Utah treasurer added to federal municipal rulemaking board

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 1 2012 11:56 a.m. MDT

Richard Ellis is congratulated by friends after announcing his run for state treasurer on Utah State Capitol on October 31, 2007.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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Richard Ellis, Utah state treasurer, has made a member of the board of directors at the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, or MSRB, today along with seven others.

The MSRB is a federal organization that writes investor protection and regulatory rules in the municipal securities market.

The most recent additions to the board of directors comes as the MSRB deals with issues stemming from recent disruptions in the municipal securities market, like the bankruptcies of multiple California cities.

“I think I bring a very broad, issuer perspective, which I think is helpful to the board with all the issues it’s facing right now,” Ellis said in a phone interview. “I think with my background and experience, it can provide them with perspective.”

One of the issues that the MSRB is dealing with is working to improve disclosures to investors on municipal securities, Ellis said. Disclosure has been an ongoing issue between the MSRB and the Security and Exchange Commission for a long time and will continue to be, he said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission called for structural improvements of the $3.7 trillion municipal securities market in a report released on Tuesday.

“The municipal securities market is the bedrock for funding of local government projects throughout our country. It is essential that the market work well and that investors have confidence in it,” Mary L. Schapiro, chairman of the SEC, said in a statement. “While we have put in place measures to help investors make more knowledgeable decisions about municipal securities, we could do more for investors with statutory authority to improve disclosure and muni market practices.”

The report recommends better disclosures to investors, allowing the IRS to share information with the SEC and providing enforcement for continuing disclosure agreements and other obligations.

“I think there is going to be plenty to do and look at as issues pop up,” Ellis said. “It’s an exciting and challenging time to be a part of [the MSRB].”

EMAIL: jferguson@desnews.com

TWITTER: @joeyferguson

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