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COVID Disclosure Flags Highlighted at Brookings Municipal Finance Conference

DPC DATA's hand-coded COVID flags noted for offering an alternative to MSRB's automated text analysis.

Marc Joffe, senior policy analyst, Reason Foundation, discussed municipal COVID-19 disclosure at the 10th Annual Brookings Municipal Finance Conference.

He pointed out that of the 40,000+ disclosure documents mentioning COVID, most make a passing reference in boilerplate text. For a municipal analyst assessing COVID impacts, however, these are not “true” COVID disclosures.

According to Joffe, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) tried to separate the wheat from the chaff by counting the number of relevant keywords in each disclosure. Then in discussing alternative approaches, he highlighted DPC DATA’s efforts to tag COVID disclosures most relevant to the pandemic:

“DPC Data, which provides enhanced municipal disclosure data on its proprietary MuniPOINTS platform, dealt with this issue by creating a COVID-19 disclosure flag hand-coded by analysts who review each document…For the fifteen months ended March 31, 2020, DPC Data had assigned its COVID-19 flag to 14,740 disclosures—about a third the number identified by MSRB.”

In conclusion, Joffe noted:

“…automated text analysis still has limitations, which may require the type of human analyst intervention performed by DPC Data.”

DPC’s COVID Disclosure Flags Highlighted at Brookings Municipal Finance Conference

About the Conference

The Brookings Municipal Finance Conference aims to bring together academics, practitioners, issuers, and regulators to discuss recent research on municipal capital markets and state and local fiscal issues.

The 2021 conference took place virtually across three days. The July 12 conference sessions focused on COVID-19’s impact on state & local budgets and the muni bond market. This conference is a joint venture of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings, the Rosenberg Institute of Global Finance at the Brandeis International Business School, the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Conference videos, papers, and slides are available on the brookings.edu site.

About DPC DATA’s COVID disclosure flags

DPC DATA’s MuniPOINTS product enable users to identify and screen for COVID disclosures at the individual CUSIP level with accuracy and confidence. The COVID Disclosure Flags come in response to strong demand from DPC’s clients for an effective tool to track the pandemic’s impact on the fiscal/financial condition of municipal issuers.

The disclosure flag builds on DPC’s proprietary and proven workflows. These allow DPC’s analysts to drill further into the data. As a result, we can identify and tag only those disclosures which are truly COVID-based.  Read more about the COVID disclosure flag.

Although flags are available only to MuniPOINTS subscribers, DPC DATA has made some summary data public. This data can be accessed in the Resource section of the DPC website.

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