CHICAGO -Troy, Mich.-based independent broker-dealer Leonard Capital Markets has hired public finance veteran Jack Brusewitz to launch a new public finance banking division for the firm in Michigan.

Brusewitz comes to his new position after spending four years at Oppenheimer & Co.'s Detroit office. Oppenheimer closed that office at the end of March amid a competitive Michigan market, though it continues to operate other offices throughout the U.S.

"I saw a really good opportunity, when Oppenheimer decided to fold that operation, to leverage Jack's experience and to get us out to a new area that we haven't been in before," said Dan French, the chief executive officer and president of Leonard & Co., parent of Leonard Capital Markets. "It's a tough environment to raise capital, and our goal is to be the firm to go to for the most mundane to the most complex financings."

Leonard Capital Markets will seek the position of co-manager on financings, though it aims to begin raising more capital in order to eventually expand to serve in a senior manager capacity in the future, Brusewitz said. The firm employs one trader who trades municipal bonds in the secondary market.

While Oppenheimer specialized in K-12 financings as well as work with counties and municipalities, Brusewitz said he expects to work with a large cross-section of issuers and in a co-manager's role.

"We're going to be very, very flexible," he said. "Despite everything that's going on with the economy and the city of Detroit, there's still a lot of business to be had. There have been a lot of changes in our business, and people don't really know who to trust. Our sales point to the issuer, is that we can really put a good team together to get the deal done in the best possible way."

Brusewitz is currently working with the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority as it considers resurrecting its role as a conduit issuer, as well as with another underwriter on a pending charter school transaction, he said.

If successful, the firm will consider working on deals throughout the Midwest and expanding the public finance division in the future, French said.

Founded in 1989, Leonard & Co. is headquartered in Troy and has five offices in Michigan, one in New York, and one in Colorado. It has 57 employees.


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