Alfred A. "Fred" Wiesner, a municipal bond industry pioneer credited with developing advance refunding, died Wednesday after suffering a stroke, his family said. He was 79.
"He will be remembered as an innovator," said Cal Isaak, an industry associate, friend, and founder of Isaak Bond Investments in Denver. "The whole country has benefitted from his ideas."
Although there appear to be no official records to document the fact, Isaak said he believes Mr. Wiesner did the nation's first advance refunding in 1961 in New Mexico as an investment banker at Boettcher and Co. in Denver.
"The idea spread within Boettcher and pretty soon everyone was doing deals like this," said Isaak, who worked with Mr. Wiesner at the investment banking firm.
Bill Sorensen, former managing partner at Boettcher, said Mr. Wiesner came up with the idea of advance refunding to help Gallup, N.M., escape restrictive covenants on bonds that weren't callable. "I think there may have been a little interest savings, too," he said.
After the first deal, Soloman Brothers adopted the strategy, and advance refundings quickly spread, Sorensen said.
"It's hard to keep an idea like that to yourself," Sorensen said. "I think he'll be remembered as one of the most vibrant and creative people in the industry."
Mr. Wiesner also broke ground with revenue bonds on the North Slope of Alaska in the 1970s to finance improvements for the Inuit tribes from oil revenues, said his son, David Wiesner. After leaving E.F. Hutton & Co. in 1984, Mr. Wiesner founded an oil and gas company in Denver.
"He was a true entrepreneur," said David Wiesner. "The number of deals he did outside of municipals had to be at least 50."
After leaving Boettcher in 1973, Mr. Wiesner helped turn E.F. Hutton into a power player in the municipal bond industry, associates recall.
"It was a very small bond department; I think Hutton was ranked 44th in volume," said Dick Locke, former senior executive vice president for Hutton. "With Fred's help, we ran it up to No. 2, and sometimes we beat Merrill."
Although top executives wanted Mr. Wiesner to move to New York, he chose to remain in Denver to raise his six children with his wife LaVerne, their son said.
"He said there was no way he could move his family to Manhattan," David Wiesner recalled. "They gave my father a lot of autonomy."
Born in Ellis, Kan., Sept. 21, 1928, Mr. Wiesner graduated with a degree in accounting from the University of Denver. After joining the U.S. Army and serving in the Korean War, he returned to Kansas to marry LaVerne Marie Toepfer of Victoria, Kan., not far from Ellis.
The couple moved to Denver, where Mr. Wiesner joined Boettcher and Co., the city's premier investment banking firm. Mrs. Wiesner died in 2007, after the couple's 60th wedding anniversary.
Survivors include three sons, David, Richard Wiesner and Paul Wiesner; three daughters, Karen Glaser, Judith Wiesner and Susie Packer; five sisters, Edna Mae Delva, Lucile Flanders, Bebe Wiesner, Dorothy Rupp and Mary Ann Crosbie; and 10 grandchildren.
Funeral mass will be 10 a.m. Mountain Time Saturday at All Souls Church in Denver.