Robert “Bob” Jackman wasn’t present Thursday night at the award ceremony and fundraising dinner for the Municipal Forum of New York to speak to old friends and former colleagues about his affection for the public finance industry — his business.
But after his wife, Barbara Jackman, spoke to the audience of 550 people in attendance, he didn’t need to be. He couldn’t have said it better. With a clear, steady voice, she described how her late husband genuinely loved his family and his career in the business.
Robert Jackman worked at Bear, Stearns & Co. for almost 38 years, eventually heading its tax-exempt trading desk. He died in December after a decade-long battle with lung cancer at age 65.
But in all the time he spent building and leading Bear’s muni bond trading desk or helping his colleagues, his wife said, he made sure never to miss an anniversary or a birthday, nor a child’s football game or a gymnastics meet.
“Bob was a family man,” she said.
Barbara Jackman shared her thoughts and memories of her husband with members and guests of the Municipal Forum at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan while accepting a lifetime achievement award on Robert Jackman’s behalf.
He was honored for his commitment and contribution to the municipal securities industry, as well as for his dedication to nurturing future finance professionals through the Urban Leadership Fellows program.
“Bob loved this industry and the people in it,” Barbara Jackman told The Bond Buyer. “He’d have been honored to accept this award for the people he admired and respected so much. We wish he were here to accept it himself.”
“He really took pride in his career,” Ross Jackman, Robert Jackman’s son, added. “I know how much this award would’ve meant to him.”
Dan Delahanty agreed. Delahanty, a managing director in the municipal department at Sandgrain Securities, had worked with Robert Jackman at Bear for 25 years. For years, they carpooled together to work.
“Bob was a true brother-in-arms,” Delahanty said. “He was a professional in every sense of the word. He really enjoyed the people and the experience.”
The Municipal Forum also honored Kenneth Gibbs, president of the municipal securities group at Jefferies & Co., with the Austin V. Koenen Career Achievement Award. And it honored Paul Williams Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, with the Public Service Award.
In his acceptance speech, Gibbs ticked off a list of concerns he had for the municipal finance industry.
Among other points, he mentioned his uneasiness with regulators’ interest in the industry and their possible impact on retail investors and smaller issuers, low volume, municipalities’ fiscal issues, and the overall quality of disclosure across the muni bond world.
“Serving the public sector is much more challenging today than it has been in the past,” Gibbs said. “We have a lot to accomplish.”
The Municipal Forum of New York is a nonprofit corporation that serves active members of the municipal securities industry. This was its 22nd annual awards presentation. The Urban Leadership Fellows program runs a paid, six-week summer internship for graduating seniors from New York City high schools with an interest in a career in finance.