At the recent Columbia Law School Conference, “Hot Topics: Leading Current Issues in Securities Regulation and Enforcement,” SEC Commissioner Kara M. Stein’s keynote address focused on a number of transparency and disclosure issues regarding municipal securities, private equity and exchange traded funds.

Municipal Securities

Commissioner Stein highlighted the importance of municipal finance to the growth of the nation and noted that ordinary investors now own over 70 percent of the municipal securities market, either directly or through investment companies.

In light of this data, Commissioner Stein addressed two areas where, in her view, regulators could act to improve transparency in the municipal securities market.  The first is to require post-trade pricing disclosure showing transaction costs on customer confirmations.  Second, Commissioner Stein urged that market information, such as who in the market is interested in trading a municipal security and at what price, be made available to ordinary investors in advance of trading.