Texas Capital launches public finance business with ex-UBS hire

BY SourceMedia | MUNICIPAL | 05/16/24 02:27 PM EDT By Karen Pierog

Texas Capital is starting a public finance business in Texas, hiring a former UBS Financial Services investment banker, the company announced Wednesday.

The move by the Dallas-based financial services firm comes as the ranks of underwriters in Texas have thinned under state laws that prohibit contracts with companies that "boycott" or "discriminate" against the fossil fuel or firearm industries. It also comes amid a surge in bond issuance, which made Texas 2023's top volume state for the first time since 1981 with $59 billion of debt sold.

"Being headquartered here and the fact that we employ Texans and we're in the municipalities that we're looking to finance, I think that's going to resonate with issuers," Terence Tucker, managing director and head of institutional services at Texas Capital Securities, told The Bond Buyer.

He added that the hiring of Steve Genyk, a former public finance head at UBS, as a managing director to lead Texas Capital's public finance business, is the first of many for a team that will include bankers, analysts, and a sales force.

"I look forward to building on the track record of innovation at TCS with the successful launch of our public finance business, partnering with the other firms conducting municipal business in this great state, and serving our clients with diligence and integrity," Genyk said in a statement.

Genyk's more than 30-year career in public finance included positions at Janney Montgomery Scott, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., and Bear, Stearns & Co.

Tucker said Texas Capital, which he noted already has relationships with nonprofits and governments in the state through its lending business, is fully committed to the public finance space.

"We know it's going to be hard because it's a very unique space that requires a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of expertise, but we are really, really good at doing hard," he said.

Texas' ban of underwriters based on their fossil fuel or firearms policies was not a reason behind the firm's decision to jump into public finance, according to Tucker.

"The amount of issuance done last year in the state was spectacular and the amount of growth in the state ? it's just going to be a continued opportunity," he said.

Barclays (JJCTF), UBS, and Citigroup (C/PN) have so far been barred from underwriting state and local government debt in Texas, with the latter two announcing plans last year to shrink or end their municipal bond operations nationwide.

Bank of America (BAC), JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley (MS), RBC Capital Markets, and Wells Fargo (WFC) remain under a review launched by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's Office in October over their involvement with the Net Zero Alliance, which seeks a transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Once Texas Capital's public finance business in Texas is built and perfected, there are plans to expand depending on opportunity, Tucker said.

Public finance firms have been snapping up former UBS and Citigroup (C/PN) workers.

In March, Oppenheimer & Co. announced the hiring of former UBS investment banker Frank Sanchez Reed to head up its Texas-based Southwest Region.

In general the bond market is volatile, and fixed income securities carry interest rate risk. (As interest rates rise, bond prices usually fall, and vice versa. This effect is usually more pronounced for longer-term securities.) Fixed income securities also carry inflation risk and credit and default risks for both issuers and counterparties. Unlike individual bonds, most bond funds do not have a maturity date, so avoiding losses caused by price volatility by holding them until maturity is not possible.

Lower-quality debt securities generally offer higher yields, but also involve greater risk of default or price changes due to potential changes in the credit quality of the issuer. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to loss.

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