Shelley J. Aronson Profile   Print E-mail

Shelley J. Aronson, the President of First River Advisory, possesses decades of experience as an investment banker and financial advisor, specializing in addressing the capital formation and debt management challenges faced by hospitals and other non-profit health care organizations. Whether in the context of a new project financing, a debt refinancing or restructuring, or a workout of covenant defaults, Mr. Aronson's brings his vigor and skill to his client representation in pursuit of superior outcomes.

Shelley J Aronson


  • "Been there, done that" with respect to capital financing and debt management techniques applicable to health care organizations
  • Keen, career long observer of the health care industry
  • Extensive knowledge of the scientific, market and regulatory challenges facing health care organizations
  • Strong believer that the capital financing and debt management functions are means and not ends, and are tools to promote clients' objectives
  • Firm understanding of relationship between capital financing / debt management and organizations’ operations and strategic initiatives
  • Regularly develops imaginative yet suitable solutions
  • Negotiates boldly on clients' behalf with investors and lenders and their attorneys
  • Challenges the conventional wisdom
  • Earned the reputation of getting the tough deals done
  • Especially motivated when others say that it can't be done, or when others tried but couldn't
  • Strong analytical, reasoning and computer skills
  • Follows market dynamics, especially the high-yield bond market
  • Excellent communicator of technical information to clients' governing boards and other lay audiences
  • Adept at defining options and alternatives in a manner that promotes decision-making, especially by clients' decision-makers who have not theretofore accessed the capital markets
  • "Big picture" orientation yet meticulous attention to detail
  • Assertive leadership of financing teams and consensus building among diverse members
  • Ability to set timetables and workplans so that objectives can be achieved efficiently
  • Well organized and routinely works independently
  • Accustomed to managing multiple projects in a fast paced environment
  • Consistently meets tight deadlines
  • Earns high degree of client satisfaction

As a result, Mr. Aronson has established several long-standing relationships with health care organizations and their leaders, some extending back into the 1990s.


Prior to forming First River Advisory in 1995, Mr. Aronson held the position of Vice President in the Public Finance Department of Chemical Securities, where he specialized in financial and strategic planning and capital formation for health care organizations. Mr. Aronson joined Chemical Securities as a result of its 1991 merger with Manufacturers Hanover Securities Corporation (MHSC). During his combined 10½;-year public finance tenure, Mr. Aronson served as a managing underwriter, placement agent or financial advisor in numerous transactions involving the issuance of over $3 billion of securities. These bond issues entailed both interim and long-term financing, featured both fixed-rate and variable-rate instruments, and involved virtually all forms of credit support structures: bond insurance policies, bank letters of credit, ratings, FHA-insured mortgage loans and third-party guarantees. His public finance clients encompassed major urban medical centers, suburban and rural community hospitals and long-term care organizations, most of them "credit sensitive" situations, and involved a wide variety of projects. Many of the innovative financing solutions developed and implemented by Mr. Aronson addressed the unique challenges posed by the high-yield bond market.



Prior to joining MHSC in 1984, Mr. Aronson held the position of Manager of the Hospital Revenue Bond Program for the New York State Medical Care Facilities Finance Agency, an active quasi-governmental bond issuer. While with MCFFA, Mr. Aronson managed diverse financings involving most conventional techniques for a wide range of health care organizations, including tertiary care medical centers and community hospitals. Many of these transactions were groundbreaking in either New York or nationwide. Mr. Aronson established many of the systems, policies and procedures which were still in use when MCFFA was disbanded in 1995.


Mr. Aronson began his career as a health planner for the Bergen-Passaic (NJ) Health Systems Agency, a regional planning organization. Among his accomplishments were his selection to represent the five New Jersey HSAs on a statewide committee advising the "DRG experiment" consultants and his role in drafting portions of the final report to State Commissioner of Health. The "DRG experiment" evolved into the Medicare Prospective Payment System.


