BRADENTON, Fla. — The independent financial advisory firm, C.D. Bowling & Associates in Lexington, Ky., has changed its name to Civic Finance Advisors LLC and added three new partners.
"Our mission is to be independent advisors, free to secure the most efficient financing option available for our clients," said principal Chris Bowling.
The new firm is believed to be the largest independent financial advisory firm headquartered in Kentucky, he said.
Joining Bowling as principals in the new firm are Keith Brock, Michael George and Linda Melton, all formerly from the Lexington office of the investment banking firm Ross, Sinclaire & Associates LLC.
Bowling, a sole practitioner before Civic Finance Advisors was created, said he hoped the new partners would bring business with them.
The firm's focus is mainly advising cities, counties, and special tax and school districts, most of which are required by law to conduct competitive offerings except in limited circumstances, he said.
"With the advent of G-23, we've been able to expand," Bowling said. He added that recent revisions to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board's rule on role-switching could give Kentucky issuers a competitive advantage in the bond market because deals may attract more bids if they use an independent FA.
The G-23 rule, which went into effect Nov. 27, was amended to prohibit municipal securities underwriters from serving as financial advisor on the same transaction. The rule also prohibits a dealer that serves as a financial advisor for a particular issue from serving as the initial remarketing agent for the same issue.
With Kentucky's competitive issuance requirement, the rule could dramatically affect public finance business models across the state, Bowling said.
"With the new G-23, we won't have to make that decision whether to serve as FA or underwriter," he said. "It will be interesting to see how the marketplace changes over the next year, at least for Kentucky."
Bowling said changing the name of his firm to Civic Finance Advisors is designed to represent all the partners, and increase business.
The firm will work statewide and analyze a variety of complex financing alternatives to provide clients with innovative and customized capital solutions, he said.
"Instead of just doing a bond issue, we try to look at what else is out there and evaluate better financing options," Bowling said.
Those include bank loans, new market tax credits, programs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state revolving loans and a number of pool financing programs offered by various entities in Kentucky.