Massachusetts bond investors will review the past four years and glimpse at the future on Friday at the commonwealth's fourth annual investor conference in Boston.
The event will run from 8:30 a.m.-to 1:30 p.m. at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St. According to state Treasurer Steven Grossman, state officials expect up to 250 investors, an increase over last year.
Gov.-elect Charlie Baker, Treasurer-elect Deborah Goldberg and outgoing treasurer Grossman will deliver keynote addresses, along with Glen Shor, secretary of the commonwealth's office for administration and finance. Grossman vacated the treasurer's office to run unsuccessfully for governor after serving one four-year term.
Baker is a Republican. Goldberg and Grossman are Democrats. According to Grossman, the transition has been smooth.
"Having the governor-elect and the treasurer-elect speak to investors is an essential element of our ongoing communication with our business leaders," Grossman said in an interview. "I had a breakfast meeting with Charlie and he was thrilled to come and speak. I think you'll see Gov.-elect Baker have a proactive relationship with the rating agencies and the investment community."
Baker will succeed Democrat Deval Patrick, who did not seek re-election. "Gov. Patrick blazed a real trail for long-term planning and debt affordability," said Grossman.
Grossman will highlight an improved bond rating -- Standard & Poor's in September 2011 raised the commonwealth's general obligation rating to AA-plus from AA -- and four years of innovative moves that include the Accelerated Bridge and MassDirect Notes programs, winners of The Bond Buyer's national deal of the year awards in 2011 and 2014, respectively; $450 million of green-bond sales; a new website and other technology enhancements; and an emphasis on transparency.
MassDirect Notes, modeled on the U.S. Treasury's TreasuryDirect program, provides individual investors with direct access to new-issue Massachusetts GO bonds. The commonwealth sold on average more than $6 million a day and sold out the full $250 million program ahead of schedule.
"It's important that all investors feel as though they're on a level playing field and this makes for a far more level playing field," said Grossman.
The state Treasury also launched the asset liability program in the past year.
"Colin felt strongly about the program," Grossman said of Colin MacNaught, the deputy treasurer for debt management. "States are beginning to realize that in the years ahead, they can only create a sounder portfolio if their assets and liabilities match up.
Fitch Rating also rates Massachusetts AA-plus while Moody's Investors Service assigns its Aa1 rating.
"We recognize our role as innovators in debt management. But as much as we want to do new, bold and innovative things, we can't do it without our partners, the investors and the bond rating agencies," said Grossman.
MacNaught is running point for the conference.