New York City was the top issuer of long-term municipal debt during the first nine months of 1992, with seven issues totaling $3.26 billion, according to Securities Data Co.

The city also held the top slot during the first half of the year and for all of 1991, when it issued $2.10 billion and $4.74 billion, respectively.

However, California issued the two largest long-term offerings during the period, a $1.39 billion general obligation bond offering on Feb. 19 and a $1.3 billion deal on Oct. 14.

New York City had the third largest deal, with $1.17 billion of general obligation refunding bonds sold Aug. 14.

The city's hefty volume of tax-exempt debt does not include an offering of approximately $759 million of GO bonds sold by negotiation on Oct. 20.

Long-term new-issue volume for the first nine months of 1992 totaled $171.07 billion. up 43% from the same period one year ago, Securities Data figures show.

But the city is paying a price for its distinction as the largest debt issuer in the municipal market, said Peggy Gartin, senior portfolio officer with John Hancock Advisors.

Generally, New York City issues about $1 billion of debt each quarter, Gartin said. "Knowing that that extra supply is coming probably forces the bonds to trade cheaper than [the city's] fundamental credit." she said.

"It's a pattern that repeats itself over and over. What a lot of portfolios try to do when they know a New York City deal is coming is they try to lighten up on the New York City name because you know you can probably buy them back cheaper."

Goldman, Sachs & Co. was the top senior manager of municipal bond offerings for the third quarter of 1992, having served as lead manager for 231 issues totaling $21.96 billion. This earned the firm a 13% market share.

Goldman has maintained its top-seeded underwriting status uninterrupted since the fourth quarter of 1991, when Merrill edged it out. However, Merrill climbed over Goldman to rank as the number one co-manager of tax-exempt offerings for the first three quarters. When credit is given to each manager, Merrill garnered a 35.1% market share, having participated in 917 issues totaling $59.51 billion.

Short-term Sector

Merrill also topped Goldman as the top manager of GO bond offerings during the period, although Goldman took top honors for revenue. negotiated, competitive, and insured bond categories.

In the short-term sector, Lehman Brothers again commanded the title of top underwriter. The firm took charge of 52 issues, totaling $12.69 billion. Lehman has been the top short-term underwriter since 1990.

As top short-term underwriter, Lehman was senior manager of the largest note offering during the first three quarters of 1992. The firm was lead manager of the $3.75 billion portion of a $5 billion California note offering earlier this month.

Underwriter rankings are based on long-term issues maturing in 13 months or longer. Note rankings are based on issues maturing in 12 months or less. Private placements, remarketings, municipal forward swaps, and taxable debt issued by nonprofit organizations is excluded.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe was the top bond counsel during the first three quarters of 1992, with 215 issuers totaling $10.49 billion. The firm has been the top bond counsel since 1989. Public Resources Advisory Group was the leading financial adviser, with 78 issues totaling $9.22 billion. The firm also held that position in the second quarter, but relinquished the post in the first quarter to Lazard Freres & Co. Lazard was second for the first nine months of 1992, with 40 issues, totaling $8.25 billion.

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