MSRB Seeks Comments From Municipal Borrowers on ESG Disclosures
In December, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board issued a Request for Information (RFI) on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices in the municipal securities market.
Activities in the private marketplace, such as private ESG certification services and the marketing of municipal securities labeled as ESG Bonds, have fueled the MSRB’s concerns. Without a regulatory framework in this area, the MSRB is seeking input from issuers, dealers, municipal advisors, and all municipal market participants on ESG trends and how they impact the overall integrity of the municipal securities market.
In the RFI, there are several questions directed to municipal issuers—including public and private colleges and universities that finance with tax-exempt bonds. The questions in the official RFI are more detailed, but in summary, the MSRB wants to know—
- Are you currently providing ESG-Related Disclosures or ESG-related information beyond the legally required disclosures in your offering documents, continuing disclosures or other investor communications?
- Do you believe the information included in ESG-Related Disclosures should be standardized?
- Have you issued ESG-Labeled Bonds?
- If you issued ESG-Labeled Bonds, did you commit to providing any ongoing or continuing disclosure related to the ESG designation?
- Are you providing information to the credit rating agencies regarding ESG-related risk factors and ESG-related practices?
Comments are due to the MSRB by March 8, 2022. NACUBO is considering how to respond and seeks your input. If you have comments or concerns that you would like to share on this MSRB RFI, please contact Liz Clark, vice president, policy and research.