BRADENTON, Fla. - Florida's Division of Bond Finance on Monday received 39 proposals from firms wanting to become part of its underwriting pool as the state anticipates doing more negotiated transactions given continued volatility in the financial markets.

The lengthy list includes large, mid-sized, and small firms, as well as firms providing Web-based platforms.

"I hope to have the grading, ranking, and recommendation completed by the end of this month," said division director Ben Watkins.

The highest-ranked firms will be recommended to the governing board of the division, which is the elected state Cabinet.

The Division of Bond Finance sells bonds for the state departments of education, transportation, environmental protection, and management services, as well as the state university system. In fiscal 2008, the division delivered 21 bond issues totaling approximately $3.2 billion. However, issuance in fiscal 2009 has slowed significantly because of the severe market disruption.

Although the division typically sells bonds competitively, Watkins said he anticipates the need for more negotiated sales. His office sought proposals from underwriters so if volatile market conditions persist the state would have a qualified team in place to execute the transactions, he said.

It is expected that five large firms, three mid-sized firms, and three small firms will be selected as the underwriting syndicate for state issues that are sold on a negotiated basis. One or more firms that distribute bonds primarily through a Web-based platform may also be selected.

Firms seeking to become part of Florida's underwriting pool are:

Banc of America LLC, Barclay's Capital Markets, BB&T Capital Markets, Cabrera Capital Markets Inc., Citi, D.A. Davidson, Depfa First Albany Securities, Duncan-Williams Inc., Edward Jones, Estrada Hinojosa & Co., Fidelity Investments, Fifth Third Securities Inc., First Southwest Co., George K. Baum & Co., Goldman, Sachs & Co., JPMorgan, Jackson Securities Inc., Janney Montgomery Scott, Jesup & Lamont Securities Corp., Lebenthal & Co., Loop Capital Markets LLC, M. R. Beal & Co., Merrill Lynch & Co., Morgan Keegan & Co., Morgan Stanley, Oppenheimer & Co., Pershing LLC, Prager, Sealy & Co., Ramirez & Co., Raymond James & Associates, RBC Capital Markets, Rice Financial Products Co., Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., Southwest Securities Inc., Stephens Inc., Stern Brothers & Co., Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., SunTrust Capital Markets, and Wachovia Corporate and Investment Banking.

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