Regulators finalize date for MA outreach program post government shutdown

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WASHINGTON — A compliance outreach program for municipal advisors has been rescheduled to May 21 from its original Feb. 7 date following the resolution of the government shutdown that forced the delay.

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority are hosting and partnering with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the program. The groups wrote in a release that those already registered don’t need to register again for the event at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco.

“We are glad that the event has been rescheduled,” wrote Susan Gaffney, executive director at the National Association of Municipal Advisors in an email Wednesday. “It is important that MAs will be able to join in person or via webcast to learn more about important matters related to rulemaking, compliance, and examinations.”

The groups plan to address advertising, defining duties for non-solicitor muni advisors and test prepping during the program.

The first panel will focus on MSRB Rule G-42, the core municipal advisor conduct rule.

The second panel will delve into upcoming MSRB rules such as G-40, the effective date of which was postponed from Feb. 7 to a later date, which hasn’t been announced yet. It establishes content standards for muni advisor advertising and places formal restrictions on non-dealer MA advertising for the first time. The rule says MA advertisement cannot be misleading nor have customer testimonials.

A panel will also address the requirement that muni advisor principals take a new Series 54 test on top of the existing Series 50 test that all muni advisors have to pass.

The MSRB will have a pilot Series 54 exam from March 2019 through June 2019 for all muni advisor principals. During that time, the board will establish a passing score for the test. MA principals that pass the test will be considered qualified as a principal when the MSRB permanently establishes the Series 54 in the fall of 2019. Qualification is important because the MSRB’s supervision rule requires that at least one person at a firm be designated a principal and be responsible for supervising the firm’s other professionals.

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