October 15, 2014

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

HIGHLIGHTS

Hear From Top Regulators, Leaders in the Municipal Bond Markets

This year, at the 2014 SIFMA Annual Meeting, we will hear from top regulators and leaders in the Municipal Bond Markets in a session entitled, Building Communities: Landmark Changes in Municipal Bond Markets. Legislators, regulators, and industry experts have made recommendations to improve market structure and regulation, but what topics should be given priority? Should municipal bond interest remain tax exempt? Should issuer disclosure practices be more directly regulated? Is the transparency of the market sufficient to support its size and importance? What are the regulators’ priorities regarding enforcement?

This panel of market and regulatory leaders will discuss the issues under consideration and try to develop a framework for a thoughtful review of these important issues. Panelist include:

  • Andrew Ceresney, Co-Director, Division of Enforcement, SEC
  • Kent Hiteshew, Director, Office of State and Local Finance, U.S. Department of Treasury
  • Samuel Ramirez Jr., President & CEO, Ramirez Asset Management.

 

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Training Opportunity: How to Interpret Governmental Accounting Statements – Oct. 24 There have been recent changes to government financial reports such as the new fund balance classifications, the appearance of deferrals, and pension information. In order to help analysts fully understand and interpret these changes, SIFMA is pairing up with the Municipal Analysts Group of New York and GASB's Dean Mead to host, "What Municipal Analysts Need to Know about Governmental Accounting" on October 24th at the SIFMA Conference Center in New York City. Register Today!

GASB Seeks Comments on Effectiveness of Statement No. 34, Basic Financial Statements—and Management’s Discussion and Analysis—for State and Local Governments
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s (GASB) is currently conducting pre-agenda research to inform its assessment of the effectiveness of Statement No. 34, Basic Financial Statements—and Management’s Discussion and Analysis—for State and Local Governments, and related standards. The objective of this research is to gather feedback on these broad questions:

  • What Statement 34 requirements related to management’s discussion and analysis, government-wide financial statements, fund financial statements, and budgetary comparison information are effective or ineffective in providing information that is essential for decision-making and that enhances the ability to assess a government’s accountability?
  • What concerns exist regarding the application of the standards?
  • How do the costs of applying the standards compare with the perceptions of the benefits of the resulting information?

Statement 34 has a pervasive influence over the effectiveness of financial reporting by state and local governments and the ability of that reporting to achieve the objectives of financial reporting. As a result, the GASB decided that it was important, as part of its commitment to maintaining the effectiveness of its standards, to reexamine the current financial reporting model now that it has been in place for a sufficient length of time. This survey is one effort in the pre-agenda research to be conducted by the GASB staff.

GASB developed an online survey to gather feedback from users of governmental financial information. We would greatly appreciate you taking the time to complete the survey, which can be accessed by following this link http://www.gasb.org/GASB-reexam-survey-user.

To make it easier to complete the survey, it is possible for you to download a copy of the survey in its entirety to consider the questions before entering your responses into the online version. Additionally, you do not have to complete the online survey in a single session. You can save your responses and will be provided an individualized link to return to your survey at a later date to complete it.

The deadline for completing the survey is October 24, 2014.

Your input is essential to the GASB’s standards-setting process. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Roberta Reese (rereese@gasb.org) or Lisa Parker (lrparker@gasb.org).

Sign up Today: Invest It Forward Volunteer Opportunities
Teachers across the country are asking you, our SIFMA member firms, to visit their SMG classes to promote financial and capital markets literacy this fall! Join SIFMA as we Invest It Forward™. Invest it Forward™ connects teachers and classrooms with financial industry professionals and firms to give young Americans a solid understanding of the capital markets system and the invaluable tools to achieve their dreams. You register online, select a local school and The SIFMA Foundation provides you with a tailor-made presentation based on the subject your teacher requests.  Do it alone or as part of a team.  You too can host a classroom at your firm’s office.  Register directly or contact Michelle Noguchi at mnoguchi@sifma.org / 212.313.1224 for further detail.

Department of Labor Delays its Fiduciary RuleRegistration 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 the registrant 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

New 2015 Edition of "Sources: A Resource Directory"
SIFMA is pleased to announce the upcoming publication of a new 2015 edition of "Sources: A Resource Directory.” Compiled by SIFMA, Sources is an easy-to-use guide of products and services for the securities and financial industry. Service providers in financial services are invited to submit information for publication; SIFMA’s Associate Members are included at no cost as a benefit of membership.
View: Sources

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.
Read More and Purchase Book

 

EVENTS

Two Weeks to Register: Earn 4.0 Ethics CLE Credits - SIFMA Seminar - Oct. 28, NYC
Are you looking for an opportunity to earn all your Ethic CLE requirements at one time? SIFMA and SIFMA’s Compliance & Legal Society are hosting an Ethics Seminar, on October 28th, to take a deeper-dive into the ethical issues impacting the financial industry. Join us in-person, or from the comfort of your own desk, and satisfy all your New York State CLE Ethics Credits requirements in one half-day seminar. 

SIFMA Annual Meeting: Full Program Available
SIFMA's 2014 Annual Meeting once again gathers the leaders of the financial services industry together with prominent policymakers and financial media in November. Join us to explore the role of capitalism in creating opportunity across America. In one-on-one conversations and on in-depth panels, today’s foremost thought leaders – including former Mayor of the City of New York and Founder of Bloomberg LP, Michael Bloomberg, and Co-Founder and Co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein, and Stephen Luparello, the new Director of Trading and Markets for the Securities and Exchange Commission – will share their perspectives on how the financial services industry will best serve tomorrow's economy.

2014 Tribute Dinner: Celebrate the SIFMA Foundation’s Best Year On Record: The 2014 Tribute Dinner, Invested in Financial Capability, will take place following this year’s Annual Meeting on November 10th at the Marriott Marquis in NYC.  Thanks to our many supporters and volunteers, the Foundation has been able to reach new heights and bring our programs to millions of students and teachers. Your generous donations will help ensure our children become financially capable and that they are well prepared to make smart financial decisions throughout their lives. Register Today

Full Program Available: SIFMA Diversity Conference: Nov. 13-14, St. Louis
One of the featured sessions at the SIFMA Diversity Conference is the CEO Panel, which brings together top executives to candidly discuss the business imperative of diversity and inclusion as a long-term strategy to achieve the corporate mission. Executive speakers include: Jim Weddle, Managing Partner, Edward Jones; Robert Druskin, Executive Chairman, DTCC; Mary Mack, President and CEO, Wells Fargo Advisors; and more. Join prominent business and community leaders in St. Louis to discuss the steps needed to achieve the vision of global diversity and inclusion, and prepare for the 2020 workplace.

 

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