Veteran municipal market executive Alexander S. Williams retired last week as head of trading and banking at First Fidelity Securities Group in Newark, N.J.

Michael E. Basham, a former debt official at the U.S. Treasury Department and managing director at Smith Barney Inc., replaced Williams effective Monday, a firm spokesman said. Williams ended his tenure with the regional bond firm last Friday. Williams could not be reached for comment.

The spokesman said Basham, like Williams, will hold the title of executive vice president. In his new role, Basham will serve as manager of First Fidelity's capital markets group. Williams served as manager of the securities group.

Williams, who joined the firm in 1970, worked in a variety of Treasury market and investment banking positions. Williams also worked at the firm of Drexel, Hardman, Ripley Inc. in New York City as a vice president in charge of national municipal bond trading.

Basham, who also could not be reached for comment, resigned from Smith Barney several months ago, a spokesman for the firm said. Basham joined Smith Barney in August 1991.

PrevioUsly, Basham worked in the U.S. Treasury Department as assistant secretary for federal finance. He served as an adviser to former Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady in formulating the government's debt management policy.

In that role, Basham also worked as a liaison between the Treasury and government securities dealers. In 1990, Basham clashed with former Salomon Brothers trader Paul W. Mozer, who allegedly orchestrated the firm's illegal bids of Treasury securities.

Afterward, the Treasury adopted the so-called Mozer-Basham role, prohibiting firms from acquiring more than 35% of any Treasury offering sold at auction.

Market sources have speculated that First Fidelity may see more top-level public finance executives leave the finn.

'There is a major house cleaning going on at First Fidelity;' said a source with knowledge of New Jersey public finance.

In response to the speculation, company spokesman Paul Levine said, "As a matter of policy, we don't comment on minors. The only personnel rumors we respond to as policy are retirements and new hires."

Among senior managers nationwide, First Fidelity Securities Group has ranked 391h in 1994, with 62 issues totaling $558 million for a market share of 0.4%, according to Securities Data Co. For all of 1993, the firm ranked 361h, with 100 issues totaling $974.5 million for a market share of 0.3%.

For New Jersey bond sales so far in 1994, First Fidelity Securities Group ranked third among senior managers for competitive sales and fourth for negotiated sales.

So far this year, First Fidelity was senior manager on 17 negotiated New Jersey issues totaling $152.8 million and 38 competitive issues totaling $350.1 million.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.