Through the first three quarters of this year Bank of America Merrill Lynch has maintained its status as the biggest senior manager.

Quarterly Rankings

In this period it served as senior manager to 342 issues totaling $39.1 billion in par value, according to Thomson Reuters. In second place, Citi was senior manager to 348 issues totaling $32.6 billion. JP Morgan rounded out the top three, with 265 issues totaling $30.7 billion.

B of A Merrill's performance was an improvement from what they did in the first three quarters of 2011 when they had senior managed 227 issues for a total of $23.3 billion and were in third place. Their market share has improved to 14.2% from 12.5%.

B of A Merrill declined to comment on its performance.

The top three senior managers handled 37.2% of par value in the first three quarters of this year, compared to 38.1% of par value in the first three quarters of last year.

There was little change in the top 10 list of senior managers from last year's same period.

In the first nine months of last year JPMorgan was first, Citi second and Bank of America third by par value.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. rose to fifth place from seventh place. Goldman had a 5.5% market share in the first three quarters of this year and a 4.6% in the first three quarters of last year.

Wells Fargo & Co. rose to eighth from ninth place.

Of course, if some firms rose, others have fallen. RBC Capital Markets slipped two places to seventh from fifth, Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. dropped two places to 12th from 10th, and Raymond James | Morgan Keegan back-stepped one place to ninth from eighth.

The New York State Dormitory Authority, California and Illinois were the three largest issuers in the first nine months. B of A Merrill was the largest senior manager of both negotiated and competitive deals.

Unlike the fairly stable senior manager rankings, there were more shifts in the financial advisor rankings.

However, Public Financial Management Inc. stayed on top. It advised 706 issues with a total of $40.9 billion par value in the first three quarters of this year, compared to 546 issues for a total of $26.6 billion in the first three quarters of last year. Its market share went to 18.8% from 18.5%.

"It is gratifying that PFM's clients in every region of the country rely on us to help capture a very low-cost of capital for their important projects," said PFM chief executive officer John Bonow. "They trust us to identify and help realize refinancing savings, and this cost minimization is made possible in part by our dedicated pricing group and PFM's extensive market reach," he explained.

"The level of financial stress facing governments and nonprofits has rarely placed a higher premium on the value of executing debt transactions so efficiently," he said. "These transactions are typically part of a broader plans of finance and many of them involve innovations that we have helped clients analyze and, when appropriate, pursue."

Public Resources Advisory Group lagged well behind in second place with a 9.4% share in the first three quarters of this year and a 10.4% share in the first three quarters of last year.

When compared to their positions last year, several firms made substantial climbs up the financial advisor ranks. Acacia Financial Group went to fifth from 12th, Seattle-Northwest Securities Corp. jumped to seventh from 14th place, and Ponder & Co. leapt to eighth from 18th.

Asked to explain how Acacia achieved a 3.9% market share so far this year, compared to a 1.7% share last year, Acacia co-president Noreen White said, "Believe it or not, if you do good work there's a lot of clients who appreciate it."

The firm has not recently added new professionals, she said. "I know most people don't believe in hard work, but it does pay off in the end," White said. "We have a really talented team."

"We're very grateful to the clients who have given us work in the last year."

Two financial advisors from last year's first three quarters top 10 rankings took notable dives this year.

Kaufman Hall & Associates was 15th compared to ninth last year. Peralta Garcia Solutions plummeted to 56th so far this year from fifth at the same point last year.

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