The nation's financial crisis has prompted the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) to ask Congress for the authority to oversee financial advisors and investment brokers in the municipal securities market.

The MSRB, in a letter to Congress, argues the new enforcement powers would be a natural extension of its authority.

The MSRB, created by Congress more than 30 years ago to make rules for the municipal securities market, is asking Congress to allow it to oversee uniform rules for financial advisors and others dealing in municipal securities.

Some states and localities already have rules that prohibit advisors or brokers from using their influence to sell securities to investors and receive favors in return. Rules against these pay-to-play practices are designed to promote transparency, but the practices need to be uniform on a federal level, according to the MSRB. The MSRB rulebook provides a starting point for developing rules for intermediaries in the market, the MSRB states in a letter to Congress.

The MSRB asks that financial advisors and other intermediaries be subject to comprehensive prohibitions against fraud, that a uniform framework, including a market stability regulator, be created, and that a federal-level official or agency be created to coordinate municipal financial issues.

The board also asks that a more formal process be developed to coordinate federal and state entitles that enforce municipal securities laws and regulations and that derivatives based on municipal securities be subject to the same comprehensive regulation being considered for the overall derivative market.