A Word To Those In Bond Counsel & Public Finance

For those in public finance and bond counsel business, you should know these things about your industry.

As a Capital Markets recruiter exclusively for almost ten years, I am asking you to read this blog carefully. Share it with your associates on both the Public Finance as well as the Bond Counsel business. As many of you know, I had stopped writing my blog on a regular basis, but as of the last couple of months I am now back to a weekly schedule.  Our industry is under siege by large Investment Banking firms and Law firms. More and more firms are involved in some sort of merger or consolidation with a larger firm. We do not have to look any further than last month’s announcement of Stifel acquiring George K Baum. Three months before that BB&T and Suntrust announced their merger, and the formation of a new company named Truist.  On the Bond Counsel side, a local Texas based specialty Law firm merged with a national law firm, and the list goes on & on.

Once again, this year has seen more mergers, acquisitions, firms entering the business, firms leaving the business; but I’m sure you already know this.  One only must read the Bond Buyer daily to be aware of this activity. Names and companies in the Red Book change monthly as announcements are made.

So, what does this all mean for those in public finance and bond counsel business?

It means that more people are making changes in their career. Some are going from Public Finance Bankers to Municipal Financial Advisors. Some are leaving the business altogether while others are seeking safe harbors and going to the first firm that reaches out to them. A portion are going to firms that are offering a lot of financial incentives that are possibly not the best place or platform for a banker or Bond Counsel to continue their successful career. However, it is still a candidate driven market during all of this activity. Candidates have more options than ever before, even with the merger activity.  If you are an employee in either Public Finance or Bond Counsel, you have numerous options if you are confident of two things: your ability to do the work and (most importantly) that your current clients will follow you to whatever firm you sign with. Too often a knee jerk response to a Reduction in Force letter can result in a miss-step in your career. It can make one wonder, “Am I committing ‘Career Suicide’ if I realize I went to the wrong firm?”

“Career Suicide” is an over-used term I have heard in the past. It generally means that you have either made too many changes and/or joined multiple firms in your career, or you started and left a firm within a short period of time. Without hesitation, I can say that this year no one is going to be subject to the “taint” of career suicide from making moves and retracting after finding out that you moved too quickly or without enough due diligence on your part. After speaking to managers that I work with and others in the industry, this is a recurring theme. This year is an anomaly, and we would have no hesitation to hire someone if they determined that they moved too quickly, or the firm did not promise what they expected. As a Public Finance Banker or Bond Counsel, you must realize that your value will not be diminished if you decide that the firm you rebounded to was not the right firm. If it was the right firm, I congratulate you on making a great decision. If you find yourself in this precarious position, do not remain with a firm due to fear of de-railing your career track. Contact a recruiter today to remedy the situation, without any hesitation on your part, that firms are not going to be interested in you.

For a confidential conversation regarding a move you may have made in haste or one that you may be contemplating, please reach out to me at [email protected].  Or call for immediate response 760-477-1284. I am the only recruiter that was both a Public Finance Banker and a JD.

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, and Bond Counsels. He can be reached on LinkedIn, at [email protected] or 760-477-1284.