Dear Fellow Issuer,
Hi, I’m Debbie.
WARNING: What I’m about to share with you is more of a “heart-to-heart”. If you’re looking for a more formal bio of what it is that I do then you can read that here.
Because one of the main tenets of compliance is transparency, I want to be 100% open and honest with you.
I want to be honest and share a story that answers the following question…
Why would two bond geeks start something like Issuer 2 Issuer.com?
Simply stated, the focus and importance of post issuance compliance has changed dramatically in the last 10 years.
While the need for stronger post compliance programs continues to grow, issuers are challenged to meet that need with available time and resources.
So this got me thinking…
. . .
But before I get to that, I should share a few thoughts about my experience and how my mindset changed regarding post issuance compliance over the years.
So, here goes… My (Debbie’s) Journey
As a wife and mother of beautiful girls, my journey began with a dream job in the comfortable, secure, even-paced and highly predictable governmental arena…
When I first started in municipal finance in 2001, I did what fellow issuers had done for years.
I pretty much ran our bond deals, booked the accounting entries and then put those hefty bond transcripts on the shelf…
We spent tens of millions of dollars in bond proceeds… for decades… it was business as usual.
The reason I did this is because…
No one that I knew of either had been, or was being audited by the IRS.
No one was being audited on how they had spent their tax exempt bonds…or how they were using the facilities.
Lack of audit = good bonds, so, lack of compliance = good compliance.
Not so much.
I based my bond compliance mindset on accepted historical past practice in the municipal sector…
… rather than the rules we had promised to abide by in our bond covenants, and this is something that I see all the time.
Although I was learning and advancing quickly, my even-paced dream job was about to radically change… and rather than stick my head in the ground, I changed focus to meet the challenge.
It was fun (and a whole lot easier) while it lasted, but in 2002, the IRS pulled the tax exempt community’s head up with a jolt and suddenly, whether we (all the issuers) were prepared or not…
In 2002, compliance audits of our $4 trillion municipal bond sector began in earnest.
Only then then did I begin to understand what I, as the issuer, really should have been doing for our post issuance compliance – all along.
So what’s next?
Although it was tempting to simply bury my head in the ground,
I became determined to turn this challenging nightmare into a victory…
First, I told myself…
“Deb, you need to commit to taking focused action on your bond documents, rather than stick your head back in the sand.”
Tempting as it might be to continue with “the ostrich syndrome”, the thought of now leaving my “tail feathers” exposed (and my bond compliance nowhere closer to completion) was a whole lot riskier than just knuckling down and doing the work.
OK, so let’s get this done already…
While I had focus and the right attitude,
I still needed helpful answers and experienced guidance so I could get this done!
First, I had TONS of questions:
- How much time would I spend figuring out what records I REALLY need, and
- Where I’m going to find the documents – if they still existed?
Or simpler yet,
- Where do I start, and
- Who can explain all these IRS rules in layman’s terms?
Understand that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having these questions, but…
The reality of increased scrutiny from the IRS and SEC means that I needed to get past the questions and take focused action steps.
I needed immediate action steps to get my bond compliance programs in order.
With answers, more questions, tenacity and continued support, my nightmare turned into an intriguing (and geeky) treasure hunt…
Here’s the fun kicker. When I discovered that I was actually cutting through the clutter…it quickly became a fascinating treasure hunt about the historical infrastructure of our company.
It took time and LOTS of meetings and conversations with our bond and tax counsel, but…
We completed 39 comprehensive compliance binders… which later passed four IRS audits with flying colors!
Really. (Now, as a fellow finance geek, admit it…you are nodding too).
This treasure hunt would eventually transform my expertise into my passion…
My passion is to now help others develop effective, sustainable post issuance compliance.
You can do it too!
Taking logical, consistent steps, you’ll make sense out of your conglomeration of spreadsheets, notes and bond resolutions. It will all start to fall into place and get easier as you go along.
You’ll find that, not only will your post issuance compliance program vastly improve, but you will be confident knowing, that – if or when the IRS does come to call – that you can simply set them in a comfortable room with your compliance binders and say…
“Everything here is in order. My office is just down the hall and we have fresh coffee in the lunchroom – help yourself. I’ll come back in a day or two to see if you have any questions”.
Oh, does that feel good and put a huge smile on your face!
Go ahead, say it out loud to yourself. Ahhh…don’t you agree?
Are you ready to make successful post issuance compliance a reality for yourself too?
Making what I just said above become your reality is our vision for you.
We can help.
39 bond issues and 4 IRS audits later…
We have crawled over many of those same issuer hurdles and emerged with successful audit-tested compliance on the other side.
Over time, we found ourselves increasingly helping other issuers – answering questions, sharing tips on how we solved “the big, hairy problems” along the way, as well as tools to make ongoing compliance monitoring more manageable – especially crucial with increasingly tight staffing and budgets.
After much consideration and encouragement from numerous bond & tax counsel, underwriters and fellow colleagues, we knew it was time to offer our help, knowledge, and expertise on a MUCH larger scale.
Ingrid and I started to plan how we could combine our passion, skills, and connections to help you, as a fellow issuer, build and maintain effective, sustainable post issuance compliance programs… starting right now, where you are today.
I’ll be honest… this was a huge, scary leap of faith for us.
BUT, we believe if we all collectively pool our knowledge, we can truly help each other (as fellow issuers) sift through the clutter and quickly become successful in meeting our compliance obligations.
Realizing this dream makes the leap worth it!
Hopefully by now, this story- my story- has revealed…
YOU, and your success, are the reason why…
…two geeky bond issuers stepped way out of their comfort zone and started Issuer 2 Issuer.com.
We want you to know, with absolute confidence, that your post issuance compliance program can stand up under any audit. It can also help you (and your board of directors) sleep better too.
There’s always more to come on this later… right here on this website… so be sure to signup for our newsletter, by clicking the button below, and never miss an update.
Yours in Compliance,
PS. Remember, we’re here to help you build the best post issuance compliance program possible. If there’s anything in particular you’d like to learn or discuss within the issuer community, just drop us a comment below and let us know. We look forward to chatting with you!