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Voluntary Disclosures by Municipal Issuers During COVID-19

    Client Alerts
  • June 12, 2020

On May 4, the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman and the director of the Office of Municipal Securities issued a statement stressing the importance of “robust, timely, and accurate” municipal issuer disclosures in light of significant investor uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among other things, the statement urged municipal issuers to disclose as much information about their current financial and operating condition as reasonably practicable and observed that the typical practice of providing historical information through annual filings may be insufficient in today’s markets. Specifically, because municipal issuers’ financial condition can change rapidly under current circumstances, the statement encouraged timely disclosure through voluntary filings or public statements in places where municipal issuers regularly make information available, such as the MSRB’s EMMA system or a webpage the municipal issuer maintains.

The statement also urged municipal issuers to strive for consistency with respect to disclosure and dissemination of material information. If an issuer is providing material information on such places as its website, in COVID-19-related applications for financial relief, to regulatory bodies, at public meetings, or otherwise to the public, the statement encourages issuers to make such information widely available by, for example, filing such information on EMMA.

Although this alert specifically addresses voluntary disclosure due to COVID-19, issuers should, of course, continue to make their required Rule 15c2-12-related event-based disclosures on EMMA, whether related to COVID-19 or not. If you have questions concerning the statement released by the SEC and the Office of Municipal Securities or would like more information, please contact one of the members of our Public Finance Group listed below:

North Carolina Team:

Scott E. Leo

Jeffrey A. Poley

Rebecca B. Joyner

Brandon K. Lewisohn

Kristen S. Provenza

Carlos E. Manzano

Robert A. (Andy) Walsh

South Carolina Team:

Ray E. Jones

Emily S. Luther

E. Tyler Smith

Sidney J. Evering, II

Emily W. Zackon