Piper Sandler has expanded its special district group to 30 public finance professionals with the addition of seven members since January as the need for public infrastructure financing grows in parts of the nation, the firm said.
The investment bank announced that Sheila Mares and Ludvig Ragnarsson, who both previously worked at D.A. Davidson, joined the firm this month. Mares is a senior vice president based in Piper Sandler’s Denver office, overseeing strategic initiatives and managing the organizational needs of the special district group’s expanded national team.
Ragnarsson, a vice president, is the seventh member of the practice group’s quantitative team.
“Sheila and Ludvig add crucial components to our team of market-leading experts who work to ensure that home ownership remains attainable by increasing the supply of housing to meet the needs of our growing communities,” Zach Bishop, managing director of the special district group, said in a statement.
Special districts tap municipal bonds to finance roads, parks, and water and wastewater infrastructure for housing and business developments in high-growth states.
Other additions to Piper Sandler’s group from earlier this year included 20-year industry veteran Michael Lund as a senior vice president, according to the statement.
Two more hires are on tap for later this month, Bishop said, adding the Denver-based team is expected to double in size over the next three years.
“We have hired some folks from public finance and we hired a number of folks from other portions of the real estate sector, so we’re not really competing with the traditional public finance banker market,” Bishop said.
Piper Sandler is not alone in adding staff as some Western states gain population, fueling demand for housing and a growing need for public infrastructure financing. D.A. Davidson announced four new hires earlier this year for its special district group.
With offices in Denver and Salt Lake City, Piper Sandler said its special district group helps local governments fund the public infrastructure needs of growing communities.
It cited Refinitv data that showed the group last year closed more negotiated metro district financings in Colorado than all other firms combined and issued more public infrastructure district debt in Utah than any other firm.
Colorado currently has more than 2,800 special districts, which were recognized as a form of local government in 1949 by the state legislature, according to the Special District Association of Colorado. Utah’s public infrastructure districts were created under a state law passed in 2019.