WASHINGTON -- The National Federation of Municipal Analysts said yesterday that 83 more cities, counties and districts have pledged to meet its standards for providing secondary market disclosure.
That brings to 151 the number of issuers to date that have received the group's Award of Recognition. Under the program, issuers agree to state prominently on the cover page or in the introduction of their official statements that they will supply ongoing disclosure to investors through nationally recognized repositories.
Federation president Katherine Bateman said yesterday that most of the new participants in the analysts' program already have been recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association under the GFOA's own secondary market disclosure awards program. The GFOA program, which has been in effect for years, has more stringent standards than the analysts' program.
Bateman said that the issuers decided to join the analysts' program as well after the GFOA said recently it would back the federation's initiative, launched in January 1992.
Among the issuers that just joined the analysts' program are: the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority; Puerto Rico Public Buildings Authority; Albuquerque, N.M.; Easton, Md; Howard and Montgomery Counties, Md.; Lyon County, Kansas, Unified School District No. 251; Sedgwick County, Kansas, Unified School District No. 260: Sisters of Mercy Health Corp. Obligated Group; Manchester, N.H.; Utica, N.Y.; and Wellington, Kansas.
Meanwhile, Securities Data Co. said yesterday that it would soon begin notifying subscribers to its computer database of those state local government issuers that have been recognized by the analysts' federation for pledging to meet disclosure standards.
The firm's MuniProfiles Service provides financial and demographic information on thousands of municipalities across the country, including the names of officials in those towns and counties, Securities Data said.
"The receipt of an award is a significant step." said James Tana-jewski, associate for municipal client services with Securities Data. "This has become a crucial indicator for our subscribers of liquidity and pricing stability for governmental securities."
The latest round of awards comes two weeks before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on telecommunications and finance is tentatively scheduled to begin oversight hearings on whether new standards are needed for the municipal securities market.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators are expected to testify on the results of studies the subcommittee asked them to prepare, including whether rules or legislation is needed to beef up secondary market disclosure.
SEC member Richard Roberts told state finance officers Tuesday that the commission may soon propose a two-part standard designed to force substantial improvements in secondary market disclosure about municipal securities.
The analysts group, while a strong advocate of improved secondary market disclosure, recently said it supports voluntary efforts to improve ongoing disclosure, and not formal federal requirements.