Muni lobbyist Michael Decker moving on to work with BDA

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WASHINGTON — The Bond Dealers of America will begin working with Michael Decker, former co-head of munis at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, in a move the group hopes will help grow its presence on Capitol Hill and beyond.

BDA made the announcement Thursday and Decker’s first day will be April 1. Decker will focus on federal regulatory and legislative issues as well as market practice issues specific to the U.S. as a way to broaden the BDA’s Washington presence and have more impactful advocacy for BDA firms, BDA announced.

Advocacy has been one of Decker’s areas of expertise and he has been among the most prominent muni lobbyists for years.

“The things that I’m most excited about are working on policy issues,” Decker said. “That’s what I’ve done for a long, long time and there’s no shortage of prevailing policy issues affecting the fixed income markets and the municipal market.”

Mike Nicholas, BDA's chief executive officer, said nobody's roles were being revamped at BDA and added that Decker is not coming in-house at BDA for the time being. It's a working relationship that allows Brett Bolton, vice president, and Kelli McMorrow, senior vice president, to ramp up their advocacy.

“This allows them to focus a little more of their attention on Capitol Hill,” Nicholas said. “It makes everybody better, frankly. It makes the BDA more effective and stronger.”

Decker co-founded the Regional Bond Dealers Association with Nicholas ten years ago. He left for SIFMA in 2009 before the RBDA became the BDA in 2010.

Decker said Nicholas called him soon after Decker was let go by SIFMA at the end of February.

“We’ve been friends for two decades and when he learned that I was leaving SIFMA, he called me soon after and we had a number of conversations,” Decker said. “We’re both excited about the prospect of working together.”

Decker's departure from SIFMA was seen by many as a significant development, further stoking concern about the group’s commitment to the muni market. While SIFMA stated publicly in October 2018 that a restructuring of its committees wouldn't mean any reduction in muni advocacy, some muni market participants were concerned that the big Wall Street banks who pay the lion's share of SIFMA dues were not concerned about munis and wanted SIFMA to cut costs. In the fiscal year ending in October 2017, Decker made $545,140 in total compensation as SIFMA's co-head of munis and managing director.

In addition to his policy work, Decker will be helping the BDA to grow its membership, which now stands at 70 firms.

“Speaking for the BDA Board, we are excited to work with Michael Decker,” stated Angelique David, BDA Board chair and chief operating officer and general counsel of Ziegler. “Michael’s experience and industry knowledge will expand and enhance the BDA’s focus, resulting in stronger overall advocacy.”

Prior to 2008, Decker was senior managing director for research and public policy at SIFMA, where he oversaw the association’s research activities, including analyzing industry and market trends, collecting market and industry data and publishing research reports covering all aspects of the global securities market.

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Career moves Lobbying Securities law Munis BDA SIFMA Washington DC