CityView Founder and Chairman Henry Cisneros and the company’s co-founder and his longtime business associate Victor Miramontes are expanding into the world of bond underwriting and financing of major urban infrastructure projects, it was announced Monday.
The two men jointly invested “several million dollars” to acquire a 28% interest in Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., a New York and Oakland, Calif.-based minority-owned municipal finance and underwriting firm.
Cisneros and Miramontes have worked side by side in various business ventures over the last two decades. Miramontes, a lawyer and investment banker and former CEO of the NADBank, is vice chair of CityView and a founding partner of Cisneros Asset Management, a short-lived venture that closed in 1995 when Cisneros became U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary under Pres. Clinton.
The two will continue to run CityView, which finances and invests in urban housing projects across the country, while also representing Siebert Brandford Shank in San Antonio, one of the firm’s 17 offices nationwide, where they are expected to grow the company’s Texas business. Cisneros, former mayor of San Antonio, is nearing the end of his current term as Chairman of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. He remains one of the highest profile Latino figures in the country and in national Democratic Party circles. His work as president and COO of Univision from 1997-2000, where he now holds a board seat, gave him wide access to corporate leaders across the country.
San Antonio attorney and dealmaker Jane Macon appears to be a key player in bringing together the parties that led to Monday’s announcement. Macon, a now-retired longtime senior partner with Fulbright & Jaworski, has spent the last several years commuting to New York representing the estate of the late Muriel “Mickie” Siebert, a close friend and the first woman to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. Siebert, widely regarded as the woman who broke the gender barrier on Wall Street after years of success as an analyst, founded Siebert, Brandford Shank in 1996. She died in 2013. Macon has served as chair of Siebert Financial Corp, which owned 49% of the company that Cisneros and Miramontes have joined as equity partners.
With the sale of that 49% position, Cisneros and Miramontes are joined as shareholders by two of the firm’s longtime managers, William Thompson, senior managing director, and Sean Duffy, head of institutional sales and trading.
Co-founder Suzanne Shank will become the firm’s majority partner and will serve as chairman and CEO. Napoleon Brandford III, a founding partner and the former chairman, will remain as a partner based in the firm’s Oakland offices.
“I am pleased to continue to build upon the legacy that Muriel, Napoleon and I started in 1996 when we founded the firm,” Shank said. “It is significant that as we enter the 20th anniversary year of the firm, our municipal and corporate clients continue to reward us with major transactions for our proven superior structuring, pricing and distribution capabilities and our deep pool of employee talent. With our new, dynamic ownership and realignment, the firm is poised to have an even greater impact.”
“I am optimistic about the role that a strengthened SBSCO can play in advancing the public financing of needed infrastructure and essential public facilities in our country,” Cisneros said. “I am proud to be able to invest in an entity that has amassed a distinguished record of quality service over decades and to join a team whose principal assets are its capable financial professionals. I know from personally having worked in every state in our nation that there is immense work to be done and I am certain that SBSCO has the capacity to do its part to build the nation’s future.”
“I am excited and honored to team up with Suzanne and the great team that SBSCO has assembled,” Miramontes said. “I am confident that Henry and I will add new opportunities and perspectives for the firm. It is my goal and hope that together we will all take SBSCO to an even higher level of client service, profitability and growth.”
“I’ve had two key long-term objectives in my career. One was to build a top 10 Wall Street firm, and second was to successfully transition it to the next generation, creating a legacy firm that maintains its industry leading presence,” Brandford said. “I am proud that Henry Cisneros will join the ownership alongside CEO Suzanne Shank, former New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Victor Miramontes and SBSCO’s head of sales and trading, Sean Duffy. This dynamic leadership will propel SBSCO as America’s preeminent African-American and Hispanic financial firm.”
SBSCO earned the distinction in 2010 of becoming the first minority-owned firm to rank among the top 10 senior managers of municipal bonds, as ranked by Thomson Reuters. Since 1998 the firm has been ranked as the #1 minority and woman owned municipal finance firm.
*Top image: Henry Cisneros, chairman of CityView and the former San Antonio mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration, was the keynote speaker at the annual San Antonio Chamber of Commerce gala at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Image courtesy of the Chamber.