WASHINGTON - First Southwest Co. vice chairman Michael Bartolotta has left his securities dealer seat on the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, following the November purchase of First Southwest Holdings Co. by PlainsCapital Corp., the second-largest privately held bank in Texas.

Though First Southwest has kept its name and continues to function as a broker-dealer and a financial adviser operating as a subsidiary of PlainsCapital, Bartolotta said it is legally unclear if a FirstSouthwest employee should remain in a securities dealer seat on the 15-member board. His last official day at the MSRB was Dec. 31 and his departure means the board must find someone else from a securities firm to fill the seat.

The MSRB is legally required to be made up of five securities firm officials, five bank officials, and five members of the public, including a representative of the investor community and a representative of issuers.

Separately, the board yesterday announced that the Web component of Short-term Obligation Rate Transparency system is available for testing. Users of the SHORT Web component may manually input basic reset information for auction-rate securities and variable-rate demand obligations. They may also use the Web component to review information sent via a computer-to-computer connection, the MSRB said in a statement.

Last week, the board asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to require broker-dealers to begin submitting ARS information to SHORT by Jan. 30, and to submit VRDO information by April 1.

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