SAN FRANCISCO, June 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Investor advocate and public finance watchdog Kevin Olson has opened a new front in his campaign to level the playing field for municipal bond investors with the launch of a new Web site, www.DoNotBuyCaliforniaBonds.com. The site is devoted to warning potential buyers about the dangers involved with investing in California-issued bonds.
"Investors are expected to buy California bonds and hold them to maturity," Olson said, "But if they want – or need – to sell, there is no chance of getting a fair and reasonable bid." Olson explained that most brokerages do not provide bids on the bonds, not even those involved in selling or underwriting them. "If you buy these bonds, you – and your heirs – are stuck with them," Olson added. "Simply put, California bonds are a bad investment."
While the terrible market conditions for municipal bond investors are not unique to California, Olson said that he started DoNotBuyCaliforniaBonds.com in response to the state's aggressive marketing of its bonds. "The State of California is spending more than a million dollars a year on a marketing campaign targeting retail investors thorough print and radio advertising, and a Web site, BuyCaliforniaBonds.com." According to information provided by the office of California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, the state has spent $5,540,181.00 in taxpayer funds to promote the sale of California municipal bonds since 2007.
"California municipal bonds should come with a large-print warning label," Olson said. "I am taking on a million-dollar-a-year, state-run, taxpayer-funded misinformation campaign. Investors need to be made aware of the dangers."
Olson has also launched MuniMarket.com where he hopes municipal issuers, such as states, will develop a much needed bid-side muni market exchange. The goal is to get municipalities to "list" their bonds, similar to the way stocks are listed, in order to improve the secondary muni market for investors. In addition, Olson operates MuniAdvocate.com where he continues his work as a public finance watchdog and investor advocate. For more information, contact Olson at [email protected] or [email protected].