Swap Financial Group LLC is making a second bid to become the derivatives adviser for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, after trimming fees one authority official labeled “usurious.”
The MTA renegotiated the terms of the Swap Financial contract after authority board member Doreen Frasca last month objected to a $5,000 monthly retainer and hourly professional service fees that ranged from $200 to $600 for new transactions not covered by the retainer. It was Frasca, president of the financial advisory firm Frasca & Associates LLC, who called those rates usurious.
MTA staff at the May finance committee meeting recommended that the transit agency hire Lamont Financial Services Corp. and Swap Financial to replace Goldman, Sachs & Co. as financial and swap advisers. Lamont was approved by the committee and full board, but the swap adviser was not.
Swap Financial, which is based in South Orange, N.J., subsequently agreed to reduce its fees by 10% for the first year of the contract.
The revised proposal sets the hourly rate at $200 to $450. As in the original proposal, the monthly retainer would be reduced by 10% to $4,500 in the first year of the contract, according to the new MTA board materials posted online Friday.
If the new contract is approved by the finance committee Monday and by the full board Wednesday, Swap Financial will provide advice on timing, structure, terms, and conditions of the MTA’s derivative portfolio. The authority’s swaps as of March 31 had a notional value of $4.23 billion and negative fair market value that would cost it $310.2 million if they were all terminated.