WASHINGTON: Financial Dynamics (FD) is continuing its aggressive expansion into the US market with the opening of its first Washington office, marking a major step into the world of US public affairs.The firm has hired well-known budget expert Stan Collender, former SVP of public affairs at Fleishman-Hillard, to head up the new office as managing director. The move comes just three months after FD lured Hollis Rafkin-Sax away from Edelman to become vice chairman of its US operations. The UK-based financial communications powerhouse has been seeking a greater foothold in the US since a management buyout in July severed its ties to former parent company Cordiant. The newly independent FD now boasts four US locations - including New York, Boston, and San Francisco - and 11 offices worldwide. "This is something we decided to do quickly after we finished the buyout in July," said Declan Kelly, president and CEO of FD's US operations. "We want to replicate our current US offerings in Washington," he added. "We also want to build a public affairs practice in Washington that can be replicated across the US." FD is known largely for its work in guiding companies through the M&A and IPO processes, an expertise Kelly believes will give the agency an edge in DC. "After spending six months researching the market, we believe there is a real opportunity for us there," Kelly said. "We don't believe there's anyone doing what we do in Washington." Collender brings with him two members of his Fleishman Federal Budget Consulting Group: longtime assistant Beverly Campbell and managing supervisor of public affairs Simon Keymer. Fleishman GM Martha Boudreau said there are no plans to replace Collender. "Stan's work was really in his own zone," she said of Collender and his group. "His leaving will have no impact on our public affairs or financial communications practice." FD has also hired Jordan Goldstein as GM of West Coast operations, a new post. She will oversee day-to-day operations of the San Francisco office, along with building a presence for the firm on the West Coast. Check PRWeek.com and the print version of PRWeek magazine for further updates on this story.