Archive for February, 2015

Sans Mots

February 6, 2015
photo by Rob Rich/ © 2014 516-676-3939

Terry Smith (l) presented Eric Vandercar (r) with Smith’s All-Star First Team Award for his work in the Municipal Derivatives Category

Eric Vandercar, 53, died on February 3rd aboard a commuter train crash on the Hudson River Line in Valhalla, New York. The north bound Metro North Train ran into a Mercedes SUV that was on the tracks at a rail/road crossing. A witness told the local television news the crossing gates came down and hit the SUV. The driver got out of the vehicle to examine the damage and, upon returning to the steering wheel, was too late to get out of the way of the train.

“I was on the train ahead of the one in the accident,” said James Colby, senior portfolio manager at Van Eck Global ETFs. “And, I know the crossing well. It’s dangerous because of the light on the other side of the crossing. It is a gruesome accident.”

In addition to the six people who died at the accident scene, fifteen people were injured, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said. One passenger remained in critical condition and another passenger in “serious” condition on Wednesday afternoon at the local trauma hospital along with six other patients with less serious injuries, Westchester Medical Center officials said.

Mr. Vandercar is survived by his adored wife, Jill, and two beloved children, Jake and Sadie. “Sans Mots” (French for “no words”) best expresses the feeling that everyone on Wall Street and the investment community felt upon hearing the news.

Mr. Vandercar was a member of Smith’s All-Star Team in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Mr. Vandercar was a Senior Managing Director and Head of Municipal Funding at Mesirow Financial where he developed and executed best-in-class funding solutions with municipal investors. His primary focus was on Tender Option Bonds and Muni Preferreds that were structured so as to meet investor objectives and a high level of client service while complying with the current regulatory environment.

Mr. Vandercar joined Mesirow in March of 2014 after a nearly 27-year career at Morgan Stanley where he was a member of the Operating Committee of the Municipal Securities Group having managed and developed Morgan Stanley’s Municipal Funding, Liquidity, Credit and Lending businesses which encompassed a multi-billion dollar Tender Option Bond Program and Taxable Note Trust Program. He has led the majority of the product innovation in the industry over the past 15 years through coordination with the participants, advisors and regulators.

From 1989 through 1997, Mr. Vandercar was Morgan Stanley’s Municipal Strategist where he was consistently elected to Institutional Investor’s All-America Research Team while fostering credibility and lasting client relationships. Previously, Mr. Vandercar traded the proprietary arbitrage account on Morgan Stanley’s municipal bond desk. Before joining Morgan Stanley, he was employed for two years in Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette’s Municipal Bond Department and two years in Kidder, Peabody’s Corporate Finance Department with a primary focus of designing financial systems. Mr. Vandercar received an MBA with Distinction in Finance from New York University in 1987. Mr. Vandercar completed a dual degree program at the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 where he was awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics with a major in Finance and a major in Decision Sciences from the Wharton School, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science with concentrations in Computer Science Engineering and System Science Engineering from Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Last summer, Mr. Vandercar was the featured speaker in Smith’s All-Star Analysts Webinar Series. During the presentation, he discussed the challenges facing municipal funding in the wake of the Dodd-Frank Law and The Volcker Rule.

Terence Smith, founder of Smith’s All-Star Team, said, “Eric Vandercar had many gifts, but one we appreciated was his ability to harness the disruptive technology to bring the cutting edge of innovation to the often stale product mix in the municipal bond market. His death is all the more tragic since he labored to improve the very infrastructure that failed him and his family. The fruits of the municipal funding programs that his unique talents made manifest can be found in municipalities. His innovative and caring spirit lives on in the school districts, local governments, hospitals and, ultimately, homes across America.”

Mary Jo Ochson, senior portfolio manager for Federated Investors and member of Smith’s All-Star Ballot Committee, said, “He was the nicest person, ever. Eric was an advocate for the entire industry. Not only was he admired by the sellside, where he worked during his outstanding career, but Eric was trusted by the buyside because he was always fair. He will be missed – a lot.”

Indeed. Mr. Vandercar was also a music lover. The Jam Band Moe posted the following tribute to Mr. Vandercar on their facebook page:


Words can’t express how devastated we are today. We’ve lost so much more than a major moe. fan, we’ve lost a very good friend. Eric Vandercar will always be remembered – whether he was enjoying the music from the front row, or hanging out backstage with us, chatting with that easy smile of his. He was there during our early days at the Wetlands, and we just recently got to spend time with him in Jamaica.

An avid music supporter, a husband, a father – Eric, along with his wife Jill, have been a constant and familiar presence in all of our lives over the last couple of decades. And once they had kids, they made their love of music a family affair. Our hearts go out to Jill, Jake, Sadie and to the extended Vandercar and Shiner families, as well as all those who knew Eric.

The funeral will be held Friday, February 6th at 12:00pm at Temple Shaaray Tefila. Interment  immediately following at King David Cemetery in Putnam Valley.

Shiva will be observed Saturday evening, February 7th from 5:30pm -9:00pm with a Shiva service at 6:00pm. Shiva will also be observed Sunday, February 8th and Monday, February 9th from 1:00pm-7:00pm with a Shiva service at 6:00pm each night at the Vandercar home.

Jill Vandercar  105 Stone Bridge Lane. Bedford Hills, NY 10507  244-9449