RBC Capital Markets announced that health care finance professional John Wells has been hired by the bank's municipal unit, which is ranked seventh as senior manager nationwide so far this year, according to Thomson Reuters.

Wells, 40, has built an expertise in health care by working on multiple aspects of the finance process. His 12 years in the industry include stints underwriting bond insurance for Assured Guaranty Corp. and directing health care research at Fitch Ratings. At RBC, Wells will work in the municipal finance corporate banking practice as the director of health care lending, managing the process of providing letters of credit and liquidity facilities.

RBC's parent, Royal Bank of Canada, is one of only six global banks ranked Aaa by Moody's Investors Service.

The bank's municipal practice comprises 264 people, including 166 bankers and 21 professionals in health care.

"John is really at the center of the firm's activity as it relates to extending its balance sheet to our health care clients," said Chris Hamel, head of municipal finance for RBC. "That background at a rating agency and at an insurer is core to his responsibilities at our firm."

At Assured, Wells was a director in the public finance health care group for two years. His primary roles involved originating bond transactions within the health care sector, structuring insurance proposals for prospective clients, and taking issuers through the process of getting credit approval.

Before that he was at Fitch from 1998 to 2007. There he went from associate to senior director as he developed a specialty in health care finance. Wells supervised hundreds of bond ratings, conducted research on health care policy, and assigned ratings for nonprofit hospitals and health care systems.

Switching into a banking role at RBC attracted him "largely because of the strong health care investment banking practice they have and the tremendous growth they've had over the last few years," he said.

So far this year, RBC has been senior manager on 21 health care issues totaling $1.5 billion, more than double the $628 million managed two years ago, according to Thomson Reuters. Its ranking in the sector is currently seventh, compared with the eighth in 2008 and 15th in 2007.

The firm's presence in the sector increased substantially after Bear Stearns & Co. collapsed in early 2008 and RBC was able to hire its seven-person health care group.

Overall, since mid-2007 that group has more than doubled its senior banking team and seen its market share almost triple to 3.5%.

"We are very committed to this space and our expectation is that we'll be adding additional health care investment bankers in the coming recruitment season," Hamel said.

For the municipal market as a whole, RBC has consistently ranked as a top 10 senior manager over the past decade. Year to date the firm has been book-runner on 554 issues totaling $17.2 billion, a 4.4% market share, according to Thomson Reuters.

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