The State of the Municipal Securities Markets —
Hearing Participant Biographies
Mr. Collins joined The Bank of Nova Scotia in 1994 and is currently a Managing Director of the Public Finance group. The Public Finance group provides credit and liquidity facilities supporting a wide range of short term, tax-exempt municipal debt, as well as, direct lending facilities for both governmental and infrastructure projects. Sectors represented include General Government, Public Power, Water & Sewer, Transportation, Education, Healthcare, and Housing. Currently, the group provides these facilities to over 52 governmental entities in 24 US states and territories.
Prior to his experience at The Bank of Nova Scotia, Mr. Collins was a marketing officer with the Public Finance Department of The Mitsubishi Bank, Limited from 1989 to 1994 and a municipal bond analyst for Banker's Trust Company's Municipal Credit Group from 1987 to 1989.
Mr. Collins has a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science & History from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh (1984) and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Albany (1987).
Currently, Mr. Deane uses his 40 years of investment industry experience as the Portfolio Manager for the tax-exempt fixed income team at Western Asset Management. Joe began his career in financial services at Harris Trust as Vice President in 1970. Two years later, he joined E.F. Hutton & Co. as Senior Vice President, where he created a family of tax-exempt funds. He then joined a Western Asset predecessor firm in 1988. Joe received his bachelor's degree from Iona College.
Mr. Doe is Founder and CEO of Municipal Market Advisors (MMA), an independent research and strategy firm serving leading participants in the fixed-income industry. Founded in 1995, MMA provides consulting services, benchmark data and subscription research reports to a diverse client base of dealers, investors and issuers engaged in the tax-exempt market. MMA also counsels and advises trade associations, U.S. and foreign central banks, regulators and Congressional leaders in order to improve industry operations. More than 200 media outlets have cited MMA for its definitive, independent and credible assessment of the tumultuous market conditions as well as its creative ideas for solutions and improvement. The firm's main location is in Concord, MA and has offices in Bradenton, FL, Chatham, NJ, Westport, CT and Washington, DC.
In recent years, Mr. Doe has addressed all the leading groups in the municipal industry. Mr. Doe's insight, integrity, candor and historical context is sought to establish a clear perspective of current conditions impacting investors and issuers in the municipal cash and derivative markets. In March 2009, Mr. Doe testified before the Senate Banking Committee on the future of municipal regulation and the state of the industry.
Mr. Doe's served a 3-year term, as a public member, on the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, (MSRB) the regulatory entity of the municipal securities industry between 2002 and 2005.
Mr. Doe received an undergraduate degree from Colgate University in 1980 and a master's degree from Harvard University in 1984. Mr. Doe resides in Concord, Massachusetts with his wife Mimi, an author and who is co-founder of College Application Bootcamps. They have two daughters, ages 20 and 23.
Mr. Greco is the Managing Director of Underwriting and Trading for Ramirez & Co., Inc., which is a is a full service securities firm serving the investment needs of individuals, business owners, institutional investors, and government agencies since its founding in 1971. Prior to that, he was the Executive Managing Director of Sales and Trading at Jefferies & Company, Inc., where he successfully assisted with the sale of Depfa First Albany Securities LLC to Jeffries. Mr. Greco received his bachelor's degree in finance from Seton Hall University. Mr. Greco holds licenses in Series 7, 63, and 52.
As the Chief Operating Officer of Assured Guaranty Ltd., Sean McCarthy has responsibility for strategic direction and insurance originations across the Assured Guaranty family of companies.
He has also been Chief Operating Officer since 1997 of Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. (AGM, formerly Financial Security Assurance Inc.), as well as Chief Operating Officer of Assured Guaranty Municipal Holdings Inc. (AGMH, formerly Financial Security Assurance Holdings Ltd.) since January 2002 . He was previously executive vice president of AGMH, which Assured Guaranty acquired in 2009.
Since January 2006, Mr. McCarthy has been Chairman of the Association of Financial Guarantee Insurers (AFGI). He also serves on the New York Academy of Art and has served on the Board of Directors of the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Dr. Harold P. Wittman graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. After that, he received his doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Wittman has a Certificate in Orthodontics, is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, and is a member of the College of Diplomates. He is married and has two children.
