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Citi at the Top in 2d Quarter

Citi overtook Bank of America-Merrill Lynch for the top spot in municipal bond underwriting in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters.

The New York-based bank was senior manager on $18.53 billion of munis during the second quarter, and $31.57 billion for the first six months of the year.

That ranks Citi first among senior managers, with a 16.2% market share.

Bank of America-Merrill was second, with $11.3 billion in the second quarter and $26.75 billion in the first half, with a 13.7% share of the market.

Citi has been the top underwriter for a dozen years. After Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch last year, Thomson Reuters retroactively combined their underwriting numbers. The result was that the combined firm was the top underwriter retrospectively.

Citi reclaimed the top spot by underwriting bigger deals, not more deals. In the first half, it underwrote 196 issues at an average par value of $161.1 million.

With 243 underwritten deals, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch underwrote an average bond size of $110.1 million.

Total volume fell more than 16% during the first half of the year because of the collapse of issuance in the variable-rate market.

"Market access was at times short-lived and required flexible issues, capital commitment, and speed," Ward Marsh, Citi's head of municipal securities, said in a statement. "Without a doubt, the last six months have been the most challenging the municipal market has faced for decades. It was best characterized as 'back to basics,' where our clients were refocused on raising new capital for critical infrastructure."

JP Morgan, which held on to the third spot, was the only bank in the top five to underwrite more in the first half of 2009 than it did in the first half of 2008.

The firm claimed an 11.6% share of the market in the first half with $22.6 billion par value, up from $21.6 billion in the first half last year.

Morgan Stanley came in fourth and Goldman, Sachs & Co. came in fifth.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch was first in competitive bond sales, with JP Morgan second and Barclays Capital third.

JP Morgan vaulted from the 12th spot last year to take second in competitive sales this year.

Public Financial Management Inc. was the most active adviser in the second quarter, advising on $11.47 billion in deals.

The company, which was ranked first this time last year, remains in second so far in 2009 with $21.73 billion for the first six months of the year, representing a 14.7% market share.

Public Resources Advisory Group held onto the top spot among financial advisers for the first half, advising on $10.4 billion in deals in the second quarter.

The New York-based adviser claimed a 15.8% share of the market with $23.33 billion in deals in the first half of the year.

PRAG's average deal size is $358.9 million, while PFM's is $62.6 million.

First Southwest Co. remains in third place, with $10.88 billion in advised deals so far this year for a 7.4% market share.

The Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, which did not make the top 10 in the first quarter, bounded to fourth place for the first half of the year, with $5.59 billion in deals and a 3.8% market share.

The GDB is adviser to Puerto Rico, whose $4.12 billion sales tax financing bonds was the biggest issue in June.

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