Samuel A. Ramirez & Co. continues its aggressive expansion in public finance, announcing yesterday it hired former Bear Stearns managing director Robert E. Foran and two other industry veterans.

Foran has been an investment banker for 27 years and joins Ramirez to work with large issuers.

He also reunites with his friend and former colleague Dan Keating, with whom Foran worked at Bear Stearns for 19 years. Keating joined Ramirez as chief operating officer last year.

Keating had discussed bringing Foran aboard for a year, the two said in an interview. Foran had been working for a nonprofit, and this summer started considering other options.

"We have an opportunity working together to really try and build something," Foran said. "There were opportunities here. I couldn't be more happy to be at Ramirez."

Ramirez also hired Tom Caldwell, who worked at Raymond James for 16 years. He will focus mainly on trading taxable bonds and military housing bonds.

Patty McGrorry, who worked at UBS Securities LLC for seven years, was hired to work on structuring infrastructure deals.

Ramirez has hired 20 people in the past year, most of them in municipals. The company now has 104 employees.

"It's just gratifying for me after 38 years that we can attract people like a Bob Foran," said Samuel Ramirez Sr., who founded the company in 1971.

Ramirez ranked 24th as senior manager of muni underwritings in the first half of 2009, leading five issues with a total face value of $1.16 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. Last year, the firm ranked 60th, with seven issues at a face value of $306.7 million for the year.

The chance for the firm's business to grow was elevated this week as Ramirez was named for the first time to the senior underwriting pools for New York State's Empire State Development Corp. and New York City's Municipal Water Finance Authority.

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