With over 35 years of municipal bond investment management and research experience, Richard Ciccarone has become a nationally recognized expert in municipal bonds. He has received more than 20 awards and distinctions from Institutional Investor, Smith’s Research & Gradings, Global Guaranty, The Bond Buyer and the National Federation of Municipal Analysts. Institutional Investor named Mr. Ciccarone to its First Team All-American Research Team in the Municipal Bond Research Generalist category, and Smith’s Research & Gradings named him the number one Buy-Side Research Director of the Year on numerous occasions. He has also been honored as an All-Star Sell-Side Research Director, as well as for specialty work in health care, tax-supported debt and bond insurance. He has received career achievement awards by Smith’s Research & Gradings as well as the NFMA.
He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and is often quoted in the financial press for his expertise in municipal bonds by publications such as the Wall Street Journal, The Bond Buyer, Bloomberg, Reuters, The Financial Times, Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Money as well as broadcast media, including CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox Business.
Mr. Ciccarone was the first Project Manager of Merritt Research’s predecessor software/database product, The Merritt System, when it was first created in 1985 by Van Kampen Merritt. It was launched as the municipal bond industry’s first credit database subscription product the following year and he maintained oversight over the effort from 1985-89 and again when he returned to Van Kampen in1996. In 2001, the database company was spun off from Van Kampen Investments, a unit of Morgan Stanley, and he became the first President and Chief Executive Officer of the newly independent company, Merritt Research Services, LLC. He is based in Chicago.
In addition to his responsibilities at Merritt Research Services, Mr. Ciccarone is a Co-owner and Co-Publisher of MuniNetGuide.com, a website devoted to municipal-related matters.
Previously, he was Managing Director and Chief Research Officer of McDonnell Investment Services, LLC (Oak Brook, Illinois) where he was responsible for managing the Company’s investment research resources, including the management of research analysts and analytical tools to support user portfolios.
Prior to September 2001, Mr. Ciccarone served as Senior Vice President and Co-Head of Fixed Income at Van Kampen Investments Inc., where he shared responsibility for all bond asset management activities, including municipal and taxable mutual funds. Prior to that position, he served at Van Kampen as Senior Vice President and Co-Head of Municipal Investments and Director of Research. From 1989 to 1996, Mr. Ciccarone served in various capacities at EVEREN Securities, Inc. (Chicago) and its predecessor firms (Kemper Securities, Inc. and Blunt Ellis & Loewi., Inc.) as an Executive Vice President and Director of Fixed Income Research. At EVEREN, he also chaired the EVEREN Advisory Council, which provided top management input on firm-wide organizational improvements. From 1983 to 1989, Mr. Ciccarone was a Vice President and Director of Unit Investment Trust Research for Van Kampen Merritt, Inc. Prior to 1983, he was Manager of Municipal Research at Harris Bank (Chicago).
He is a co-founder, past national chairman and a member of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts. Mr. Ciccarone is also a past chairperson of the NFMA’s long-term planning committee as well as its standards and practices committee, and represented the Federation on the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Board. He is past president of the Chicago Municipal Analysts Society and a member of the Society of Municipal Analysts.
Active in community affairs, he was an elected member to the Board of Trustees of the Village of Hinsdale, Illinois; chairman of the Village’s Administration and Community Affairs Committee; and a former member of the Village’s Plan Commission and the Firefighters Pension Board. He also serves on the boards of the Hinsdale Hospital Foundation, the Civic Federation of Chicago and Walsh Jesuit High School in Ohio. He earned a B.A. degree at Miami University (Ohio) and a dual Master’s degree in Public Administration and Urban Studies from the University of Akron.