Andy Gurley, a prominent banker in the municipal bond industry, died Monday at the age of 75.
Loyalty and honesty, among many others, are the qualities Gurley’s friends, colleagues and clients remember him by and respected him for during his decades in the municipal underwriting business.
“Andy was the best Wall Street had to offer,” said Joe Lhota, former chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York. “His ability to keep a client was second to no one.”
Lhota met Gurley more than thirty years ago when they were both investment bankers. They were first competitors, then colleagues, and eventually friends.
“He is one of the finest human beings I have ever known in my entire life.” Lhota said. “He was loyal to his customers, to his companies, and to his clients.”
Gurley worked at PaineWebber until it was acquired by UBS, where he worked until 2008, when the firm exited the municipal business and he retired. Before that, Gurley worked at an array of firms, including Chase Securities, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs.
“It’s a huge loss for all of us who had the privilege to know him and work with him,” said Nicol Malas, managing director at Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. He worked with Gurley at UBS until 2008.
“In the years that he ran the Northeast group at UBS that I knew him, they [UBS] pretty much dominated the region because of his relationships, his stewardship, his knowledge, and his reputation,” Malas said. “He was — and I don’t throw the word around lightly — a legend in this business.”
Among his clients, Gurley is also remembered widely for his loyalty, as well as his candor.
“He was a financial partner that you could really trust. He was honest with us,” said Sarah Carpenter, executive director of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency.
Gurley was the agency’s underwriter from its creation through 2008. In fact, Gurley played a role in the creation of the VHFA in 1974, providing guidance to the state and explaining how it would benefit from a housing finance agency. After he retired in 2008, the agency awarded him with its “Housing Hero Award,” an honor that was special because it was rare to give the honor to a bond underwriter, Carpenter said.
“He really sort of exemplified the relationship business of municipal and public finance,” Carpenter said. “He was a guy that would come up here to do the deal. He would try to fix things.”
Gurley received the Austin V. Koenen Career Achievement Award in 2006 from the Municipal Forum of New York. The award honors private sector individuals who have had outstanding careers in the field of municipal finance and who have shown their dedication and commitment to the industry.
Bob Lenna, who worked at the Maine Municipal Bond Bank, knew Gurley for more than 40 years, both professionally and personally. He said Gurley was a problem solver with a unique set of skills.
“He was always ready to stand by his clients, and to get the best pricing for his clients, working with them to solve any problems,” Lenna said.
Gurley was senior banker for the bond bank for more than twenty years until he retired.
“He always put his family first—his wife, children, and now his grandchildren—but he was certainly, in my professional and personal experience, a loyal person who stuck by his friends and his clients,” Lenna said. “He was one of the good guys.”