Securities Agency Votes to Set Up Data Bank on Municipal Bonds

WASHINGTON -- The Securities and Exchange Commission approved creation of the first central data bank on the nation's $800 billion municipal bond market.

The commission agreed to a proposal of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, which it oversees, for an electronic data storage and retrieval system for municipal-bond offering documents and refundings.

But the commissioners asked the SEC staff to modify procedures in submission of documents to allow for paper filings as well as electronic filings.

Cautionary Note Sounded

SEC Chairman Richard Breeden noted that the elaborate electronic data-gathering system may actually discourage disclosure in the secondary market if it becomes burdensome to issuers.

With more than one million municipal issues outstanding, some very small, it can be difficult to get accurate information for resale pricing.

Mr. Breeden said issuers should have the freedom to use the mails to send paper documents to the repository as well as to use electronic systems to achieve the same purpose.

80,000 Bond Issuers

There are currently 80,000 issuers in the municipal bond market.

Under the proposal, within three business days after documents on offerings and advanced refundings had been received, subscribers paying about $12,000 a year would get paper or tape copies. Disclosures would also be available via computer, for about $5,000 a year.

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