Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) May 07, 2014
Speakers and panelists from the PFM Group, the nation’s leading municipal finance advisor and a recognized expert in municipal turnarounds, covered a variety of topics at the third annual Bond Buyer symposium on Municipal Distress, Recovery, and Financial Sustainability held last week in Baltimore, MD. The symposium put together a distinguished group from finance and government who can speak from experience and with authority on these issues and national experts on financial management and planning, as well as representatives of municipal entities who have weathered this storm to share their experiences and insights. Speakers included city managers, chief financial officers, budget directors and experts from industry, leading consulting firms and bond rating agencies, national law firms, and governmental authorities.
“Although the road map for fiscal recovery is gradually becoming clearer, public sector managers and political leaders continue to be under unprecedented pressure to deal with competing demands from residents, employees, retirees and local business,” said Dean Kaplan, a PFM Managing Director and Conference Co-Chair. “Now, rating agencies, investors, regulators and other financial stakeholders are coming into the mix as well.
“As national specialists in best practices and long-term financial planning for the past twenty years, PFM has an ongoing commitment to client education, and this forum provided an excellent opportunity to share experiences and strategies with a broad spectrum of government officials,” he added. Dean Kaplan also noted that this year's conference focused on solutions to municipal financial distress, and showcased the variety of approaches used in different cities and counties around the United States to avoid or resolve financial problems.
In addition to PFM’s Kaplan, several other PFM experts moderated panels. Michael Nadol, Managing Director and head of PFM’s Management and Budget Consulting practice, moderated a panel of Baltimore officials who presented the Ten-Year Financial Plan that was put together for the City by PFM. David Eichenthal, another PFM Managing Director, discussed a number of tools that could help sustain municipalities. Eichenthal's panel explored the use of tax and development strategies to attack legacy costs, bring structurally unbalanced budgets in line, and provide sustainable economic growth for cities. PFM’s Scott Shearer moderated a panel that discussed the successful City of Allentown long-term water utility lease that resulted in a public-public partnership with the Lehigh County Authority. Participants also included Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and Aurel Arndt, head of the Lehigh County Authority.
The symposium's keynote speaker was Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, who was preceded by Maryland’s State Treasurer Nancy Kopp. Mayor Rawlings-Blake described her commitment to working with all parties to make tough financial and policy choices now on behalf of future generations. Following the keynote, attendees also heard from PFM’s Todd Fraizer; U.S. Bank Managing Director Richard Kolman; CEO and Cofounder of Lumesis, Inc. Gregg Bienstock; and Managing Director of Kroll Bond Rating Agency Kate Hackett, who gave a report on the state of the municipal bond market.
The luncheon keynote speaker was Mark Linton, Executive Director of the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2). Linton described President Obama’s rationale for developing new programs to help cities become more sustainable, and the federal government’s strategy of providing technical assistance to better direct and expand the impact of available federal funds.
For almost four decades, PFM has built a solid presence in the municipal marketplace. The PFM Group of companies includes Public Financial Management, Inc., the top-ranked municipal advisory firm in the nation, providing independent financial advisory services to a broad base of local, state, and regional government and non-profit clients throughout the United States. According to figures assembled by Thomson Reuters, Public Financial Management, Inc.’s total of 768 transactions with total debt issuances of $46.071 billion for 2013 far outpaced all the other top ten ranked firms. PFM is a registered independent municipal advisor with the SEC and the MSRB under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, and has been ranked number one nationally in debt transactions for the past sixteen years, advising on more than $653 billion in total debt in over 13,000 separate transactions during that period. The firm is well-respected for providing those clients with independent advisory services free of conflicts in their dealings with the capital markets in the fields of Higher Education, Public Power, Transportation, Healthcare, General Municipal and best practices Management & Budget Consulting, and Retirement Finance, among others.
The PFM Group of companies, through its affiliate PFM Asset Management LLC (PFMAM), also provides investment consulting services and pension advisory consulting services to pension funds and similar institutional investors. PFMAM is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and offers a strong history of thoughtful innovation coupled with an abiding dedication to protecting client capital. At March 31, 2014, PFMAM had $49.9 billion in assets under management for state and local governments and non-profit institutions and provided non-discretionary advice for an additional $40.7 billion. The PFM Group currently employs more than 500 professionals serving a broad base of clients from offices located in every region of the country.