January 21, 2015

Muni ComMUNIcations - Legislative, regulatory and tax news for municipal securities


SIFMA SIFMA Submits Comments to FINRA and MSRB Regarding the Matched Trade Proposals
On January 20, SIFMA submitted comments to FINRA and the MSRB in regards to their matched trade disclosure proposals disclosed in FINRA Regulatory Notice 14-52, Pricing Disclosure in the Fixed Income Markets and MSRB Regulatory Notice 2014-20, Request for Comment on Draft Rule Amendments to Require Dealers to Provide Pricing Reference Information on Retail Customer Confirmations.

SIFMA fully supports the objective to enhance bond market price transparency by putting more information into the hands of retail investors in a carefully calibrated manner that strikes the right balance in pursuing desired goals while minimizing unintended consequences. To this end, SIFMA urges FINRA and the MSRB to withdraw the Matched Trade Proposals in favor of an approach that directs retail investors to the extensive pricing information available free of charge on TRACE and EMMA.

As formulated, the Proposals risk confusing retail investors, present unworkable challenges in application, and threaten burdensome operational challenges while imposing unjustified costs and burdens than alternatives that would embrace TRACE and EMMA. SIFMA believes that – if FINRA and the MSRB were to require a new confirmation disclosure obligation with specific price references – alternative formulations would better accomplish the desired regulatory objective. Nonetheless, the enormous costs and burdens associated with even these alternative formulations significantly outweigh the purported benefits.

Finally, SIFMA notes that nothing in the Proposals suggests that FINRA or the MSRB have conducted an adequate cost-benefit analysis as required under federal law and their own policies. The astronomical costs and burdens associated with implementation and compliance with the Proposals far outweigh the unproven benefits.

SIFMA Submits Comment Letter in Response to the SEC's Comment Request Relating to Rule 15c2-12
On January 17, SIFMA provided comments to the SEC in response to the SEC's request for comment, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, on the existing collection of information provided for in Rule 15c2-12 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

SIFMA and its members continue to support reasonable disclosure and transparency efforts in the municipal securities market, including the MSRB’s EMMA website. However, SIFMA believes it is important to review the Rule to examine its costs and benefits, as well as to examine if the Rule can be amended to enhance its regulatory efficiency.

Furthermore, SIFMA remains concerned that even though issuer policies and procedures have been enhanced in the wake of the SEC’s MCDC Initiative, fundamental flaws exist with regard to the structure of the Rule. Continuing disclosure has always been treated as a serious matter by brokers, dealers and municipal securities, but has taken on a heightened level of seriousness since the March 2012 SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) Risk Alert on this topic and the SEC’s MCDC Initiative.

SIFMA is also seriously concerned about the gross inaccuracies of the SEC’s time estimates for compliance with the Rule and the failure of the SEC to estimate the Rule’s primary disclosure compliance burdens, as separate and distinct from its secondary market compliance burdens.

House Financial Services Committee to Adopt Oversight Plan
Today, the House Financial Services Committee will meet to adopt an oversight plan for the 114th Congress. Fixed-Income Market Structure and the MSRB are included in the plan.
Committee Oversight Plan


of interest

$110 SOTU Bank Tax Will Curtail Economic Growth, Job Creation
Over the weekend, the White House released a proposal which includes a bank tax that would have serious unintended consequences that will curtail economic growth and job creation while negatively impacting the allocation of credit and the provision of financial services to individuals and institutions.  In a statement, SIFMA president and CEO said, “Over the past six years, the Obama Administration, Congress, regulators and the financial services industry have undertaken unprecedented steps through legislation, regulation and corporate changes to address concerns about excessive risk in the financial sector.  The imposition of a special, sector-only tax on the vast array of financial institutions captured by the President's proposal under the guise of further limiting excessive risk completely ignores the changes this Administration, Congress, regulators and industry have implemented over the past six years.‎ Tax rules are often blunt instruments, and the tax code is not the place for a broad, new, and duplicative financial regulatory regime."‎
Press Statement

SIFMA YIR LogoPresenting SIFMA’s 2014 Year in Review
SIFMA’s 2014 Year in Review highlights the work of more than 10,000 professionals from 500 member firms who participate in 100 committees and countless working groups to advocate in support of effective and resilient capital markets. The Year in Review explores the critical advocacy and policy issues these groups addressed over the past year, including cybersecurity, equity market structure and a fiduciary standard. It also identifies important opportunities to be involved with the association and highlights our work in the communities in which we live.

SIFMA LogoDownload SIFMA's 2015 Desk Calendar
Available for print or desktop, this free download includes Federal holidays, fixed-income market close recommendations, important economic releases and SIFMA events.

Now Available: SIFMA 2014 Fact Book
The Fact Book is an annual publication containing comprehensive data on the securities industry, capital markets, market activity, investor participation, global markets, savings and investment, and much more. Data is amassed from dozens of sources into a single, easily accessible reference source. Click to learn how to get your Fact Book.

Start off the New Year Right – Sign up Today for Invest It Forward
Join SIFMA, the SIFMA Foundation and the more than 17,000 volunteers as we continue our efforts to Invest it Forward™. With so many options to get involved, sign up today to provide young Americans a solid understanding of the capital markets system and the invaluable tools to achieve their dreams.  Learn More: Invest It Forward


SIFMA Annual Meeting Banner



Register Today for the 2015 C&L Society Annual Seminar – March 15-18
Join us for the 47th C&L Annual Seminar! With more than 65 dynamic panels and sessions, this year’s program will provide updates on the latest developments within the industry and will offer opportunities to hear directly from the experts. Professional and Ethic CLE credit opportunities will be available and sessions will cover a range of topics including: cybersecurity; fixed-income sales and trading; legal issues for small and regional firms; global regulatory investigation; diversity and includes; ethics issues and more.

Peg Henry, Deputy General Counsel of the Municipal Finance Group of Stifel Financial Corp. will moderate a panel entitled, Municipal Securities.

Panelists include:

  • Leslie Norwood, Managing Director & Associate General Counsel, SIFMA
  • Eugene Kwon, Managing Director, Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
  • Donna Simonetti, Executive Director & Compliance Director, JPMorgan Chase
  • Paul S. Maco, Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP

Register Today

Program Available: SIFMA’s FINRA Disciplinary Hearings Forum – Feb. 12, 2015, NYC
Join FINRA’s Chief Hearing Officer, Head of Litigation, and other senior FINRA officers, as well as seasoned practitioners from the defense bar, for a deep dive into the inner workings of a FINRA disciplinary hearing. SIFMA's FINRA Disciplinary Hearings Forum is a half-day interactive program that will provide valuable insights both for lawyers experienced in FINRA proceedings and those new to the forum. Topics to be covered include: Relevant procedural rules, the complaint and pre-hearing process, discovery through hearing and the decision, and more. Attendees at this event will be eligible for CLE credits.
Register Today




SIFMA Bookstore Spotlight: The Fundamentals of Municipal Bonds
This informative volume is the newly revised and updated sixth edition of the long-heralded classic text on the municipal securities market. The text provides a basic understanding of the market for a wide range of readers, including experienced professionals – such as investment bankers, traders, brokers, and professional investors – as well as public officials, academicians, students, and sophisticated individuals.
Read More and Purchase Book


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