Baird Expands Public Finance Office With New Hire

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Baird has announced that it has added public finance banker Carmen Best as a Director and is opening a new public finance office in Houston.

With nearly 20 years of municipal finance experience, Best will help continue Baird Public Finance’s expansion in Texas, primarily working with issuers in Houston and the surrounding areas. She will be based from Baird’s new Houston public finance office, which currently includes associates from the firm’s wealth management and fixed income sales and trading businesses.

Prior to Baird, Best was a Director with Raymond James where she was the lead public finance banker, opening the firm’s Houston office in 2010. She was Senior Vice President and the lead Houston-based public finance banker at Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. from 2004 to 2010. Best began her career in public finance in 1992 with the City of Houston. In her position as Debt Manager, she oversaw the issuance of debt for the City and was involved in more than $10 billion in financings for major capital improvement programs. Best has a M.B.A. with a concentration in finance from The University of St. Thomas and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

'We are thrilled to welcome Carmen to Baird', said Ajay Thomas, Managing Director and Manager of Baird’s Texas Public Finance Operations. “Her considerable municipal finance experience, in both the public and private sectors, and her deep relationships with clients in the greater Houston area will complement Baird’s existing Texas public finance business. Carmen will be a valuable asset to our team as our firm continues to grow in the Texas market.”,

Baird’s Public Finance group has experienced continued success in Texas. According to IPREO, in the first quarter of 2013, Baird ranked second in the state for municipal transactions by par amount and ranked first for K-12 public education transactions in Texas. Baird executed one of the largest public education transactions over the last few years at $226 million for Pasadena Independent School District. In 2012, Baird Public Finance maintained its #1 national ranking for transactions executed in the municipal market, a position the firm has held since 2009.

In addition to its Public Finance business, some of Baird’s other businesses are actively expanding in Texas. Last week, the firm announced that it had added seven financial advisors and opened a second wealth management office in Houston.

The firm now employs nearly 70 associates throughout the state, with offices in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

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