1999 Municipal Market Roundtable
United States Securities and Exchange Commission
Mr. Maco: I want to thank all of you that stayed with us throughout the day. And I want to thank all of today's participants in this first municipal market roundtable. And particularly I want to thank the staff of the Office of Municipal Securities which worked so hard to bring this group together, provide the background information for the panels, and enable the discussions that we've had today as well as assemble the list of the very distinguished group of panelists we had today.
To the panelists themselves, all of whom have very responsible jobs, this is a very significant devotion of their time taking themselves away from their daily routine to spend this day with us in these discussions. That is particularly appreciated.
Today's discussions have been lively, as we have come to expect from the municipal market, and I hope for all here today, informative. We have listened well. And we have taken good notes. I hope we have answered a few questions as well during the course of the day. As Chairman Levitt said this morning, where appropriate, we will continue to offer guidance beyond today's dialogue, either informally or formally through interpretive guidance.
Issuers, underwriters, financial advisors, lawyers and investors have had the chance today to share and discuss their views on what each expects in a municipal offering, what works and what doesn't. I suspect that a good deal of common ground has been found, as well as differing opinions on what works best for the transaction. It should be clear that sensitivity to each other's obligations and concerns helps the process such as issuers taking into account dealers' obligations to comply with MSRB rules.
While the buy side was well represented today, we should also keep in mind the interests of the individual investor. For, as the most recent statistics tell us, the individual investor continues to grow in significance as a purchaser of municipal bonds.
We on the Commission staff frequently urge all participants in the market to review existing Commission guidance on municipal market practices and I repeat that urging again today. If you are of the belief that additional guidance is needed, ask.
The Division of Market Regulation, for example, has provided guidance in the past on the operations of Rule 15c2-12. If you have additional questions that are not covered by that guidance, ask them.
Today we heard some interesting statistics on NRMSIR filing compliance. A look at a full year's complete data would be interesting to see in light of the data we heard earlier.
Many issues crystallized during our discussions. Can small and midsize issuers, and especially healthcare issuers, come to the same level of appreciation for an aggressive investor relations program as the appreciation shown by the larger issuers?
Are your independent auditors independent?
Are you as an independent financial advisor required by your activities to be registered as an investment advisor? When was the last time you reviewed this question with your lawyer?
Will issuers begin to see websites as a solution to problems rather than a source of problems? Will their lawyers?
While one respected bond counsel suggested this approach will other lawyers embrace such wisdom?
As one participant observed on a few issues, some of the discussions today barely broke beneath the surface. I hope the issuers, financial advisor, underwriters, lawyers and investors will continue today's dialogues in the conferences, seminars and other educational efforts that each group of market participants holds throughout the course of the coming year. As always, we will participate in an appropriate way.
Thank you once more. And we hope to see you again next year.
Transcribing provided by Diversified Reporting Services, Inc.