TD Securities, the wholesale division of TD Bank Financial Group, is adding to its arsenal in the municipal market along the eastern seaboard.

The Toronto-headquartered bank announced it has hired two seasoned professionals to direct the team, and the bank expects to select more recruits over the next quarter.

Ed Tishelman is the new managing director and head of municipal sales, trading, and underwriting. Tishelman’s 28-year journey in the public finance world includes stints at Banc of America Securities, where he ran the municipal underwriting desk, and JPMorgan, where he co-headed the underwriting desk and served as national sales manager for eight years.

Brian Wyckoff will serve as the group’s director and senior municipal securities salesperson. Wyckoff had been at Citi for the past 20 years; prior to that he served as a short-term sales specialist at New York-based Bankers Trust, which was purchased by Deutsche Bank in 1998.

“The bank is going to a take a long-term measured approach to their investment in the municipal business,” Tishelman said. “We’re not going to try to be all things to all people at the outset, but we are going to look for growth opportunities within the bank’s geographical footprint.”

The conservative approach of Canadian banks was considered dull during the boom years but won them a reputation for being the soundest banks in the world during the credit crunch, according to the World Economic Forum last year.

TD Bank said in a news release that expanding the division is consistent with the bank’s “North American Fixed-Income Strategy.” Other recent developments include acquiring New Jersey-based Commerce Bancorp in Oct. 2007. TD also has a minority ownership interest with an option to expand in the online broker TD Ameritrade Inc, an affiliation that has the potential to be “a very powerful distributor of municipal securities,” Tishelman said.

“It makes sense to invest in the municipal business,” he added. “The bank is well capitalized and healthy, and we have the ability to write [letters of credit] for short-term business.”

Tishelman said the first step to expanding the division is to absorb several staffers for the short-end desk this week. The already selected but yet-to-be-announced team hails from the Philadelphia base of Commerce Bank.

“The steps between now and into the first quarter of 2010 are going to be to hire traders and sales people for the long-term desk,” he said. “Parallel to that, we will selectively be adding bankers who have a focus along the eastern seaboard.”

With muni bond insurance scarce and expensive, TD will be looking at ways to keep appetite in the market robust, according to Tishelman.

“The bank has one of the strongest trading LOCs in the short-term market, so that’s certainly a tool we’re going to use selectively,” he said. “But the strategy is still in formulation.”

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