CHICAGO – Acacia Financial Group Inc. fired Courtney Shea – the former public finance banker hired to open the firm’s Chicago office in 2009 -- and added former banker and investment asset manager professional Jim Beck to its Chicago team.

The co-presidents of the Marlton, N.J.-based firm – Kim Whelan and Noreen White – declined to explain the changes, saying in an email that the firm “cannot comment on personnel matters.” The firm has in the past issued press releases announcing some new hires, including Shea’s in late 2009.

Several issuers and other sources said the firm has told them the personnel changes represented a business decision and change in direction. The firm hired Shea to extend its Midwestern reach and lead its Illinois efforts.

Shea previously managed the banking group at the former LaSalle Capital Markets and held banking positions at Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. LLC, Citi, Artemis Capital Group Inc. and Kemper Securities.

Beck previously worked at Melvin Securities LLC where he was registered from 2009 through mid-2012. He previously was registered with JPMorgan Institutional Investments Inc. between 2001 and 2005.

Beck joins at least two other advisors based in Chicago. They include Phoebe Selden, a former Chicago comptroller, and Marty Luby, according to the firm’s website. Selden joined the firm in 2011. 

Acacia so far this year ranks fourth among advisors in Illinois and finished last year in the top slot, according to ThomsonReuters data.

In the Midwest, it ranks second so far and finished last year in the same position. Nationally, it ranks fourth so far this year and finished last year in fifth place.  The firm’s rankings have steadily risen in recent years. In 2009, it ranked eighth in the Midwest and 12th nationally.

The firm was established in 2006 by two former rivals for New Jersey-area advisory business. White folded her staff at another firm she founded, Municipal Advisory Partners Inc., into the new company and was joined by Whelan, who had been a managing director at Public Financial Management and led their New Jersey office after running her own firm.

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