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US To Police Tax-Exempt Bond Market

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have agreed to work more closely to monitor and regulate the municipal bond market and industry.

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro and IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman on March 2 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) designed to improve compliance with SEC and IRS rules and regulations related to municipal securities. The muni bond market currently totals about USD2.8 trillion in outstanding securities and continues to grow in complexity and size.

"Through cooperative relationships like this, we are better positioned to protect investors and ensure they are getting the information they need when investing in municipal securities," Schapiro said.

"This memorandum reflects the commitment both agencies have in using all means possible to ensure the municipal bond market operates in accordance with all the laws that govern it," Shulman added.

The SEC and IRS will cooperate to identify issues and trends related to tax-exempt bonds in the municipal securities industry and to develop strategies to enhance performance of their respective regulatory responsibilities. To support this effort, the two agencies will work through a standing Tax Exempt Bond/Municipal Securities Committee to discuss policy, procedures and compliance issues.

The SEC and IRS will also share information as appropriate regarding market risks, practices and events related to municipal securities, among other things.