CHICAGO — Memphis-based financial advisory firm ComCap Advisors, a division of Community Capital, is branching out for the first time from its Tennessee headquarters with the opening of a Chicago office.
The firm has hired Jana Wesley as a senior vice president to lead its efforts building a business with Cook County and Chicago, as well as the city’s related issuers, such as the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Board of Education, the Chicago Transit Authority, and the Chicago Building Commission.
Wesley most recently worked at the advisory firm TKG & Associates. In the course of her 25-year career in public finance, she has held positions as a public finance banker at Bank of America and Loop Capital Markets LLC. She also was executive director of the California Health Facilities Financing Authority.
“Jana brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas of state and local government,” said Pamela Clary, a co-owner of the boutique firm and its head of municipal finance. “Her combined skill set will enable our firm to expand the range of financial advisory services that we will be able to offer our clients.”
The minority- and women-owned firm has had its eye on expanding its business to Chicago and Houston. It does not yet have an office in Houston but is seeking formal certification as a minority-owned firm there. The firm also would like to eventually establish a presence in Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Chicago is considered by most local public finance participants as a competitive market that can be difficult to crack, but it has long had a policy that aims to dole out at least 25% of its bond business to minority-owned firms and 5% to women-owned firms.
The level of such participation on bond deals is among the first questions posed by City Council members to staff during council finance committee meetings, and so it has helped open doors for broker-dealers, advisory and legal firms that establish a physical presence in the city. It is unlikely the policy would be changed by the new council, which will have a handful of new members, or Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel when they take office in May.
“Our goal is to penetrate the Chicago market and possibly the state,” Clary said.
In addition to general government work, the firm has experience on real estate development and affordable housing issues and community development projects.
The 12-year-old firm has ranked fifth among financial advisers in Tennessee for the last two years and is second so far this year.