Michael Murray (left) and Tony Stovall are co-heads of the new Municipal Finance Group at Bonwick Capital Partners.

BRADENTON, Fla. - Michael Murray and Tony Stovall are proud of what they've accomplished in just six months at the new municipal finance group they co-head at Bonwick Capital Partners LLC.

Bonwick closed three weeks ago on the firm's largest muni deal to date – a $118 million refunding for Mississippi's Jackson Public School District, issued through the Mississippi Development Bank, producing $8.08 million in present value savings or 6.48% as a percentage of the refunded bonds.

Since establishing the municipal finance group earlier this year, Bonwick has been selected to serve as senior manager on five transactions totaling more than $150 million. All five deals are expected to close by year's end.

"We actually think that we have done very well," Murray said. "Some investment banking firms have been in business four to five years and have not done any senior-managed deals."

Stovall said the Jackson borrowing also illustrates Bonwick's platform and its ability to serve as a book-running senior manager on a transaction of more than $100 million.

"I think this sets us apart from minority-owned and small investment banking firms," Stovall said.

New York-based Bonwick Capital opened its new muni shop in June after concentrating on corporate investment banking since 2012. The firm also has offices in California, Texas, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

To develop a muni platform with a strong capital base, Stovall said the firm created a strategic partnership with Burnham Securities Inc.

"In our business, capital is very important when underwriting these transactions," Stovall said. "We knew right off that we needed to look at a platform that had capital."

The partnership also enables Bonwick to tap Burnham's retail distribution network, he said.

Both Murray and Stovall previously worked at Rice Financial Products, as have many other muni professionals who have joined Bonwick, including Howard Mackey.

Mackey, a 33-year industry veteran, was recently named head of Bonwick's muni sales, trading and underwriting desk.

"The hiring of Howard Mackey is a tremendous coup for the firm and the Municipal Finance Group at Bonwick," said Bonwick chief executive officer Devin Wicker. "Having someone like Howard at the helm of our muni sales and trading operation assures clients that Bonwick has leading industry professionals underwriting their debt."

Currently, there are 12 professionals on the muni sales and trading desk.

"Overall, we're in a growth mode but more specifically looking to expand on the sales and trading side," Stovall said.

Bonwick plans to work on all types of credits, rated and unrated, as well as revenue and general obligation deals, he said.

Murray previously worked for 20 years as president, chief compliance officer and head of the quantitative finance group at Rice Financial.

Murray has overseen work on more than $15 billion in municipal debt and financial products for issuers that include the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the Virgin Islands, the Jackson Public School District, Miami-Dade County, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Stovall, a 24-year municipal finance veteran, most recently was a partner at Rice.

His career began at M. R. Beal & Co. where he was co-head of investment banking. He has served as a senior manager on more than $10 billion of debt for issuers, including the states of California and Mississippi and various local government issuers in both states.

Stovall's past work includes a prior offering for the Jackson Public School District that won a Southeast Regional Deal of the Year Award in 2008.

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