WASHINGTON -- Officials of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board will meet with a Public Securities Association panel Jan. 14 to tackle the problem of disseminating municipal bond prices.

The officials will meet in New York City to examine the feasibility of establishing a system to track prices in the complex municipal arena.

The meeting comes two years after the PSA, under pressure from the Securities and Exchange Commission, formed a committee to study ways to broaden pricing. The panel did not come up with any recommendations.

MSRB Chairman Richard Thayer recently said the board hopes to hire a consultant in the first quarter of 1992 to conduct a preliminary study of the issue. The fact-finding finding study is expected to identify trading patterns in the market to give the board and the PSA a better idea of what, if any, price dissemination system could be workable, an MSRB aide said.

"Six million dollars of securities sold last week in the primary market," said the aide. "How many are selling today? How frequently? Is it 10 trades for each? In order to really talk about this issue we need some facts. This is a fact-finding study. It is not designed to reach any substantial policy conclusions."

The moves by the MSRB and the PSA come as congress and federal regulators prod the government securities market to get the word out on prices. That pressure recently spurred a major new private sector initiative coordinated by PSA, called GOVPX Inc., which disseminates real-time prices and quotes on all U.S. Treasury bills, notes, and bonds that includes "best offer" information.

But market participants say coming up with a system in the broad municipal bond market, with its many thinly traded securities, could be much more elusive.

The PSA announced the formation of its committee after receiving a recent letter from the rulemaking board that warns price dissemination in the municipal market "is an item that the SEC will pay more attention to" and one that "the board intends to pursue actively during the next year.'

The panel's chairman is Stanley Ciemniecki, a Lehman Brothers executive vice president and manager of national underwriting.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.