July 23, 2014

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

HIGHLIGHTS

House of Representatives Discussion of MCDC
On July 16, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) initiated a colloquy on the House floor on the SEC’s Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation (MCDC) Initiative during House consideration of the 2015 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill (H.R. 5016). Rep. Stivers referenced an amendment he offered and withdrew which would have limited the scope of the MCDC to deals executed after March 19, 2012, the date the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations issued a “Risk Alert” on compliance with rules that are the subject of the MCDC. He committed to following up on the issue and engaging congressional involvement if the SEC does not reduce the scope of the program. Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, who was leading the House floor debate at the time, also expressed interest in addressing MCDC issues with the SEC.

A video clip of the colloquy is available here.

MSRB Forms Market Structure Group, Hires Chief Economist
On July 21, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) announced that it has created a Market Structure department that will consolidate the organization’s activities and functions related to market structure, market transparency, economic analysis, research, and industry operations. The MSRB is recruiting for a Chief Market Structure Officer to lead the group and has hired a Chief Economist to oversee the integration of economic analysis into the MSRB’s rulemaking.

Joining the MSRB as Chief Economist is David H. Saltiel, who will lead the economic analysis of MSRB rulemaking and market transparency initiatives, and conduct related statistical, econometric and financial analysis. Mr. Saltiel will join the MSRB from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Fiscal Service, where he serves as the Chief Financial Economist and Director of Data Management, Reporting and Analytics. He is also Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Debt Management. At the Treasury, Mr. Saltiel has been responsible for developing and executing a strategy to transform the bureau into a data-driven organization and for delivering economic and financial analyses that inform policy and improve outcomes. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Williams College, and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Oxford. Prior to the Treasury, Mr. Saltiel held financial advisory positions in government and the private sector including the U.S. Department of Energy and the Bethesda-based energy company Areva, Inc.

The MSRB also recently hired two municipal market professionals as members of the Market Structure team. Michael Kobs has joined the MSRB as Senior Advisor for Municipal Market Structure and Barbara Voute’ has been hired to serve as Municipal Operations Advisor. They will join Marcelo Vieira, Director of Research, and Justin Pica, Director of Product Management for Market Transparency, as members of the newly formed market structure group.

Mr. Kobs was previously President of Muni Analytics LLC, a consulting firm focused on institutional management of municipal bond portfolios. Earlier he was a Senior Portfolio Manager at the Vanguard Group and held other portfolio management and credit analyst positions at Allstate Insurance Co. and Zurich Kemper Investments. At the MSRB, he will provide expert strategic and tactical advice to evolve the MSRB’s municipal market structure initiatives and municipal market transparency systems. Mr. Kobs received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Iowa, and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.

Ms. Voute’ served as Vice President and Fixed Income Business Unit Manager, and earlier Operations Manager at Raymond James & Associates, Inc., where she supported the unit’s operational, regulatory, trading and new business activities. At the MSRB she will provide expertise on industry uniform practice and operational matters, and support the management of MSRB market transparency products. Ms. Voute’ received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Middle Tennessee State University.

Mr. Vieira has served as Director of Research since 2008 where has overseen the creation of the MSRB’s research function, which provides analysis and statistical information products to support rulemaking, market transparency and other MSRB initiatives. He was previously Vice President of Industry Research for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, where he also held the positions of Research Analyst and Director of Market Statistics. Mr. Vieira received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Maryland.

Mr. Pica manages MSRB products and services that provide market transparency and promote a fair and efficient municipal securities market. These include the EMMA® website, the Real-Time Transaction Reporting System (RTRS), the Short-Term Obligation Rate Transparency (SHORT) System, and EMMA submission portals for primary market and continuing disclosure documents. He joined the MSRB in 1999. Mr. Pica has a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing from Fordham University a master’s degree in business administration from George Washington University.

SIFMA Publishes Equity Market Structure Recommendations
SIFMA published a set of recommendations on equity market structure for enhancing fairness, stability and transparency in the U.S. stock market. The Recommendations are a set of tangible and actionable market structure reforms developed by a broad-based task force of SIFMA’s members from across the country and across the industry, including retail and institutional dealers and asset managers. They are designed to promote fair and timely access to market data, address the complexity and fragmentation caused by the current order system, and enhance transparency for retail and institutional investors.

We invite our SIFMA members to join a Member Call on Tuesday, July 22 at 3pm EDT for a full briefing and Q&A session on the Recommendations. SIFMA will also host a panel discussion on equity market structure developments at our upcoming Annual Meeting, on November 10 in New York City. We are pleased to welcome the new Director of the Division of Trading and Markets for the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Stephen Luparello, who will be joined by his fellow panelists to discuss developments in high-frequency trading; potential changes to SRO structure; analysis of on-exchange and off-exchange trading; the latest on tick-size pilots; and more.

Read more:

SIFMA Commends Secretary Lew’s Leadership on Cybersecurity
SIFMA commends Secretary Lew’s leadership on cybersecurity and his call for legislation that would enhance information sharing between the government and private sector. SIFMA has long called for Congress to take action and pass  legislation would remove some of the legal red tape and make it easier for the private sector and government to work together and share important threat information.  SIFMA also commends the Administration for their work on the NIST cybersecurity framework, and SIFMA remains committed to promoting adoption of the NIST framework amongst our membership. Cybersecurity is a top priority for the securities industry, which is dedicating significant resources to protect the integrity of the financial markets and the millions of Americans who participate in the financial markets every day.

