In the News: Recent Developments

July 31, 2002

A Veteran Gets Back In the Game: Stanley Grayson Named Beal COO

By Michael McDonald

Stanley E. Grayson, public finance banking veteran and former New York City deputy mayor for finance and economic development, has joined minority-owned bond underwriting and advising boutique M.R. Beal & Co. as chief operating officer.

“I think from my own personal career viewpoint, what I long to do is run something, and M.R. Beal gives me an opportunity to return to an area I know well and do that,” Grayson said. “I think to be part of the leadership of a minority-owned firm is also something very special to me.”

As COO, Grayson, who started Monday, is in charge of the 14-year old firm’s trading, sales, underwriting, and advising operations, which are based in New York City and include offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Palmyra, Va.

M.R. Beal, which was established along with a number of other minority-owned firms after cities like Atlanta started affirmative action bond underwriting programs in the 1970s and 1980s, manages the sale of both municipal and corporate bonds and recently expanded into asset management and equities.

Grayson, 51, said the COO position at M.R. Beal was created for him, in part to free up time for Bernard Beal, the firm’s founder and chief executive officer, to work on expanding business.

In a release yesterday, Beal praised Grayson. “Stan Grayson has had three distinguished careers, as an attorney, a prominent public servant, and an investment banker,” he said. “M.R. Beal and its clients will benefit from his extensive managerial capabilities and his vast knowledge of the municipal markets.”

While Grayson’s three-pronged career dates back to 1975 when, out of law school, he joined Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. as a lawyer, he is perhaps best known for heading the ill-fated public finance department at Prudential Securities Inc.

He joined Prudential in 1996 after six years with Goldman, Sachs & Co. in public finance. Prior to joining the ranks of public finance bankers, Grayson had worked in the administration of Mayor Edward I. Koch at City Hall in New York between 1984 and 1990, finishing his tenure as deputy mayor for finance and economic development when Koch lost to David Dinkins.

In addition to serving as a deputy mayor, Grayson filled the positions of commissioner of finance, commissioner and chairman of the Financial Services Corp., and executive director of the New York City Industrial Development Corp. during his time in the Koch administration.

After Goldman, Grayson joined Prudential as a public finance banker, and in 1998 was promoted to head the public finance department, the first African-American on Wall Street to rise to that level. The promotion proved a challenge when at the end of 2000 Prudential decided to exit the business of underwriting municipal bonds and closed its institutional bond sales and trading business.

At the beginning of 2001, after four years with Prudential and 10 years in public finance banking, Grayson left the business. While it was an ignoble departure, he had earned the respect of colleagues.

“Stan’s obviously a banker who understands financing from the market and the government perspective, which is a rare thing to find,” said Joseph Fichera, chief executive officer of investment banking boutique Saber Partners and former Prudential banker. “He successfully ran a diverse organization in tough times. It was not always easy at Pru.”

In the last year and a half, Grayson said, he has done some public finance and real estate consulting, as well as work with not-for-profits. Now back in the business, he said his goal is to help M.R. Beal continue to evolve. The firm has established specialties in the housing sector and tobacco bonds, and has expanded across the country.

To date this year, M.R. Beal has been co-manager on $17.6 billion in municipal bond sales, according to Thomson Financial Securities Data, putting it on track to top last year’s $20.1 billion in sales and the $27.2 billion it co-managed in 1998.

It has been lead manager on $564.4 million in deals to date this year, which is well ahead of the $91 million it lead managed last year. Among minority-owned firms, which have been challenged as cities and states have scaled back their affirmative action initiatives, it ranks fourth this year among co-managers and second among lead managers.

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