Brownstone Investment Group, a New York-based fixed-income investment firm with a municipal bond department, opened an office in San Francisco to expand its business to the West Coast.
The firm brought in Peter Campfield and Charles Grosso, each of whom carries more than 15 years of experience in fixed-income trading and sales, to run the new office. Christie Morse, a senior trader from the New York headquarters, as well as seasoned salespeople from the San Francisco area, will provide support.
Brownstone will trade munis in the new San Francisco office, according to Douglas Lowey, the firm’s chief executive. The registered broker-dealer launched its municipal department last year and sees a bright future in the space.
Lowey wouldn’t provide numbers for the existing or projected size of the muni business. But munis represent “a significant part of our business today,” he said, “and it’s going to be a much bigger portion of our business going forward, with a significant commitment of resources. We’re diving into the municipal bond market.”
Brownstone has expanded into San Francisco in order to extend infrastructure and technology it’s built over the past 15 years into western U.S. markets.
The municipal market is largely “a regional product that has pretty deep regional presence and relationships,” Lowey said. “And for us to be successful, and we will be in the municipal bond market, we need boots on the ground in San Francisco.”
Brownstone’s trading division specializes in high yield, investment grade, emerging markets, distressed corporate and municipal fixed-income securities. Some of the firm’s sales force sells all fixed-income products.
Brownstone currently has four muni traders, based in New York. It will add sales and trading personnel to the San Francisco office.
“Some of the salesmen we’ve hired on the west coast are selling municipals now and they’ll continue to sell,” Lowey said. “We have a search out for a west coast municipal trader that will handle local issuers and states west of the Rockies.
Brownstone has almost 40 employees in total, he added. It’s looking to bring between 10 and 15 new hires into the San Francisco office alone to continue expanding its coverage of the municipal and corporate bond markets there; the San Francisco office is its third in the U.S. and its first on the west coast.
Campfield joined Brownstone from BondDesk Group LLC, a U.S.-based developer of retail fixed income wealth management and trading technology recently purchased by Tradeweb Markets, where he served as president. Prior to BondDesk, he was head of taxable fixed income at Charles Schwab.
Grosso has worked at Brownstone for the past 10 years. Morse joined the firm from Bank of America.
Brownstone trades with hundreds of registered broker-dealers, institutions, banks and registered investment advisors around the country and in western Europe, Lowey said. It focuses on its flow-trading, sales and research operations. The firm houses an asset management department within the broker-dealer.