CHICAGO - The Ohio Treasurer of State is accepting until tomorrow proposals from financial advisers interested in working on $1.75 billion worth of borrowing over the next two years.

The office of Treasurer Kevin Boyce will select one or several firms to advise on up to 20 issuances of new-money bonds from May 1, 2009, through June 30, 2011.

The office has not decided how many firms it expects to select. The agency currently employs five advisory firms, said Jake Wozniak, the treasury's director of debt management. The request for qualifications, which is available at ohiotreasurer.org - is part of the state's regular two-year hiring cycle for FAs and underwriters.

The selected firm or firms would advise the treasurer on the issuance of up to $1.75 billion in new-money bonds that include a mix of general obligation, lease appropriation backed, and revenue debt. The sales would include both negotiated and competitive transactions.

For negotiated bond sales, the firm's fee would be set at a flat rate per issuance of $0.45 per $1,000 bond, with a minimum fee of $25,000 and a maximum fee of $70,000. For competitive sales, the firm would be paid at a flat rate of $0.20 per $1,000 bond, with a minimum fee of $12,500 and a maximum fee of $35,000. The fees include all expenses, though they may be adjusted due to volume or special complexity of the issuance, the RFQ says.

Firms will be evaluated on their knowledge of the Ohio and national municipal bond markets, their previous experience - especially with large, state-level issuers - and their "commitment to Ohio," including a physical presence in the state and experience with other Ohio issuers, the RFQ says.

Interested firms should respond by 1 p.m. Wednesday to the state treasurer's office.

Meanwhile, the agency is beginning to sift through the applications from 37 firms that responded to the recent underwriting RFQ. This year's request featured a number of changes, he said.

"We had some questions that related to the changing market dynamics and how firms have responded to that," Wozniak said. For example, he said the state is increasingly interested in where individual bankers are as many have shifted firms in the last year, as well as how firms are dealing with the "decreasing number of municipal investors today and the increasingly reliance on underlying credit."

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