BRADENTON, Fla. – After 32 years in public finance, industry veteran Dick Montalbano will retire Oct. 31.
Montalbano will step down as a managing director with RBC Capital Markets.
Before that he was senior vice president in public finance at St. Petersburg, Fla.-based William R. Hough & Co. RBC acquired Hough in 2004. Montalbano’s combined history with both investment banks spans 18 years.
While he has worked on transactions in other parts of the country, Montalbano said Monday that all of his investment banking career has been spent based in Florida.
Montalbano is an accomplished professional who combines “a depth of technical knowledge of the municipal market with an unfailing commitment to client service.” said Chris Hamel, managing director and head of the municipal finance group at RBC.
“He is a first-rate role model for any person seeking a long, distinguished and honorable municipal markets career,” Hamel said.
Over the years, Montalbano said he has seen the sizes of deals grow significantly and the number of firms competing for bond business grow exponentially.
The competition was good for issuers, though it became harder to develop a long-term relationship with them, he said.
Industry, state, and local regulations have also increased, making some administrative aspects of the business more difficult, Montalbano said.
“The most crucial thing that has happened since 2008 is the real pressure placed on municipal issuers’ budgets and the constraints they have to meet financing needs for aging infrastructure,” he said. “That’s all over the country, but Florida has its share of pressure on budgets.”
Montalbano said the economy is beginning to look up, particularly in rising real estate values and resort taxes in Miami-Dade and Broward counties where he was based most of his career. “We are seeing resurgence in those local economies.”
Montalbano also worked at Shearson Lehman Brothers, Kidder Peabody & Co., and Smith Barney & Co. He also spent eight years in public accounting.
In 1976, he became the finance director for the city of St. Petersburg, and two years later he went to Miami-Dade County.
“I’ve known Dick since 1980 when he was finance director for Miami-Dade County and I was a lowly audit manager,” said Ed Marquez, currently Miami-Dade County deputy mayor whose responsibilities include the finance department. “He was an excellent boss then.”
From 1998 until 2010, Marquez worked for First Southwest Co., and knew Montalbano from the banking industry side.
“As an underwriter, Dick’s always been able to talk to clients from the governmental side of a transaction, as well as explain the risks and rewards,” Marquez said. “Dick is the consummate professional. I am going to miss working with him. He’s one of the good guys.”
Montalbano said his significant accomplishments over the years include serving as senior banker on the financing team that created the Sunshine State Governmental Financing Commission and working with the Port of Miami to organize the Florida Ports Financing Commission. While with RBC, he served as financial advisor to help Citizens Property Insurance Corp. sell $750 million of taxable auction-rate securities for Citizens high-risk accounts – a transaction that was named The Bond Buyer’s 2004 Deal of the Year.
Montalbano received a bachelor’s degree in accounting and masters of business administration from the University of South Florida. He is a National Association of Securities Dealers’ registered general securities representative and a registered municipal securities principal, as well as a member of the American and Florida Institutes of Certified Public Accountants.
Over his career, he volunteered for a number of philanthropic activities and expects to continue those endeavors in retirement, he said.
“I really enjoy the work I did for charities and there are several good causes I’ve had preliminary discussions with but I’m not at liberty to discuss those now,” he said. “I will spend more time in the philanthropic community.”