The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) has launched a new online toolkit designed to educate municipal bond issuers, and position them to make more informed decisions.

The MSRB State and Local Government Toolkit, which will be introduced in phases, is available on the MSRB’s website. The first phase includes two videos: “Six Things to Know When Issuing Municipal Bonds” and an “EMMA Continuing Disclosure Tutorial,” along with six downloadable “how-to” guides and fact sheets.

A valuable resource for state and local government issuers of all sizes, the toolkit will be particularly helpful for small to mid-size size issuers, who might have limited familiarity with the municipal bond underwriting, trading, and ongoing disclosure process.

The toolkit provides a clear explanation of the many ways in which issuers can use and benefit from the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system, launched in 2008.

“Education is the most important element of this new toolkit,” according to Lynnette Kelly Hotchiss, Executive Director of the MSRB. “We hope this toolkit will be a valuable resource to state and local governments to use in their relationships with municipal market professionals as well as in communicating key information to investors.”

The next phase of the toolkit will help issuers understand what to expect from underwriters, pursuant to MSRB’s Rule G-17, which addresses the conduct of municipal securities and municipal advisory activities. The MSRB is currently seeking approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to establish detailed obligations of underwriters of municipal securities to their state and local government clients regarding clear disclosure of risks and conflicts of interest, among other things.

Created in 1975 to provide oversight of the municipal securities industry, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board maintains rules and operates market transparency systems to protect the interests of investors and the public at large. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act expanded the mission of the MSRB to also protect the interests of state and local government issuers of municipal bonds.