October 22, 2014

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


SEC Approves Amendments to MSRB Continuing Education Requirements
On October 15, the MSRB received approval from the SEC to amend Rule G-3 to require dealers to provide annual municipal securities training for registered persons who are regularly engaged in or supervise municipal securities activities. While dealers have been obligated to conduct continuing education under MSRB rules, there was no requirement that dealer personnel be trained on municipal securities issues. 

The amendments will take effect January 1, 2015, and for the first time will require dealers to train certain individuals annually on municipal securities issues, rather than allowing firms to base their continuing education topics on an overall assessment of training needs. The amendments permit dealers the flexibility to determine which of their registered representatives and principals regularly engage in or supervise municipal securities activities and should receive this topical training. The amendments also allow firms to determine the extent of their annual training on municipal securities matters.

The MSRB will host an educational webinar about the rule amendments on December 4, 2014.

On Friday – Training Opportunity: How to Interpret Governmental Accounting Statements – Oct. 24
Are you looking to better understand or fully interpret the new changes on the latest government accounting standards? Join us at “What Municipal Analysts Need to Know about Governmental Accounting.” This Seminar, on October 24 at the SIFMA Conference Center in NYC, is ideal for new or junior level analysts attend this event to learn the basics, or receive an update, on the latest accounting requirements. Register today, or encourage your colleagues to participate. Sign-up Today

SIFMA Statement on Final Risk Retention Rule
SIFMA President and CEO Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr. said the final credit risk retention rule announced by regulators on October 21 “will help clarify the regulatory 'rules of the road' for securitization,” and also “bring some relief to the regulatory uncertainty that has been a negative factor in the recovery of non-government guaranteed mortgage securitization.”

“We are pleased that the regulators finalized the adherence of the QRM definition to the CFPB's QM definition, which is a path SIFMA supported in its 2013 comments,” Bentsen said. “On the other hand, we are disappointed that the regulators did not appear to respond to the numerous commenter requests to tailor the risk retention rules for CLOs, and are concerned that the rules may have a negative impact on the ability of CLOs to fund credit creation.  This is important because CLOs are a key source of funding for Main Street businesses and other corporate borrowers, and this funding could become more expensive and less available.”

"There are many other important aspects of the rule proposal that we will review with our members, given that those will apply to non-QRM loans and all other asset classes, such as credit cards, tender option bonds, and student loans," Bentsen said.

Resource: Overview of Risk Retention | SIFMA Statement

SIFMA Submits Supplemental Comments to Federal Banking Agencies on Basel III LCR Rule
SIFMA recently submitted supplemental comments to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the agencies) regarding the treatment of municipal securities under the Basel III Liquidity Coverage Ratio Rule. The agencies are considering an amendment to the rule to provide High Quality Liquid Asset treatment to certain municipal securities. 

SIFMA Publishes Recommendations for Effective Cybersecurity Regulatory Guidance 
SIFMA published its "Principles for Effective Cybersecurity Regulatory Guidance," that provides regulators with SIFMA members' insight on productive ways to harmonize and create effective cybersecurity regulatory guidance. SIFMA is promoting a collaborative approach to cybersecurity that can foster innovation and strengthen efforts to protect financial industry operations and most importantly our clients. This paper is one in a series of initiatives undertaken by SIFMA focused on enhancing the industry's cybersecurity preparedness and practices. 
Resource: Learn more and access SIFMA’s 10 principles.




Hear From Top Regulators and Leaders in the Municipal Bond Markets at the 2014 SIFMA Annual Meeting
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. Lynn Hume, Washington Bureau Chief of The Bond Buyer, will moderate the panel.

Panelist include:

  • Andrew Ceresney, Director, Division of Enforcement, SEC
  • Kent Hiteshew, Director, Office of State and Local Finance, U.S. Department of Treasury
  • Chris Hamel, Managing Director and Head of Municipal Finance Group, RBC
  • Samuel Ramirez Jr., President & CEO, Ramirez Asset Management.

SIFMA LinkedIn Group & Facebook Exclusive: Win a Complimentary Pass to Our 2014 Annual Meeting 
“Follow” our LinkedIn Company Page for a chance to win a complimentary pass to SIFMA’s 2014 Annual Meeting. This contest is being offered exclusively to SIFMA’s LinkedIn Group members and those who “like” us on Facebook. Follow our LinkedIn Company Page: http://linkd.in/1nsKvPW 

SIFMA YouTube Channel: Meeting the Challenges of a Global Economy
From employment to saving, what do we need to do to ensure America is meeting the changing demands of today and tomorrow? Watch as Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman & CEO of Goldman Sachs, and others weigh in during SIFMA's 2013 Annual Meeting. Sign-up for SIFMA’s 2014 Annual Meeting: Join today’s foremost thought leaders in New York City and hear their perspectives on how the financial services industry will best serve tomorrow's economy.



Register Today for SIFMA’s Legal Ethics Seminar – Webcast Available - Oct. 28, NYC: Only one week to register! Don’t miss your opportunity to complete all your Legal Ethics CLE requirements at one half-day seminar. Join us for SIFMA and SIFMA's Compliance & Legal Society's Ethics Seminar on Oct. 28 in NYC to hear the top industry professionals discuss the current ethical issues impacting the industry. If you are unable to attend in person, register for the live video webcast and still be eligible for credits.  Register Now

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: The 2014 SIFMA Diversity and Inclusion Conference will bring together business leaders, Human Resources and Diversity professionals to explore – and prepare for – the future workplace. Join us on November 13-14 in St. Louis, MO, for the trends that are shaping leadership and team dynamics, why diversity matters on corporate boards, the importance of supplier diversity to business performance, and more. Keynote addresses will be delivered by Barney Frank, Former Chairman of the Committee on Financial Services and U.S. House of Representatives; and Bonnie St. John, Olympic Athlete, Best-Selling Author, Fortune 500 Business Consultant & Former White House Official. Register Today




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"
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
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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