Don Rice is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rice Financial Products Company. Under Mr. Rice’s stewardship, Rice Financial has provided underwriting services on municipal bond transactions totaling more than $530 billion and has executed derivative transactions with an aggregate notional amount of more than $30 billion. Mr. Rice’s career in the bond business began at Merrill Lynch, where he focused on applying taxable fixed income interest rate swap concepts to the municipal markets. His many accomplishments while at Merrill include a large, complex swap-based refunding of 200 separate municipal loans for the District of Columbia, which was an Institutional Investor Deal of the Year, as well as the first swap based advance refunding of municipal debt, a technique that has since become commonplace on Wall Street.
After forming Rice Financial in 1993 and securing a foothold in the derivatives market, Mr. Rice dramatically expanded the firm’s focus to include other customized debt management and investment products that would produce debt service savings, safety and flexibility, and optimize investment returns for municipal clients. In 1998, he spearheaded the firm’s acquisition of a successful broker-dealer, Apex Securities. He oversaw the subsequent acquisition of the municipal operations of Pryor, Counts & Co. in 1999. Today, Rice Financial employs some of the most experienced sales and trading professionals in the municipal finance industry. In 2006, Mr. Rice nearly tripled the number of professionals on the firm’s trading desk, hired a number of experienced bond bankers, and opened four new offices across the country. That year, Rice Financial managed $7 billion in bond transactions. In 2018, the firm served as a managing underwriter on more than $35.7 billion.
As a municipal bond underwriter, Mr. Rice has established a reputation for creative problem solving. In November 2008, a $114 million bond transaction senior managed by Rice Financial for the Jackson Public School District in Mississippi received the Bond Buyer’s Southeast Region Deal of the Year award. It was the largest school district bond financing ever completed in the state of Mississippi. The root of Rice Financial’s success has been its ability to attract, retain and develop some of the most skilled professionals in municipal investment banking. Mr. Rice has successfully recruited senior municipal bond bankers from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Citi and UBS, among others. He has received significant notice for his work over the years. Most recently, he was named among 2011’s “Top Blacks on Wall Street” by Black Enterprise magazine. In 2004, he was prominently featured in a Fortune Magazine article, “The New Black Power on Wall Street.” He was selected as the Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Association of Securities Professionals in 2002 and, in 2000, Black Enterprise named Rice Financial its Financial Company of the Year.
Mr. Rice received an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in engineering with honors from Kettering University. He also holds honorary doctorates from the University of Arkansas and Arkansas Baptist University. Mr. Rice was appointed by the Governor of New York and confirmed by the State Senate to serve on the Board of Directors for the New York State Thruway Authority and its subsidiary, the New York State Canal Corporation, where he also serves as Chair of the Audit Committee. In recent years, he served on the Board of Directors for Kettering University and New York City’s United Neighborhood Houses.
FINRA Licenses: 7, 24, 50, 52, 53, 63