CHICAGO — Former William Blair public finance banker David Abel — a former Illinois debt manager who's respected for his quantitative and structuring skills — has landed in Columbia Capital Management LLC’s Chicago office.

Abel joined the firm as a managing director. He was left without a job along with most of his colleagues when William Blair shuttered its municipal business in July.

“His stellar reputation in the industry is well earned,” Columbia’s president Dennis Lloyd said Thursday. “Dave’s extensive experience serving large and complex issuers, his technical market knowledge, his careful, thorough style of client service and his modeling expertise are a natural fit for our approach to municipal advisory work.”

The Chicago skyline.
David Abel has joined Columbia Capital Management in Chicago. Bloomberg News

Abel ended his four-year public sector stint as Illinois’ debt manager to return to the private sector in 2007, joining William Blair. Abel left UBS Securities LLC, where he had worked for one year, to take the state job. He previously had worked for seven years at the former Banc One Capital Markets Inc., which was acquired by JPMorgan, and at George K. Baum & Co.

Columbia Capital is a 20-year old independent municipal advisor with offices in California, Illinois, Kansas and Missouri. Abel’s hiring brings the firm’s financial advisory team to 10. Abel joins Courtney Shea in the Chicago office. Shea had been a managing director at the firm since September 2013 and joined Lloyd and Jeff White as firm owners last year.

Columbia ranked third last among financial advisors in the Midwest working on 12 transaction valued at nearly $12 billion, according to data from ThomsonReuters.

After several years of expanding its municipal base, Chicago-based William Blair announced last month it was exiting shedding municipal sales, trading, and underwriting after a strategic review found the municipal securities business “did not align” core businesses or “adequately complement” the firm’s platform of products and services. Raymond James and D.A. Davidson have recently announced the hiring of former Blair bankers and analysts.

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