Search for new SEC muni chief may be in final stages

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WASHINGTON - The Securities and Exchange Commission's search for a permanent director for the Office of Municipal Securities may be coming to an end, as the posting is scheduled to close June 25 on the U.S. government's job board.

The position has been listed since June 11 on USAJOBS.GOV, the federal government’s online job board. Rebecca Olsen has been the acting OMS chief since September 2017 when Jessica Kane moved to the Office of Credit Ratings as its acting director. The SEC said at the time that Kane might return to the muni office if a different candidate got the credit ratings job. Kane was named director of the credit ratings office last month. While the SEC declined to comment on the future of the OMS position, many believe Olsen is the likeliest choice to assume the post.

The job pays $188,050 to $249,272 annually, according to the posting, and is open to lawyers in good standing. In addition, the applicant must have at least four years of post-law school experience as a practicing attorney, including at least three years of experience applying federal securities laws and the rules of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. The position is for a term of three years.

The Dodd-Frank Act set up the modern muni office as an independent office reporting directly to the SEC chairman. According to the description, the job’s responsibilities include planning and managing the commission's municipal securities regulatory program, overseeing and coordinating the implementation of SEC rules, analyzing the impact and practicality of proposed legislation or policies, making recommendations to the commission, and serving as a liaison to other agencies, lawmakers, and the private sector.

Olsen came to the muni office in 2013 under its then-director John Cross, who praised her work. Along with Kane, she played a role in providing guidance on the SEC’s municipal advisor registration rule and approving MSRB rules. Since then she has been one of the SEC’s most public faces on muni issues, appearing at muni industry events and conferences to provide updates on OMS priorities and to answer questions. She was named chief counsel in the office in 2014 before becoming the acting director upon Kane’s departure.

Previously, she spent more than 10 years at the law firm Ballard Spahr.

The SEC declined to comment on the job search beyond the posting.

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SEC regulations Dodd-Frank Munis MSRB rules Securities law SEC Washington DC