LOS ANGELES — The founder of the Orange County, Calif.-based Fixed Income Academy will transition into an advisory role at the Fixed Income Academy after taking another job in the industry.

Susan Munson, who was founder and president of the organization, will now serve as advisory board chair. She started Monday as managing director and senior portfolio advisor at Government Portfolio Advisors, an investment advisory firm.

Marcia Clark, a chartered financial analyst and professor, is chief learning officer and course designer at the bond school, and leads the management team as Munson transitions into an advisory role.

Susan Munson, who founded Fixed Income Academy, said changes wrought by technology are transforming the muni industry.
Susan Munson will chair the advisory board of Fixed Income Academy after taking a position as managing director and senior portfolio advisor at Government Portfolio Advisors.

Recognizing a need for better knowledge about public finance for government finance professionals, Munson founded the Fixed Income Academy in 2008.

The kernel of the idea behind the Academy came from thousands of conversations Munson had with clients throughout her career.

"I just started to realize a lot of people don't have a clear understanding of the bond market -- not just in municipal finance, but we all focus on silos," said Munson, who is on the program committee for the Women in Public Finance national conference in Los Angeles in October.

For instance, finance professionals might have a clear understanding of water projects, she said, but not necessarily education. Or understand corporate bonds, but not the municipal bond market.

The courses were designed to help train the next generation of public finance professionals, she said.

The founder said it was a good time for her to take on the role in private industry, because the Academy is in good hands.

The idea for the Academy really germinated in 2007 when she was on a trading desk, before the crash.

"I wanted to be on the advisory side working with clients, not on the sell side," Munson said. "The idea that never went away is that we could benefit from an online educational platform that delivers the foundational education of how the bond market works."

There were good live foundational bond schools in New York, she said, but that was more specific to the municipal finance market. There were other conferences that are topical to how to trade bonds, but they weren't foundational, she said.

"We all felt there needed to be a foundation to fill those gaps in knowledge," she said.

Clark, the lead instructor, started working at Pimco in 1983. She is a professor and a chartered financial advisor. Clark's level of expertise is why Munson said she is comfortable handing over day-to-day operations to her.

Clark is “responsible for ensuring that the development and delivery of FIA programs meets the highest quality of continuing standards,” Munson said.

The new leader at the Orange County, Calif. bond school has 30 years of fixed income experience working with designers and subject matter experts. She has helped design the coursework for Bond School in addition to live and online workshops.

Her experience as an educator and practitioner has equipped her to help students acquire knowledge that is both useful and relevant, Munson said.

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