Dr. Wittman is a Certified Financial Planner and formerly sat on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Individual Investors. He has lectured at American University and has spoken to many professional groups about sound financial planning and office management. Dr. Wittman has served previously on several municipal bond securities panels at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Helen Kirkpatrick is a retired journalist. She became a purchaser of municipal bonds in 1984, both as an individual investor and through brokerage firms. Ms. Kirkpatrick has been a member of the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) since 1997. Currently, she is a member of the Board of Directors for AAII's chapter in the Washington, DC metro area and has been since 2001.
Mr. Niewiaroski began his career as a World Bank economist in 1959. Several years later, he became an economic advisor to developing countries such as Ecuador, Argentina, Italy, and Afghanistan. In 1975, he joined the U.S. Department of Commerce as an economist. Two years later, Mr. Niewiaroski moved to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in the same capacity. After serving Treasury for 26 years, he retired in 2002.
After graduating from Princeton University in 1949, Mr. Lebenthal worked for a variety of organizations such as LIFE magazine, The Walt Disney Company, NBC-TV, Young & Rubicam, and Ogilvy & Mather. In 1963 at age 35, he joined the family municipal bond business - Lebenthal & Co. - which was co-founded in 1925 by his parents, Louis and Sayra Lebenthal.
Mr. Lebenthal applied his advertising experience to the family business by producing radio and TV commercials to help explain the most "un-understood" investment in America. For 40 years, he helped turn "municipal bonds" into household words and the family company into a landmark, now called Lebenthal & Co. LLC.
For his work, Mr. Lebenthal received the Public Securities Association's Chairman's Award, The Bond Market Association's Lifetime Achievement Award (the predecessor to SIFMA), and the National Federation of Municipal Analysts' Achievement Award. He served on the Board of MBIA Inc. for 16 years.
Mr. Lebenthal has authored two books, which chronicle his experiences in municipal securities: Confessions of a Municipal Bond Salesman and Lebenthal On Munis: Straight Talk About Tax-Free Municipal Bonds for the Troubled Investor Deciding "Yes...or No!"
Lynnette Kelly Hotchkiss has been the Executive Director of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) since June 2007. Ms. Hotchkiss leads the day-to-day management of the MSRB, a self-regulatory organization whose mission is to protect investors and municipal entities and to ensure a fair and efficient municipal securities market. It does so by developing rules for securities firms and banks that underwrite, trade and sell municipal bonds, and for municipal advisors that interact with municipal entities. In addition, the MSRB operates information systems, including the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system, designed to promote transparency and investor access to information. The MSRB also conducts extensive education and outreach activities and serves as an objective and expert resource and repository of municipal market information.
Previously, Ms. Hotchkiss was a managing director and associate general counsel of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). In that role, she was responsible at SIFMA (formerly The Bond Market Association) for helping to shape the development and implementation of legal, regulatory and best market practices in the fixed income markets, with a focus on municipal finance.
From 1990 to 1993, she served as general counsel for the Municipal Assistance Corporation for the City of New York, and has worked at several law firms in New York City in all areas of municipal finance.
She graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1981 and from Tulane University School of Law in 1984.
Thomas M. Selman, Executive Vice President, Regulatory Policy at FINRA, has served in this position since 2008. He oversees the departments of Corporate Finance, Advertising Regulation, Investment Companies Regulation, Member Education and Training, and the Offices of Emerging Regulatory Issues and Economic Analysis. Prior to this role, Tom served as Senior Vice President, Investment Companies Regulation and Corporate Financing beginning in 2000, and oversaw the activities of three departments: Investment Companies Regulation, Advertising Regulation, and Corporate Financing. He served in the same capacity at NASD, which consolidated with NYSE Member Regulation to form FINRA in 2007. Tom joined the organization in 1996 as Director, Vice President, Advertising/Investment Companies Regulation.
From 1992 to 1996, Mr. Selman was Associate Counsel at the Investment Company Institute, a trade association for the mutual fund industry. Prior to that time, he served as Special Counsel in the Office of General Counsel at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, a position he held beginning in 1987. Tom was an Attorney-Advisor to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, from 1986 to 1987. In addition to his career accomplishments, Mr. Selman has authored articles that were published in Investment Lawyer, The International Lawyer and Insights.
Mr. Selman received bachelor's degrees in economics and history from Rice University, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from The University of Texas School of Law, where he was Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review.
