Retired public finance banker David Hartley, former MSRB chair, has died

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David Hartley, a retired public finance banker and former Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board chair, has died. He was 92.

Hartley, managing partner at Stone & Youngberg until his retirement in 1992, died July 28 peacefully at his home in Walnut Creek, California, according to an obituary penned by his family.

He worked for Stone & Youngberg his entire career, taking a position there soon after earning a degree at the University of Washington in the late 1940s. He also served in the Navy prior to attending college.

David Hartley, pictured here in 1985, retired as managing partner of Stone & Youngberg in 1992.

Hartley was instrumental in making Stone & Youngberg the powerhouse it was in California public finance. The firm was acquired in July 2011 by Stifel.

Hartley hired Scott Sollers, who is now a managing vice president with Build America Mutual, in January 1981 to re-establish the firm’s public finance department.

“Dave was extremely knowledgeable about public finance in California,” Sollers said. “He had extensive relationships throughout the state. Dave represented the state in many assessment bond transactions.”

In presentations to government clients, Sollers said, Hartley came across as knowledgeable and extremely articulate, but he also had an engaging and comfortable style that worked well with clients who weren’t frequent issuers.

“Early in my career, Dave was helpful in helping me to prioritize tasks and target opportunities in public finance throughout the state,” Sollers said. “He showed great imagination and creativity in his approach to the business.”

Hartley had succeeded Ben Baum as managing partner.

Hartley chaired the MSRB in fiscal year 1991.

“He was a terrific representative of our industry,” Sollers said.

Ken Williams, who was president and chief executive officer of Stone & Youngberg when it was acquired by Stifel, said he first met Hartley in the 1960s, because his father was a partner with Stone & Youngberg. Williams, who was Stifel's head of public finance, retired in 2016.

“I went to work there and succeeded Dave when he retired in 1991,” Williams said. “We worked closely for 12 or 13 years.”

Williams described Hartley as “very smart,” and “very measured in the way he approached things.”

When development finance was done strictly with assessment bond financing, Dave was the dean of that marketplace, Williams said.

Stone & Youngberg had 50% of that marketplace, which was a credit to Dave and the people he worked with, Williams said.

“He was very statesmanlike,” said Williams adding that Hartley dedicated a lot of time to working for the betterment of the public finance industry.

Hartley and his wife, Shirley, who died in 2015, had diverse interests and traveled the world together, Williams said.

“I have a great fondness for him. He was instrumental in my becoming his successor,” Williams said. “He was just a generally, good person.”

Hartley is survived by his daughter Laurelle Thom, his son Wallace Hartley, and three grandchildren.

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California MSRB
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