Despite delay, SEC progressing on muni adviser definition-Walter

By Hilary Russ

Oct 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission likely will not need another full year to revise its definition of municipal adviser, despite delaying its deadline until 2013, Commissioner Elisse Walter said on Monday.

There is "no intention on the part of the staff to take anywhere near that long," Walter said during a conference in New York about the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal bond market.

Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, federal securities regulators must provide guidance to municipalities and their financial advisers about who qualifies as a municipal adviser for the purposes of complying with the tougher regulations.

The SEC had proposed a temporary rule and was to have finalized a definition by Sept. 30. But it announced on Sept. 21 that it was pushing its deadline back a year.

For years, municipal financial advisers, swap advisers, guaranteed investment contract brokers, placement agents and other consultants were largely unregulated. Critics said that helped set the stage for a wave of recent crises among cities, towns and other issuers involving complex financial instruments that panned out badly for local taxpayers.

Congress is also weighing in on the best way to define who falls under the new rules. The House approved a clarification in September, but the U.S. Senate is unlikely to act until after the November elections.

(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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