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Purchasing DC Bonds

Purchasing District of Columbia Municipal Bonds

There are two markets for municipal bonds - the primary market and the secondary market. “Primary market” refers to the initial issuance and sale of bonds by an issuer. “Secondary market” refers to the subsequent purchase and sale of bonds by bondholders after the bonds have already been issued.

Below is a general description of how to buy District of Columbia Municipal Bonds in each market. The information provided below is not investment advice. Examples of recent Official Statements are also provided. Please contact your investment advisor for investment advice.

 
How to Buy DC Bonds - Primary Market

The District of Columbia sells its bonds in the primary market through brokerage firms to various willing purchasers, including individual investors, banks, and mutual funds. A description of the step-by-step process to purchase bonds in the primary market is provided below.

Step-by-Step Process to Purchase a District Bond in the Primary Market

The District does not directly sell its bonds in the primary market. Instead, the District sells its bonds through brokerage firms that it selects to participate in the initial bond sale (collectively, such firms are the underwriting syndicate). To buy a District bond, you must have an account either with one of the participating brokerage firms or with another firm that can place an order through a participating brokerage firm.

Go to Buy DC Bonds and visit the Current Bond Offerings tab. Click the link for the transaction and look under the subheading “Participating Brokerage Firms” to see a listing of the members of the underwriting syndicate and their contact information.

If you have a brokerage account, go to Step 2.

If you do not have a brokerage account, you will need to open one in order to purchase bonds. The new account process may take some time to complete. Investors are encouraged to begin the process well in advance of the bond sale date. Each brokerage firm has its own requirements for opening an account.

The District does not endorse any particular brokerage firm and the District does not guarantee that any particular firm will open an account for an investor.

  • Step 2 – Learn about the bonds

Read the preliminary official statement or final official statement, as applicable. If you are interested in purchasing District of Columbia municipal bonds, please visit MuniOS  or Digital Assurance Certification to obtain the preliminary official statement or final official statement, and detailed information related to every outstanding District of Columbia municipal bond.
Preliminary and final official statements contain detailed information about a bond offering, including a complete description of the security for the bonds, the principal repayment (maturity) dates, the interest payment dates, the credit ratings and the use of the bond proceeds. A thorough review of the complete document is essential to making an informed investment decision.

  • Step 3 – Place your order

Contact your brokerage firm for more information about how to buy bonds during an initial offering. You may wish to discuss with your brokerage firm or investment advisor the amount you want to invest, when you would like your investment returned to you, and the interest that you would like to earn on your investment, as well as any questions you may have after examining the official statement, preliminary or final.

How to Buy DC Bonds - Secondary Market

Step-by-Step Process to Purchase a District Bond in the Secondary Market

  • Step 1 – Have a brokerage account

Bondholders sell District bonds in the secondary market through brokerage firms. To buy a District bond, you must have an account with a brokerage firm.
If you have a brokerage account, go to Step 2.

If you do not have a brokerage account, you will need to open one in order to purchase bonds. The new account process may take some time to complete. Each brokerage firm has its own requirements for opening an account.

The District does not endorse any particular brokerage firm and the District does not guarantee that any particular firm will open an account for an investor.

  • Step 2 – Learn about the bonds

Read the final official statement for the series of bonds that you are considering. A final official statement contains detailed information about bonds at the time of initial offering. Because a final official statement speaks as of its date, the information will not be current as of the date of purchase in the secondary market.
Review any continuing disclosure information for the bonds you are considering.

Continuing disclosure information consists of certain updates that the District provides on an ongoing basis after bonds are sold in the primary market. Such information notifies investors of certain important events, such as principal and interest payment delinquencies, modifications to the rights of bondholders, and rating changes.

You may wish to also review current bond prices. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) provides a “Municipal Market At-A-Glance” overview with real time price information (www.investinginbonds.com). SIFMA is responsible for its own web site and information.

  • Step 3 – Place your order

Contact your brokerage firm for more information about how to buy bonds in the secondary market. You may wish to discuss with your brokerage firm or investment advisor the amount you want to invest, when you would like your investment returned to you, and the interest that you would like to earn on your investment, as well as any questions you may have after examining the final official statement, any continuing disclosure information and current bond prices.

Recent Bond Offerings

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