WASHINGTON — Stratford Shields, managing director at Morgan Stanley in Chicago, has been elected chair of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s municipal securities division for a two-year term, SIFMA announced Friday.
Shields, who was head of Morgan Stanley’s public finance division until September, assumed his new role as head of SIFMA’s muni division on Nov. 1.
He succeeds former muni division chair Kenneth Gibbs, president of the municipal securities group at Jefferies & Company Inc.
In addition to Shields, the muni division officers include vice chairs Frank Fairman, head of public finance services at Piper Jaffray Companies, and David Stephens, with the municipal securities group of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
John Rolander of Fifth Third Securities Inc. is the division’s new treasurer.
The positions are voluntary, and a SIFMA spokesperson said they are not paid.
Shields said in a release that SIFMA anticipates the municipal industry will face a significant number of regulatory and public policy issues in the next year.
The division will advocate for preservation of the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds and work to ensure the Securities and Exchange Commission’s final definition of municipal advisor, which SEC officials have said will be finalized early next year, does not impose duplicative regulations on market participants, he said.
SIFMA said the group hopes a bill sponsored by Rep. Robert Dold, R-Ill., will guide the SEC as it writes the definition.
That bill, which passed the House and was referred to the Senate Banking Committee earlier this year, would define MAs as those engaged in muni advisory activities for compensation. It would create exceptions for underwriters and those who provide advice related to underwriting.
Shields said the division will also focus on market structure-related issues arising from the SEC’s July 31 report on the municipal market. The report called for new reporting requirements for dealers as a means to improve pre-trade price transparency.
In addition, Shields said the division will continue to advocate on issues related to disclosure and the so-called Volcker Rule, which restricts proprietary trading at banks.
“We look forward to working with our regulators on reaching actionable and consensus-driven plans to improve on execution and disclosure in the municipal market,” Shields said.
Prior to joining Morgan Stanley 16 years ago, Shields was vice president in the municipal group at Prudential Securities, deputy director of Ohio’s Office of Budget and Management and president of the OMB Controlling Board.
SIFMA also announced Friday new members of its Municipal Executive Steering Committee, which helps set the division’s activities and initiatives. They include Mike Bartolotta, vice chair of First Southwest Company and former chair of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, and Robert Baird, senior managing director at Raymond James | Morgan Keegan.
Shields will head the steering committee.