California Public Finance conference returns as an in-person event

Bonds

For the first time since 2019, municipal bond market participants from California and beyond will gather for an in-person Bond Buyer California Public Finance conference.

The in-person return follows 2020 and 2021 CalPub events held online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference starts Monday and runs through Wednesday at the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

California State Treasurer Fiona Ma is a keynote speaker Monday at The Bond Buyer California Public Finance conference in Los Angeles.

Bloomberg News

The event, an annual fixture since 1991, attracts public finance practitioners from across the state and nation to network and attend panels centered on topics that affect the $4 trillion municipal bond market.

In addition to the Bond Buyer conference, The California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission, the educational and data branch of the state’s treasurer’s office, has a full slate of panels planned for its pre-conference event Monday morning.

“CDIAC’s 21-year partnership with The Bond Buyer to produce the pre-conference to the California Public Finance Conference will result in CDIAC’s first in-person educational event since the onset of the pandemic,” said Robert Berry, CDIAC’s executive director.

At the three-day main conference, expect to hear how the state’s bond issuers hope to deploy funding from the federal infrastructure bill, insight to regulatory and policy changes, and what to expect from municipal bond market transformations driven by new technology, ESG investing and climate change.

California State Treasurer Fiona Ma will deliver keynote speeches at both the Bond Buyer conference and the CDIAC pre-conference.

“Sharing information and learning from the experiences of other elected and appointed officials across our state is critical and a necessary part of the job in public service,” Ma said. “The California Public Finance Conference is a great opportunity to do just that, and it will be wonderful to reconnect with each other in-person after having been online the last two years.”

Other keynote speakers at California Public Finance are Priya Misra, global head for rates strategy TD Securities; and Henry Cisneros, the former San Antonio mayor and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary who is chairman & co-founder of Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC.

Panel discussions will feature experts from across the spectrum of the municipal bond industry, including issuer representatives Marla Bleavins, deputy executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, Jay Goldstone, chief operating officer for the City of San Diego, and Sophia Skoda, director of finance at the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

Other panelists are bond attorneys, investment bankers, municipal advisors, rating and buyside analysts, and subject matter experts.

The CDIAC preconference has panelists discussing how cities and counties are constructing fiscal forecasts in a post-COVID world, how water and wastewater issuers are faring amid the state’s three-year drought and how changes including an influx of federal money are impacting transportation agencies.

“We greatly appreciate all the effort that went into producing the online conference and preconference the last two years,” Berry said. “They were great programs, but being back together, face-to-face, will be terrific.”

The preconference speakers are going into the conference with “eager anticipation,” as they have worked together to develop a content-rich program, said Berry, who added that he would not be surprised to see attendance exceed pre-pandemic levels.

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