SEC Sets Field Hearings on State of Municipal Securities Markets
First Hearing Scheduled for San Francisco September 21
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it will launch a series of field hearings to examine the municipal securities markets, starting in San Francisco on September 21. Topics will include disclosure and transparency, credit ratings, and internal controls.
Among participants will be California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Washington State Treasurer James McIntire, and Stanley Keller, Independent Consultant and Monitor of the City of San Diego. A panel of investors, both individuals and institutions, will also share their experiences in this market.
"Today's investors hold about $2.8 trillion of municipal debt," SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro noted. "This is a critical market that touches every aspect of our lives, from the water that we drink to the roads upon which we drive. But for the market to continue to serve our communities, investors in municipal securities must be confident that they are getting the information necessary for knowledgeable decisions, at the time and in a form that they need it."
The series of hearings, which Chairman Schapiro first announced in May, will take place across the country and address a wide range of issues that focus on the needs of investors in this market. Commissioner Elisse B. Walter will lead the hearings along with fellow Commissioners and staff from multiple offices across the agency.
"I am so pleased to have the opportunity to hear from investors, government officials, underwriters, credit rating analysts, and the full gamut of participants in this market," said Commissioner Walter. "The Western Region is an essential player in this market, and holding our first hearing in San Francisco will provide us an important base of information going forward."
At the conclusion of all hearings, the Commission will release a staff report containing information learned as well as making recommendations for regulatory changes and industry "best practices," as well as legislative changes, if any.
The San Francisco hearing will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on September 21 at the Port of San Francisco, Pier 1, The Embarcadero. The public is welcome to attend as space allows. Admission is free.
Other hearings will be conducted in Chicago, Ill., Washington, D.C., Tallahassee, Fla., and Austin, Texas. Each hearing will include participants from the local region and will examine different sets of issues, including investor protection and education; financial reporting and accounting; market stability and liquidity; the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; municipalities as conduit borrowers; offering participants, professionals and market intermediaries; Build America Bonds; and 529 plans.
The SEC invites members of the public and other interested parties to submit comments related to field hearing topics by using the comment form on the SEC website or sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
For more about the Commission's oversight of the securities market, see http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/municipalsecurities.shtml.
September 21, 2010
San Francisco, California
Welcome and Opening Statements
9:00 - 9:15 am
- Elisse B. Walter, Commissioner and Chair of the Field Hearing
- Meredith Cross, Director, Division of Corporation Finance
- Henry Hu, Director, Division of Risk, Strategy, and Financial Innovation
Selected Disclosure Practices: Transparency and Presentation
9:15 - 10:45 am
- Moderator: Amy Starr, Senior Special Counsel for Capital Markets, Office of the Chief Counsel, Division of Corporation Finance
- The Honorable Bill Lockyer, California State Treasurer
- Mary Colby, on behalf of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts
- John McNally, on behalf of the National Association of Bond Lawyers
Ratings - Impact and Practices
10:45 am - 12:15 pm
- Moderator: Martha Haines, Chief, Office of Municipal Securities, Division of Trading and Markets
- The Honorable Michael D. Belsky, Mayor of Highland Park, Illinois
- Dan Kiefer, Portfolio Manager, California Public Employees' Retirement System
- Bob Fields, Product Manager, Municipal Bonds, PIMCO
12:15 - 1:00 pm
Disclosure of Certain Significant Liabilities
1:00 - 2:30 pm
- Moderator: Amy Starr
- The Honorable James L. McIntire, Washington State Treasurer
- Nathaniel R. Singer, Managing Director, Swap Financial Group, LLC
- James Lanzarotta, CPA, Partner, Moss Adams LLP
- Brian Mayhew, Chief Financial Officer, Bay Area Toll Authority
2:30 - 3:30 pm
- Moderator: Martha Haines
- Stan Keller, Independent Consultant and Monitor of the City of San Diego, California
- Michael Rufino, Senior Vice President, Office of Sales Practice, FINRA
- Ed Harrington, Former President, Government Finance Officers Association
3:30 - 4:30 pm
- Moderator: Amy Starr
- Peter Kuhn, Investor
- Jason Lehman, Investor and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Headlands Technologies LLC
- Andy Gill, Senior Vice President, Fixed Income, Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc.
(Press Rel. 2010-164)
Commission Orders Hearings on Registration Suspension or Revocation Against Eight Companies for Failure to Make Required Periodic Filings
The Commission today instituted public administrative proceedings to determine whether to revoke or suspend for a period not exceeding twelve months the registration of each class of the securities of eight companies for failure to make required periodic filings with the Commission:
- America First Associates Corp.
- American Eco Corp. (ECGOQ)
- American Income 2 LP
- American Income 3 LP
- American International Assets, Inc.
- American Leasing Investors V-C
- American Sensors, Inc. (SNIFQ)
- Americana Hotels & Realty Corp. (AHTC)
In this Order, the Division of Enforcement (Division) alleges that the eight issuers are delinquent in their required periodic filings with the Commission.