Mr. Asher is Senior Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer at Public Resources Advisory Group ("PRAG"), a leading independent financial advisory firm, serving state and local governments and their agencies and authorities, not-for-profits and other entities that raise funds in the municipal capital markets. The firm has been one of the leading financial advisors for the last twenty-five years, having advised issuers on over $618 billion of financings since our inception. PRAG's only business is providing independent financial, investment and derivative advisory services to municipal clients. The firm is registered under the New York Investment Advisory Act.
Mr Asher has been with firm for almost 20 years and has provided financial advisory service to a broad range of municipal issuers. He has advised on over $45 billion of financings, including fixed and variable rate issues, taxable and tax-exempt financings as well as investments and derivatives. In addition, he advises issuers on their ongoing debt and capital programs. Mr. Asher holds a B.A. degree in history from Columbia University and a M.B.A. degree in finance from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Mr. Asher is an Investment Adviser Representative.
Leslie M. Norwood is Managing Director and Associate General Counsel of The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. As the Co-Head of the Municipal Securities Division, Ms. Norwood is responsible for the legal, regulatory and market practice initiatives of the Association relating to all municipal securities products. Prior to joining the Association, Ms. Norwood was an Associate in the Corporate and Securities department at Greenberg Traurig and an Associate in the Public Finance department of Sidley Austin LLP (formerly known as Brown & Wood LLP). Ms. Norwood received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from Boston University.
David R. Bean is the director of research and technical activities for the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. He assigns and provides oversight to the GASB's research, technical, and administrative activities. David also will be the Deputy Chairman of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board effective January 1, 2011. He currently is a member of the IPSASB, a voluntary position that he has held since 2007.
Prior to joining the GASB in 1990, David worked in public accounting and government. He was the lead author on the 1988 Governmental Accounting, Auditing and Financial Reporting and was the founder of the GAAFR Review. He was the last director of the National Council on Governmental Accounting before the formation of the GASB in 1984. David is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association, the Connecticut and Illinois Government Finance Officers Associations, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Illinois CPA Society, the Association of Government Accountants, the National Federation of Municipal Analysts, and the Municipal Analysts Group of New York.
Timothy L. Firestine was appointed Chief Administrative Officer on November 30, 2006 and confirmed on December 12, 2006. Prior to his appointment as CAO, Mr. Firestine was the County's Director of Finance for 15 years. He previously served in various management positions in the County's Office of Management and Budget. Before coming to the County, Mr. Firestine was the Budget Officer for the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Controller's Office.
Mr. Firestine received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania and his Master of Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently a member of the Executive Board of the National Government Finance Officers Association and, in the past, served as vice chair of its Committee on Debt Management. He is also a member of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, where he currently serves as Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee. In the past, Mr. Firestine also served as President of the Maryland Government Finance Officers Association, President of the Board of Trustees for Suburban Hospital Health Care System, Inc., in Bethesda, Maryland, and President of the Board of Investment Trustees for the Employee Retirement System for Montgomery County. Mr. Firestine was an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, Graduate School of Public Policy, where he taught Public Finance.
David is Deloitte & Touche's National Managing Partner for Public Sector Assurance Services. In this role, he is responsible for leading the public sector practice for the firm.
David has practiced in the public sector for 30 years and has assisted both large and small governments and government enterprises in improving their financial reporting, budgetary practices, internal controls and operations. He is recognized as an authority on accounting, auditing, and financial reporting. David served as project manager at the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and was in charge of its Financial Reporting Project, which led to the development of the objectives of financial reporting. He was also a staff assistant to the Chairman of the National Council on Governmental Accounting, the predecessor to the GASB, and in that capacity was directly involved with the development of many of the accounting standards followed today. David is frequently a featured speaker on various governmental issues, including financial reporting, internal controls, budgetary and operational matters. He has written extensively and is the primary author of the GASB's research, The Needs of Users of State and Local Government Financial Reports.
David is currently responsible for serving many of the firm's largest state and local government clients. David also has experience serving registered companies in the financial services industry.
John J. Cross III is Associate Tax Legislative Counsel in Treasury's Office of Tax Policy, where his responsibilities include legislative and regulatory tax matters regarding tax-exempt bonds, tax credit bonds, Build America Bonds, and related financial products. Mr. Cross participated in tax legislative efforts regarding State and local governmental bonds in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and other recent tax legislation and he has worked on tax guidance to implement recent tax legislation. Mr. Cross also has worked on various Treasury tax initiatives to address municipal bond market challenges in the financial crisis.
