Survey finds Phila. among the best at clueing in investors

A University of Illinois at Chicago survey finds Philadelphia among the 12 best cities at providing investors with financial information online.

It may seem odd to think of cities needing to provide investor relations services in addition to picking up the trash, putting out fires and arresting criminals.

But then, the U.S. municipal bond market is estimated to be $3 trillion. So you'd hope the issuers of all that debt would be diligent in keeping the buyers of that paper informed.

Wrong. Yonghung Wu, an assistant professor of public administration at the University of Illinois, surveyed 75 of the nation's largest cities. He found just 22 were posting detailed, timely financials online. Only 12 cities went above and beyond that standard.

The survey doesn't rank cities in terms of disclosure. But San Diego was held up as "an exemplary city investor relations website," according to a copy of the survey's report on

Philadelphia won praise for providing not only archived and current financial information about the city's finances, but also links to documents related to upcoming bond issues and its policies on debt management and the uses of swaps, which are financial derivatives.

Other cities singled out are: Albuquerque, N.M.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Los Angeles; Miami; Nashville; New York; Oakland; Portland, Ore.; and San Francisco.