SEC to Launch Muni Markets Field Hearings on September 21

Disclosure and transparency, credit ratings, internal controls top agenda

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Disclosure and transparency, credit ratings, and internal controls top the Securities and Exchange Commission's agenda for a series of nationwide SEC field hearings to examine the municipal securities markets, starting in San Francisco on September 21.

San Francisco participants will include California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Washington State Treasurer James McIntire, and City of San Diego monitor Stanley Keller. A panel of investors, both individuals and institutions, will also share their experiences, including Bob Fields, a PIMCO munis product manager; Michael Rufino, FINRA senior vice president, Office of Sales Practice; and Andy Gill, senior vice president of fixed income with Charles Schwab Investment Management.

"Today's investors hold about $2.8 trillion of municipal debt," SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said in a statement. "This is a critical market that touches every aspect of our lives, from the water that we drink to the roads upon which we drive. But for the market to continue to serve our communities, investors in municipal securities must be confident that they are getting the information necessary for knowledgeable decisions."

SEC commissioner Elisse Walter will lead the hearings along with fellow commissioners and staff from offices across the agency.

At the conclusion of all hearings, the commission will release a staff report containing recommendations for regulatory changes and industry "best practices," as well as legislative changes, if any.

The San Francisco hearing will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 21 at the Port of San Francisco, Pier 1, The Embarcadero. The public is welcome to attend as space allows. Admission is free.

Other hearings will be conducted in Chicago, Washington D.C., Tallahassee, Florida, and Austin, Texas. They will include participants from each local region and examine investor protection and education; financial reporting and accounting; market stability and liquidity; the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; municipalities as conduit borrowers; offering participants, professionals and market intermediaries; Build America Bonds; and 529 college savings plans.

The SEC invites members of the public and other interested parties to submit comments related to field hearing topics by using the comment form on the SEC website or sending an e-mail to munifieldhearings@sec.gov.

Read about the SEC's registration of municipal advisors from the archives of InvestmentAdvisor.com.

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