Morgan Stanley names new muni leadership team

Bonds

On the heels of a shakeup that saw several high-profile muni veterans exit Morgan Stanley over the last few months, the firm has tapped new leadership for its municipal group.

The firm has named Alex Chilton as head of municipal securities, according to a Jan. 31 internal memo seen by The Bond Buyer. 

The memo was written by Jared Mesznik, who oversees municipals, rates trading, agencies and mortgage backed securities trading, according to a spokesperson. Mesznik replaced longtime head of munis Patrick Haskell last August. Haskell remains at the firm, though his duties and title remain unclear.

Chilton, who was formerly head of municipal capital solutions, will now oversee municipal public finance, capital solutions, capital markets, and “a variety of initiatives across Municipal Sales and Trading,” the memo said.

In his new role, Chilton will be “focused on the continued strategic growth of the municipal franchise.” 

The new appointments come in the wake of the exits, both voluntary and involuntary, of veteran sector leaders and longtime bankers, most recently the early January ouster of longtime head of public finance Brian Wynne.

The firm’s new co-heads of public finance are David Gallin, from the not-for-profit healthcare public finance group, and Zach Solomon, head of the tax-exempt project finance and sustainable infrastructure group. 

Wynne, who had been at the firm for 33 years, had been sole head of public finance since 2017, but before that was co-head with Charlie Visconsi, who’s now at Preston Hollow.

Stuart Perilstein, formerly co-head of institutional sales, now has direct responsibility for municipal sales and trading, according to the memo.

Chris Cost is now head of municipal capital solutions.

Stephen Dance is head of municipal sales.

John DiFazio, who was an executive director at the Municipal Capital Solutions Group, will oversee a newly formed group called Municipal Capital Markets that is made up of muni syndicate, marketing and execution, according to the memo.

Luke Hale, an executive director who has been at the firm for 23 years, is head of the muni syndicate, where he will report to DiFazio, Gallin and Solomon.

Grace Chionuma, who has been at the firm for 17 years, will take on a new role as head of Strategic Community Engagement for Municipals, where she will report to Gallin, Solomon and Chilton. 

The firm’s turnover followed a difficult year for munis, as anemic debt issuance led to fewer deals and cheapening bond valuations challenged balance sheets. Last week, UBS Financial Services cut 20% of its overall municipal team.

Morgan Stanley last year rose a notch to become the third-largest senior manager, leading 232 issues valued at $27.49 billion and capturing a 7.6% market share, according to data from Refinitiv.

In 2021, the firm ranked fourth among senior managers leading 334 issues valued at $33.88 billion for a 7.4% market share. The firm held the same fourth place ranking in 2019 and 2020, leading 353 issues valued at $34.74 billion for 7.7% of market share in 2020 and 419 transactions valued at $42.2 billion for a 10.4% market share in 2019.

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