SEC Attorney Ernesto Lanza Rejoins Ballard Spahr Finance Practice in Washington, D.C.
Ernesto A. Lanza—a securities regulatory and public finance attorney whose more than three decades of experience include serving as Acting Director of the SEC’s Office of Municipal Securities—has rejoined Ballard Spahr in Washington, D.C., firm Chair Mark Stewart announced.
Mr. Lanza joins as of counsel in the firm’s national Finance Department and Public Finance Group, as well as its Municipal Securities Regulation and Enforcement practice. He had served since 2019 at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including as head of its municipal securities office from November 2021 until April of this year. Mr. Lanza previously served for more than 15 years at the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) and for more than a decade in private practice.
At Ballard Spahr, Mr. Lanza will advise clients—including broker-dealers, municipal advisors, investors, other key market participants and industry vendors—on municipal market, Dodd-Frank, FINRA, and other legal and compliance matters, including in the high‐stakes context of regulatory examination and enforcement activities. He provides regulated clients with unique insight into how government mandates translate into on‐the‐ground, practical implementation and compliance.
“Ernie’s work as a regulator and in private practice has provided him with a level of experience that will be invaluable to our clients at a time when the regulatory environment is complex and the stakes are high,” said Teri M. Guarnaccia, co-leader of Ballard Spahr’s Public Finance Group and the firm’s Municipal Securities Regulation and Enforcement Team. “He is well-known and highly respected throughout the municipal securities industry. We’re delighted to have him back.”
At the MSRB—the congressionally chartered regulatory body for the municipal securities market—he spent four years as General Counsel and chief legal officer as well as three years as Deputy Executive Director. He led the development and launch of the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system, the municipal market’s counterpart to the SEC’s EDGAR system. Mr. Lanza also worked more than a decade in private practice, including previously at Ballard Spahr, representing broker-dealers, municipal advisors, state and local governments, investors, trade groups, industry vendors, and other key market structure entities on municipal bond and 529 college savings plan market matters. He served as bond counsel to state and local governments as well as underwriter’s counsel on numerous public sector capital financings for public and social infrastructure projects and private activity, such as multifamily housing.
An acclaimed authority on the fast-developing world of municipal securities regulation and enforcement, Mr. Lanza was a primary author of many of the municipal market’s enhanced-disclosure regulations and transparency regimes, as well as a host of rules on fair dealing, pay-to-play, secondary market trading and transparency, municipal advisors, and other securities law areas. His work in government provides him exceptional understanding of the policies and intentions behind the new regulatory regimes and the SEC's likely approaches to enhanced enforcement.
He rejoins a team of public finance attorneys who advise municipal market participants nationwide on navigating a rapidly evolving regulatory environment in the municipal securities market. With a national platform and local presence in key markets across the country, Ballard Spahr represents state and local governments and authorities, nonprofit organizations, investment banks, and banking institutions in virtually every type of public finance transaction.
“Ballard Spahr is known throughout the country and the municipal securities industry for the strength of its Finance and Public Finance practices, and I’m proud to be a part of that again,” Mr. Lanza said. “I know the firm and its culture well, having practiced here before, and having crossed paths with many exceptional Ballard Spahr lawyers while I was a regulator. I couldn’t be happier about rejoining.”
For media inquiries, please contact Will Ashenmacher at 612.371.5792.