The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board held a regional roundtable session with local finance officials from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia last week, in what may become the first of a series of such events here and around the nation.
The goal of the meeting appeared to be an effort by the MSRB to meet with more than a dozen issuer officials and representatives of local government groups to obtain their input on the issues they are confronting and that are important to them, as well as how the board can help them.
MSRB director of market leadership Ritta McLaughlin opened the meeting by introducing everyone. Then chief communications officer Jennifer Gallowayexplained how the board's mission has been broadened to include the protection of issuers, sources said.
Until last year, the MSRB regulated broker-dealers and its board was made up of 15 members — five from securities firms, five from banks and five members of the public.
But the Dodd-Frank Act required the board to have a majority of public members and broadened its mission considerably.
The MSRB now protects state and local government issuers, public pension plans and others whose credit stands behind municipal bonds, in addition to investors and the public interest, according to its website.
In addition, Dodd-Frank gave the board regulatory authority over independent municipal advisors.
The board has 21 members, 11 of which are public, and has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to approve that structure on a permanent basis.
Ernesto Lanza, deputy executive director and general counsel, talked about the importance of the board's online EMMA system and showed issuer officials at the meeting how it works, sources said. Peg Henry, the board's deputy general counsel, talked to the group about the MSRB's recent rulemaking efforts.
Then Frank Shafroth, director of legislative affairs and intergovernmental relations, broke the group into smaller groups that brainstormed about what the board could do to help issuers.
Those attending the meeting included District of Columbia Treasurer Lasana Mack; Marcy Edwards, senior financial policy advisor to the district's chief financial officer; Harry D. Sewell, executive director of the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency; Annie Fulton George, senior financial analyst with the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority; Timothy Firestine, chief administrative officer for Montgomery County, Md.; and Stephen McGibbons, deputy director of the office of finance for Prince Georges County, Md.
Other attendees included Lynn Hampton, former chief executive officer and CFO of the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority who is currently president of Database Access Group; Steve Solomon, finance director of Prince William County, Va.; Carl Hampton, fiscal services manager for Prince William County; Jason Friess, financial analyst for Arlington County, Va.; Bernice Harris, financial reporting supervisor for Alexandria, Va.; Neal Menkes, director of fiscal policy for the Virginia Municipal League; Laura Bonavita, a principal associate at the National League of Cities; and Scott Morris, manager of state league programs at the NLC.
Others that were invited but did not attend included Robert Hunt, manager for treasury and debt for the D.C. WASA; Michael Belarmino, associate legislative director for the National Association of Counties; Olu Adebo, chief financial officer of the WASA, and Andrew Rountree, vice president and chief financial officer at the MWAA.