CHICAGO -- Artemis Capital Group Inc. opened a public finance office in Chicago yesterday, making it the third women-owned firm to establish a presence in the metropolitan are in the last five months.

Robin Wiessmann, a principal at Artemis, said the New York-based firm opened the office to solidify its presence in the Midwest. She said the firm has been doing business in the Midwest through its other offices and by opening a Chicago office the firm hopes to strengthen its business in the region.

"It's always been our intent to selective target regional areas of the country," she said.

Courtney She joined Artemis in September as a vice president in finance to work in the Chicago office. She had been a vice president in public finance at Kemper Securities Inc. in Chicago. She said for now she will work alone, but Artemis plans to expand the Chicago staff.

She added that the Midwest offers opportunities for public finance firms because many of the Rust Belt states need to improve their "deteriorating infrastructure."

In the last few years, some major issuers in the Midwest have set goals for women- and minority-owned firms in bond deals. Wiessmann, however, denied that was the motivating factor for opening the Chicago office.

"Where it is a catalyst, it is certainly welcome, but it's fair to say we compete on our own merits," she explained. "There is no question that our fundamental impetus is the need to have a strong regional presence. That far outweighs the fact we just happen to be women-owned."

Artemis joins a growing list of women-owned firms that have recently opened in Chicago.

In September, Smith Mitchell Investment Group Inc., a Seattle-based firm, added a Chicago office to its four-office network. Company officials at the time said they would concentrate their public finance business in Chicago and Illinois.

In June, CWB Financial Inc., a new woman-owned financial advisory firm, was opened in a Chicago suburb by Kathleen Thomas, its president and principal owner.

Thomas has said her firm will offer financial advice to municipalities and taxing districts that have set requirements for the participation of women- and minority-owned firms in bond deals.

Some major bond issuers in Illinois have set goals for participation by minority- and women-owned firms in bond deals.

Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago has set a goal of 5% participation by women-owned firms and 25% participation by minority firms in city bonds deals.

In Cook County, Ill., the same goal is in effect, according to Woods Bowman, the county's chief financial officer.

Artemis was not ranked as a senior manager in 1991, according to Securities Data Co. It was ranked 23 as a co-manager, with 83 issues totaling $13.3 billion. For the first nine months of 1992, the firm was ranked 117 as a senior manager with four issues totaling $88.5 million and is ranked 16 as a co-manager, with 109 issues, totaling $15.3 billion.

In addition to its new Chicago office, Artemis has offices in San Francisco and Boca Raton, Fla.

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