How the California Bond Market has Created Strong Ties – and Helped Small Communities Thrive

The economic importance of the California bond market? Mickey Stern and Miles Benickes know it well.

With a combined experience of almost 100 years, they’ve played a significant role in writing the successful history of municipal financing in the state. But to them, like politics, the true success of municipal financing can be judged by its local impact — its impact on the towns, communities and citizens who are directly affected by the quality-of-life improvements bond programs afford. And, in California, that impact has been substantial. In fact, it would be hard to put an estimate on the amount of growth and development fueled and financed through the tax-free appeal of municipal bonds.

“People think it’s a difficult concept to understand, but here’s how I explain it,” said Miles. “Think about your day. Your alarm clock goes off. It’s powered by your electrical utility, which has been financed by municipal bonds.

You take a shower, with water provided by a city water system, also funded by municipal bonds. You take your kids to school, on roads and city streets that wouldn’t exist without municipal bonds.”

“It gives small towns the ability to get things done,” said Mickey. “If a community needs a new street, or a new storm drain, you can get it down to that specific level of activity.”

And, it gives citizens the opportunity to invest in their own communities. “We did programs for infrastructure financing in Laguna Beach and Newport Beach. These were public issues that had to be approved by homeowners, so there were a lot of public hearings,” said Miles. “Residents felt very deeply about these projects because they involved burying utility lines and removing unsightly above-ground lines that wound their way through their communities. By investing in the bonds, they had a direct impact in beautifying their towns.”

Through HilltopSecurities’ legacy companies of M. L. Stern, First Southwest and Southwest Securities, both Mickey and Miles have been involved in underwriting bond programs in communities of every size, from San Diego, Oceanside and Vista at the southern end of the state, to San Francisco, Modesto and Sacramento in Northern California. And, everywhere in between.

The city signposts are too many to name. “I get on my wife's last nerve because we can’t take a road trip without me pointing out the towns we’ve been involved with,” said Miles. “From financing the development of neighborhoods and community centers, to underwriting water, sanitation systems and storm drains, to utilities, transportation and public infrastructure projects, I think we’ve worked our way through every nook and cranny of the state.”

“I’ve been in this business a long time,” said Mickey. “My roots go all the way back to 1966. And, I think during that history, we’ve touched people where they live. Increased property values. Better, safer surroundings. But, I also look at it this way. Our focus has always been on the individual investor — since we first opened our doors that was our niche and our strength. And, to this day, nothing gets me more excited than to say I give my customers access and help them invest in their own communities.After all these years, that’s still what gets me into the office.”

After all these years of having a direct impact on hundreds of towns and communities across the state, with Mickey Stern, Miles Benickes — and HilltopSecurities — the tradition of enriching the lives of Californians continues.

About Mickey Stern: Beverly Hills, California
-Sr. Vice President, Financial Advisor, HilltopSecurities, 2015 to present
-Sr. Vice President, Financial Advisor, Southwest Securities, 2010 – 2015
-Vice Chairman, Southwest Securities, 2008 – 2010
-CEO, M. L. Stern & Co., Inc., 1980 – 2008
-President, Stern Brenner & Co., 1966 – 1980

About Miles Benickes: Beverly Hills, California
-Managing Director, HilltopSecurities, 2015 to present
-Executive Vice President, Southwest Securities, 2008 – 2015
-Executive Vice President, M. L. Stern & Co., Inc., 1980 – 2008
-Vice President, Stern Brenner & Co., 1975 – 1980

Mickey Stern and Miles Benickes are registered representatives and investment adviser representatives of Hilltop Securities Inc. Hilltop Securities Inc.(HTS) is a registered broker-dealer and registered investment adviser that does not provide tax or legal advice. Material presented herein is for informational use only and does not reflect the views of HTS management. This information may not be duplicated or redistributed without prior written consent of HTS, and distribution or publication of this material does not represent a solicitation to complete a financial transaction with the firm. Though information was prepared from sources believed reliable, HTS does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness. Securities offered by HTS (1) are not insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) or by any other federal government agency; (2) are not bank deposits; (3) are not guaranteed by any bank or bank affiliate; and (4) may lose value. HTS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hilltop Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HTH) and is located at 1201 Elm Street, Suite 3500, Dallas, Texas 75270, (214) 859-1800. Hilltop Securities Inc. is a member of NYSE, FINRA, and SIPC. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. -CEO, M. L. Stern & Co., Inc., 1980 – 2008 -President, Stern Brenner & Co., 1966 – 1980 About Miles Benickes: Beverly Hills, California -Managing Director, HilltopSecurities, 2015 to present -Executive Vice President, Southwest Securities, 2008 – 2015 -Executive Vice President, M. L. Stern & Co., Inc., 1980 – 2008 -Vice President, Stern Brenner & Co., 1975 – 1980 Disclosure statement: Mickey Stern and Miles Benickes are registered representatives and investment adviser representatives of Hilltop Securities Inc. Hilltop Securities Inc.(HTS) is a registered broker-dealer and registered investment adviser that does not provide tax or legal advice. Material presented herein is for informational use only and does not reflect the views of HTS management. This information may not be duplicated or redistributed without prior written consent of HTS, and distribution or publication of this material does not represent a solicitation to complete a financial transaction with the firm. Though information was prepared from sources believed reliable, HTS does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness. Securities offered by HTS (1) are not insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) or by any other federal government agency; (2) are not bank deposits; (3) are not guaranteed by any bank or bank affiliate; and (4) may lose value. HTS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hilltop Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HTH) and is located at 1201 Elm Street, Suite 3500, Dallas, Texas 75270, (214) 859-1800. Hilltop Securities Inc. is a member of NYSE, FINRA, and SIPC. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


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