If you own municipal bonds you need to also own My EMMA.
The MSRB is the regulatory body of the municipal bond market and the MSRB stands for the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. The MSRB created EMMA, the Electronic Municipal Market Access system to provide “Transparency” to the municipal bond market for retail investors. If you own municipal bonds, you need to own My EMMA, like a pet cat, it can provide comfort. You can find EMMA by going on the internet and entering www.emma.msrb.org and you can search any municipal bond issuer by description or more easily by CUSIP. This may sound a bit confusing but it’s really easy stuff.
First understand what a CUSIP is; the Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures and each maturity of each bond issue is assigned a nine-character identification number usually consisting of 6 number – 2 letters and 1 final number, 156273FE9 which is the CUSIP identifying number of a Centre County Pa. Hospital Authority 4.00% due 11/15/2034.
By going on www.emma.msrb.org you can enter this CUSIP number and there you find a host of information about this bond and about this issuer. There is a basic bond description, and you can find any buys or sells that have occurred in the bond by price and yield, and open and review any and all audited financials, Final Official Statements, rating changes and announcements about “material events” that may have changed the credit or liquidity of the bond.
But that’s not what I came here to talk about. I came here to talk about EMMA directly contacting you when these things occur and saving you the time of you doing the research. The Municipal bond market is a $3.8 trillion market with tens of thousands of issuers and millions of CUSIPS. (Ok, I don’t really know that but it kind of makes sense.) But you can define how much information on which bonds you want.
Some of our best financial advisors have created accounts at My EMMA, as have I, and when there’s a ratings change or a financial filing, EMMA send us an email automatically. Again, it sound complicated but it’s simple enough that I did it.
- Simply go to www.emma.msrb.org
- Click on “MY Emma”
- Then “Sign On” and with an email address and a password and voila, you’ve created an account
- Then click on “My Emma” again and enter any or all the CUSIPs that you are listed on your Broker Dealer’s monthly statement.
- It is that easy!
The other day I bought $250,000.00 of the CUSIP listed above for Centre County Hospital and through my Bloomberg data base (you don’t have this. It’s costly) I was able to research the bond and determine a bid price. I could have used Emma, but I’m just used to using my Bloomberg. One of advisors who uses My Emma religiously sent me an email he had just received from My Emma and the MSRB informing him of a “Filing” by the hospital and it was an audited financial from June 2018.
The email and filing showed us that the hospital has a 1.10 Debt Service Coverage Covenant but the financials disclosed that the actual Debt Service Coverage of the hospital is 6.52 times. So the hospital revenues are 6.52 times more than their debt. That’s great news and probably why Fitch raised their rating in February of 2018 and S&P placed them on “Positive Credit Watch”, also shown within EMMAs data.
While this is great news and supported our bid for the bonds, not all news is good news and sometimes it’s more important to get the bad news on a timely basis. My EMMA will do that for you. Sign up today.