Bond insurer Assured Guaranty has hired three senior professionals to help boost its public finance business.
“It reflects our view of the market today… that we’re willing to make significant investments” to expand our municipal bond insurance team, said Assured Guaranty chief executive officer Dominic Frederico.
Assured said it has hired Chris Chafizadeh as a managing director and head of new business origination. Chafizadeh was formerly head of the public finance business group at bond insurer National Public Finance Guarantee. He has more than 20 years experience in public finance.
“It’s very exciting to join the industry leader at a time when investors are seeing clear evidence of the value of bond insurance and municipal issuers cannot afford to pass up any opportunity for savings,” Chafizadeh said. “Right now, only Assured Guaranty has the track record and financial strength to offer the market what it needs.”
Assured also hired two professionals for its western regional office based in San Francisco.
Jason Kissane, who previously managed National’s western region, is now managing director for western regional business.
Assured hired Andrew Porges as a director. He was formerly a senior underwriter for National in the western region.
Kissane has deep relationships with public finance professionals in the western region, said Assured senior managing director Bill Hogan.
“At the end of the day, [bond insurance is] still a people business,” Frederico said.
The western region is an important market, Hogan said.
Assured may open offices in the Southeast and Midwest and hire more personnel to seek business in those regions, Frederico said.
Prior to the financial crisis, bond issuers more frequently than now opted for insurance.
“Today you need to be more active in the sale process,” Frederico said.
He said the new hires have defined goals for penetration and business production.
Chafizadeh and Kissane will report to Hogan.
Assured said Chafizadeh will prospect for new business, interacting with underwriters and financial advisors. He will do some of this work in the New York City office and some of it by travelling around the country.
Once prospective deals are brought to Assured Guaranty in the western region, Kissane will work out the details of the deal.
Ultimately, Assured’s underwriting committee decides on what deals to insure.