Mr. Aronson earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Regional Science (urban and regional economics), with a concentration in urban and regional health care systems. In addition, he completed doctorate-level courses in health care policy and planning at New York University.


  • Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)
  • National Association of Municipal Advisors (NAMA) (formerly National Association of Independent Public Finance Advisors, NAIPFA); elected in 2012 and reelected in 2014 as a Director at Large for two-year terms
  • National Federation of Municipal Analysts (NFMA)


  • Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) Series 50 Qualification as a Municipal Advisor Representative
  • MSRB Series 54 Qualification as a Municipal Advisor Principal
  • Certified Independent Professional Municipal Advisor, by NAMA, 1999; continuing professional education requirements to maintain designation are up-to-date
  • Previously held Series 7 and Series 52 securities qualifications while employed by a broker-dealer
  • Firm is a Municipal Advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the MSRB


  • Panelist: "Healthcare Consolidations and Market Forces," The Bond Buyer's Mid-Atlantic Municipal Market Conference, October 2019
  • Panelist: "Buy Side/Sell Side Panel." The Bond Buyer's Mid-Atlantic Municipal Market Conference, October 2018
  • Healthcare Program Chair, Philadelphia Area Municipal Analyst Society (PhAMAS) monthly program, September 2018
  • Conference Co-Chairman, NAMA Annual Conference, October 2016
  • Panelist: "Municipal Advisor Fiduciary Duty Compliance Considerations." SEC's Compliance Outreach Program for Municipal Advisors, February 2016
  • Conference Chairman, NAMA Annual Conference, October 2015
  • Committee member:  NAMA Public Affairs Committee; active commentator on proposed SEC and MSRB rules (ongoing)
  • Panelist: "Regulatory Update — Living with the SEC's New Rules and Initiatives." The Bond Buyer's Health Care & Higher Education Super Conference, October 2014
  • Panel moderator:  "Secondary Market Disclosure Issues and Practices"
    Presentation: "Bank Loan Disclosure"
    NAMA Annual Conference, October 2014
  • Panel moderator:  "Understanding the Changing Municipal Bond Market and Implications for Underwriter Selection and Bond Pricing," AMA Annual Conference, October 2013
  • Participant:  NFMA task force addressing disclosure of bank direct purchases and other financings exempt from SEC Rule 15c2-12, 2012 — 2013
  • Participant:  NFMA task force updating its Recommended Best Practices in Disclosure for Hospital Debt Transactions, 2010 — 2012
  • Panel moderator:  "Buy-Side Perspective on Municipal Bonds," NAMA Annual Conference, October 2011
  • Panel moderator:  "Market Expectations for Primary and Secondary Disclosure," NAMA Annual Conference, October 2009
  • Panel moderator:  "Hospital Turnaround Case Study," NFMA Advanced Seminar on Health Care, January 2009
  • Panelist:  "Legal Concerns with Healthcare Bonds: Is the Patient Getting Better?"
    Presentation: "Implementation of the Recommended Term Sheet and Legal Provisions for Hospital Debt Transactions"
    NFMA Advanced Seminar on Health Care, November 2006
  • Participant:  NFMA task force which developed the Recommended Term Sheet and Legal Provisions for Hospital Debt Transactions, 2002 — 2005
  • Panel moderator: "Healthcare Workforce Issues: Success Stories, Remaining Challenges," NFMA Advanced Seminar on Health Care, October 2002
  • Panelist: "What To Tell the Market — Debating the Content of Disclosure," MSRB Forum on Hospital Finance Disclosure, March 2000
  • Panel moderator:  "Investment Merits of Small Hospitals," Smith's Health Care Conference, June 1999 Healthcare Financial Management Association chapters


  • Quoted periodically in The Bond Buyer
  • Quoted in a May 2006 Reuters news item regarding municipal bond market dynamics
  • Author of "Access to Capital," which appeared in the February 1999 edition of Michigan HealthCare Business
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