Financial regulators open registration for compliance event for muni bond advisors

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Federal financial regulators opened registration for the 2021 Compliance Outreach Program for Municipal Advisors this week.

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This virtual program will be held Thursday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. It is being put on by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Examinations and Office of Municipal Securities (OMS), the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), and FINRA.

The program will provide municipal advisors and other market participants with an opportunity to hear from SEC, MSRB, and FINRA staff on regulatory and compliance matters. Subjects to be addressed include conflicts of interest disclosures; operational considerations for registered municipal advisors; municipal advisors’ participation in new issue pricing; preparing for an examination; SEC and FINRA examination processes and common observations; and relevant SEC and FINRA enforcement actions.

“OMS is pleased to participate in this event for municipal advisors in the virtual format. We enjoy the opportunity to speak directly to and encourage a dialogue with the municipal advisor community. Our goal with this event is to promote a greater understanding of and compliance with municipal advisor duties under the federal securities laws,” OMS Director Rebecca Olsen said.

The program will also feature a tutorial on using the EDGAR system.

“With representatives of the SEC, MSRB, and FINRA, as well as industry participants, the program should provide an excellent learning opportunity for municipal advisors regarding their regulatory obligations from multiple perspectives. The open dialogue I expect at the event should serve to bolster compliance efforts and ultimately enhance investor protection,” Daniel Kahl, acting director of the SEC’s Division of Examinations, said.

The program is free and open to all, and registration is being administered by FINRA.

“The municipal securities market plays an important role in U.S. capital markets, providing opportunities for new and experienced retail investors as governments leverage bonds, complex structured products and financial derivatives to address their infrastructure and capital needs,” Bari Havlik, FINRA’s executive vice president of member supervision, said. “This program enables municipal advisor firms across the country to hear from regulators about areas of oversight, compliance and obligations that promote a fair and efficient market.”

For those who cannot attend the live virtual program, the recording will be available on the SEC’s Compliance Outreach Program for Municipal Advisors webpage.

“Creating opportunities such as this to engage in thoughtful dialogue will better inform our work that is centrally focused on reducing unnecessary costs and burdens for municipal advisors while also finding impactful ways to support compliance,” MSRB Chief Regulatory Officer Gail Marshall said.

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