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SEC Aims to Exclude Municipal Advisors from its Pay-to-Play Rule
The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced it intends to issue an order that will allow municipal advisors to be excluded under its pay-to-play rule for investment advisers because they are now covered under a revised Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board rule.  more »
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West Virginia’s attorney general has reached settlements totaling $1.28 million with four firms in a lawsuit that alleged they engaged in bid rigging and price fixing for municipal investments, the latest action in federal and state investigations of bid rigging in the muni market that stretch back more than ten years. more »
Financial regulators and others should work to reverse the increased narrowing of the municipal market caused by fewer retail investors and wealthier bondholders, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advocate told regulators. more »
Piper Jaffray & Co. has agreed to pay a $12,500 fine after the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority found the firm submitted 23 disclosure documents related to primary offerings late to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s EMMA system. more »
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board will soon introduce the first two of several educational courses it plans to offer as part of its new learning management system designed to keep participants up to date on the municipal market and in compliance with their continuing education requirements. more »
The default of some unrated nonprofit project bonds in Michigan and subsequent struggle to recover funds highlights the frustration bondholders sometimes feel in working with trustees, who are tasked with acting as the agents of the investors in distressed and default situations. more »
Ernesto Lanza, formerly a shareholder with the law firm Greenberg Traurig, joined the D.C. office of Clark Hill as a senior counsel in August. more »
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s settlements with 71 issuers announced on Wednesday under a voluntary continuing disclosure enforcement initiative showed “a widespread and pervasive problem” with continuing disclosure in the municipal bond market but have led to some improvements, the SEC’s enforcement chief said Wednesday. more »
A criminal case alleging two Ramapo, N.Y. officials misled investors and credit rating agencies in connection with municipal bonds would go to trial on Jan. 9 under the timeline the federal judge has put forth for the proceedings. more »
The Government Finance Officers Association is urging its members to write senators about the need to get companion legislation to a House bill that would classify investment-grade municipal securities as high quality liquid assets under a rule by written by bank regulators. more »
Dealers will have 10 calendar days to close out failed inter-dealer transactions now that the Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board's amendments to one of its rules. more »
Municipal issuers are blasting the National Federation of Municipal Analysts' suggestion that Congress give the Securities and Exchange Commission new authority to regulate issuers' disclosures, calling it overly burdensome and ineffective. more »
Puerto Rico's addiction to debt is not unlike that of an abuser to alcohol or drugs, so perhaps it is time for Puerto Rico to undertake a 12-Step Program, aided by the new financial control board. more »
The National Federation of Municipal Analysts is suggesting that Congress should give the Securities and Exchange Commission direct regulatory authority over issuers as a way to improve disclosure in the municipal market. more »

Steven Weyl, a Butler Snow attorney who practices in the public finance, tax incentives, and credit markets groups in Boston, joins Chip Barnett to discuss a number of regulatory topics including the bank direct placement market. He also talks about the roles and rules that surround municipal underwriters, advisors, placement agents and bond counsel.

The Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative was a particularly imaginative enforcement solution directed toward a very specific disclosure issue.

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