Sell Side

RBC Boosts Health Care With Ex-Bear Bankers

DALLAS - RBC Capital Markets continued its efforts to increase the size and scope of its municipal finance health care group yesterday by bringing on board seven former Bear, Stearns & Co. bankers in that sector.

Chris Hamel, head of municipal finance for RBC, said the seven professional are "highly seasoned and successful bankers" with "a high level of experience and terrific depth and breadth."

"We saw a unique opportunity to bring a top team of bankers here, the addition of which benefits our clients and furthers our strategic vision to expand our health care group into a top-tier, leading national practice," Hamel said.

Kathy Costine, Rae Boylan, and Nelson Luria were named managing directors, while James LaVigne joining RBC as a director.

Marcella Finkel and Evie Wang are joining as vice presidents, with Sonal Bose named an associate.

Hamel said the hiring reflects RBC's outlook for the municipal health care market. RBC has more than doubled the size of its municipal finance health care group by adding 14 professionals over the past year.

"This is very much a strategic decision for us," he said. "Five years ago, we had only one person dealing with municipal health care."

"Expanding our health care services has been a work in progress for the past three years, but it really accelerated a year ago when we brought in Gerry Means to head the health care sector," Hamel said. "We also saw the opportunity at this point to bring in some outstanding professionals with years of experience in health care financing."

Six of the seven will be based in New York City, with LaVigne working out of Albany, but Hamel said RBC's health care focus is not restricted to the Northeast.

"They may be based in New York, but their clients are all across the United States," he said.

Health care financing should be an active area for some time, Hamel said.

"We believe health care issuance will grow, and it is a sector that uses a lot of municipal products," he said. "RBC has developed some platforms that are well suited for health care financing, such as derivatives and extensions of credit."

RBC probably is not through adding to the health care group, according to Hamel.

"We will continue to be opportunistic in terms of recruiting in the health care sector," he said. "I can see us adding another half dozen professionals in this sector over the next two years."

Costine had managed Bear Stearns' not-for-profit health care practice since 1992. Before that, she headed Kidder, Peabody & Co.'s health and higher education finance group for more than a decade. Costine is a former deputy director of the Michigan State Hospital Finance Authority.

Boylan also worked at Kidder Peabody before his tenure with Bear Stearns. His experience includes transactions involving multi-state health care systems, academic medical centers, and managed care entities.

Luria has served as principal banker for entities such as the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, and the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority.

LaVigne has arranged more than $6.5 billion of government-insured or guaranteed financings for hospitals and other health care providers. He was involved in developing the first FHA/GNMA tax-exempt financing and the first FHA tax-exempt financing.


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