RBC Capital Markets continued to expand its municipal finance platform by naming analyst Chris Mauro as a director of municipal bond research, the firm announced yesterday.

Mauro has 25 years of experience in the fixed-income world working in a variety of roles, including structuring, origination, financial adviser, and research. Most recently he was a senior underwriter for public and project finance transactions at Financial Guaranty Insurance Co.

From 1985 to 2004 he also worked at Merrill Lynch, initially in the research group and later as a senior fixed-income analyst.

At RBC, Mauro will be a formal part of the global research team, writing several times annually for an audience of issuer and investor clients. He will also write municipal commentary for RBC’s Monthly Fixed Income Atlas.

In his first piece, published last week, Mauro wrote that municipal bond prices “will continue to be supported, particularly in the long end, by heavy Build America Bonds issuance.” He predicted the market will experience “a significant rush” of BAB issuance this year, noting that while the stimulus program will probably be extended beyond the Dec. 31 deadline, the 35% subsidy could be reduced.

Chris Hamel, head of municipal finance for RBC, said the addition of Mauro is timely and important in this “post-crisis” or “post-monoline” era.

“I doubt that we’ll ever see another time when monolines are insuring 55% or 60% of the market,” he said. “So I think we are all, as an industry, going to be more focused on underlying credit quality of municipals, and we need the resources to both understand those issues and also explain them to our broad range of investor and issuer clients.”

RBC was the seventh-largest senior underwriter last year, leading 569 issues worth $17.6 billion. The bank’s municipal practice comprises 265 people, including 167 bankers. RBC’s parent, Royal Bank of Canada, is one of only six global banks rated Aaa by Moody’s Investors Service.

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