How MSRB’s new chair will change its board, continue stakeholder engagement

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New Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board Chair Edward Sisk plans to create a committee to further stakeholder involvement while honing in on the board’s future governance and new technology.

Sisk is a managing director and head of public finance at Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he has been for over 25 years. He will be starting on Oct. 1, as current Chair Gary Hall heads out at the end of the month.

Sisk assumes the chair after an eventful year following three leaders leaving the MSRB, including its president and CEO Lynnette Kelly. He plans to create a governance committee to review the board's composition and selection process while searching for a new CEO and continuing stakeholder engagement efforts and cloud migration.

“We have a very full agenda with governance reviews, a CEO search and migration to the cloud,” Sisk said.

A Native New Yorker, Sisk was born in Brooklyn and holds his bachelor’s degree from Fordham University and a law degree from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law. Before Merrill Lynch, Sisk joined Mudge Rose Guthrie and Ferdon in 1988 in its municipal bond department. There he represented issuers and underwriters, among other municipal participants for six years.

Over the past 10 years at Merrill Lynch, Sisk has led a team of investment bankers, covering municipal issuers. Every day is different, Sisk said, making his job interesting and fun.

Growing up, Sisk’s father printed municipal bonds and official statements, which familiarized Sisk with the industry and provided some inspiration.

“I at least heard about what a municipal bond was, at least from his perspective,” Sisk said. “I had that general understanding from hearing my father staying late at work to get a specific bond printed.”

In his role as MSRB chair, Sisk will be conducting a CEO search and in the next few weeks will begin the process of rolling out a national search, he said.

General Counsel Michael Post left for the private sector after six years at the MSRB in September and Chief Regulatory Officer Lanny Schwartz left in August, leaving the MSRB without a senior lawyer.

Sisk said the MSRB is working with internal candidates to fill those legal positions.

“We have a number of terrific internal people and we’re also considering the possibility of outside candidates,” Sisk said.

Sisk also wants to continue former Chair Hall’s stakeholder efforts by creating a formal stakeholder engagement committee.

“I’d like to honor what he did by creating a permanent committee of the board that would institutionalize stakeholder engagement” Sisk said. “I think what Gary and other board members did last year was so incredibly valuable.”

Hall called his term as chair, the “year of the stakeholder.” He increased the MSRB’s engagement efforts with multiple outreach events such as conferences, town halls and roundtables.

The new stakeholder committee will have five members and be led by Jerry Ford, a municipal advisor serving his fourth year on the board.

The MSRB also plans to retain its compliance advisory group and municipal fund securities advisory group into the next year.

Sisk will also continue the MSRB’s efforts to migrate to the cloud. MSRB budgeted over $4 million for the change in fiscal year 2020.

“Our goal is to migrate all of our key systems to the cloud in the next fiscal year,” Sisk said. “It’s a big job and we have terrific staff, and I’m sure we’ll get it done.”

In the long run, transferring data to the cloud will increase functionality, make MSRB systems more secure and reduce operating costs, Sisk said.

The MSRB also plans to continue fine tuning its EMMA site by improving the searchability of quarterly Rule-37 disclosures on political contributions and prohibitions.

Sisk will serve as board chair until his term on the board ends on Sept. 30, 2020.

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