In 2010, municipal bond underwriters made 14,393 primary market disclosure submissions, up from 12,226 documents filed in 2009, according to the 2010 Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) Fact Book. June was the heaviest month for primary market disclosure filings in both years.

The 2010 edition is the third annual MSRB Fact Book. This year’s Fact Book is the first to include data pertaining to primary and secondary market disclosure. In July 2009, the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system became the sole official electronic repository for continuing disclosure documents.

The number of official statements received by the MSRB during a particular time period approximates the number of new issues for the same period, but are not a one-to-one match, according to Marcelo Vieira, Director of Research for the MSRB. “Differences in these numbers may occur based on the way in which the data is collected. New issuance numbers typically are based on the date of sale, for example, while our Fact Book primary market disclosure numbers are based on the date of submission.”

Most primary market disclosure filings take the form of an official statement. However, even though some offerings are not subject to SEC Rule 15c2-12, the underwriters still have to inform the MSRB that they are underwriting the issue pursuant to MSRB Rule G-32. These cases are counted as primary market submissions in the Fact Book even though the underwriter may not have been required to file an official statement for that issue.

The MSRB has played an active role in increasing the transparency of municipal issuers. The first phase of EMMA, which provides free online public access to disclosure materials for municipal bond issuers, as well as real-time pricing data, was launched in July 2008. With the launch of every additional phase, the MSRB continues to expand EMMA’s capabilities.

Earlier this year, the MSRB enhanced the “Continuing Disclosure” tab on its website to include dates by which issuers have agreed to provide annual financial and operating data, per requirements under the amended MSRB Rule G-32.

The Fact Book is published to provide policy makers, industry professionals and the general public with market trade data “that can be further analyzed, studied, or reviewed to identify market trends and activity over the last several years,” as stated in its introduction. The Fact Book is available via links on both the MSRB and EMMA websites.