The Financial Data Transparency Act
On December 23, 2022, Congress passed the Financial Data Transparency Act (the “Act”) as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. The Act requires the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) to create organizational standards for information reported by issuers and obligors on the Electronic Municipal Market Access website (“EMMA”).
What Does This Mean for Municipal Issuers?
Once the Act is implemented and the rules are finalized, the Act will alter the way issuers and obligors format the information posted on EMMA. The Act does not alter what information is being reported, but how the information is submitted to EMMA. The financial information will need to be incorporated into a format consistent with classifications developed by the SEC. The goal of the Act is that the submitted financial information will be consistent, searchable and identifiable by machine readable technologies. The Act impacts all municipalities that publicly issue tax-exempt and taxable bonds and notes. Compliance with the new standards may increase costs and administrative burdens on such municipalities.
What is the Time Frame?
Even though reporting standards will change, the new rules will not take affect for over three and a half (3 ½) years. First, the SEC will need to adopt rules which action will take approximately eighteen (18) months. Then, issuers will have up to two (2) years before they must comply with the rules.
The SEC will commence working on the creation of rules that will contain the new reporting standards. In the rulemaking process, there is opportunity for public comment. The Government Finance Officers Association (“GFOA”) advocated on behalf of government issuers during the legislative process for the Act and will continue to do so during the SEC rulemaking period. If you are concerned with the potential increased costs and compliance, you can voice your concerns with the GFOA or directly participate in the public comment process with the SEC. In addition, you can reach out to your municipal advisor to discuss the anticipated new standards.
If you have questions about, or need assistance with, your compliance efforts or policies, you may contact Michael P. Botelho at (860) 548-2637 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Jennifer M. Egan at (860) 548-2628 or email@example.com. For more information about our public finance group visit www.uks.com/services-industries/governmental/public-finance/.