscription on an equal and non-discriminatory basis without imposing restrictions on subscribers from, or imposing additional charges on subscribers for, re-disseminating such information and documents or otherwise adding value-added services and products based on such information and documents on terms determined by each subscriber.
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
Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period up to 90 days (i) as the Commission may designate 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
Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:
- Use the Commission's Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or
- Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include File Number SR-MSRB-2011-04 on the subject line.
- Send paper comments in triplicate to Elizabeth M. Murphy, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, Station Place, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.
All submissions should refer to File Number SR-MSRB-2011-04. This file number should be included on the subject line if e-mail 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 principal office of the MSRB. 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-2011-04 and should be submitted on or before within March 23, 2011.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.
Cathy H. Ahn,
3. The SHORT subscription service became effective September 30, 2010. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 34-62993, September 24, 2010 (File No. SR-MSRB-2010-06).Back to Citation
4. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 62755, August 20, 2010 (File No. SR-MSRB-2010-02).Back to Citation
5. The MSRB notes that subscribers may be subject to proprietary rights of third parties in information provided by such third parties that is made available through the subscription.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 2011-4583 Filed 3-1-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P