Bank of America Merrill Lynch was the leading senior manager half way into 2012.

In the first six months of 2012 the bank handled 242 issues and $26.1 billion in par value, giving it a 13.6% share of the new issue municipal bond market by par value.

B of A Merrill was in second place for the same period in 2011, underwriting $13 billion of bonds at a time when new issuance was anemic.

Citi came in second during the first half of this year with 254 issues and a par value of $22.1 billion, giving it an 11.5% share. JPMorgan was third with 189 issues totaling $21.5 billion, capturing 11.2% of the market.

The rankings of the top three senior managers for both negotiated and competitive issues were the same, but they underwrote 32.9% of par value in the negotiated sector and 50% of par value sold competitively.

In the co-manager rankings, Raymond James Morgan Keegan went to first place in the first half from second in the first half of 2011.

While it had a roughly equal 3.4% market share in both periods, its par value rose to $6.5 billion in the past first half of 2012 from $3.8 billion in the first half of 2011, reflecting the overall upswing in volume so far this year.

Loop Capital Markets made a more dramatic leap among co-managers. It leapt to second in the first six months of this year from eighth in the corresponding period of 2011.

It co-managed 421 issues for $6.3 billion, for a 3.3% share, this year as compared to 252 issues for $2.4 billion and a 2.2% share in same period of last year.

Loop Capital chairman and chief executive officer Jim Reynolds attributed his firm's success to three factors. First, Loop has been much more aggressive in contacting clients.

Second, he said, Loop added employees in the Northeast, Midwest and the West in 2010 and that has "really started to jell."

And third, the hiring of Fernando Lopez to be the head of the syndicate desk has strengthened the desk, Reynolds said.

Among senior managers for small issues, both RBC Capital Markets and Roosevelt & Cross Inc. improved from the previous year.

RBC went to second in the first half of 2012 from fourth in the first half 2011. In the more recent period it handled 188 issuers totaling $1.2 billion, for a 7.1% share, as compared to last year's first half when it handled 122 issues totaling $663 million, for 6.4% share.

Roosevelt & Cross was the third-largest senior manager of small issues in the first half, working on 263 issues with a $1.1 billion par value for a 6.5% share, compared to sixth in the first half of 2011 with 145 issues worth $484 million for a 4.7% share.

The firm benefitted as many Northeast issuers did debt refundings, according to senior vice president Herman Charbonneau. In New York an unusual number of school districts did refundings in the first half of 2012.

Since Roosevelt & Cross has a very strong presence in managing New York school district deals, it benefitted from the refundings, he said.

The New York State Dormitory Authority, Illinois and the Michigan Finance Authority were the three biggest issuers for the first half.

The Dorm Authority had 21 issues totaling $3.9 billion, Illinois had five issues totaling $3.6 billion and the Michigan agency had seven issues totaling $3.4 billion.

Several firms ascended in the financial advisors ranks in the last six months. Lamont Financial Services Corp. went to fourth from eighth, Seattle-Northwest Securities Corp. rose to seventh from 12th and Ponder & Co. climbed to eight from 15th.

In the first half of 2012 Lamont Financial advised on 38 issues with a $7.7 billion par value, for a 5.1% market share, as compared in the first half of 2011 when it advised on 13 issues with a $1.9 billion par value, for a 2.3% market share.

Seattle-Northwest advised on 43 issues for $3.7 billion of par value in the first half, a 2.5% share compared to last year's first half when it advised on 21 issues with a $1.4 billion value for a 1.6% share.

Ponder advised on 31 issues valued $3.4 billion in the first half for a 2.2% share, compared to the same period last year when it advised on 14 issues totaling $1.1 billion for a 1.3% share.