In this proceeding, instituted pursuant to Exchange Act Section 12(j), a hearing will be scheduled before an Administrative Law Judge. At the hearing, the judge will hear evidence from the Division and the Respondents to determine whether the allegations of the Division contained in the Order, which the Division alleges constitute failures to comply with Exchange Act Section 13(a) and Rules 13a-1 and 13a-13 or 13a-16 thereunder, are true. The judge in the proceeding will then determine whether the registrations pursuant to Exchange Act Section 12 of each class of the securities of these Respondents should be revoked or suspended for a period not exceeding twelve months. The Commission ordered that the Administrative Law Judge in this proceeding issue an initial decision not later than 120 days from the date of service of the order instituting proceedings. (Rel. 34-62852; File No. 3-14032)
In the Matter of Alyn Corp.
An Administrative Law Judge has issued an Initial Decision in Alyn Corp., Administrative Proceeding No. 3-13881. The Order Instituting Proceedings (OIP) alleged that seven Respondents failed repeatedly to file required annual and quarterly reports while their securities were registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission). The Initial Decision finds these allegations to be true as to Respondent American Stellar Energy, Inc. (n/k/a Tara Gold Resources Corp.). It revokes the registrations of each class of registered securities of American Stellar Energy, Inc. (n/k/a Tara Gold Resources Corp.), pursuant to Section 12(j) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
All of the other Respondents named in the OIP have previously defaulted or settled with the Commission. (Initial Decision No. 401; File No. 3-13881)
In the Matter of Neal R. Greenberg
On September 7, the Commission issued an Order Instituting Administrative and Cease-and-Desist Proceedings Pursuant to Section 8A of the Securities Act of 1933, Sections 15(b) and 21C of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Sections 203(f) and (k) of the Investment Advisers Act, and Section 9(b) of the Investment Company Act against Neal R. Greenberg. The Division of Enforcement alleges in the Order that, among other things, Greenberg committed fraud and breached the fiduciary duty owed to investment advisory clients of Tactical Allocation Services, LLC (TAS), through his recommendation and sale of hedge funds managed by Agile Group, LLC. The Division alleges that Greenberg made material misrepresentations and omissions, including misrepresentations materially overstating the diversification and liquidity of the funds, and materially understating the risks of investing in the funds. Further, the Division alleges that numerous TAS clients invested in the hedge funds based upon unsuitable recommendations for which Greenberg was responsible.
A hearing will be scheduled before an Administrative Law Judge to provide Greenberg an opportunity to respond to the allegations of the Division contained in the Order, to determine whether these allegations are true, and to determine whether remedial sanctions, a cease-and-desist order, disgorgement and civil penalties should be ordered against Greenberg. As directed by the Commission, the administrative law judge shall issue an initial decision in this matter not later than 300 days from the date of service of the Order. (Rels. 33-9139; 34-62855; IA-3079; IC-29411; File No. 3-14033).
Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Changes
A proposed rule change filed by the National Stock Exchange (SR-NSX-2010-11) to amend Rule 11.13 regarding maximum permissible response time for users of Order Delivery has become effective under Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Publication is expected in the Federal Register during the week of September 6. (Rel. 34-62822)
A proposed rule change (SR-NYSEAmex-2010-91) filed by NYSE Amex extending the pilot period to receive inbound routes from Archipelago Securities LLC has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Publication is expected in the Federal Register during the week of September 6. (Rel. 34-62831)
A proposed rule change (SR-NYSE-2010-64) filed by the New York Stock Exchange extending the pilot period to receive inbound routes of certain equities orders from Archipelago Securities LLC has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Publication is expected in the Federal Register during the week of September 6. (Rel. 34-62832)
A proposed rule change (SR-NYSEArca-2010-82) filed by NYSE Arca extending the pilot period to receive inbound routes of equities orders from Archipelago Securities LLC has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Publication is expected in the Federal Register during the week of September 6. (Rel. 34-62833)
A proposed rule change filed by the EDGA Exchange (SR-EDGA-2010-12) relating to amendments to the EDGA Exchange, Inc. Fee Schedule has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Publication is expected in the Federal Register during the week of September 6. (Rel. 34-62845)
A proposed rule change filed by the EDGX Exchange (SR-EDGX-2010-12) relating to amendments to the EDGX Exchange Fee Schedule has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Publication is expected in the Federal Register during the week of September 6. (Rel. 34-62846)
Order Approving Amendment to Add EDGA Exchange, Inc. and EDGX Exchange, Inc. as Participants to National Market System Plan Establishing Procedures Under Rule 605 of Regulation NMS
The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued an order approving an amendment (File No. 4-518) by EDGA Exchange and EDGX Exchange to add EDGA and EDGX as participants to the national market system plan that establishes procedures under Rule 605 of Regulation NMS under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Publication is expected in the Federal Register during the week of September 6. (Rel. 34-62823)
Proposed Rule Change
Chicago Board Options Exchange filed a proposed rule change (SR-CBOE-2010-077), as modified by Amendment No. 1 thereto, pursuant to Rule 19b-4 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to list series with up to 12 expiration months for broad-based security index options upon which the Exchange calculates a volatility index. Publication is expected in the Federal Register during the week of September 6. (Rel. 34-62847)
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