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SIFMA Statement on SEC Report on Municipal Securities Market

Release Date: July 31, 2012
Contact: Katrina Cavalli, 212.313.1181, kcavalli@sifma.org  
Andrew DeSouza, 202.962.7390, adesouza@sifma.org 

SIFMA Statement on SEC Report on Municipal Securities Market  

New York, NY, July 31, 2012—SIFMA today released the following statement from Leslie Norwood, co-head of SIFMA’s municipal securities division after the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a comprehensive report on the state of the municipal securities market.  

“SIFMA applauds the SEC on their depth of their recent report on the state of the municipal securities industry.  We are supportive of reasonable efforts to help investors make more knowledgeable decisions about municipal securities by improving the quality and timeliness of disclosure.  SIFMA and its members are concerned that many aspects of the current disclosure regime are affected indirectly through the regulated broker dealers. We also have concerns about any changes that cause significant additional burdens to the issuer community.” 

On Disclosure:  

GASB: “We have concerns about setting GASB as the GAAP standard setter for municipal issuers as different states have different laws on audit requirements. We have further concerns about the unregulated budget of GASB that may permit excessive and burdensome accounting standards for issuers, particularly when the low default rate in the industry has been acknowledged by the SEC.”

Tower Amendment: “As the SEC has shown there are many regulatory changes that can be made, without legislative hurdle of overturning the Tower Amendment.” 

Forward Looking Statement: “SIFMA strongly support providing a safe harbor from private liability for forward-looking statements of repeat municipal issuers that satisfy certain conditions.”

SEC and IRS information sharing: “SIFMA strongly support permitting the Internal Revenue Service to share information with the SEC that it obtains from returns, audits, and examinations related to municipal securities offerings, particularly in instances of suspected securities fraud.”

CDA enforcement: “SIFMA strongly supports providing a mechanism, through trustees or other entities, to enforce compliance with continuing disclosure agreements and other obligations of municipal issuers to protect municipal securities bondholders.”

Conflicts and derivatives disclosure: “The recent MSRB G-17 Interpretive Notice, which goes into effect on August 2, addresses some of the concerns mentioned in the report.  The Notice requires disclosure by underwriters to issuers of actual or potential conflicts of interest as well as material risk disclosures for “complex” transactions, which include swaps.”

Market Structure:  
“It is important to ensure that dealers of different business models can operate on a level playing field and that investors have sufficient relevant market information with which to make informed decisions.  SIFMA and its member feel that the MSRB’s current rules on fair pricing and disclosure of yields is the best way to accomplish this goal. We have several initial concerns with some of the recommendations laid out in today’s report, but we will discuss these with our members and work with the SEC and Congress moving forward.”

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The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) brings together the shared interests of hundreds of securities firms, banks and asset managers. SIFMA's mission is to support a strong financial industry, investor opportunity, capital formation, job creation and economic growth, while building trust and confidence in the financial markets. SIFMA, with offices in New York and Washington, D.C., is the U.S. regional member of the Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA). For more information, visit http://www.sifma.org.


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Contact

In New York:
Katrina Cavalli
212.313.1181


-or-


 Liz Pierce

212.313.1173

 

In Washington:

Carol Danko
202.962.7390