CHICAGO — Philadelphia-based PNC Capital Markets LLC has hired Kevin Hoecker from Chicago-based financial advisory firm Scott Balice Strategies LLC to lead its push for a bigger chunk of business from Illinois borrowers and their neighbors.

In addition to Hoecker, the firm also has hired a new analyst, Rob Palutsis, for its Chicago office and expects to add a few others to its roster here later in the year, said PNC head of public finance Tom Henson.

The firm last year opened a Chicago office with the hiring of Walter Stock as a managing director.

Before joining Scott Balice, Hoecker worked in banking positions at JPMorgan and ABN Amro Financial Services. He joined PNC as a managing director and will head up the Chicago office.

He will focus on pursuing small to mid-size deals from major government issuers such as Chicago, where his former boss Lois Scott is set to become chief financial officer next month.

“Kevin is a good fit for what we are trying to do. He brings with him investment banking experience and financial advisory experience and is used to working in a group to provide a range of services and products to clients,” Henson said, adding that the firm’s public finance bankers work closely with commercial bank representatives to service government clients.

The new hires in Chicago further PNC’s plans to expand into Illinois, Florida, and Michigan.

It has yet to open a Florida office, but Henson said the firm remains committed to expansion plans it announced last year even as municipal bond issuance volume has slowed.

PNC hopes to add a general government banker, a health care banker, and an analyst in Chicago.

The expansion plans follow the firm’s commercial banking footprint. PNC has public finance bankers in offices in Chicago, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio, with additional municipal operations in Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. 

The firm last year announced a new transportation team and this year is expanding its health care capabilities.

Last year, PNC hired Anton Colon — who formerly worked for National City on the corporate finance side and at Mesirow Financial Inc. — to establish a Grand Rapids, Mich., office and opened a Cincinnati office.

PNC has doubled the size of its public finance team over the last decade, with its ranks now at about 45, building on its reputation in the Northeast as a strong middle-markets senior manager. The latest growth spurt followed PNC Financial Services Group’s acquisition of National City Corp. in 2008.

Though the firm wants to work with bigger issuers in Illinois, Henson said it remains committed to its middle-markets base.

Its bread and butter remains smaller offerings, but PNC has the resources to senior manage deals up to $300 million.

“Our strategy hasn’t changed,” Henson said, while adding that he sees more work in the middle-markets universe as competitors like BMO Capital Markets and RBC Capital Markets go after larger deals. “We feel that opens up space for us.”

PNC ranked 20th last year among senior managers nationally, and is 23rd so far this year, while it ranked 18th on small deals and is 18th so far this year, according to ThomsonReuters.

The firm ranked 24th last year as a senior manager on Midwestern deals and is 35th so far this year, while it finished 28th last year on small deals and is 26th so far this year.

In its home state of Pennsylvania, PNC ranked third last year and is fifth so far this year as a senior manager on all deals, and was second last year on small deals and is third so far this year.

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