Chicago-based Loop Capital Markets LLC hired two senior transportation and housing executives away from Wall Street rivals and put more banking boots on the ground in Texas with three recent hires.
Ira Smelkinson started at the minority-owned company’s New York office on June 1 as managing director and leader of a now four-member transportation team that focuses on the industry as well as public partnerships. -private. He previously led the transportation team at Morgan Stanley.
Smelkinson’s hiring complements two other additions earlier this year, one that puts veteran banker and former head of JPMorgan’s housing team, Peter Weiss, in charge of the Loop team and another, Patricia Rodriguez, who establishes a second office in Texas.
“The company is coming off of a good year and we are reinvesting in our core business and looking to grow,” said Warren “Bo” Daniels Jr., managing director and head of public finance investment banking. The company has 21 offices with bankers in 11 now. “We have established with our customers that we can compete at the highest level with the best companies. We believe that these three people help us achieve all of these goals.
The firm ranked 16th with 53 deals worth $6.1 billion among senior executives nationwide last year, according to Refinitiv data. The firm ranks 17th so far this year with 14 deals valued at $2.5 billion.
Smelkinson spent 23 years at Morgan Stanley where he specialized in airport and seaport financing and led the firm’s transportation practice. He began his career in public finance at Merrill Lynch where he spent 12 years. Before entering public finance, he was an accountant at Arthur Andersen.
“We want to develop our transport activity. It’s a super big and growing business,” Daniels said. “We like the group we have now, but we wanted a real senior so we contacted them.”
Loop hired Weiss as managing director and housing manager based in the New York office. Weiss came from JPMorgan where he led the housing group there and has worked since 2008. He held previous positions as a housing specialist at the former Bear Stearns and the former Lehman Brothers and was co- founder of Hudson Housing Capital LLC. He will oversee a group of three others.
Daniel’s friendship and collegiate competition with Weiss dates back to their time together as graduate students at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Weiss went to Lehman and Daniels landed at Goldman Sachs. “He’s a great banker and that’s another sector that’s very important to us,” Daniels said.
In addition to the transportation and housing sectors, the company decided to improve its coverage in Texas by hiring Rodriguez as a senior vice president who established a banking presence in San Antonio. The company currently has a banker running Texas coverage from Dallas.
Rodriguez came from Huntington Capital Markets, which acquired the Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Co. team in 2018. She has worked there since 2016. She was previously a director of Capital Consulting Group LLC.
“We were looking to expand into Texas and Patricia is a perfect fit for our platform,” Daniels said.
The minority-owned business has come a long way since it was started as a municipal bond store by James Reynolds Jr., Sandra Reynolds and Albert Grace Jr. of Chicago in 1997 with just a handful of employees. It now has 300 employees from all trades in 23 locations, including around 30 public finance bankers. Reynolds is the CEO and President.
Since then, the firm has grown into equities and has become a full-service investment bank, broker-dealer and investment adviser with government, corporate and institutional clients and offices across the country through a steady stream of hires and acquisitions and the addition of office space. It also extends to asset and investment management.
The company entered the asset management arena with its infrastructure asset management arm JLC Infrastructure which was formed in 2015 with Magic Johnson Enterprises and expanded it with the January acquisition of Miami-based investment advisory firm Taplin, Canida & Habacht LLC of BMO Asset Management. Corp.
With interest rates rising as the Federal Reserve seeks to rein in runaway inflation, issuance is expected to slow. Daniels said he doesn’t expect those projections to hinder the company’s interest in adding bankers in key industries and regions, including further additions in Texas. The company is also in the process of building a pension office which would expand trading activities.
Reynolds said last year he hoped to take the company public as early as this year. The company’s revenue exceeded $200 million in 2020, and he said at the time that he hoped for a market valuation of over $1 billion. The IPO market has softened, so the potential timing remains uncertain.
Daniels said the company continues to consider going public in the future, but for now, that has no impact on expansion plans. “The company will continue to invest in its core business and serve our customers,” Daniels said.
— Chip Barnett contributed to this story.
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