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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS   

What types of bonds does the District issue?

For a description of the various types of bonds issued by the District, go to Other Bonds of the District of Columbia and its Instrumentalities.

How do I buy District bonds?

Go to How to Buy DC Bonds for information on purchasing bonds in the primary and secondary markets.

What is the difference between buying a bond in the primary market and in the secondary market?

The primary market refers to the purchase of bonds when they are first issued. The secondary market refers to the purchase and sale of bonds after they have been issued. There is no exchange (like the New York Stock Exchange) for municipal bonds. Purchases and sales are made “over the counter” by municipal broker-dealers.

What is a preliminary official statement (POS)?

A preliminary version of an official statement, made available prior to the sale date. The issuer replaces the preliminary official statement with a final official statement on the sale date. Not all final official statements are preceded by preliminary official statements.

What is a final official statement (OS)?

A document that discloses material information in connection with a primary offering (an initial sale by the District) of bonds, including a complete description of the security for the bonds, the principal repayment (maturity) dates, the interest payment dates, the credit ratings assigned to the bonds and the use of the bond proceeds.

What is the sale date?

The date on which the District and the underwriters of the bonds (an underwriting syndicate) establish the interest rate, yield, and price for each maturity of an issue of bonds.

How can I obtain a preliminary official statement, final official statement or other disclosure information for a particular bond issue?

Preliminary and final official statements for current bond offerings:
  • For electronic copies, go to Current Bond Offerings to find links to preliminary and final official statements, as applicable, for current bond offerings.

  • For printed copies, contact your broker, investment advisor, or one of the participating brokerage firms. Go to Current Bond Offerings and look under the subheading “Participating Brokerage Firms” to view the attachment setting forth the participating brokerage firms for each current bond offering. You also may contact dcinvestorrelations@dc.gov to request printed copies.
Final official statements for bonds that have already been issued:
  • Digital Assurance Certification, L.L.C. (DAC) maintains electronic copies of the District’s final official statements at its web site www.dacbond.com. You must register (at no cost) before you can search the site. DAC is responsible for its own web site and information.

  • The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board ("MSRB") gathers official documents and trade data relating to municipal securities, and makes them available to the public for free on its Electronic Municipal Market Access ("EMMA") web site, www.emma.msrb.org. EMMA makes available to the public free copies of official statements received since 1990 by the MSRB from underwriters of municipal securities. EMMA also provides free access to price data for municipal securities trades reported to the MSRB since January 31, 2005. The MSRB is responsible for its own web site and information.
Continuing Disclosure Information for bonds that have already been issued:
  • You also may use DAC or the MSRB's EMMA web site to access continuing disclosure information (see above).

What is Digital Assurance Certification, L.L.C. (DAC)?

DAC collects bond disclosure documents, including official statements and continuing disclosure information of many issuers, including the District, and makes such documents available online to the public at no charge (www.dacbond.com). You must register (at no cost) on DAC’s web site before you can search for information. DAC is responsible for its own web site and information.

What is continuing disclosure information?

Continuing disclosure information is disclosure information that issuers are required to provide to bondholders after the sale of certain bonds 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.

What is the first interest payment date?

The date on which the District first pays to bondholders interest on a series of bonds. The first interest amount paid will be prorated according to the number of days from the date of the bond to the first interest payment date.

What is the first principal payment or first maturity date?

The date on which the issuer first begins to pay off or amortize principal on the bonds.

What is a rating?

A “grade” given to a bond issue by a rating agency. A rating is similar in concept to a credit score. It is meant to indicate the likelihood that a bond issuer will be able to pay interest and repay principal on time based on the financial condition of the issuer and the specifics of a bond issue. For the meaning of a specific rating, contact the rating agency that assigned it and review the “ratings” section in the applicable official statement.

What is a rating agency?

A company that evaluates credit risk and provides ratings. The District’s bonds are often rated by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., and Fitch, Inc.

What determines a particular rating?

Bond ratings depend on the financial strength of the issuer and the security features of a bond, e.g., the type and availability of funds for repayment of the bonds and the bondholders’ collateral in case of default. District bonds payable from the same type of funds and secured by the same type of collateral might have different credit ratings due to the bonds of a particular series having credit enhancements, such as bond insurance or letters of credit, or due to escrow or reserve funds.

What are the current ratings on long-term bonds issued by the District?

As of September 12, 2014, the credit ratings for Income Tax Secured Revenue Bonds (unenhanced) and General Obligation Bonds (unenhanced) of the District are as follows:

  Standard & Poor's Ratings Services Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. Fitch, Inc.
Income Tax Secured Revenue Bonds
AAA
Aa1
AA+
General Obligation Bonds
AA-
Aa2
AA-

For the meaning of ratings assigned to specific District bonds, contact the rating agency that assigned it and review the “ratings” section in the applicable official statement.

Must I hold the bond until it matures?

No. Bondholders may sell their bonds to another person or entity through a broker-dealer. This type of sale takes place in the “secondary market.” Investors should note that buyers in the secondary market will not necessarily pay you the same amount that you paid for your bonds. Secondary market buyers will compare your bond’s interest rate to the interest rates on new bond issues, or “primary market” offerings. If new bond issue interest rates are higher than the rate on your bond, the buyer may pay you less than the amount of your initial investment.

What is a brokerage firm?

A firm that buys and sells securities for its customers.

What is a broker-dealer?

A firm that buys and sells securities for itself and for its customers.

What is The Depository Trust Company (DTC)?

To facilitate quick and easy purchases and sales of bonds, bond issuers often engage the services of The Depository Trust Company (DTC). DTC is a securities depository, which is just as it sounds - a place where issuers deposit securities, such as bonds. Rather than giving physical bond certificates to each purchaser, issuers deposit their bonds with DTC, and DTC, together with brokerage firms, keeps track of ownership interests by computer. This system eliminates the need to transfer a physical bond every time a sale occurs. Most, but not all, bonds use DTC. Those that do use DTC are called “book entry” bonds. When purchasing book entry bonds, be sure to review the section in the official statement that discusses book entry system procedures.

How can I learn more about municipal bonds?

Several governmental entities regulate the municipal bond market, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (www.sec.gov) and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (www.msrb.org). The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board are responsible for their own web sites and information.

I own a District bond and have questions. Who should I contact?

You may contact the District (dcinvestorrelations@dc.gov or (202) 727-6055) or the registrar and paying agent or the trustee for your bonds. The registrar and paying agent or the trustee is as set forth below for certain of the District’s widely-held bonds:

Income Tax Secured Revenue Bonds, General Obligation Bonds and Tax Increment Bonds

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
9062 Old Annapolis Road
MAC-N2702-011
Columbia, MD 21045-1951
Contact: Beth Wexler; (410) 884-2007


Ballpark Revenue Bonds

TD Wealth Management, Toronto-Dominion Bank
101 Haddonfield Road, 2nd Floor
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002-4401
Contact: Jennifer J. Provenzano; (212) 381-7930


Washington Convention and Sports Authority Bonds (formerly, the Washington Convention Center Authority)

The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A.
385 Rifle Camp Road
Corporate Trust, 3rd Floor
West Patterson, NJ 07424
Contact: Bridget Casanovas; (973) 247-4986