Representatives of the National Association of Securities Professionals are set to meet with Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. next week to discuss political campaign contributions, the new chairman of the group confirmed yesterday.
The closed-door session, set for Wednesday in Washington D.C., comes on the heels of complaints by NASP that the group has been excluded from discussions between the SEC, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, and industry participants on political contributions and secondary market disclosure.
NASP represents minorities, women, and minority- and woman-owned firms in the securities industry.
"I think [Levitt] has taken into consideration the concerns we have raised about being excluded from the session he had with major institutions on [October] 18th," said Alphonso E. Tindall Jr., the new chairman of NASP.
Tindall is a managing partner in the New York City office of Greenberg, Traurig, Hoffman, Lipoff, Rosen & Quentel.
The NASP executive was referring to a meeting held to discuss political contributions in Washington on Oct. 18 between Levitt and executives from 17 major Wall Street firms. After the meeting, the firms announced an agreement to ban political contributions by members of their municipal bond departments.
After expressing concerns about being excluded from a meeting on secondary market disclosure held by the MSRB on Oct. 13, a representative of NASP was invited to attend an SEC session on the issue on Oct. 20 in Washington.
"We haven't had any concerns with respect to [disclosure] because we asked to be included and we were," said Tindall, who became chairman of NASP late last month.
An invitation for the Nov. 10 meeting was extended by Carrie Dwyer, counsel for the SEC chairman, Tindall said. Five NASP executives, including Tindall, will meet with Levitt to discuss political contributions and any other topics the chairman may be interested in, Tindall said.
Tindall declined to name the other NASP representatives who will attend the meeting.
However, several industry executives familiar with the organization said other members of the NASP delegation may include Raymond J. McClendon, immediate past chairman of NASP and the vice chairman of Pryor, McClendon, Counts & Co.; another previous NASP chairman, William H. Hayden, a senior managing director and co-head of the public finance department at Bear, Stearns & Co.; and NASP members Patricia Garrison-Corbin, chairwoman of P.G. Corbin & Co. and Ernest Green, a managing director at Lehman Brothers.
The SEC declined to comment about the meeting, said Jennifer Kimball, the SEC's head of public affairs.
"I think they recognized that we were excluded and we weren't pleased," Tindall said. "We do represent a significant group of municipal securities market participants."
So far NASP has not developed a formal position on political contributions, Tindall said, although it has been asked in a letter from Levitt to "establish or endorse principles such as those outlined in the voluntary initiative" he major firms.
"That's something that we're still working through and we have some considerable constitutional questions about this issue," Tindall said.
He said that NASP was concerned because many investment banks' bans extend only to public finance department employees and not other departments.