SIFMA Issues Statement in Response to Final Volcker Rule; Agrees with Muni Exemption
Earlier today the five issuing agencies finalized the so-called “Volcker Rule” as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. SIFMA President Ken Bentsen stated that “SIFMA remains concerned that an overly restrictive Volcker Rule will inflict serious harm on our nation’s economy and American savers. It is imperative that the final Volcker Rule does not unnecessarily restrict market making or a firm's ability to hedge risks in the effort to clearly define prohibited proprietary trading activities,
“As the rule is contained in a 900 page document, SIFMA will review the final document in detail with our members and provide further comments. It is important to remember that SIFMA member firms have already taken steps to prepare for implementation of the Volcker Rule. Many firms have been working to meet the spirit and purpose of the Rule by curtailing many aspects of their proprietary trading activities. Additionally, firms have begun the process of reducing positions in entities that are clearly a private equity fund or hedge fund. ”
In regards to the exemption for municipal securities, Mr. Bentsen stated that “SIFMA believes excluding agency and instrumentality bonds from the final Volcker rule issued today was the correct course of action. Had all municipal bonds not been excluded from the Rule, the result would have been a more difficult environment for communities raising capital and decreased liquidity in the municipal market. We are reviewing with members the impact on tender option bond programs not receiving a specific exemption from the definition of ‘covered funds’.”
The complete final Rule can be found here.
Reps. Crenshaw and Stivers Submit Letters to SEC on MA Rule Guidance
On December 4, Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which has authority over SEC appropriations legislation, submitted a letter to SEC Chair Mary Jo White on the SEC’s municipal advisor rule.
Rep. Crenshaw urges the SEC “to clarify that dealers who declare their role as bond underwriters when initiating communication with an issuer in compliance with Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) rules will not be prohibited from underwriting bonds as a result of providing specific recommendations to bond issuers.”
On December 9, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, asked the SEC “to make it clear that a dealer providing particularized ideas, analysis, information, proposals or other communications that might otherwise be deemed ‘advice’ under the rule would not be precluded from underwriting a bond transaction that might arise from that communication if the dealer complies with all requirements of MSRB Rules G-17 and G-23.”
Rep. Stivers is the sponsor of the Municipal Advisor Oversight Improvement Act of 2013
(H.R. 797), legislation which would clarify the statutory treatment of municipal advisors.
The SEC is currently preparing guidance on implementing its municipal advisor rule, which takes effect on January 13, 2014.
MSRB Communicates Strategic Goals of Education Program
On December 9, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) articulated the goals of its education program, which seeks to enhance regulated entities’ understanding of their responsibilities, ensure that municipal market stakeholders are aware of regulatory developments that may affect them and provide others with information to assist in decision-making related to the municipal market.
The MSRB continues to welcome feedback on its education program products and priorities, which can be submitted online.
Now Available Online: SIFMA 2013 Amicus Brief Program Year in Review
SIFMA files amicus briefs, known as “friend of the court” briefs, in court cases that raise significant issues that impact the financial services industry. Our briefs highlight important policy concerns that transcend the immediate dispute between the parties, and encourage recognition of and respect for established industry customs and practices. Our program focuses on cases where parties seek to expand legal theories, ease pleading standards, or tilt procedural rules in their favor. Our goal is to contribute to positive case outcomes and lasting legal precedents that help our members manage litigation risks and costs. During fiscal year 2013, SIFMA filed a total of twenty-one briefs.
SIFMA 2013 Amicus Brief Program Year in Review
SIFMA Research Quarterly Finds Total Issuance Falls in 2013 Q3
SIFMA released its US Research Quarterly for the third quarter of 2013. The report determined long-term securities issuance totaled $1.74 trillion in the third quarter of 2013, a 2.0 percent decrease quarter-over-quarter (q-o-q) and a 5.7 percent decrease year-over-year (y-o-y). Increases in U.S. Treasuries and corporate bond issuance were offset by declines in federal agency debt, municipal debt, asset-backed securities, and mortgage-related issuance.
SIFMA U.S. Research Quarterly 2013, Q3
SIFMA Savings and Retirement Seminar – January 15 - NYC
The SIFMA Savings and Retirement Seminar is designed for senior retirement executives, compliance professionals, and attorneys, and provides the latest developments in the retirement planning industry. This seminar will help you prepare for – and meet – regulatory and compliance requirements, with five panels discussing and offering best practices and strategies including: plan sponsor perspectives, how investment professionals are assisting plan participants with retirement readiness, understanding the Department of Labor Audit/ERISA Investigation process, and addressing the fiduciary standards with a review of the DOL and SEC approaches. Register today.
New Faculty Announced! 2014 Securities Industry Institute - Mar. 9-14, Philadelphia
The Securities Industry Institute® (SII) is pleased to announce that Adam Grant, Professor of Management at The Wharton School, has joined our 2014 faculty! Grant is the single highest-rated professor in the Wharton MBA Program and the youngest tenured professor at Wharton. We are also pleased to welcome Jonah Berger, Associate Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School. Berger is the recipient of the prestigious Iron Prof award, Wharton’s faculty research competition, for his work in social epidemics. SII is the premier executive development program for securities industry professionals. Now in its 63rd year, the Institute is held each March at The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania. SII brings together high-potential, rising talent from across the industry to learn from authorities on topics to enhance their leadership and managerial abilities and augment their investment and industry knowledge. Participating firms benefit directly from SII’s cost-effective talent development approach. SII delivers practical, actionable knowledge implementable today. Attendees examine major issues exceptional managers and leaders encounter in their professional roles facilitated by a world-class faculty. Want to know more about the SII? Hear more from SII Trustees about SIFMA's premier executive education program and the overall value for those interested in attending or nominating employees at their firm.
Compliance & Legal Society 46th Annual Seminar – Mar. 30-Apr. 2, Orlando
Register today and join us on March 30-April 2 at this exceptional event to engage with leading industry experts and regulators, including: Mary Jo White, Chair of the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission; Richard Ketchum, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FINRA. On the Municipal Securities Panel; Moderator Margaret (Peg) Henry
Senior Vice President, Jefferies; Gary Goldsholle, General Counsel, Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; Bill Keisler, Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Stephens Inc.; Paul S. Maco, Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP; Leslie Norwood, Managing Director & Associate General Counsel, SIFMA; Donna Simonetti, Executive Director and Compliance Director, JPMorgan Chase Co. LLC . Stay up-to-date with the latest regulatory developments and earn CLE Credits with over 65 dynamic and informative panels.
SIFMA Bookstore Spotlight: The Fundamentals of Municipal Bonds
Reuters has called this text "an excellent general primer on the market." 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.