Public Finance


Founded in 1931, Wulff, Hansen prides itself on being one of the oldest municipal advisory and investment banking firms in California. Our firm’s history has been built on providing municipal advisory and underwriting services to state and local governments, agencies, schools, hospitals, special districts, and non-profit organizations throughout California. Wulff, Hansen’s transaction history as sole manager or municipal advisor spans many decades, and we have acted as advisor or managing underwriter in the successful placement of hundreds of financings for local communities. Our clients rely on our ability to help them identify the scope of the projects to be financed, coordinate aspects of the approval and implementation of the financing and its structure, and play a key role on the team which ultimately brings the issuance to fruition.

Wulff, Hansen’s commitment and long involvement in this arena is well-documented by our history of achievements and earned distinctions. For example, the landmark case of Wulff, Hansen v. Silvers (1942) resulted in the first complete adjudication of the Improvement Bond Act of 1915 by the California Supreme Court and established an issuer's obligation to foreclose on defaulted properties. We also structured and underwrote the first Mello-Roos Bonds in Northern California.


The Public Finance staff represents a large body of experience gained from participation in financing of many different types, representing hundreds of transactions totaling billions of dollars. This background gives us the flexibility to advise on structuring transactions for widespread syndicated placement with retail and institutional clients, for private placement with selected institutional investors, or for placement with a combination of the these venues. Wulff, Hansen especially prides itself on having successfully completed various client projects that have been dismissed by some of our competitors as too complex, too labor intensive, or too difficult to market. A look at our Recent Projects will provide a brief overview of our experience, qualifications, and capabilities.

Wulff, Hansen is prepared to serve all types of public issuers; we welcome smaller projects as well as large.

Municipal Advisor

When retained in the role of Municipal Advisor, Wulff, Hansen provides public-entity and non-profit clients with detailed information and creative, tailored solutions that seek to optimize the client’s resources while minimizing transaction and finance-related expenses. We are very conscious of protecting and enhancing an issuer's credit rating status, and will provide advice for that purpose. Our services range from developing bond structures, pricing, refunding and restructuring analysis to developing strategic advice for workouts. We assist clients in obtaining bond ratings and credit enhancement, and shepherd each competitive issue through the bidding process. We also have practical experience in the clean and renewable energy field, and are especially interested in such projects. Our professionals are experienced in working with financially distressed issuers and are well-equipped to work with bankruptcy counsel in the development of reorganization plans acceptable to bankruptcy courts and creditors.

Placement and Underwriting

Wulff, Hansen’s areas of underwriting, placement and sales expertise have included the full spectrum of California public finance, including general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, 1915 Act Assessment bonds, 1911 Act bonds, Certificates of Participation (COPs), Marks-Roos Revenue bonds, Mello-Roos Community Facilities District bonds, and Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (TRANS). From the very beginnings of the firm we were especially active in working with California’s many opportunities for land-secured financing. Our structuring and placement services for non-profit organizations can include senior and subordinate debt and private placements.

Wulff, Hansen’s transaction history demonstrates the firm’s proven track record through the completion of a wide variety of offering types and sizes, ranging from very small private placements to large rated and insured bond offerings. When acting as Placement Agent or Underwriter we can work with a client's Municipal Advisor or, if necessary, are willing to assist directly with the offering’s development, structuring and pricing process, all of which, in our judgment, can aid the issuer in obtaining favorable terms. It is this flexibility which has allowed us to successfully close such a broad range of offering sizes, types, and structures.

It should be noted that, when acting as Underwriter or Placement Agent, regulations place narrow boundaries on the services we are permitted to provide to the client. We increasingly find that our clients often need advice which, while indirectly related to a particular issuance, falls outside the scope of what an Underwriter is allowed to provide. For this reason, in recent years we are often finding that we can provide better, broader, and more effective service when acting as Municipal Advisor rather than Underwriter.

Facilities Leasing

Wulff, Hansen sometimes works with non-profit leasing corporations, which are formed for the purpose of facilitating lease financings. These are often corporations organized under the Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for public purposes. Such leasing corporations are organized to provide public agencies throughout the State of California a mechanism to aid in financing the acquisition, construction, improvement and remodeling of public facilities for the use, benefit and enjoyment of the public served by those agencies. We have cooperated with such entities to facilitate financing for street light acquisition, fire stations, fire equipment, school facilities, libraries, low cost housing, parking facilities and many other uses.

Scope of Services

Depending on our role in a particular transaction, Wulff, Hansen can provide clients with the following representative services:

  1. Investigate, develop, review and prepare required reports for debt capacity, debt service schedules, appraisal valuation ratios to debt obligation;
  2. Develop due diligence requirement lists;
  3. Make determinations for the availability of ratings and insurance and create cost analysis benefits for their usage;
  4. Coordinate and lead presentations to rating agencies and credit enhancers;
  5. Develop studies for comparative financing mechanisms and relative benefits;
  6. Coordinate the participation of other consultants and experts;
  7. Guide competitive transactions through the public bidding process, providing national exposure to obtain best available interest rate;
  8. Provide follow up reports on bond sales;
  9. Provide educational workshops about relevant public financing for staff and council members;
  10. Provide an aftermarket for certain securities offerings;
  11. Provide analysis of refunding or restructuring opportunities;
  12. Review annual tax rate structures for revenue coverage;
  13. Assist with selection of and negotiations with Trustee;
  14. Provide revenue analysis and projections;
  15. Assist clients in developing RFPs/RFQs for third party service providers.

We welcome you to call us or email for more information.