M.R. Beal & Co., a New York City-based investment banking firm, is beefing up its public finance team with the addition of two veteran bankers.

The firm said the hires were a strategic opportunity to snatch up talent that has become available due to dislocations in the financial markets over the past year.

Cheryl Ishmael, backed by more than 25 years of experience in public finance, joined the firm in late October as a senior member to work with issuers in health care, higher education, and the nonprofit sector. She will also assist in the coverage of New York issuers, a specialty developed during a 13-year tenure as managing director of public finance for the state’s largest issuer of tax-exempt debt, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. More recently, Ishmael was an administrator at the Westchester Medical Center.

Ishmael’s work “will broaden the firm’s coverage significantly,” the firm said in a press statement.

“There is very little she hasn’t seen in terms of innovation or execution in the marketplace,” said Stan Grayson, vice chairman and chief operating officer of M.R. Beal. “It’s an excellent fit in terms of her skill set and the resources we want to have internally for current clients and, hopefully, new and future clients.”

M.R. Beal also made Robin Ginsburg a senior banker on housing and general infrastructure on Monday. Ginsburg, an instrumental player in public housing finance for more than two decades, has worked with three major bond insurers, managed high-profile transactions for public housing agencies in four states, and most recently was principal of the public finance housing group at Banc of America Securities.

Grayson said Ginsburg’s skills will help the firm market debt on the strengths of underlying credit in the new, post-bond insurance world.

“The challenge, without credit enhancements, is understanding and marketing the strengths of an issuer’s credit to the investor community,” he said. “And I think someone with her background brings a particular skill, not only in understanding the strengths of an issuer’s credit, but being able to communicate that to the marketplace to help that issuer get the lowest cost of capital possible.”

Founded in 1988, the minority-owned firm specializes in municipal and corporate finance, taxable and tax-exempt fixed income sales and trading, and equity sales and trading. From January to November of this year, M.R. Beal was book-runner on about $1.3 billion of municipal underwritings, ranking them the 31st largest  senior manager in the nation, according to Thomson Reuters.

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