LOS ANGELES – West Coast financial advisory firm Montague DeRose and Associates is expanding with a push toward adding midsize issuers to the roster of large issuers that have been the firm's bread and butter.
The firm has made several hires over the past several months to support that effort to reach medium-sized cities and schools.
The firm's focus since its inception in 1995 has been on larger issuers, highlighted by longstanding relationships with the states of California and Washington, and on the transportation, energy and water and wastewater sectors.
It employs 18 people in Northern and Southern California. Its primary focus has been on California issuers, but it has clients in several western states, Ohio and Washington D.C.
Montague DeRose was founded on the concept that public sector clients want and deserve advisory services that match the sophistication and level of service of Wall Street investment banks, said founder Doug Montague, a principal at the firm.
It's a full-service independent financial advisory firm committed primarily to the public sector.
"The firm's original strategy was, and continues to be, to provide deep coverage and unequaled service to a limited number of public sector clients," Montague said. "We have completed over $200 billion in financings since we started in 1995, which is quite a bit given the size of our firm."
Two of the new additions – Mike Kremer and Colleen McInnes – came over from Hilltop Securities. Both will work as senior vice presidents for Montague DeRose.
Kremer, who was a managing director and manager of Hilltop's Santa Monica office, has 20 years of experience in municipal finance. McInnes, who was a director there, has more than 25 years in public finance.
"These key additions will significantly enhance MDA's new business efforts and analytical and transaction management capabilities as we continue to expand our municipal financial advisory business," Montague said.
Montague DeRose was ranked fifth in volume among Far West advisors in the first half of 2016, according Thomson Reuters data. The firm has roughly 45 clients, but wants more middle-sized issuers as clients, Montague said.
"So, we are staffing up for the expansion," he said.
The firm continues the practice of carefully selecting new employees with strong reputations, Montague said. It grown slowly to reach its current roster of 18 employees at its headquarters in Westlake Village and Walnut Creek in the Los Angeles and San Francisco regions, respectively.
"I carefully added one new person a year for the next 15 years, always with the vision that we would build a larger firm with broad and deep skills, but always with a quantitative bent," Montague said.
When he founded the firm, Montague said, there were not that many municipal financial advisors focused on doing quantitative analysis or quality investor or rating agency presentations.
Kremer and McInnes both bring expertise in the K-12 and higher education sectors, which Montague said will enable the firm to expand into those sectors as well as into middle-market sized deals. Kremer also has experience working with medium-sized cities and on utility credits. Kremer was hired in April and McInnes started work in July.
In addition, Josepha Miller returned to Montague DeRose in August as vice president. Miller spent last year with Gerson Lehrman Group, where she led the legal, economic and regulatory affairs research practice areas for GLG on the West Coast. She worked for MDA previously from 2012 to 2015.
Matthew Kirschenman joined the firm in November 2015 as vice president from JPMorgan Chase.
Miller and Kirschenman were hired to help the firm grow its middle market business. Miller will also have a marketing and client management role across all sectors.
"Our plan is to focus on this sector with a lot of new resources," Montague said. "Our real growth opportunity is to take our reputation for high-quality technical services into medium-sized city and education markets."