2010 "Reformed" MSRB Board Member Candidate Q&A Form

1. Name of Individual Recommending Candidate and Telephone Number:

Please refer to Victor Katz email

2. Candidate Name, Address and Telephone Number:

Kevin Olson
2301 Green Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 922-7870

3. Professional and Educational Background


I pioneered fixed income price transparency over a decade ago. I advocated for release of Municipal Bond trade data, and started a site called MunicipalBonds.com where I posted Municipal Bond trade and price information for all investors to see.
I also red flagged and posted price spreads, both in the secondary and primary markets. MunicipalBonds.com filled a void; actualized something where there had been nothing. Investors came. The site became one of the most trafficked independent to Wall Street.

During this period I developed into an investor advocate as well as a public finance watchdog. Others described me differently, but these other opinions did seem fluid, in a positive direction, as time progressed.

It was an interesting road.

As for "advisement," I advised everyone. I offered advice.

In regards to Municipalities, or Issuers--

There were a few GFOA Debt Chairs and Members who I had dialogue with, but for the most part there was little if any relationship.However, there was that last call with one or more of the GFOA Debt Committee Advisory which was interesting.

There were a few State Treasurers who I had dialogue with, but then there was that interesting State Treasuers Convention.

There were County, City and other Treasurers who I had dialogue with, but then there were those who could not wait to get off the phone to call their Bankers and/or FA's.I know this to be true because those Bankers and FA's would usually call me pretty quickly.Those calls were interesting.

Nonetheless, I did my best to represent Issuers when it came to the trade data and fair and reasonable Muni markets. My work on behalf of Issuers also extended to the CUSIP/S&P problem, very early ideas on cleaning up Muni derivatives, and even in streamlining the Federal tax exempt status of Municipal securities interest income. The letter I wrote in regards to CUSIP/S&P actually got traction at the Sub-Committee. They told me there was even recognition from within the EU.

Professional Honors/Associations:

I never received any official "honor," or credit, for Muni Market price transparency, but I did get the responsibility. There is a significant difference.

After I had launched MunicipalBonds.com, the NASD had a policy and/or practice of meeting with stock brokers about fixed incomes and saying there is this guy in San Francisco, Kevin Olson, who is posting the Muni trade data and he shows the spreads and you better watch out. This is the extent of my professional honors.

I'm not sure what Associations you are referring, but I am probably not a member of any.


University of Southern California, B.S. Public Administration


I guess you could say my publication was MunicipalBonds.com. It was widely read.(Please note I will be relaunching soon at a new web site.) There have been many articles about what I did; what I accomplished.

Other Board Experience:

"The Mother of All Letters"

Clearly, the experience that stands out, Board or otherwise, had to be when State Securities Regulators (NASAA) tried to shut down MunicipalBonds.com. The fact that a securities regulator was in any way antogonistic to me was amazing; one of those now I've heard everything moments.But as it turned out the real story was the letter; the "Mother of All Letters" as it became known. When it was clear I would have to lawyer up, I somehow found this really good, really intense attorney who lived and breathed internet rights. She wrote a letter and it wasn't long before NASAA, which consists of State Securities Regulators, AG's and so on, issued a formal apology. That lawyer was later hired away by Google, and she later authored that other letter to Justice.

Why do you want to serve on the MSRB Board?

I know what to do.

What unique skills can you contribute to the Board and/or Board Committees?

I know what to do.

What do you consider to be the most pressing issue(s) in the industry today?

The most pressing issue to the "industry" is getting me on the Board of the MSRB.

But perhaps you should explain your definition of "industry." For years I was very involved in the Muni Markets and, as far as I know, I was never even nominated for one of those non-Dealer Board seats.

The "industry" has had the same leadership and has had the same advice forever, and the result is that U.S. subsovereign public finance and the Muni Markets are a mess.

The "industry" needs someone different.

Congress has passed and President Obama has signed Financial Reform. I'm curious if adding a few "Municipal Advisor" seats is what they had in mind.

Regardless, I will state that without me on the MSRB Board, there will be no Muni Market reformation.

What suggestions do you have on how the MSRB could be more effective as a regulator of the Municipal Market?

This is what I will do first:

I motion the MSRB actualize a single, centralized secondary Muni Market platform for all Customer Bid-Wanteds. Proceeds to fund GASB.

All customer bid-wanteds must be posted at a publlic and transparent web site for all to see. A customer must utilize a licensed Muni dealer as intermediary who will present and post the Muni bid-wanted to the platform on behalf of the customer.

Any investor may place a bid for the bond but must do so through a licensed Muni dealer. Muni dealers may also put their own bids on the bid-wanted.Instead of getting one captive bid, a customer will now get numerous market bids. At the end of the bid-wanted period, tickets will be written by the representing Muni dealers inclusive of their own fees, arrangements, conditions and so on. Other established trade procedures including reporting and so on will continue.The MSRB will not act as principal or agent nor provide clearing nor write any tickets.

There will be a fee per bid-wanted that will be charged to the presenting Muni dealer, who must pay but who may also then charge the customer. Customers must understand there is such a thing as a statement valuation, and there are also bid-side evaluations. This platform is something more, and whether the bond sells or not the fee must be paid.