UBS enhances muni trading businesses

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Veteran municipal trader Doug Vissicchio has joined UBS as part of a continued development of its principal municipal trading businesses, as well as a larger expansion of its wealth management platform.

Vissicchio, who brings nearly three decades of experience, joins the firm in a new role as a managing director and head of principal municipal trading, serving its institutional and wealth management clients and enhancing the municipal trading businesses’ partnership with its public finance business.

In his new role, Vissicchio will report to Dylan Roy, global co-head of Flow Rates and Credit, Global Markets and Investment Bank. Meanwhile, fellow municipal traders Robert Degenaars, John Owens, Anthony Mancini, and Robert Gardella will report to Vissicchio.

With significant experience trading municipal bonds and leading teams, his appointment is a next step in the build out of UBS’s public finance business’s growth strategy that started in 2017 with the hiringof Peter Hill as the head of public finance, Global Wealth Management, according to the firm.

Prior to joining UBS, Vissicchio was co-head of municipal bond trading at Citi, where he led a large team across all sectors in the market while managing significant positions in taxable municipal bonds.

Throughout his nearly 30 years of market experience, Vissicchio built a deep expertise in taxable municipals — a significant and growing segment of the municipal market — as well as the Puerto Rico and high-yield sectors.

"With over 25 years of trading taxables both domestically and internationally, I look forward to growing the team’s presence in this space from the trading desk and applying my expertise in taxable municipals, which has grown from 10% of the market to over 30% of the market," Vissicchio said.

Don Oliver, head of principal TFI trading, served as interim head of principal municipal trading prior to Vissicchio’s arrival.

Meanwhile, the addition of Vissicchio precedes other planned expansion in both sales and trading as well as its global wealth management business.

"In the coming year, we plan to invest in our technology to scale the business and make strategic hires in both the sales and trading side, covering a diverse product mix of taxable and tax exempt bonds to achieve our ambitious goals," Vissicchio said.

"We plan to make a significant push into the institutional side of the business, building on our already strong Wealth Management platform and focusing further on middle market and institutional distribution," Hill said.

"Wealth management, middle market and institutional coverage, combined with our international distribution capabilities, completes a unique distribution network that will better provide liquidity to all market segments," he said.

"This approach will not only serve our investors, but also serve our public finance issuer clients by achieving lower cost of capital through our distribution capabilities," Hill added.

The firm has been reviving its capital makets and public finance businesses over the last five years, as it capitalized on increased demand for double and triple tax-exempt securities in a rising interest rate environment.

Besides acquiring Hill in 2017, Steven Genyk also joined the firm as head of municipal trading, while Mark Sanborn, who was then chief risk officer, was reassigned as head of capital markets and sales.

Back in 2008, UBS announced it was exiting municipal banking and underwriting as it scrambled to rebuild an investment bank that lost $37 billion in the subprime mortgage crisis and credit crunch.

Roughly 70 people out of the municipal unit's more than 300 employees were transferred from UBS's investment bank to its U.S. wealth management division, with the rest laid off, the firm announced in 2008.

Update
Clarifying that UBS announced in 2008 that it was exiting municipal banking and underwriting.
January 08, 2021 4:43 PM EST
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