Muni officials on SEC fixed income advisory group

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The Securities and Exchange Commission will form a committee to provide advice to the Commission on the fixed income markets that will include former SEC commissioner Elisse Walter as well as several major names in municipal finance.

The SEC announced late Thursday that Nov. 15 will mark the formal creation of a new Fixed Income Market Structure Advisory Committee for a renewable two-year term.

Besides Walter, the 23-member group includes some significant players in the municipal market, including Suzanne Shank of Siebert Cisneros Shank, Chicago chief financial officer Carole Brown, and John Bagley, chief market structure officer at the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.

The group will be chaired by Michael Heaney, non-executive director at Legal & General Investment Management America. The committee’s “initial focus” will be on both the muni and corporate bond markets, the SEC said.

“Individual investors are highly active in fixed income markets, both directly as retail investors and indirectly through various types of funds,” said SEC chairman Jay Clayton. “This committee will help the commission ensure that our regulatory approach to these markets meets the needs of retail investors, as well as companies and state and local governments.”

Walter, who left the SEC in 2013, shot to prominence among muni market participants in 2009 after a speech that year at Fordham Law School in which she called for the repeal of the Tower amendment, which prevents the SEC and MSRB from requiring municipal issuers to file documents with them before the securities are sold. Thereafter she was a driving force behind the production of the SEC’s 2012 Report on the Municipal Securities Market that laid out legislative and regulatory recommendations to expand transparency in the market.

Shank is CEO and a founding partner of her firm, which has executed more than $1 trillion of financings since its 1996 founding. She was also the 2016 recipient of the Bond Buyer’s Freda Johnson award for Trailblazing Women in the Public Sector.

Brown is a veteran public finance banker who took the reigns as Chicago CFO in 2015. She was previously a managing director at Barclays and headed the firm's Midwest municipal practice.

Bagley has been with the MSRB since late 2014, where he heads the group responsible for the organization’s activities related to market structure, market transparency, economic analysis, research, and industry operations. He was previously president of BondDesk Trading.

“During the past several years, the fixed income markets have changed significantly," said Commissioner Kara Stein. "The Fixed Income Market Structure Advisory Committee should provide the commission with new ideas about how to enhance the efficiency and resiliency of these evolving markets.”

“I look forward to benefiting from the insights of this talented group of fixed-income experts,” said Commissioner Michael Piwowar.
The commission said it will announce further details about the committee in the “near future.”

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