Bonds

Wells Fargo brings on former Citi employee Lauren Saporito as senior salesperson

Lauren Saporito, who spent nearly two decades at Citi, has been hired as a senior salesperson at Wells Fargo, as part of the firm’s multi-year plan to invest in the municipal space.

At Wells, Saporito will strengthen the company’s links with major institutional investors and advance its expansion into credit-centric areas like project finance and affordable housing, the firm said. She is based in New York City and will report to Marino Lorza, managing director and head of Municipal Sales.

“Her experience and reputation with top-tier clients and the number of different markets is going to complement our growth,” said Chuck Peck, head of Municipal Products Group at Wells Fargo. “We felt good about both helping to get momentum with investors, as well as be a great addition to the team.”

Lauren Saporito,  who spent nearly two decades at Citi, has been hired as a senior salesperson at Wells Fargo.

Saporito’s hiring is among several other additions made to beef up Wells Fargo’s commitment to munis.

“The muni business at Wells is fortunate to have the ability to strategically add to the team to help our customers and similarly support the market through our trading balance sheet,” Peck said.

Recent additions in Citi’s Marino Lorza, Ozi Sander and Vikram Rai, hired before the firm exited the muni business; Barclays’ Matt Levenberg; Morgan Stanley’s Blaine Brunson and Richard Weiss; Kauffman Hall’s Margy Blackford; and Public Financial Management’s Bjorn Reigle and Alexandra Byrnes.

“Every one of these individuals is dynamic and has the ability to change with market conditions,” Peck said. “The people that we’ve added represent our overall commitment to the municipal asset class and to customers.”

Wells Fargo ranks ninth among top underwriters year-to-date, underwriting $5.151 billion with a 4.5% market share. The largest deals include $1.093 billion of motor vehicle fuel tax and vehicle-related fees GO refunding bonds from Washington, $413 million of revenue bonds from the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System and $318 million of transmission contract refunding revenue bonds from the Lower Colorado River Authority.

The top underwriter so far in 2024 is BofA Securities with $19.366 billion.

Wells Fargo fell to seventh in 2023 in the rankings, but the firm saw an increase in par amount and market share accounting for $21.874 billion and a market share of 6%. This compares to $20.436 billion and its market share of 5.7% in 2022 when it ranked sixth.

With Saporito’s hiring, Wells Fargo has become the latest firm to hire talent from Citi. Citi’s exit, along with UBS’s departure from the negotiated muni underwriting business in October, was a boon for other muni shops who scooped industry players.

Following the closure of Citi’s muni division, former employees have been hired by BofA Securities, RBC Capital Markets, Morgan StanleyJ.P. MorganRaymond James, Barclays, 16Rock Asset Management, Truist Financial Corp., Ramirez & Co., Loop Capital Markets, Stifel, Piper Sandler and Huntington National Bank.

However, the pace of hiring has slowed over the past several weeks.

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