Broker-dealer 280 CapMarkets hired four people this week to expand its offerings into taxables, coinciding with an increase in issuance in that space this year.

The San Francisco-based firm did not, however, make the expansion solely as a result of increased taxable sales this year, often attributed to the elimination of advance refundings in last year’s federal tax bill, said Gurinder S. Ahluwalia, the firm’s chief executive officer.

“The advisors that we engage with support their clients holistically in many cases,” Ahluwalia said. “In order to do so, they want and need access to fixed income products more broadly than munis – and we are all about meeting the advisor where they are.”

Gurinder Ahluwalia is chief executive officer of 280 CapMarkets.
280 CapMarkets CEO Gurinder Ahluwalia, the firm’s chief executive officer, anticipates continued growth for the rapidly expanding firm.

The firm expanded both its taxable trading and institutional sales distribution capabilities with the new hires.

280 CapMarkets launched last year with the idea of combining cloud-based technology with the market expertise and execution services of a traditional broker-dealer to enable independent financial advisors to buy, sell, and manage bonds with greater ease, transparency, and confidence, according to the firm.

The broker-dealer has executed more than $4 billion in fixed income sales since it begin trading in May 2017, of which more than 95% are munis, Ahluwalia said.

"In many ways, our growth reflects the ongoing trend of advisors embracing the opportunity to become independent and seeking out the technology, resources, and expertise that can allow them to compete effectively,” Ahluwalia said.

The firm has been growing consistently since it began trading in May 2017. It added more than a dozen people from September through March and now has a total of 40 people.

The firm launched Bond Nav, a cloud-based technology platform in January, geared at helping independent financial advisors meet best-execution requirements by providing them with greater transparency in bond pricing.

In March, the firm added people to its municipal institutional sales desk and expanded the business into corporate bond trading.

This week’s hires expand its taxable trading and institutional sales distribution capabilities by adding people the firm believes have "extraordinary talent, experience, and Street relationships," said Alex Buchler, managing director and co-head of institutional sales.

Now 40-people strong, Buchler said, the firm can provide clients with deeper institutional distribution. The aim is to deliver a wide spectrum of taxable products ranging from investment grade and high yield corporate debt to esoteric asset-backed securities and structured products, he said.

Jennifer Tonda Rohlfes, who was named director of institutional sales, has more than 20 years of fixed income trading and sales experience. She has traded investment grade and high yield bonds, structured products, agencies, and municipal bonds.

She specializes in green bonds and bonds with environmental, social, and governance benefits. She came over from Falcon Square Capital, where she worked as a vice president. Prior to that, she was a director of taxable trading at Crowell, Weedon & Co. While there, she opened that firm’s San Francisco office and developed the firm's institutional business. She also worked at Stone & Youngberg as vice president of corporate trading, and was a senior corporate bond trader at Charles Schwab & Co.

Dan Roddy joins 280 CapMarkets as head of mortgage trading and brings more than 10 years of institutional trading experience. Roddy was previously a principal at Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis, trading structured products. Prior to Piper Jaffray, he was a corporate and mortgage trader at Stone & Youngberg.

Eric Niederreither joins 280 CapMarkets as director of institutional sales. He has more than 30 years of institutional sales and trading experience covering a range of fixed income and equity products. His specialties include high yield, distressed, convertible, and emerging market debt. Prior to joining 280 CapMarkets, Niederreither worked 10 years in high yield and distressed institutional sales for GMP Securities. His previous experience also includes GFI Securities, J.P. Morgan Securities, Lehman Brothers and S.G. Warburg.

Mark Fortunato, director of institutional sales, brings 10 years of financial services experience on both the buy-side and sell-side to 280 CapMarkets. Previously, Fortunato was vice president of structured products sales and trading at CapRok Capital LLC. Prior to CapRok, Fortunato worked with a startup hedge fund focused on volatility arbitrage. Before that, he was with the New York-based hedge fund Och Ziff Capital Management. He began his career in collateral management at Lehman Brothers, which was acquired by Barclays Capital.

Tonda Rohlfes and Roddy work at 280 CapMarkets' San Francisco office. Niederreither and Fortunato work at the company's New York office.

Ahluwalia didn't provide specifics on future hires, but said they are "always looking for talent and experience."

"We are hiring people who understand the power of technology, service, relationships and have the experience to bring those things to the market," he said.

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