Sycamore hires two municipal veterans to open New York office

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Indiana-based Sycamore Advisors LLC hired two public finance veterans to open a New York office and expand its municipal advisory practice in the Northeast.

Municipal professionals Dominick Setari and Chris Valentino joined the firm as executive vice presidents on Nov. 1 and plan to open the New York office in December, the firm said in a press release Tuesday.

“Dominick and Chris bring an incredible depth of knowledge in quantitative analytics, modeling, structured finance, state revolving funds and capital planning,” Diana Hamilton, Sycamore’s president said in the release.

“Although this has been a tough year for muni issuance, we see significant opportunity for growth in our industry,” she said in the release. While some firms are consolidating, Sycamore's growth will better serve existing clients and expand its reach to the New York market, she added.

Setari and Valentino’s resumes make them “invaluable additions” to the Sycamore team as it expands its reach in the municipal arena, according to Ms. Hamilton, a former public finance director for the state of Indiana and Wall Street veteran who founded Sycamore in 2004.

The firm, which currently has more than $1 billion of financings in progress, specializes in providing advisory services to state and local governments and leading not-for-profit institutions. It focuses on infrastructure capital planning and finance, primarily transportation, water, wastewater and stormwater, and is known for its work with complex credits and structured financings.

Setari and Valentino have nearly 40 years of combined municipal finance experience.

Most recently the director of capital finance at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, Setari has more than 25 years of public finance banking, quantitative modeling and structured finance advisory experience in the fields of mass transit, toll roads, leveraged leasing and water/wastewater systems.

At Montefiore, he worked on a $1.2 billion restructuring of its outstanding debt portfolio of bank loans, mortgages and Federal Housing Administration-insured hospital revenue bonds under a newly established obligated group credit structure. Setari began his career in public finance as manager of financial analysis at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Valentino brings more than 13 years of experience as a municipal advisor. He previously served as the lead advisor to the New York Green Bank and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, where he helped to develop the Green Jobs-Green New York residential loan program.

His areas of expertise include transportation, water infrastructure, higher education, and clean and renewable energy initiatives. He has worked with the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the states of Wisconsin and Connecticut, and also has significant experience working with State Revolving Fund loan programs to help fund wastewater and drinking water projects.

“I have had the good fortune to work with the Sycamore team in the past on a number of innovative and structurally complex transactions and have found them to be diligent, professional and thorough in their approach,” Setari said in the release.

“Throughout my career I’ve had the pleasure of working on complex transactions with some of the most talented people in our industry, and I look forward to continuing that trend at Sycamore,” Valentino said.

Setari has a bachelor of science degree from Fordham University and a master’s of business administration degree from Columbia Business School. He holds Series 7, Series 53 and Series 63 certifications from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Series 50 Municipal Advisor Representative designation from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.

Valentino holds a bachelor’s of arts from Columbia University and a master’s of business administration degree from the Zicklin School of Business at The City University of New York Baruch College. He holds a Series 65 Investment Adviser Representative designation from the National Association of Securities Dealers and a Series 50 Municipal Advisor Representative designation from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.

Sycamore has played a role in structuring more than $7.5 billion in financing transactions in recent years, and is a Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certified municipal advisory firm. It is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.

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