Loop Capital scoops up ousted Wells Fargo banking chief Stratford Shields

Bonds

CHICAGO — Loop Capital Markets LLC has hired former Wells Fargo Securities public finance chief Stratford Shields, a move the firm believes will bolster its client base and financing expertise, said Loop chief executive officer James Reynolds.

Shields started at the Chicago-based public finance, corporate investment banking, brokerage, and advisory firm on Thursday as a managing director based in Chicago, his home for much of his banking career.

Stratford Shields is now a Chicago-based banker at Loop Capital Markets LLC.

Shields lands at Loop after his December firing by Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo declined in December to comment on his ouster. Shields, who joined the firm in November 2017 to lead its public finance banking business, did not leave quietly. Through a representative, he placed the blame for his ouster on internal conflicts.

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Shields, who worked in Ohio government before his banking career, will “focus on Ohio where he has relationships and we will also use him in Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” Reynolds said in an interview Thursday.

“We cover these areas, generally speaking, but Stratford brings us another resource that will allow us to cover them more deeply,” Reynolds said.

“Certainly his relationships are very strong,” and the goal is to expand the firm’s client base, but Shields brings more to the table, Reynolds said. “He’s smart and creative and will add a layer of strategic thinking that should help us grow our platform and customize our financial solutions.”

Loop ranked 16th nationally among senior managers in 2018 with a market share of 1.3% credited by Thomson Reuters with 36 deals valued at $3.3 billion. It has 21 offices nationally. It ranked second in Illinois among senior managers last year leading deals valued at $1.4 billion.

Before joining San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, Shields spent three years at RBC Capital Markets which he joined as Midwest regional manager. He previously spent 17 years at Morgan Stanley where he rose to the position of manager of public finance banking. Before that he worked for the former Prudential Securities Inc. and before his banking career was president of Ohio’s State Controlling Board and deputy director of its Office of Budget and Management.

Shields will report to Loop’s head of public finance, Warren “Bo” Daniels. It’s a reunion for the two although it represents a role reversal. In 2009 during Shields’ tenure as head of public finance at Morgan Stanley he hired Daniels away from Loop. Daniels later left to take a banking position at PNC Capital Markets but then returned to Loop in 2016. Daniels is based in Atlanta and initially led banking efforts in Georgia and neighboring southern states. He has since taken over as head of the firm’s public finance group.

Reynolds has had a friendly professional relationship with Shields dating back to his co-founding in 1997 of Loop, a majority-minority-owned firm, as Shields was long based in Chicago and the two have shared meals and talked over municipal strategies through the years.

James Reynolds, chief executive officer of Loop Capital Markets LLC, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, U.S., on Thursday, June 20, 2013.

“He’s smart and creative and will add a layer of strategic thinking,” Loop’s Jim Reynolds says of the firm’s new hire, Stratford Shields.

Bloomberg News

“When we heard he might be available” talk turned to a dialogue over his experience and it would fit with Loop’s strategic goals, Reynolds said.

Shields’ leave and subsequent firing sparked widespread speculation in the public finance community.

The firm declined to comment at the time but a representative for Shields issued a statement saying “unfortunately, given recent organizational changes, it appears that certain Wells Fargo management team members used a baseless reason to engineer Mr. Shields’ exit, in an attempt to escape contractual obligations.”

Sources said the leave and investigation was prompted by a shouting match.

“Stratford was vetted thoroughly by our compliance department, our general counsel, and our legal department and they didn’t find anything that should cause concern or prevent us from feeling anything but comfortable in hiring him,” Reynolds said.

Wells Fargo, which is ranked in the top 10 among senior managers, in January promoted Charles Peck to replace Shields. Peck, who joined Wells in 2018, was previously managing director, head of the West and Midwest public finance regions.

At Wells Fargo, Shields faced an uphill battle rebuilding some client relationships tainted by the commercial bank’s phony accounts scandal. He ruffled the feathers of some with his staff shakeup as he forced out some longtime bankers and brought in others, many of them former colleagues from Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital Markets. Phil Smith, who had hired Shields, had been recently promoted and Shields clashed with his new boss who led sales, trading and syndicate.

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