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JPMorgan Taps Bosland To Lead Tax-Exempts

JPMorgan yesterday announced that Jeff Bosland will take over its tax-exempt capital markets group, assuming responsibility for the investment banking unit in addition to his duties overseeing sales, trading and syndicate, and credit portfolio and analysis.

Bosland had been co-head of the TECM business with Mark Melio, but the company has decided to streamline the leadership structure.

"In this role, Jeff will focus on using his capital markets experience to effectively connect the needs of our investor and issuer clients, and on managing all aspects of the business end to end, including setting the standard on client service and operational controls," Matt Zames, JPMorgan's head of global rates, foreign exchange, and TECM businesses, wrote in an internal memo.

Bosland has worked in TECM since May 2008, after joining JPMorgan as a managing director and head of U.S. agency trading and underwriting in June 2005. Bosland, who has more than 20 years capital markets experience, came to JPMorgan from Deutsche Bank, where he had worked since it acquired his firm, Bankers Trust, in 1988.

Bosland said JPMorgan is "absolutely aiming to be the best in the business."

"There are a lot of demands on JPMorgan in munis right now across all products - whether it's the credit book, balance sheet, or underwriting - and people need our help," Bosland said in an interview. "Having one person drive all that and be the senior interface to clients is clearly the path we think is best."

It remains uncertain if Melio will remain at JPMorgan. In his memo, Zames thanked Melio for his "contributions to this business, including his superb leadership during the Bear Stearns merger, dedication to the betterment of public finance, and his role in building TECM's market-leading health care investment banking practice."

JPMorgan ranked third as a senior manager last year, working on 350 deals with a par value of $37.8 billion. That total includes the work done by Bear Stearns & Co. before JPMorgan acquired it a year ago.

Since that purchase, JPMorgan used the integration process to round out certain areas of its municipal group, such as its western banking presence and its housing and securitization teams. It has also made certain other selective hires and moves to try to better position itself in the market, such as adding to its high-yield desk and bringing in senior high-grade trader Tom Uschok from the Lehman Brothers municipals group that is now part of Barclays Capital.

JPMorgan has also increased the number of senior underwriters in its syndicate to four from two, transferring over two taxable underwriters internally, which should help as munis diversify their investor base and also put JPMorgan in good position as issuance of taxable Build America Bonds begins, Bosland said. JPMorgan has also upgraded its retail distribution capabilities through a deal with UBS Wealth Management US.

Some of these moves should also help as the bank continues to increase its efforts in the competitive market, such as the $300 million Pennsylvania general obligation deal it won Tuesday and the $260 million of Clark County, Nev., Water Reclamation District bonds that priced yesterday.

It currently ranks second as a competitive senior manager - it placed 10th last year - and year to date it has already worked on deals representing more than half of the $1.89 billion in par value it did all of last year, according to Thomson Reuters.

JPMorgan ranks fifth as a negotiated senior manager this year, working on 25 deals with a par value of $3.4 billion. But Bosland attributed that to the timing of deals, and expects the firm's ranking will jump later this year thanks to a strong pipeline in the second quarter.

JPMorgan last September announced it would stop structuring interest-rate derivative products for governmental municipal issuers, saying risk-return profile of the product did not match the resources it required. JPMorgan and other firms have come under legal scrutiny for their role in the muni derivatives market.

JPMorgan will continue to play an important role in the municipal sector, according to Bosland.

"We are one of the biggest, most stable banks and the market needs us to do well," he said. "From [chairman and chief executive officer] Jamie Dimon down, we have stated publicly that we are committed to the business, an active lender, and dedicated to helping muni issuers get through these challenging markets."

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