David Wilson, the head of First Security Corp.'s newly minted section 20 unit, is no stranger to the securities business. He has been working in the Salt Lake City bank's capital markets division for the past 30 years.
He does not expect his new post as head of First Security Capital Markets Inc. to include a radical shift in focus, he said. Obtaining Tier 1 underwriting powers from the Federal Reserve "merely expands our corporate finance product menu. Functionally, nothing changes."
This month, First Security became the 45th bank holding company to establish a so-called section 20 unit. It won Tier 1 approval from the Fed to underwrite and deal in certain municipal revenue bonds, mortgage-related securities, commercial paper, and asset-backed securities.
First Security, which has $16.4 billion of assets, has long had a capital markets department, which handles all of its nonrestricted bank underwriting activities, securities trading, and the money desk. It also includes the bank's discount brokerage operation.
Mr. Wilson has been executive vice president in charge of the capital markets division since 1993. As head of the section 20 unit, his job will change only in that he will add underwriting municipal revenue bonds to his bailiwick.
The 58-year-old Salt Lake City native is looking forward to helping the bank expand its capital market prowess, following the loosening of section 20 rules last year. "All of us in the finance industry benefit from the new regulatory environment because it enables banks to expand their capital- raising activities on behalf of customers," he said.
Much of First Security's success in the mountain states stems from its emphasis on customer service, according Catherine Murray, an analyst with J.P. Morgan Securities, New York.
"I would think that these additional services would allow them to better penetrate their existing customer base," Ms. Murray said. With the bank solidly positioned in a high-growth region, she believes the new offerings should propel it into higher revenues.
According to First Security, it is already the largest locally based underwriter of municipal securities in the region spanning from Arizona to Washington, excluding California. With the new Tier 1 authority, the bank will begin underwriting municipal revenue bonds.
Mr. Wilson hopes to closely follow that up with consumer asset-backed securities and one- to four-family mortgage-related securities. But he said commercial paper, the other new capability that comes with Tier 1 authority, is "not really on the agenda at this time."
Though some people may move over to the new subsidiary from the parent company, Mr. Wilson plans to add eight to 10 people to his staff by the end of the year. He now has 32 employees.
First Security intends to apply for Tier 2 corporate bond and stock underwriting powers as soon as it has "digested" the Tier 1 capabilities, Mr. Wilson said, probably sometime over the next two years. He said he will use that to increase his division's bond underwriting, but he said he does not plan to underwrite much equity.