Roland Stoever joined the municipal bond specialist firm Stoever Glass after he earned his MBA from New York University in 1993. Today he serves as the firm’s director, running the firm’s capital and markets desk and the proprietary trading desk. Roland Stoever also oversees the firm’s other operations.
Established in mid-1964, Stoever Glass was only the second Wall Street firm to specialize in municipal bonds for the individual investor. Most firms that dealt in “munis” handled served large clients, like banks and insurance companies. While there were some individual investors who bought municipal bonds, most were very wealthy. Thus, not many brokers were familiar with municipal bonds, a fact that contributed to Stoever Glass’ success through the years as more investors found themselves looking for alternative investments. Some investors turned to their regular brokers, but others turned to Stoever Glass, which was developing a stellar reputation.
The firm is especially well-known for the quality of its research. In early 1977, during the midst of the New York City financial crisis, the city’s bonds were routinely trading for 30 to 50 cents on the dollar. Stoever Glass was exploring what appeared to be untapped potential in New York City Housing Authority bonds that might raise their value above that dismal level. Persistent research uncovered a much more valuable fact — because many of the city’s housing programs had been converted from city to federal government programs starting in the late 1960s, Housing Authority bonds weren’t guaranteed by the city, but by the federal government.
The firm had the fact confirmed by outside lawyers and then by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. When the news broke in February 1977, it made headlines nationwide, and had immediate consequences. Moody’s, the investors’ rating service, immediately upped the bonds’ rating from a very bad Caa to the absolute best Aaa, and the bonds value skyrocketed, handing bondholders a $15 million profit as the result of Stoever Glass’ diligent research.