The network of municipal credit professionals in the Philadelphia area has spawned an analysts' group that will launch next month with a Logan Square reception and keynote address from city Treasurer Nancy Winkler.
The Philadelphia Municipal Analyst Society will hold its kickoff event at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Top of the Tower.
"Why Philadelphia is not Detroit" is Winkler's theme. Winkler, city treasurer since January 2011 and a former managing director at Public Financial Management Inc., is the 2013 recipient of the Freda Johnson Award for Trailblazing Women in Public Finance.
Eric Friedland, head of municipal research at Schroders Investment Management, splits his time between New York and Philadelphia and sees a need for such a group.
"There are so many analysts in Philadelphia, it seemed like a good time to start a society of its own," he said in an interview. "There are a lot of analysts in Philadelphia, both buy side and sell side, but no analyst society."
Many Philadelphia analysts are already members of the Municipal Analysts Group of New York, said Friedland, but attending MAGNY events is "logistically challenging," he acknowledged in a letter.
He said the group, if it generates enough interest, could become a constituent society of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts and have representatives on the NFMA board.
Friedland formed a planning group that includes William Bonawitz, director of Municipal Research at PNC Capital Advisors; Tom Kozlik, a director at Janney Capital Markets; Jean Lu, a principal and senior analyst at Vanguard Group; and Stephen Winterstein, chief municipal strategist at Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors.
"So far, response has been pretty good," said Friedland.
According to Friedland, the group's reach would extend to southern New Jersey, northern Delaware and Baltimore, which serve as headquarters for BlackRock, Wilmington Trust and T. Rowe Price, respectively. Events could feature lunches and seminars. Functions could also include advocacy and community-service activities.
"Many of us talk and exchange ideas on a regular basis, but this organization will give us an opportunity to invite influential guests to speak about important topics related to municipal credit and the municipal bond market," said Kozlik. "The landscape of the financial markets change much more rapidly than they used to and this is increasingly pressuring the fundamentals of municipal credit."