February 28, 2024
Keygent LLC

Keygent LLC’s Chris Hiatt is Gaining Traction in School District Finance

California school and community college districts often issue municipal debt to meet their capital needs. In order to do so, districts usually rely on the expertise of a financing team for guidance in the issuance process. Who makes up the financing team and how do districts find the right people?

Chris Hiatt is a municipal advisor with Keygent LLC and has been gaining traction in school district finance over the last decade.

School and community college districts often hire a municipal advisor, such as Chris, along with a legal counsel and underwriter to assist with the issuance of municipal debt. Municipal advisors, like Keygent LLC, provide financial advice to districts on the issuance of their municipal debt. Unlike bond underwriters, who sell the bonds to investors, municipal advisors have a legal, fiduciary duty to their municipal clients.

Chris Hiatt is currently a Director at Keygent LLC, a municipal advisory firm based in El Segundo, California. Keygent provides municipal advisory and dissemination agent services to California school and community college districts. Chris has advised California K-14 districts on nearly 350 financings in her 12 years in the industry, including general obligation bonds, refinancings, community facilities district special tax bonds, certificates of participation, and tax and revenue anticipation notes.

Chris understands that every school or community college district’s situation is unique. Many school districts can pass bond measures with little effort, but for others, finding financial solutions is more challenging. Issuing a bond anticipation note to access funds may work for one district, while issuing certificates of participation or simultaneous general obligation bond measures may work for another. Chris works closely with California school district officials to identify what type of municipal debt and strategy will best fit their funding needs.

What made Chris pursue a career in municipal finance?

“A career in public finance allows me to utilize my finance background to help local communities enrich the lives of their students. Working collaboratively with school district officials to help them meet the funding needs of their students is a very rewarding experience.” -Chris Hiatt of Keygent LLC

Chris Hiatt is known for her quantitative skills as a municipal advisor. She can often be found running numerous municipal bond issuance scenarios in an effort to help her clients gain a full understanding of their financing options. During the planning phase of a general obligation bond election, she helps her clients understand the pros and cons of different scenarios. This process usually includes sharing the impact of using more aggressive or more conservative assumptions for future years. She makes it a priority to highlight the risks associated with each scenario. If she is advising on a refinancing, Chris explains the advantages or disadvantages of issuing the financing, often including interest rate sensitivity and potential negative arbitrage. Chris’s goal is to always make sure that her clients have all the information possible to make the best decision for their districts and communities.

Chris goes beyond advising districts on the issuance of their municipal debt. She also educates district officials on the ins and outs of municipal debt and things to consider when planning future debt issuances for their capital needs. Chris has also hosted seminars and spoken on panels to discuss various finance-related topics.

Chris attended Loyola Marymount University where she earned both her Master of Business Administration degree and Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance. While earning her Master’s, Chris joined Keygent LLC’s municipal advisory team in 2011. She has advised on over $11.8 billion in municipal debt for California K-14 districts. She has been an integral part of growing the public finance practice for Keygent, and has been hired as municipal advisor at a number of new school districts in recent years.

Chris is a former Division I collegiate athlete and remains extremely active. She tries to squeeze a run in whenever she can make the time. In fact, she recently completed the Two Cities Marathon in Fresno, California. Chris’s four young children, including her identical twin toddlers, were waiting at the finish line.

It is important that school and community college districts are receiving quality financial advice to make informed decisions. Districts can issue municipal debt to generate funds to improve district facilities, but the key is proper planning. If a municipal bond program is not carefully planned, districts face the risk of not being able to access their funds in a timely manner to meet their project needs. Chris Hiatt of Keygent LLC is an experienced and knowledgeable municipal advisor that can assist districts in the planning and issuance of municipal debt. She can also always help find a good running route!

If you would like to be alerted of future seminars or speaking panels hosted by Chris Hiatt, please contact [email protected] or visit www.keygentcorp.com to learn more about Keygent LLC.