Prior to joining Treasury in 2006, Mr. Cross was a tax partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP, a national public finance law firm, from 1994 to 2006. From 1990-1993, Mr. Cross served as Counsel to the Assistant Chief Counsel in the Financial Institutions and Products group at the IRS, where he was one of the principal authors of the comprehensive 1993 Treasury Regulations on the arbitrage investment restrictions and related provisions on tax-exempt bonds. From 1981-1990, Mr. Cross was in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mr. Cross has B.A. Degree from Brown University (1978), a J.D. Degree from Vanderbilt University Law School (1981), where he was a member of the Vanderbilt Law Review, and an L.L.M. in Taxation Degree from Georgetown University Law Center (1988).
Mr. Cross has been active in tax professional activities. He has served as Chair of the American Bar Association ("ABA") Section of Taxation's Tax-Exempt Financing Committee (2003-2005), Chair of the General Tax Committee (1995-1998) of the National Association of Bond Lawyers ('NABL"), and a Member of NABL's Board of Directors (2001-2004). Mr. Cross had principal drafting responsibility for NABL's 2002 report on tax simplification recommendations for tax-exempt bonds.
Elected in February 2002, Nancy K. Kopp is the 23rd Maryland State Treasurer since the adoption of the Constitution of 185l. In addition to her responsibilities for managing the State Treasurer's Office, she is the State's chief representative in dealing with financial rating agencies and investment banking firms. Foremost among the Treasurer's responsibilities is her position on the Board of Public Works with the Governor and the Comptroller. This Board is the State's ultimate policy-making and oversight board for State procurements, with wide-ranging jurisdiction over nearly every facet of State government.
One of six Constitutional State Officers of Maryland, the Treasurer is elected every four years by the General Assembly, of which she was a member for 27 years. The Treasurer is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the State Retirement and Pension Systems, the Capital Debt Affordability Committee, the Commission on State Debt and the College Savings Plans of Maryland and a member of the Maryland Supplemental Retirement Board.
A graduate of Wellesley College, Treasurer Kopp holds an MA in Government from the University of Chicago and has received Honorary Doctorate degrees from Hood College, the University of Maryland at Baltimore, the University of Maryland University College and Towson University. She and her husband, Robert Kopp, live in Bethesda, MD; they have two adult children and two grandchildren.
Mr. Wolff is the head of Nuveen Asset Management's municipal healthcare team. He covers hospital and long-term care bonds. Prior to joining Nuveen in 2004, Mr. Wolff held positions in the Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington, D.C. as Deputy Director for Japan Affairs; as a policy analyst for the National Economic Council of the White House; and as coordinator for International Relations for the Department of Commerce, Industry and Labor in Okayama, Japan.
Mr. Wolff earned his B.A. from Carleton College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has served on the Board of the Chicago Municipal Analysts Society.
W. Bartley Hildreth, Ph.D., is professor of public management and policy in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Previously, he held tenured business faculty positions at Wichita State, LSU, and Kent State.
Bart has been an issuer official as a board member of the Kansas Development Finance Authority and the Wichita Public Building Commission, and as director of finance of Akron, Ohio where he restructured the technical default of a waste-to-energy system. He was the only academician on the task forces that rewrote the Disclosure Guidelines for State and Local Government Securities. He has served on the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council and as academic advisor to the debt committee of the Government Finance Officers Association. Since 1989, he has served as the editor-in-chief of the Municipal Finance Journal, the only quarterly professional journal devoted to municipal securities. In addition to numerous scholarly publications, his work includes State & Local Government Debt Issuance and Management and the initial State of Kansas Debt Affordability Report. Dr. Hildreth has been admitted as a federal court expert witness (Daubert standard) on municipal securities and the municipal bond market.
Sponsors of his work on infrastructure financing include the Canadian Embassy, the Government of Quebec, the National Committee on United States-China Relations, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Nomura Institute of Capital Markets Research, the Italian Institute of Economics and Finance, among others. The U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations published his work on municipal financial emergencies. A Fulbright scholar (at McGill University in Montreal), Professor Hildreth also received the 2008 Aaron B. Wildavsky Award for lifetime scholarly achievement in the field of public budgeting and finance. Dr. Hildreth received his Ph.D. in Public Administration from the University of Georgia (1979), M.P.A. from Auburn University at Montgomery (1974), and B.A. from the University of Alabama (1971).