BRADENTON, Fla. — Eight months ago when John Rodstrom became head of public finance to build out the muni desk at Oppenheimer & Co., he knew his last public meeting as a Broward County, Fla., commissioner would be Tuesday.

After 27 years in south Florida politics altogether, Rodstrom went to work for Oppenheimer deciding to wind down his public service and solely concentrate on public finance for the first time in his career, he said in an interview Friday about Oppenheimer’s expansion plans.

Headquartered in New York, Oppenheimer ranked 12th out of the top 50 senior managers in short-term muni market notes with just over $1 billion in 227 transactions last year, according to Thomson Reuters. The firm ranked 56th as a senior manager on 30 long-term offerings totaling $345.6 million.

So far this year, the investment bank is ranked 10th in short-term deals with $865.7 million and 50th with $562.3 million as senior manager.

Though Oppenheimer is a well-known name in other financial sectors, the firm plans to become better known for its work in the bond market.

Rodstrom was hired for his experience across a variety of sectors to expand the firm’s public finance bond capabilities nationwide, according to Oppenheimer’s chief executive officer, Albert “Bud” Lowenthal.

“John has an extensive record of accomplishment in building offices, negotiating financings, and managing a wide range of offerings,” Lowenthal said in March. “I am convinced that his wide experience in the public finance sector will benefit our retail and institutional clients and build our national fixed income presence.”

Rodstrom, who left Sterne, Agee & Leach to join Oppenheimer, has also worked for leading Wall Street firms such as Wachovia Bank NA, Smith Barney/Citi, Kidder Peabody & Co., and Merrill Lynch. He is a graduate of Columbia College, and obtained a law degree from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale.

“I think we’re headed for very strategic growth,” he said. “We’re now focused on growing organically.”

In addition to general municipal sectors, the firm will grow in niche areas such as health care, housing, charter schools, and higher education, he said. More work is expected on more competitive transactions “because we have the sales force that can place the paper once we buy it.”

The bank has 94 offices in the United States, Europe, Israel, and Asia with eight trading desks and 1,400 brokers the firm calls financial advisors, he said.

“We are interviewing people,” Rodstrom said. “We’re still looking for good quality people to build our practice out, people who have a niche.”

Last month, he hired a group to work in the firm’s offices in Texas who are specialists in independent school districts and charter schools.

Dan Roseveare, Brian Garcia, and Martha Martinez joined Oppenheimer from Piper Jaffray.

Roseveare is a managing director in Dallas, and a 17-year veteran who has worked on more than $16.3 billion in transactions. The last five years he was managing director and head of Piper’s Texas education group. Before Piper, he worked at Bear Stearns and First Southwest Co.

“My team and I are eager to introduce issuers throughout the Southwest to the firm,” Roseveare said. “We are enthusiastic to join the growing presence of Oppenheimer’s public finance group.”

Martinez is a vice president in Houston. Before Piper Jaffray, she worked for UBS Investment Bank in Chicago, and has transacted more than $5.3 billion in financings including school districts, charter schools, and community colleges in Texas and Arizona. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago.

Garcia, a director, started his career at Citi. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard.

Oppenheimer is also expanding is municipal institutional sales force, according to Cyndi Henry, who is the head of sales.

New hires include industry veteran David L. Whitney, who has more than 25 years of experience covering institutional accounts. Prior to joining Oppenheimer, Whitney was senior vice president of institutional municipal sales at Jackson Securities. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado.

Todd Rogers has more than 25 years of experience, and was formerly with Stockcross Financial and Janney Montgomery Scott. Morgan Trexler has 15 years of experience in the municipal market. She was formerly with Hapoalim Securities and Jessup & Lamont Capital.

Oppenheimer has also expanded in middle markets and bank depository business with the hiring of Annamae Logan and Lance Badorf in Connecticut. The two have 33 years of experience with tax exempt bank paper and taxable muni products.

Steve Williamson, who has 30 years covering middle-market accounts, joined Oppenheimer in September. He was formerly with Southwest Securities.

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