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Our History

Today, Rice Financial Products Company is among the leading underwriters of municipal bonds in the United States. The firm was founded in New York in 1993 primarily as a municipal derivatives boutique firm. Rice Financial provides services to municipal and not-for-profit entities, including colleges and universities, in the following three key areas:

  • Investment Banking
  • Underwriting, Sales and Trading
  • Taxable Fixed Income Investing

Our Higher Education Experience

Rice Financial is a highly accomplished underwriter of higher education bonds and is the largest financier of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  Notable transactions include:

  • Senior manager of $45,300,000 in Revenue Bonds for Morehouse College
  • Senior manager of a $39,110,000 in General Obligation Bonds for City Colleges of Chicago
  • Senior transaction manager of a $66,405,000 financing for Jackson State University
  • Joint senior manager of a $41,560,000 Maintenance Tax Note transaction for Houston Community College.
  • Co-senior manager of $415,355,000 in Limited Project Revenue Bonds for the Regents of the University of California

The firm has also co-managed significant financings for the University of Missouri, DePaul University, the Trustees of the California State University, and The Ohio State University, and has served as structuring agent and financial advisor to Clark Atlanta University and Tuskegee University.

Through its subsidiary, Rice Capital Access Program, LLC, Rice Financial serves as the Designated Bonding Authority for the U. S. Department of Education Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program, providing loan servicing services to a billion dollar portfolio.

Our Team

Our key team members bring exceptional HBCU experience to each transaction.

Will Fisher, Chief Executive Officer of Rice Capital Access, served as the original Designated Bonding Authority for the Department of Education’s HBCU Capital Financing Program from 1996–1998, processing several of the program’s first loans. He also served as financial advisor for a Grambling State transaction that was named the Southeast Region Deal of the Year by the Bond Buyer in 2006. Mr. Fisher is a graduate of Howard University.

Cristal Baron, Chief Financial Officer, is responsible for the overall financial management and integrity of both the Rice Capital Access Program and Rice Financial Products Company. She previously served as Vice President at the JPMorgan Private Bank and completed a seven year banking tenure at Merrill Lynch. Ms. Baron received her BA from Howard University and her MBA from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Emory Dawson, a Chief Credit Officer at Rice Capital Access, has 33 years of experience in municipal credit analysis, most recently with HRF Associates, a New Jersey based financial services consulting firm. Mr. Dawson began his career at Moody's Investors Service, serving as a Review Analyst for seven years. In a later position, he was Director of Municipal Underwriting at American Capital Access (ACA). At ACA, he syndicated and reinsured virtually all transactions underwritten at the company over a 10-year span, including private colleges and universities and private K-12 schools, among many others. Mr. Dawson received a BA degree in political science from Morehouse College and a master's degree in regional planning from Syracuse University.

Gayle Davis, Chief Administrative Officer of Rice Capital Access, has 10 years of experience in municipal finance and provides analytical and client management services to HBCU institutions nationwide. Ms. Davis earned a BA cum laude in economics from New York University.

Vikas Dayal, a Credit Officer at Rice Capital Access, was formerly employed with JPMorgan as an analyst where he provided analytical support and transactional execution for over $1 billion of senior managed municipal bond and swap transactions for higher education and non-profit clients. Mr. Dayal received a BA degree in economics from the University of Michigan.

Team member biographies