LOS ANGELES – Advisory firm KNN Public Finance has hired public finance banker Melissa Shick as a director to help with the growth the firm expects in new money issuance as California state and local issuers take aim at needed infrastructure improvements.
Clients need more planning and analysis for their infrastructure financing needs, said KNN Senior Managing Director David Leifer.
"That is, in part, why we hired Melissa in our general government practice and we are adding another associate at the end of June, who is graduating with a master's degree from the UCLA School of Public Policy," Leifer said.
KNN announced the Shick hire Tuesday.
She will work in the municipal advisory firm's Oakland office.
A significant portion of municipal bond issuance over the past few years has been related to refundings, but new money volume is beginning to increase, Leifer said.
Though budgets remain tight, many general government agencies have enjoyed multiple years of increased property and sales tax revenues, Leifer said.
Issuers are "finally addressing pent-up demand for capital improvements, including criminal justice, transportation, hospital, sewer, renewable energy, and even new projects for affordable housing and homeless housing," Leifer said.
"We are working right now with several issuers on developing multi-year financing plans for their capital improvement needs, which suggests additional new money volume in the future," he said.
An employee group led by Leifer acquired KNN Public Finance from Zions Bank earlier this year.
The majority of KNN's work has been in California where it works with around 80 municipal clients covering the gamut of the municipal bond business.
KNN ranked eighth nationally and second in California in 2015 among financial advisors, credited with advising on $6.4 billion in transactions, according to Thomson Reuters.
The national rankings are significant, Leifer said, because KNN only conducted business in California in 2015.
The firm has 18 employees in Oakland, Los Angeles, and Newport Beach offices.
"Melissa is a great addition to KNN," Leifer said. "She is smart, creative and experienced. And her background in public policy and finance is perfectly suited to the MA role. She adds great depth to an already experienced team in our general government practice."
Shick began her career in public finance as a budget analyst for Alameda County. After several years in government, Shick served as a municipal finance investment banker for over a decade, most recently as a Director at RBC Capital Markets in the Municipal Finance Group. Prior to RBC, Shick worked in JPMorgan's public finance department.
Shick is experienced in structuring and leading financings for various credits including general obligation, lease revenue, pension obligation, water and utility revenue, and special tax revenue bonds.
As an investment banker, she has worked with the state of California on bond sales and on deals for some of the largest municipal issuers across the state.
Shick holds a bachelor of arts in business administration from the University of Washington and a masters' degree in public policy from the University of Chicago.
"The opportunity to join KNN comes at an exciting time in the firm's trajectory following the recent change in ownership structure," she said.
The firm is excited about the continued growth of the firm and sees strong demand among issuers for its' brand of advisory services – namely, rigorous analysis supporting independent advice combined with a very high level of service, Leifer said.
"In the end, I want KNN to be the firm every issuer in California turns to for expert advice," he said.