Congress included the Financial Data Transparency Act (“FDTA”) as a title in the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) for FY2023. The statute instructs a group of federal financial regulators to develop a set of shared data standards, and then instructs select agencies (including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or “SEC”) to apply those standards to themselves and other self-regulating organizations (including the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board or “MSRB”).  

Authorizing Legislation

The FDTA was enacted via Title LVIII of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (H.R. 7776 of the 117th Congress), which passed into law on December 23, 2022. 

Agency Actions to Date

  • [June 2023] SEC Report on Data in Corp Market: As required by Section 5825 of the Act, the SEC published a report on the use of machine-readable data for corporate disclosures. Read report >

Background 

Throughout 2022, both chambers in Congress debated iterations of an FDTA.[i] The 117th Congress ultimately included and passed a version of the FDTA in the NDAA passed in December 2022. The final version of the FDTA included changes requested to earlier drafts by various municipal market groups, including empowering the SEC to handle rulemaking around how new data standards would apply to the MSRB. Earlier drafts originally authorized the MSRB to develop these rules via its own internal rulemaking process. A cohort of financial regulators has through 2024 to set a series of data standards, and individual entities have until the end of 2026 to apply standards to individual entities.[ii]

Timeline 

Based on the deadlines laid out in the FDTA, we anticipate that regulators will roughly follow the timeline outlined below:  

Image of a timeline indicating key implementation dates relating to the Financial Data Transparency Act (FDTA).

Why We Care 

Many market participants remain concerned about the potential burdens the FDTA will place on the market, particularly for municipal issuers and borrowers. While many unknowns remain, a broad stroke approach in implementing the FDTA could overburden municipal issuers and borrowers who may already face limited resources and staff bandwidth. Any additional regulatory burden, particularly one without a clear benefit to the market, risks driving municipal issuers and borrowers from public markets to private placements. Bond lawyers should closely watch the implementation process and consider participating in regulator and NABL requests for input on this topic.

Our Stance 

NABL joined nearly every municipal market group in raising concerns about the potential regulatory burden to municipal issuers and borrowers posed by the FDTA prior to its enactment. We now seek to ensure that implementation of the FDTA finds a balanced approach that maximizes efficiencies offered to the market and minimizes disruptions posed to issuers, borrowers, and other market participants.  In the coming months and years, NABL expects to work with industry groups in the municipal market to provide comments in response to draft rules and other information to assist the SEC and MSRB in crafting rules applicable to the municipal market.

NABL FDTA Taskforce 

In 2023, NABL assembled an internal taskforce to direct organization-wide work relating to the FDTA. The following members compose the taskforce:

Latest on FDTA 

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Update from D.C. (October 2023)

An October 19, 2023 update on NABL’s recent advocacy efforts, a recap of recent legislative and regulatory activity that we are tracking, and some discussion on what may be in…

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This panel will include practitioners and securities regulators discussing the most pressing federal securities law issues facing the municipal bond market, with a focus on how to implement practical and…

Members of the 2023 NABL Board of Directors on the east steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on May 18, 2023.
Members of the 2023 NABL Board of Directors on the east steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on May 18, 2023.
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NABL Goes to Washington

A recap of the Board of Director’s advocacy meetings in Washington, D.C. on May 17 – 19.

Graphic of a financial report with tags illustrating data standards could result in tagging of metadata for financial documents.
Graphic of a financial report with tags illustrating data standards could result in tagging of metadata for financial documents.
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PFN Letter on FDTA Implementation

Issuer groups of the Public Finance Network (PFN) submit a letter to Treasury and SEC on the Financial Data Transparency Act (FDTA).

U.S. Capitol Building on yellow background.
  • Webinars

Advocacy Town Hall

Member-exclusive open discussion on NABL’s advocacy work at the start of the 118th Congress held on February 15, 2023. Watch the recording now.

Vector graphic of magnifying glass over a report with charts.
  • Webinars

Roundtable on FDTA

Member-exclusive webinar and open discussion on the Financial Data Transparency Act (FDTA).


[i] House versions of the bill had been entitled Financial Transparency Act (“FTA”).

[ii] The FDTA applies data standard requirements to agencies beyond the SEC and MSRB. These agencies include the U.S. Department of Treasury; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”); Office of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”); Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (“CFPB” or “BCFP”); the Federal Reserve Banks; the National Credit Union Administration (“NCUA”); and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”).

[iii] The group of federal financial regulators (“covered agencies” or “Council”) responsible for developing shared data standards are defined in the FDTA to include the Department of the Treasury; the Federal Reserve Board of Governors; the OCC; the CFPB; the SEC; the FDIC; the FHFA; the NCUA; and any other primary financial regulatory agency designated by the Secretary.