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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

SEC Sets Field Hearings on State of Municipal Securities Markets

First Hearing Scheduled for San Francisco September 21


Washington, D.C., Sept. 7, 2010 — 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 in the Bayside Conference Room. 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 munifieldhearings@sec.gov.

For more about the Commission's oversight of the securities market, see http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/municipalsecurities.shtml.

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Hearing Agenda
September 21, 2010
Bayside Conference Room
Port of San Francisco, Pier 1, The Embarcadero
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
  • Brian Mayhew, Chief Financial Officer, Bay Area Toll Authority
  • 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
  • Mark Blake, Deputy City Attorney of San Francisco, California
  • Dan Kiefer, Opportunistic Portfolio Manager, California Public Employees' Retirement System
  • John McNally, on behalf of the National Association of Bond Lawyers

Lunch Break
12:15 - 1:00 pm

Disclosure of Certain Significant Liabilities
1:00 - 2:30 pm

Internal Controls
2:30 - 3:30 pm

Investor Experiences
3:30 - 4:30 pm



Modified: 09/20/2010