BRADENTON, Fla. - St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James & Associates Inc. has added 11 members to its ranks since April, with five of the most recent hires from firms leaving the muni business or contracting due to mergers.

The new hires include additions to Raymond James' offices in Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia, West Virginia, and the home office in St. Petersburg, and add senior bankers with established books of business to the firm's ranks, said John Forney, manager of general governmental public finance.

"All of our hires are indicative of Raymond James' efforts to bolster our public finance presence in targeted markets and sectors around the country," Forney said in an email. "Raymond James is in a strong financial position and is committed to growing our public finance practice."

Hiring this year has increased the firm's number of public finance bankers, from vice presidents on up, by more than 40%, he said.

"We are not done," said Forney. "Raymond James is continuing to look for talented bankers with proven track records, as well as more junior professionals to ensure that our analytical infrastructure keeps pace with our growth."

A recent addition in Raymond James' Boston office is Megan Sansons, formerly with UBS Securities LLC in Boston.

Sansons, who began work on Monday as a director of public finance, is responsible for tax-exempt and taxable bond financings in Massachusetts and surrounding areas. At UBS, Sansons was an executive director in the Municipal Securities Group.

Helen Billak, Marie Prezioso, and Joseph Nassif joined Raymond James in June and all were formerly with Ferris, Baker Watts Inc.

Billak is a vice president of public finance in Raymond James' Pittsburgh office, where she is responsible for public finance activities in Pennsylvania. She had a similar role with Ferris Baker.

Prezioso and Nassif previously worked in the Charleston, W.Va., office of Ferris Baker. Both will remain in Charleston while working for Raymond James. Prezioso, who previously spent four years as the deputy commissioner of finance and administration for West Virginia, will cover issuers in the state and surrounding areas. Nassif previously provided investment banking services for various taxable and tax-exempt municipal financings, including more than 100 transactions amounting to $3.8 billion in West Virginia.

Eric Carl returned to Raymond James in June as a managing director in St. Petersburg responsible for public finance activities in the Southeast. Carl was most recently with Bear, Stearns & Co., which was acquired by JPMorgan. Carl began his career at Raymond James in 1999.

Four new hires between March and May came from Banc of America Securities LLC. Brit Stock, Jim Stewart, and Jim Buie are newcomers to Raymond James' public finance office in Dallas.

Bill Johnston joined Raymond James' Atlanta office as a managing director of public finance responsible for the firm's activities in Georgia. Johnston came from BOA with more than 15 years of experience serving clients such as the state of Georgia, the Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority, Atlanta, the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, and the University of Georgia Athletic Association.

Raymond James also has had recent additions to its municipal structured finance group, according to the group's manager, David Sutton.

Nicholas Hoffer came to work in Raymond James' St. Petersburg office in April. Hoffer formerly was with Credit Suisse in New York.

Marc Silver became a managing director in the muni structured finance group in May in Raymond James' Philadelphia office. Silver previously was a managing director at Wachovia.

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