Let's be honest: Do you actually know much your broker earns when you put in an order to buy a municipal bond?
You'll be able to answer that question today. Starting on May 14, broker-dealers will need to disclose mark-ups and mark-downs they charge on bonds bought and sold to retail investors on the same trading day.
Firms will also have to tell customers the time they executed the trade and provide a reference and a hyperlink to a page detailing the publicly available trading data for the bond.
The rules have been in the works for years: The regulations from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board were approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in November 2016.
Now that the regulation is in place, you'll be able to see these transaction fees in a dollar amount and as a percentage of the "prevailing market price" for the bond.
"Brokerages compete pretty significantly to provide cheapest execution on stock trading, but it's not the same in the bond market," said Micah Hauptman, financial services counsel at the Consumer Federation of America.
"This is just the beginning of increased price transparency," he said.
Here's why you might not have had that much of a window into the real cost of your bonds.