Drexel Hamilton LLC, a veteran-owned full service institutional broker dealer, added to its municipal infantry with the appointment of John M. Donovan as senior vice president of municipal institutional sales.

Drexel Hamilton teams Wall Street veterans with service-disabled veterans to provide fixed income execution and strategy, equity research and execution, and investment banking services. The firm was co-founded in 2008 by Larry Doll, a disabled Marine Corp. and Vietnam veteran and dual Purple Heart recipient.

Donovan, who isn't a veteran, brings more than 27 years of municipal sales and trading experience to his new position, including a focus on primary and secondary market trading and distribution, Drexel said in a press release last week. He also has extensive experience in relative value trading, hedging strategies, cross market analysis, and credit technicals.

Before joining Drexel, he was a senior vice president in institutional sales and trading at Sterne Agee in New York. Previously, he held senior management positions at various firms, including Piper Jaffray, JPMorgan Securities, Lazard Freres & Co. LLC, and Citibank after beginning his career as a floor trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Donovan said he is eager to help mentor service veterans and share his experience at a firm with such a necessary purpose — not just as a broker-dealer on Wall Street, but as a springboard for injured war heroes returning to the work force.

"The combination of service veterans and professionals that make up the firm is the best work atmosphere I have ever been professionally associated with," Donovan said. "I look forward to being part of the firm's continued growth and success."

Overall, the firm has been expanding since its inception five years ago as an equity-only shop with a half dozen employees, according to James Cahill, president of the firm for the past three years. Drexel has grown to about 77 employees, including 40 military veterans — 15 of whom are veterans with service related disabilities ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to missing limbs, he said.

Cahill said Donovan's lengthy experience in the industry is an asset to the company, which became active munis in late 2010 with the addition of Thomas Mead as managing director of the municipal finance department. Previously managing director of sales, trading, and underwriting at the former Salomon Brothers, where he worked for 20 years, Mead is a U.S. Army veteran.

Since obtaining its new-issue underwriting license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in April 2011, Drexel has been involved in municipal issues as co-manager and selling group member.

It also trades tax-exempt bonds in the primary and secondary markets, is active across the yield curve, and maintains distribution to both retail and institutional clients.

Cahill said the firm not only "recognizes the need to have a diversified business with a strong presence in all taxable and non-taxable markets," but prides itself on its commitment to assisting unemployed military personnel.

Amid the expansion, he said Drexel's dual mission is to add value for its own clients, while also expanding its capacity to train more disabled veterans for new careers in the financial services industry. At the same time, he hopes the firm leads by example and encourages other companies of all sizes and types to also hire military and service-disabled veterans. The firm can be reached through its website, www.drexelhamilton.com.

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