Washington D.C., Sept. 4, 2018 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Rebecca J. Olsen has been named Director of the agency’s Office of Municipal Securities (OMS). Ms. Olsen has served as OMS’s Acting Director since September 2017.
The Office of Municipal Securities is responsible for coordinating the SEC’s municipal securities activities, including policy development, coordination, and implementation of Commission initiatives to improve the municipal securities market, and administering the Commission’s rules pertaining to municipal securities market participants. The office also coordinates with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) on rulemaking and enforcement.
Under Ms. Olsen’s leadership, OMS has been closely involved in recent initiatives designed to increase transparency in the municipal securities market, particularly for Main Street investors. For example, on Aug. 15, 2018, the Commission adopted amendments to Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12 designed to better inform investors and other market participants about the current financial condition of issuers of municipal securities and obligated persons. In addition, new MSRB and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority mark-up disclosure rules, which took effect in May 2018, generally require dealers to disclose to investors in the fixed income markets – many of whom are retail investors – the mark-up or mark-down charged on certain principal transactions in municipal and other debt securities. Staff in OMS and the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets approved, under delegated authority, each self regulatory organization’s mark-up disclosure rules in November 2016.
“It is difficult to overstate the importance of the fixed income markets – including the municipal bond market – to the American economy and our Main Street investors,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “Rebecca has a deep knowledge of the U.S. municipal bond market, and she and her talented staff in OMS go to work every day focused on the integrity and transparency of this market and the many municipalities and investors it serves.”
Ms. Olsen added, “I am grateful for the opportunity to lead OMS and to continue working with the talented and dedicated staff in this office and across the agency. I look forward to continue working with Chairman Clayton, the Commissioners, and the staff to protect the long-term interests of Main Street investors in the municipal securities market.”
Ms. Olsen was named as OMS’s Deputy Director in May 2015 after previously serving in the role of Chief Counsel for the office. She first joined the SEC in May of 2013 as an attorney fellow in OMS. Prior to joining the SEC, Ms. Olsen worked as a public finance attorney at the law firm of Ballard Spahr, LLP where she served as underwriter’s counsel, bond counsel, lender’s counsel and borrower’s counsel on a wide variety of public offerings and private placements of municipal securities.
Ms. Olsen earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Boston College, a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and an LL.M in International Business Law from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.