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Latino-owned firm facilitates $400 million ComEd bond sale

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ComEd raised $400 million through a bond sale that closed March 2, thanks in part to two Chicago-area, minority-owned securities firms.

Fidel Marquez, senior vice president of governmental and external affairs at ComEd, said the company has spent at least the last decade consciously including minority- and woman-owned firms in its operations. Latino-owned Great Pacific Securities is headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., but its Chicago office helped bring investors to the table for the recent ComEd deal.

Christopher Vinck, president of Great Pacific Securities, said his workforce represents a good cross-section of the communities ComEd serves. He finds partnerships with the energy giant are mutually beneficial, giving ComEd access to a wider investor base than it otherwise would have and giving his firm the opportunity to offer their clients ComEd bonds in the primary market.

Vinck said Great Pacific Securities has been around since 1990 but has experienced great success more recently.

“The firm’s net capital has grown tenfold since 2006 when we began corporate debt underwriting,” Vinck said. “In large part, this growth has been due to the opportunities afforded to us by issuers like ComEd.”

Brian Collins, ComEd’s capital markets manager, said ComEd works with major banks on its bond sales and then partners with local, often minority-owned, firms to capture the smaller midwestern markets that are left out of the bigger deals in New York, Boston or California.

Marquez said this commitment on the part of ComEd creates important opportunities in the communities it serves, allowing small businesses access to important profit and reinvestment dollars.

 “It’s important that large corporations such as ComEd help these minority firms get this kind of business so they can continue to grow,” Marquez said. “Not only for their own companies but for the communities.”

 The bonds sold by ComEd are set to earn investors 3.7 percent interest. The $400 million raised by ComEd will go toward paying off older debt and running its standard operations. The major banks that served as active book-running managers were BNP Paribas Securities Corp., RBS Securities Inc., and US Bancorp Investments Inc. Besides Great Pacific Securities, Melvin Securities LLC served as a local, black-owned co-manager for the bond sale.

Melvin Securities CEO Chris Melvin said he was “exceptionally pleased” to be part of the $400 million deal.

“Participating in this latest ComEd deal has given our firm invaluable experience and allowed us to grow our firm all while broadening the investor base for ComEd’s bonds,” Melvin said.

 ComEd’s last bond issuance was in November 2014 and it plans to do a second 2015 deal in the last half of the year. (By Tara García Mathewson)

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