February 21, 2011
Ms. Elizabeth M. Murphy
Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549–1090
RE: File No. S7-45-10 SEC Proposed Rule 34-63576
Dear Ms. Murphy:
We are writing with great concern about the SECs definition of who is a municipal financial advisor under SEC Proposed Rule 34-63576.
A municipal financial advisor provides advice to a state or municipal entity, including public pension funds, as to the issuance of municipal securities, swap transactions and/or investment strategies. We oppose the SECs proposal to consider appointed members of state and local government governing bodies as financial advisors. A state or local government governing board, comprised of appointed members, cannot serve as an advisor to itself.
The SECs proposed rule correctly exempts elected members, elected ex-officio, and employees of a municipal entitys governing board from the definition however, under the proposed rule, non-elected (appointed) members of a governing board would have to register with the SEC and meet various regulatory requirements set forth by both the SEC and the MSRB, including registration requirements and fees, federal fiduciary standards, federal securities law liabilities, and federal financial disclosure standards.
We urge the SEC to exclude all governing body members and the employees of appointed bodies, including those who serve across jurisdictional boundaries, from the municipal advisor definition.
Appointed members of governing bodies, especially at the local level, typically are citizen volunteers who are interested in serving for the public good and often have special expertise that is critical to the effective functioning of the governing body. However, they may be deterred from serving on state and local governing boards if federal regulations are imposed upon them, which means we lose their valuable insight.
The Fort Collins Housing Authority of Fort Collins, Colorado is governed by seven (7) commissioners appointed by the Fort Collins City Council. All commissioners are dedicated volunteers that were appointed to respond to the housing needs of the lowest income residents of the community through their specific expertise. The SEC Proposed Rule 34-63576 ignores the fundamental structure of a community-based board or commission that operates most effectively when a diverse set of skills, professional backgrounds, and life experiences are present in its member make-up. Numerous checks and balances to deter and prevent the unlawful use of public funds are effectively employed through Colorado enabling legislation for housing authorities and through the by-laws of the Fort Collins Housing Authority. Additional regulation by the SEC is neither needed, nor desired and the proposed rule advances an uninformed assumption that the only relevant skill needed to effectively govern the Fort Collins Housing Authority is that of a registered SEC financial advisor.
We believe that if Congress had intended for appointed members of governing bodies to be included within the municipal financial advisor definition, it would have made this point clear in the statute. By excluding all governing body members and the employees of appointed bodies from the municipal advisor definition, we can be assured of retaining the expertise our board needs to make important decisions for our constituents.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the SECs Proposed Rule 34-63576.
Matt Robenalt, Chair
Fort Collins Housing Authority, Fort Collins, CO