The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that municipal securities expert John J. Cross III has been named the director of the agency’s new Office of Municipal Securities.
The office was previously part of the Division of Trading and Markets until the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act called for the creation of a stand-alone office that reports directly to the Chairman and administers Commission rules regarding advisors, issuers, broker-dealer practices, and investors in the municipal securities market. The office also will coordinate with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.
Mr. Cross has a broad range of experience with municipal finance transactions in nearly every state, including experience with some of largest and most complex municipal financings ever undertaken. Mr. Cross has been a leader in the public policy area affecting municipal finance.
For the past several years, Mr. Cross has been serving as the Associate Tax Legislative Counsel in the Office of Tax Policy at the U.S. Treasury Department, where he has had significant responsibility for legislative, regulatory and budgetary tax matters affecting municipal bonds. Mr. Cross led the agency’s implementation of the municipal bond provisions of the 2009 Recovery Act, which included public guidance on Build America Bonds and other targeted municipal bond programs. He also played a significant role in the Treasury Department’s efforts to address municipal bond market challenges in the 2008 financial crisis.
“John’s experience makes him perfectly suited to head this office,” said SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro. “He has a full appreciation for the importance of municipal securities and the expectations of investors in those markets.”
Mr. Cross said, “I am excited to be able to join an agency that has produced so much innovative change in recent years and has taken such initiative in the municipal securities area, as demonstrated in the Commission’s recent report on the municipal securities market. From my government experience, I know that the experts at the SEC are among the best in the municipal securities arena. I look forward to the privilege of working with Chairman Schapiro, the Commission, and the staff to advance the initiatives in the municipal report and generally to promote sound disclosure, sensible practices, and enhanced price transparency to foster a vibrant, sustainable future for the over $3.7 trillion municipal securities market that is so critical to financing our nation’s public infrastructure.”
Prior to working at the Treasury Department, Mr. Cross was a partner at national municipal bond specialty law firm Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP from 1994 to 2006. He previously served as a counsel at the Internal Revenue Service in the Financial Institutions and Products division, where his work involved derivative financial products that were used with municipal bonds.
Mr. Cross has been active in several professional organizations, including the National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL), where he’s a former board member. He’s also a member of the editorial board for Municipal Finance Journal. Mr. Cross received his B.A. from Brown University in 1978, a J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1981, where he was a member of the Vanderbilt Law Review, and a Masters of Laws in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center in 1988. He is married to Meredith Cross, who is Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance.
Mr. Cross is expected to begin in his new role in September.