Piper Jaffray & Co. has opened a new office in Charlotte, N.C., and made its first four hires as the investment bank continues its national expansion and strengthens its presence in the municipal trading and sales arena.

Piper Jaffray has hired Mark Cantrell as managing director and head of municipal secondary trading. Cantrell also serves on the fixed-income services operating committee. He comes from BB&T Capital Markets, where he was most recently head municipal trader.

“Our strategic objective is to grow our public finance and fixed-income business, and Mark will be instrumental in increasing our capabilities in the secondary municipal market,” said Brad Winges, head of fixed-income services.

Also joining the Charlotte office is Kyle Braddy, principal and senior trader. He previously worked at Keybanc Securities, where he was a senior muni trader.

Tom Ashcraft and Shawn Kennedy also came aboard as managing directors and senior sales representatives, and will be responsible for covering large institutions. They previously worked in municipal sales at BB&T and Keybanc, respectively.

Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffrey has recently expanded its footprint around the country. Last summer, it opened offices in Jacksonville, Fla., Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Dallas, and later in the year it set up shop in San Antonio.

Several months ago, Piper said it was opening an office in Cleveland, a public finance office in Pittsburgh and a sales office in Philadelphia.

“Opening the Charlotte office is part of the strategic objective of the firm to expand public financing in the fixed-income business,” Winges said. “We plan to continue to hire opportunistically in sales and trading as well as banking across the country. We will expand geographically as well as adding depth to the franchise.”

Piper Jaffray employs 55 sales professionals, 15 municipal specialists and 40 fixed-income generalists. The distribution team includes about 55 traders.

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