Mr. Jonathan G. Katz
RE: File No. SR-NASD-2003-201; Proposed Expansion of the NASD's
Dear Mr. Katz:
As counsel for the firm of Wolfe & Hurst Bond Brokers, Inc., I reviewed the proposed expansion of the fees pursuant to the above file number. I have also reviewed the comments submitted to the Commission by the Bond Market Association. I do not know, of course, how many more submissions and comments have been filed with the SEC, however, I feel that the one that I did review, dealt with the matter with 'kid gloves.'
It is clear that the MSRB is already a well funded organization. There is absolutely no necessity for any additional fees to be imposed upon the municipal securities industry. If one takes an look at the salaries, travel allowances and other reimbursements and benefits allowed to the regulators of the municipal bond industry, the excesses that have gripped the corporate world and the NY Stock Exchange, are now gripping the regulators 'industry.'
It was, in my opinion, never intended that the regulators would enjoy million dollar salaries for their services as regulators. There were other trade-offs and benefits that were to be enjoyed for becoming a regulator. The inherent problem is that there is no one overseeing the regulators. While it may be true that the SEC was supposed to be doing this 'job,' it is clear, that in my opinion, the SEC has had a lack of leadership and has been embroiled in other issues and has failed in its oversight of the regulators. This lack of oversight has resulted in the regulators claiming that they needed additional funds to properly administer their duties, while at the same time, providing outrageous salaries and compensations to themselves. (though perhaps not to the extent of Mr. Grasso.)
There must come a time, and the time has come, in which there must be a oversight committee specifically delegated with the duty to determine the propriety and efficiency of the various agencies and organizations charged with the duty to regulate.
It is clear that the proposed rule does not so provide and should be deferred from implementation until such time that there is a review consistent with good governance.
Should you have any questions regarding this matter, feel free to contact me at my office.