What Has Changed In Public Finance Since June 1st?

What has changed in public finance since June 1st? Here's what you need to know.

There was nothing magical about June 1st. It was just an ordinary day, and I’m not even sure what day of the week it was. However, something in the world of public finance changed.  Firms were ready to move again.  I had noticed a hiatus in the hiring process up until then. Firms were moving slower, and not as excited about the marketplace. Then that changed, and I am pleased to announce that even though the perception is that firms are not hiring in public finance – that is not the case.

New Blood In The Public Finance Industry

This past month alone I have had firms that I have been working with call us up and say, “It’s time to find us bankers and bond counsels.”  Especially bond counsels.  The “graying” of the bond counsel world (as I affectionately call it) has peaked, and firms are now more aware that they have to have new blood, whether issuance is down or not.  Public finance is here to stay and there are going to be deals that are being done no matter what the interest rate environment offers.  So, who will do them if they do not continue hiring?  Also, new firms that have only been buying competitive deals are looking to spread their wings into the wonderful world of negotiated underwriting.

Expansion On The Horizon

But is that all for our public finance industry on this topic?  No, clearly not.  Municipal advisory firms are also looking to expand their horizons and actively looking/hiring for positions.  As part of my process when I get a new client (a firm that is wanting to hire with our opportunistic approach), I interview them.  My goal is to become their trusted advisor and not just a resume pusher to that firm like many recruiters tend to do.  With the opportunistic approach, the client gets much more than just a resume.  They get intel on what is happening in the marketing of the candidate pool out there.  This information becomes valuable, whether they are deciding on a salary or a competitive package by working with us, they get that critical information and much more. 

What Is The Highest I Can Go At This Firm?

In addition to what they get, we get to answer their concerns. The balance of this blog will address these issues.  The number one question I get when asked why bond counsels move is that they are experiencing the glass ceiling.  Firms are aware that because the older statesmen stay on much longer, the opportunity for the new partner or lateral may not be what they thought it was going to be.  After staying at a firm and waiting for that senior partner to move on, they get frustrated and want to look for opportunities where they can flourish. The second reason that I see, especially with public finance bankers we are working with, is that they feel like their wings are clipped.  They cannot expand into new areas that are outside of their box.  Another recent one is that firms are now having mandatory retirement, causing senior partners to be relegated to lower positions of authority in their firms when they are not ready to enter that stage in their working lives yet.  What happens?  They look for new homes and want to take their junior partners with them.

The Public Finance Road Warriors

This last area is for those who want to be road warriors. They want to feel free as they did during COVID with fewer restrictions.  They do not necessarily want to come into an office as the need for brick and mortar is not as important to them.  Getting out on the road and bringing in deals is what drives them.  Now this might sound counterintuitive, but firms post-COVID are holding some bankers back.  How? They are going back to the restricted territories and restricted segmentation of sectors.  This would seem surprising but the firms, that are hiring now (and there are many) are not as concerned about restricting one’s practice but allowing them free reign to make rain, wherever that may come from.  Of course, you cannot step on someone else’s clients, but working together rather than competing makes the firms that want to grow much more desirable.  They are out there from boutiques to major name firms, from analysts to heads of public finance and practice group leaders.  Call us for a confidential conversation and you may very well be surprised at what we can suggest for your next big career move.


You don’t need a resume to chat with us! If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Harlan publishes a blog every Thursday here. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting.”

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 levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.