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SEC proposes stricter rules on brokers

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(Bloomberg) — U.S. securities regulators proposed stricter rules on brokers in the $3.7 trillion municipal-debt market designed to prevent investors from being shortchanged when trading state and local government bonds.

The rules, released yesterday by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, would require that brokers seek to trade at the most favorable prices possible for clients in the municipal bond market, which lacks a centralized exchange. Brokers would have to check prices on various platforms before trading.

The MSRB said the step may boost competition among brokerage firms and reduce investor trading costs. Similar requirements already exist in the corporate bond market.