WASHINGTON — The National Federation of Municipal Analysts is working on several new issue and disclosure initiatives geared to helping issuers navigate debt transactions.
The group is working a white paper examining new issue practices, as well as disclosure recommendations for charter school bonds, conflicts of interest, general obligation bonds, according to an NFMA bulletin. It is also working on recommendations for disclosing information more often.
The new issue practices paper is still in draft form, according to sources familiar with the project, but the NFMA bulletin states that it will cover a wide range of new issue practices ranging from presentations to investors and analysts to the information that should be included in a preliminary official statement.
“While this is a position paper, the NFMA hopes this will serve to open a dialogue with other industry groups,” the bulletin states.
The group also is going to be incorporating into the white paper a survey of its members’ new issue practices, which has been available to members through the group’s website. The completed study should be ready within the next couple of months, the NFMA said.
Robert Doty, president and proprietor of municipal finance consulting firm AGFS in Sacramento, Calif., has teamed with Gil Southwell of Wells Capital Management on a best practices project focusing on charter school bond disclosure. The two presented a rough draft of their work at the NFMA’s annual conference in San Diego earlier this year. The NFMA said they are in the process of reviewing member comments.
Charter school bond issues are a popular current topic and Doty will also be among panelists discussing them July 10 at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s “Bonds and Blackboards: Investing in Charter Schools” event at the Harvard Club in New York. Other scheduled panelists include Dean Lewallen of AllianceBernstein, Wendy Berry of Brighter Choice Foundation, and Robert J. McLaughlin of HodgsonRuss LLP.
Doty and Southwell also are spearheading the development of a paper on conflict of interest disclosure, which NFMA said should be available soon. There is widespread agreement that all potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed in a bond deal, but there remains some confusion among issuer officials as to how and when to disclose them, as well as how to spot them.
NFMA’s disclosure committee is creating two papers on general obligation bond disclosure. One project will take a split approach, separately tackling best practices for state GOs and local GOs. The other paper will focus on interim disclosure, a topic that has been hot lately as the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board and Securities and Exchange Commission have both expressed a desire to see issuers do file interim disclosures between their required filing dates.