DALLAS - SAMCO Capital Markets Inc. added a former director of the Municipal Advisory Council of Texas to its Dallas office to oversee the firm's municipal underwriting business.

Chris Whitlock, who had been a regional manager in the Dallas office of Citi, was named managing director of SAMCO.

"My plans are to help the firm gain more market share both nationally and in Texas, as well as build upon its reputation in the Southwest," Whitlock said.

Whitlock's appointment comes as the firm prepares to grow its underwriting business, according to Larry McCormick, managing director of municipal trading at SAMCO.

As some larger, New York-based firms have left the municipal market or gone out of business entirely over the past 18 months or so, smaller, more regional firms such as SAMCO are stepping in to fill that vacancy. At least two of the top 10 ranked senior managers underwriting debt in the Southwest during 2008 no longer do so: Merrill Lynch & Co. and UBS Securities LLC.

"I think the trend we're going to see as we move forward here is a shift away from large firms," Whitlock said. "As the bigger players continue with cost-cutting and layoffs, more issuers will be looking to smaller firms to get deals done. SAMCO has a strong foothold in the state and has wanted to grow the underwriting operations and now seems to be a good time to do that."

Elsewhere, Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Co. named Mark Nitcholas senior vice president. He began working in the firm's Houston office earlier this week.

Nitcholas had been a managing director with Bank of America, heading their public finance group in the Southwest region from the Dallas office.

Both SAMCO and Hutchinson Shockey are privately held and cater to institutional investors.

Founded in 1957 Hutchinson, Shockey Erley & Co., which is based in Chicago, has a staff of 40 that specialize in the underwriting, trading, and sale of municipal bonds.

SAMCO was formed in 1987 and has its headquarters in Austin. The firm specializes in public finance, financial advisory, underwriting and trading, institutional sales, taxable fixed-income trading, and investment banking.

SAMCO wasn't among the top 100 financial advisers or senior managers in 2008 after finishing at 60 and 82, respectively, in 2007, according to Thomson Reuters.

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