The Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust is looking to revamp its senior underwriting pool in anticipation of its annual fall new-money deal to help finance water infrastructure throughout the state.
Responses to the authority’s request for qualifications for banking services are due by Aug. 29 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. MWPAT executive director Scott Jordan said the RFQ is a routine process, as the authority last reviewed underwriting proposals more than three years ago.
“We’ve not done a pre-qualification for bankers since January 2005 and the banking landscape has changed significantly since then, so we’re really just asking bankers to present their qualifications to us again,” Jordan said.
Currently, the authority’s senior underwriting team is compromised of JPMorgan, UBS Securities LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., and Citi. Bear, Stearns & Co. was a member until it closed its doors earlier this year.
Officials anticipate holding oral interviews the week of Sept. 8 and announcing their results by Sept. 19.
The authority is looking for bankers with “significant experience” in multi-borrower, revolving loan financings, qualified personnel, creative financing strategies, and companies that have “the commitment of capital toward the underwriting of bond issuances of the size and frequency the Trust has historically undertaken,” according to the RFQ.
The MWPAT typically sells $300 million to $350 million of new-money debt in the fall and officials anticipate issuing a deal within that range. Maturities may extend for 20 to 30 years, according to the RFQ. Jordan said the transaction will probably not contain refunding debt.
“The market’s not good out there right now,” Jordan said regarding refinancing options for the authority.
Once officials wrap up the authority’s underwriting pool, the MWPAT will look towards reviewing financial adviser candidates at some point down the road. The authority updated its bond counsel team in 2007.
“FA is probably next up, but we’ve not decided on a schedule for that yet,” Jordan said.
The MWPAT carries natural triple-A ratings from all three rating agencies. Since 1989, the authority has been overseeing the state’s clean water and drinking water revolving funds, which receive federal and state matching grants, and issuing debt on behalf of municipal borrowers seeking financing for water and sewer-system upgrades.