April 9, 2014

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


SIFMA Publishes Draft Municipal Advisor Model Documents
On April 4, SIFMA made available its draft model documents and related guidance to help brokers, dealers and other financial institutions serve their clients and comply with the new regulatory requirements created by the SEC's Municipal Advisor Rule. The SEC's Municipal Advisor Rule imposes a registration regime upon municipal advisors, i.e., firms that give advice absent an exemption or exclusion to municipal entities and obligated persons, and imposes a fiduciary duty upon municipal advisors that give advice to municipal entities. MSRB rulemaking will impose additional requirements and prohibitions on the conduct of municipal advisors.

SIFMA's model disclosures are designed to be a starting point to aid firms with serving their clients and compliance with the SEC's Municipal Advisor Rule; however, close attention must be paid to the specific language used as the Rule and the SEC's interpretive guidance is very specific as to what is required for compliance with certain exemptions or exclusions. SIFMA encourages firms to modify these documents as necessary to reflect their own analysis of the Rule or the specifics of particular client relationships or transactions.

SIFMA is soliciting industry comment on these draft documents. Please forward any comments, questions or concerns to Leslie Norwood at lnorwood@sifma.org.


SIFMA also recommends that firms update their internal policies and procedures and continue to educate their personnel about this new regulatory requirement ahead of the Municipal Advisor Rule’s July 1 effective date.


SIFMA Publishes Draft Municipal Advisor Model Documents

SIFMA Opposes FINRA’s Proposed Maintenance Margin Requirements for TBA Market

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has adopted revised best practices to adjust for a municipal advisor (MA) rule that takes effect on July 1, 2014.  The best practices address issues that will be affected by the final MA rules. For example, the best practice on underwriter selection makes reference to the underwriter engagement exemption in the municipal advisor rule, which states that a dealer firm does not have to register as an MA and can offer certain types of advice after the firm has been selected to underwrite a particular bond issue. Issuers doing a negotiated deal should consider signing "a non-binding letter of intent with the underwriter(s) at an earlier stage of the transaction to assist the underwriter in complying with certain provisions of the SEC's municipal advisor rule," that guidance states.

SIFMA Press Release | SIFMA's General Comments | SIFMA AMG's Letter


Municipal Advisor Regulation: Implementation & Registration: May 9, NYC

SIFMA's Muni Advisor Regulation: Implementation & Registration session will provide an in-depth look at the SEC's Municipal Advisor Registration Rule that goes into effect on July 1st. This session will also discuss the regulatory framework and outlook for municipal advisors and other firms potentially covered by this rule. If you are new to the industry, or an experienced legal and compliance or business professional who is looking to learn about this new rule, this seminar will address implementation processes and issues with respect to the rule, and potential compliance methods.

Register Today


SIFMA and FSR Express Concern with SEC Staff Memo Regarding Reg AB2

SIFMA and FSR commended the SEC for its continuing efforts to promote more efficient and transparent ABS markets and for facilitating dialogue on its regulatory proposals. However, the groups urged the Commission to abandon the flawed approach to the disclosure of asset-level information outlined in the Memorandum, which would expose both consumers and issuers to unwarranted risks and liabilities. Instead, the Commission should re-propose the ABS Releases in order to accommodate a more detailed and comprehensive reconsideration of the difficult technical, legal, and public policy concerns raised by asset-level disclosure.

SIFMA-FSR Joint Statement | SIFMA-FSR Joint Comments


SIFMA Commends New York State Budget Agreement
“We commend Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver, and Senate Leaders Skelos and Klein for supporting key tax reforms and applaud their commitment to improving the business climate for many industries throughout the State,” said SIFMA president and CEO Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr. after the New York State Legislature passed its 2014-2015 budget. “The 2014-2015 Budget modernizes outdated rules to conform to a major retooling of federal laws governing financial institutions, providing the financial sector with updated rules to enhance business planning and retention. The new tax laws will allow the industry to remain competitive and strong in order to bring greater benefits to New York.”

SIFMA Statement

SIFMA Foundation Recognizes Financial Literacy Month
April is Financial Literacy Month. Since 1977, the SIFMA Foundation has enabled 15 million students and their teachers to learn about the importance of investing, saving and long-term planning, as well as the role of the global capital markets in their lives. SIFMA Foundation's acclaimed financial education programs, Invest it Forward, the Stock Market Game™, Capitol Hill Challenge, and InvestWrite®, help children become financially literate and provides a foundation for the youth of today to be the vital contributors to our society and economy of tomorrow.

Join us, and get involved in the SIFMA Foundation's Program



OPS 2014: Apr 30-May 1, Boca Raton – SIFMA's 41st Annual Operations Conference
The SIFMA Operations Conference & Exhibition offers timely perspectives and topics hand-selected by industry leaders – including Change and Risk Management, CARDS, Settlement Cycles, Equity and Fixed Income Clearing, Derivatives, Cybersecurity, Regulatory Changes, Money Market Reform, Tri-Party Repo, Fixed Income Securities, and more. We are honored to have Rudy Giuliani, 107th Mayor of New York City (1993-2001), and Chairman and CEO of Giuliani Partners LLC, deliver the keynote address. Other featured speakers include: Mike McConnell, Vice Chairman of Booz Allen Hamilton, Retired Vice Admiral US Navy and Former Director of the National Security Agency; Michael Bodson, President and CEO, DTCC; Sarah Dahlgren, Executive Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and Lisa Dolly, Chief Operating Officer, Pershing LLC.

SIFMA’s Leslie Norwood will be moderating the Municipal Securities - Trace and RTRS panel which will discuss timely issues surrounding the Real-Time Transaction Reporting System (RTS) and TRACE for corporate, agency and ABS/MBS debt.  Register Today

Save the Date: SIFMA Industry-Wide BCP Testing Initiative- October 25, 2014
As part of the ongoing securities industry testing initiative, SIFMA will lead the 2014 industry-wide business continuity test on Saturday, October 25, 2014. The test will follow the format of prior industry-wide tests where firms submit test orders and transactions to the 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. In addition we are planning to expand the test by including a crisis scenario that will be designed to influence the decisions made by members and service providers in regards to how they react to maintain connectivity. On the same day the Futures Industry Association will lead a test of the Futures Markets and the Financial Information Forum will coordinate testing with market data vendors and service bureaus. The test is supported by all major exchanges, markets and industry utilities. Further details and registration information will be announced at a later date.

Visit SIFMA's BCP Center

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.

Purchase a Copy for Your Library

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