Arch W. Roberts, who built one of Florida's largest municipal bond firms, died Dec. 11. He was 75.

Mr. Roberts began a lifelong career in municipal finance at Goodbody & Co.

In 1967, he opened Arch W. Roberts & Co. and grew the business to one of the largest of its kind in Florida with seven offices, plus offices in Atlanta and New York City.

After his firm merged with Raymond James Financial in 1990, Mr. Roberts helped launch ACA Financial Guaranty in 1997. After that he worked for Phil Bennett and his Fort Myers-based Public Finance Associates.

"Arch is one of these guys who is very creative and innovative in the public finance area," Bennett said, noting that he worked with Mr. Roberts on Florida's first multi-county pool bond program. "He had a knack at looking at something and coming up with a solution out of the box."

Mr. Roberts also did the first unrated ad valorem tax deal in Florida in the late 1960s, a tumultuous time for financing in the Sunshine State, and he did the first step-coupon transaction in Florida, Bennett said.

"Everybody liked Arch. He really was the Southern gentleman," Bennett said. "Arch was never one to be uncivil or unprofessional to anybody."

Mr. Roberts served as chairman of the Public Securities Association, a predecessor to what is now the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. He was a member of the board of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board from 1983 until 1985 and was chairman of its fair practice committee in 1984.

"Arch was a dedicated and tireless board member," said MSRB deputy executive director Hal Johnson. "Even after leaving the board, Arch was always generous in sharing his time and expertise to help us understand a situation or problem in the market. I can't recall a time that I ever spoke to Arch when he didn't have a joke to share or something positive to say."

Born in St. Petersburg, Mr. Roberts moved to Gainesville in 1968. He received a bachelor's degree in commerce from Washington & Lee University in Virginia.

Mr. Roberts is survived by his wife Bunny, his six children, Arch, Catherine, Deering, Will, Andrew, and Taylor, and eight grandchildren.

A memorial service is at 11 a.m. today at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Gainesville.

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