PFM starts new public-private partnerships division

Philadelphia-based advisory firm PFM has launched a new group dedicated to advising state and local governments on PPPs. The group is comprised of PFM consultants as well as consultants from PPP consultancy Scott Balice, which PFM acquired earlier this year.

Government advisory firm Public Financial Management (PFM) has launched a new division dedicated to public-private partnerships (PPPs), following the acquisition of US PPP consultancy Scott Balice Strategies earlier this year.

PFM, which focuses on advising US state and local governments on bonds, debt management and other financial services, has launched the new division to advise governments on PPPs and privatisations more broadly.

The new PPP team will be comprised of about 10 consultants, according to Tim Carden, managing director at PFM who was formerly an advisor at Scott Balice. Carden said that about half of the PPP group’s members come from Scott Balice, which PFM acquired earlier this year after Scott Balice co-founder Lois Scott left the firm to become chief financial officer for the City of Chicago.

A PFM spokesperson said Scott Balice co-founder Dean Balice has also joined PFM as a managing director working with the firm’s corporate financial advisory group. Balice will not be a member of the new PPP division.

About 80 percent of Scott Balice’s consultants joined PFM following the acquisition, according to Carden. Carden said the move to create a new PPP division stems partly from the merger and partly from the “recognition that there are complimentary but very different services” for advising on PPPs rather than municipal bonds or traditional government services.

Consultants for the new PPP division will be based in various US cities including Chicago, New York, and Orlando, according to a statement.

Carden said US state and local governments have shown “increasing interest in learning more about what public-private partnerships can offer”.

“The [PPP] model, which has been actively deployed in other countries, is growing in its applications here,” he said, adding that he does not see “any particular jurisdiction or region that is racing ahead of others”.

The PPP group at PFM currently represents the New Jersey Transit Corporation on the potential concession lease of its commuter parking facilities. Previously, Scott Balice advised the cities of Pittsburgh and Los Angeles on potential parking privatisations, but both transactions failed because their respective city councils voted them down.

Philadelphia-based PFM, which advises both non-profits and governments in the US, forms part of a larger group of companies that includes PFM Asset Management, which has about $42 billion in assets under management, according to a statement.