Freda Johnson Awards to Lois Scott and Kym Arnone
CHICAGO — Chicago's chief financial officer, Lois Scott, and veteran New York-based banker Kym Arnone, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board chair, will receive the Freda Johnson Award for Trailblazing Women in Public Finance.
The Northeast Women in Public Finance will present the awards at The Bond Buyer's Deal of the Year ceremony in Manhattan Dec. 4. This year marks the first in which the organization is honoring two public finance professionals, one from the public sector and one from the private.
Both were praised in nominating petitions for their professional contributions to the field, volunteer work, and mentorship.
"A recognized industry leader for well over 25 years, Lois embodies the qualities we seek in honoring Freda's legacy: demonstrated leadership, a commitment to assisting women professionals, mentoring and integrity," said NEWPF co-heads Kimberly Lyons and Vivian Altman.
"A leader at Barclay's managing professionals and coverage of major clients in New York and the Midwest, Kym has also pioneered the securitization of tobacco settlement receivables," Lyons and Altman said. "Along with Lois Scott, Kym Arnone epitomizes the contributions women have made to public finance and both women serve as role models to all the women in this industry."
Scott sold her interest in the advisory firm she co-founded, Scott Balice Strategies, when asked by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve as Chicago's finance chief. Scott is the first woman to serve in the post.
In addition to managing billions in financings, Scott has been credited with helping tackle reform packages for two of Chicago's four pension funds, the city's toughest financial challenge. She has won praise from investors for improving communications and launching annual investor conferences. Scott also helped shepherd the creation of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, a new financing arm for the city.
Scott co-founded her advisory firm in 2003, building it from a staff of a few to more than dozen with a national client base and specialties in public-private partnerships, restructuring, and swap services. Scott opened the firm after returning to Chicago following a stint as a White House Fellow in the Clinton administration. Previously, Scott worked as an investment banker at L.F. Rothschild & Co., Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and at BA Securities Inc., where she re-established that firm's presence in the region.
"After serving as a public finance banker and as a financial advisor for decades, it's been rewarding to step up and implement so many of the ideas I could only suggest from the sidelines before," Scott said.
Scott co-founded Women in Public Finance in Chicago along with three other professionals in 1997 and the organization honored her with its annual Founders' Award in 2012.
Arnone, a managing director at Barclays, was elected to the MSRB board in 2012 and in October took over as board chairwoman, inheriting the task of guiding the board through the remainder of its work on the new Municipal Advisor rules.
Arnone leads Barclays' coverage of New York State and its related entities, the city of New York, major Midwest issuers as well as the firm's tax-exempt securitization initiatives. She assisted New York City in its creation of the TFA personal income tax and building aid revenue bond credits.
While Arnone's nearly three-decade-long career has crossed most sectors and product types, she is recognized as a go-to banker on tobacco securitizations with experience leading 31 such deals valued at more than $39 billion.
After graduating with a finance degree, Arnone joined the former Bear Stearns. She later moved to the former Lehman Brothers and then joined Barclays when it acquired Lehman's public finance group.
"To have merely created an important financing sector would alone be enough to make her deserving of this award," read one nominating submission. "However, Kym has been and done much more than that. Kym has covered a wide variety of high profile issuers .and has risen through the ranks at various firms, as a result of her strong work ethic, intellectual honesty, and integrity."
Past winners of the Freda Johnson award are 2013 recipient Philadelphia Treasurer Nancy Winkler, Connecticut State Treasurer Denise Nappier, and Rhode Island State Treasurer Gina Raimondo. The organization also gave a posthumous award last year to Muriel Siebert, a founding partner of Siebert Brandford Shank.