WASHINGTON -- Securities and Exchange Commission officials met behind closed doors yesterday with roughly 25 representatives of the municipal bond industry to begin developing a secondary market disclosure standard, industry sources said.
"It was an information gathering endeavor for them," said Amy Dunbar, director of government affairs for the National Association of Bond Lawyers. Dunbar was one of three NABL representatives scheduled to attend the session headed by SEC director of corporation finance Linda Quinn.
"They wanted to know where the sources for the information they were looking for were, including market demographics. [They want to know where to find] the hard data to decide how many issuers come to market, how often, their size, and who gets the information," Dunbar said.
The meeting followed an Oct. 14 meeting in New York with market participants where SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. told roughly 40 market representatives that they have 90 days to agree on a plan to improve ongoing disclosure.
The SEC is under pressure from the House Energy and Commerce Committee to devise a standard for improving disclosure quickly. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the committee's subcommittee on telecommunications and finance, said at an oversight hearing on municipals Oct. 7 that he is "very, very seriously" considering introducing legislation to spur secondary market disclosure.
Roughly 20 members of the SEC staff were scheduled to attend the meeting, including representatives of the divisions of market regulation, enforcement, and corporation finance, and the offices of Chairman Levitt, Commissioner Richard Robert, general counsel, and economic analysis.
Groups participating at yesterday morning's meeting, according to a list obtained by The Bond Buyer, were: Allstate Investment Management Company; American Bar Association; Government Finance Officers Association; Investment Company Institute; Moody's Investor Service; Morgan Stanley & Co.; Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; NABL; National Association of Counties; National Association of Securities Professionals; National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers; National Association of State Treasurers; National Council of Health Facilities Financing Authorities; National Federation of Municipal Analysts; Public Securities Association; and Standard & Poor's Corp.