January is now upon us, and as we reflect back on Public Finance in 2017, we saw lots of changes; which caused upheaval in the bond markets, as well as in the hiring of professional Bankers and Bond Counsels.
UBS re-entering the market place certainly was the talk of the town for a good part of last year, consolidations and mergers took second place. But the winner of all the upheavals was clearly tax reform and how it will affect our Industry of Public Finance. With Advanced Refunding now officially gone, PAB’s barely scraping by, corporate tax rates clearly lower – all of this will affect bond issuance in 2018 and beyond. But you know all of this already, what you may not be aware of is that there are firms in both the Investment Banking and Legal communities that are excited about this news.
These firms are taking a proactive approach. They see that their competition especially the bulge brackets are going to have to make serious adjustments to their human capital, but the firms that I am fortunate enough to represent see this as opportunities to increase their professional count across the nation. The Regional and the Super Regional firms are looking at this change as an opportunity to continue to enhance their Public Finance practice. They do this by presenting an alternative platform to the bulge bracket firms and continue to increase their market share. This is accomplished by concentrating on the non-large rotational deals, and the bankers that avoid these types of transactions are the professionals they are looking to add to their teams. So, if you have a book of business and the clients value you, and not the company name on your business card – you are definitely in demand in 2018.
Another trend we are seeing is that in the Bond Counsel world firms that are not dedicated to their Public Finance practice are focusing their internal efforts in other areas, and the Bond Counsel professionals are continuing to feel less wanted. With more and more firms looking to across the pond with their venture capital practices, the earnings of the local Public Finance professionals are not as stable as in the past. However, there are a handful of firms that are 100% dedicated to this practice and as such are actively seeking Public Finance professionals to join their growing ranks. If you are a Bond Counsel with a dedicated practice and are not feeling the “love” as you have in the past – please reach out to me and I will share with you new opportunities with the firms we represent that are dedicated to this practice.
Lastly may this be a very happy, healthy and eventful New Year for you and your family. The Blog is back in 2018 to a weekly distribution posted every Monday by noon. I look forward to your comments as always.
About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, FinOps & Bond Counsels. He can be reached at [email protected] or 760-477-1284.