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Financial Industry Associations Urge TTIP Negotiators to Include Financial Services Regulatory Coordination in US-EU Trade Agreement
SIFMA joined financial industry trade associations, the Financial Services Forum (FSF), the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR), the Institute of International Finance (IIF)  to urge Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiators to include financial services regulatory coordination in the US-EU Trade Agreement.  With a global economy and intertwined financial markets, the financial sector cannot continue to work under misaligned, uncoordinated regulatory regimes. A framework for coordination of financial services regulation between the US and EU would reduce conflict and complexity, and improve the efficiency of regulations across borders to the benefit of market participants, their customers and regulators. The group encourages negotiators to capitalize on this TTIP meeting in Brussels to promote high-quality regulatory standards that promote consistency, coordination, and resilience in our transatlantic markets.
Press Statement

GFMA Welcomes FSB Consultation Paper on Foreign Exchange Benchmarks
The Global Foreign Exchange Division of SIFMA’s global affiliate, GFMA, which represents international dealers in the $5trn a day market, welcomed a consultation paper by the Financial Stability Board’s FXBG (Foreign Exchange Benchmark Group). The paper will assist the FSB in the preparation of its final recommendations to the Brisbane G20 Leaders Summit in November. The draft recommendations outlined are likely to have an impact on all participants offering or making use of FX benchmarks as part of their FX trading activity, including dealers, institutional investors, companies and governments. GFMA will continue to work with regulators and supervisors to support measures designed to preserve and enhance confidence in the FX market, given its role in underpinning global trade and investing.
Press Release

Registration Now Open: SIFMA’s 2014 Industry-Wide BCP Testing Initiative
As part of the ongoing securities industry testing initiative, on October 25, 2014, SIFMA will lead the 2014 industry-wide business continuity test where firms submit test orders and transactions to markets and utilities. The exercise will involve test transactions for equities, options, fixed income, foreign exchange, commercial paper, settlement, payments, Treasury auctions and market data. The test is supported by all major exchanges, markets and industry utilities. Registration is open until Friday, October 17.
Register Today
SIFMA Blog: Pennsylvania + Wall

Table Top Exercise (TTX): A new addition in this year’s test is a Table Top Exercise (TTX).  If your firm is interested in participating in this TTX please register and that person will then receive details regarding the remote, self-paced exercise that will make use of the crisis scenario being applied to this year’s exercise.  The TTX will be executed in Friday, October 24. There will also be more information on the TTX as we move into the summer.
Table Top Exercise Scenario

Pandemic Influenza Continuity Exercise Series: Multiple Dates, Sep. – Dec., 2014: SIFMA is coordinating with government and private organizations to sponsor a two year series of pandemic influenza continuity exercises to mitigate vulnerabilities during a pandemic influenza outbreak; identify gaps or weaknesses in pandemic planning or in organization pandemic influenza continuity plans, policies, & procedures; and encourage public and private organizations to jointly plan for, and test, their pandemic influenza plans.
FEMA Pandemic Exercise

See Highlights from the InvestWrite NYC Wall Street Experience
The winners of this year’s InvestWrite® competition had a great visit to NYC for their Wall Street Experience in June.  Check out photos, tweets and news coverage from the students’ tour of the New York Stock exchange as well as breakfast in their honor with the SIFMA Foundation and McGraw Hill Financial.  Students also heard from industry experts and got to present their market strategies to a group of visiting teachers.
View Highlights

Join SIFMA to Invest It Forward
Invest it Forward™ is a new program from SIFMA and the SIFMA Foundation that connects teachers and classrooms with financial industry professionals and firms. If you are a financial industry professional or a financial services firm wanting to volunteer, and to discover specific ways you can bring your passion and expertise into classrooms and youth-serving nonprofits, sign up to join us today.
Sign Up

 

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EVENTS

Join Us at the Upcoming C&L Regional Seminars: San Francisco, Aug. 6; Charlotte, Sep. 22; NYC, Oct. 2
SIFMA’s Compliance & Legal Regional Seminars bring together securities regulators and industry professionals to discuss the current industry topics impacting the Compliance and Legal industry. Each program features discussions on a variety of issues like recent retail developments; ethical issues for C&L officers; cybersecurity; securities enforcement; e-discovery trends; securities sales to an aging population; the changing face of AML; mitigating personal risk for compliance officers; SEC & FINRA exam priorities and more.
Register Today: San Francisco – Aug. 6
Register Today: Charlotte – Sep. 22
Register Today: New York City – Oct. 2

SIFMA Annual Meeting – Nov. 10, NYC: Mayor Bloomberg to Provide Keynote Address
SIFMA's 2014 Annual Meeting once again gathers the leaders of the financial services industry together with prominent policymakers and financial media. Join us to explore the role of capitalism in creating opportunity across America. In one-on-one conversations, today’s foremost thought leaders will share their perspectives on how the financial services industry will best serve tomorrow's economy.
Register Today

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.
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