New leadership assumed the helm of the municipal finance group at RBC Capital Markets' Denver office this week.

Jon Moellenberg has become manager of the Denver office. He must fill the shoes of Rus Heise, who retired after 36 years at the firm. Heise served as manager of RBC's Denver municipal finance office since 1980, when he opened the bureau.

Moellenberg, who served as a managing director in the Denver office, is tasked with continuing the office's successes in the state and region, as well as expanding its reach further into neighboring states. These include Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.

"Jon has had and will continue to have a focus of expanding our practice among large issuers in the Rocky Mountain West [region]," said Chris Hamel, managing director and head of U.S. municipal finance at RBC Capital Markets.

Outside of Colorado, Moellenberg covered sectors in a number of states, added Bob Spangler, managing director and manager of the West Region within the municipal finance group at RBC Capital Markets.

"We view the Denver office as the hub of the West," he said. "But we certainly have other presences: in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California."

Moellenberg has focused on transportation and higher education projects. These include the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Denver Regional Transportation District, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, and the New Mexico Finance Authority, on behalf of New Mexico Department of Transportation.

"Jon's task will be a big one," Spangler said, "to maintain, if not grow, the presence that we have in Colorado, where there's literally no major issuer in the state that I can think of where we're not a presence."

RBC counts 12 muni veterans in the Denver office, including bankers and analysts.

The Denver market is regarded as one of the tougher non-New York municipal finance marketplaces, Hamel said. This is because so many firms use Denver as a base for their coverage of the Western region.

"There are a lot of very fine firms in Colorado, both local and national," he said. "So, it's a very competitive market. And Rus has allowed us to compete consistently in the upper tier of that market."

Heise's retirement ended a 36-year career in muni finance, all of which he spent with RBC Capital Markets and its predecessor firms. In 1980, the firm Dain Bosworth sent Heise to Denver to launch a public finance practice there - in 2000, the Royal Bank of Canada acquired then-Dain Rauscher.

Over the next 32 years, Heise provided revenue financing on projects for large municipal undertakings involving urban renewal, transportation, utility and health care finance. Throughout his tenure, RBC served as senior manager on $17.5 billion in par amount of bonds for Colorado issuers across the state, according to the firm.

RBC's municipal market group ranked fifth among senior managers in 2012, Thomson Reuters numbers showed. The firm underwrote $20.95 billion in 632 issues, compiling a 5.7% market share.

In Colorado, RBC has been the top underwriter in three out of the past four years. It led all senior managers in the Rocky Mountain State in 2012, with $1.87 billion in 32 issues, at a 23.5% market share.

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