The municipal bond market has been long-prized as a stable, tax advantaged income generator for individuals,
After years of a low interest rate environment, the asset class is getting renewed attention . . . And it’s not just from investors! Tech disruptors are eyeing the space and they see a massive, disjointed uncoordinated market in need of modernization.
I spoke with STEPHEN WINTERSTEIN on the state of the municipal bond market. He has a 360 degree view of the muni bond space.
Steve is the Founder of SP Winterstein and Associates which advises dealers and buy-side firms on municipal fixed income data and technology procurement, vendor engagement, workflow, and market structure.
He has over 35 years experience in municipal SMA and mutual fund management, electronic trading, fintech. Most recently, he was head of municipal fixed income at MarketAxess and head of Capital Markets at Alphaledger.
We’ll tackle his view of thoughtful municipal fixed income management, the size, delivery and fractionalization of the market and the technological challenges faced.
Finally, we’ll get some input on where Steve thinks AI, Blockchain, LLM’s and some of the other buzzy words out there may have some real world impact on the asset class.
Take us through your career . . . and your start in the Municipal Bond space
- Portfolio Manager – Meridian Asset Management
- Managing Director & Senior Vice President, Head of Municipal Fixed Income – PNC
- Head of Municipal Fixed Income Strategy & Research – Wilmington Trust
- Head of Municipal Fixed Income – MarketAxess
- Head of Capital Markets – Alphaledger
- Managing Partner – SP Winterstein & Associates, LLC
- Discussing the two pillars of Muni Investing – Credit and Duration
- Fallacy of being able to predict interest rates
- Spending Calories on Credit Research
- “Bus Map”- incorporating client input in the design/choice of investment constraints
The Municipal Bond Market
- The Size of the Muni Market and the challenges that causes
- The fractionalized nature of muni market
- Typical means tf transacting
- Brokerage vs SMA vs fund
- Problems with indexing
Where can technology help?
- Pipe-building, blockchain, AI review of docs, what else?
- Where are the initiatives of improvement? What is holding things back?
- In your mind What is the solvable low-hanging fruit? What isn’t?
Where does this help the municipality?
Where does this help the market participant?
Where does this help the investor?
With interest rates normalizing- any glimpses into Steve’s crystal ball?
Getting rid of tax exemption solves the paradox of the heterogenous borrowing base (institutions of all flavors and sizes) and the homogenous lending base (individuals) by broadening the lending base. While removing the tax favored status would raise borrowing costs, it would improve liquidity – which problem do you want to solve in a world where infrastructure so desperately needs funding?