Employee-owned international broker-dealer Baird has launched a California Public Finance group and hired veteran banker John Baracy as a managing director to run it and be the California K-12 market lead.
“It’s been a market we wanted to expand in just given the size of the California economy,” said Brian Brewer, Baird’s director of public finance. “We just needed to find the right person.”
Baracy’s commitment to his clients and deep expertise in working with California K-12 clients were cited by Brewer as a significant advantage in hiring him to lead the California expansion.
“His years of experience and relationships in the K-12 space fits well with our national leadership in K-12 funding,” Brewer said. “Depending on time frame, we are in the top three to top five in muni underwriting for K-14 [including community colleges] by number of issues.”
Baird has 100 people working in public finance in 20 offices across 15 different states, Brewer said.
The firm already has a California presence with 70 associates in seven locations working in fixed income sales & trading, wealth management, institutional equity and private equity.
“It’s a great opportunity to run a team and create a negotiated presence in California for Baird,” Baracy said.
Baird doesn’t have a set number of hires expected for California, said Brewer, because its strategy is finding the right people for the team.
“I specialize in K-12 education, so I will focus on that as a banker,” Baracy said. “I am looking to attract bankers from other firms to expand in other sectors and take a look at the Baird platform, and see how it can benefit them, and help them better serve their clients.”
The attraction for Baracy, who started at Baird Thursday after working for six years as a managing director at Raymond James, was that Baird is an employee-owned investment bank that is a leader in underwriter rankings for national issuance since 2009, he said.
“It’s the most active underwriter on the street for processing transactions,” he said. “They are a leader in K-12 underwriting. They have also been here since 2017 managing $9 billion of assets for California clients and have contributed $1.5 million dollars to non-profits.”
Based in Los Angeles, Baracy has more than 25 years of experience in municipal finance and has worked on over 650 financings totaling more than $15 billion, according to Baird.
Prior to joining Baird, he was a managing director at Raymond James for nearly six years and worked a combined 11 years as a managing director at Stifel, and Stone & Youngberg, before it was purchased by Stifel in 2011. He has also worked at RBC Capital Markets and Piper Jaffray.
Baracy provides tailored financing solutions for California K-12 school districts, including general obligation bonds, certificates of participation, special tax bonds, tax and revenue anticipation notes, interim bridge financings, tax exempt and taxable refunding bonds and privately placed debt. He has also developed complex refunding/refinancing structures during his career to complement prevailing market conditions, generating extensive borrowing cost savings for his clients, according to the firm.