For Janice Hofferber, new head of U.S. public finance at Moody’s Investors Service, a focus on fundamentals is key to all the agency does.
“Our goal and our mission is really this — to provide investors with the insightful research that will help them make better investment decisions,” she told The Bond Buyer.
Hofferber, who has had decades of experience in the financial service industry, started her new job on the first of the year, taking over from Michael Rowan who retired in mid-January.
In her new role, she oversees municipal bond ratings and research for more than 12,000 state and local governments, hospitals, higher education institutions, charter schools and other tax-exempt issuers.
Hofferber holds a LEAD Certificate from the Stanford University School of Business, an MBA in finance from New York University, a B.A. in psychology from Rutgers University and is a chartered financial analyst.
She brings a wealth of experience to the job from other positions she has held over the past 20 years. She has worked in investment banking, fixed income and equity analytics.
“I’ve been in this business for quite a long time — multiple decades. I’ve spent my entire career covering corporate credit and issuers,” Hofferber said. “I started out of college as an investment banker at J.P. Morgan Chase and went through their corporate credit training program, as many Moody’s analysts and alumni have done before me.”
She spent almost 10 years at J.P. Morgan, where she was a vice president in the mergers and acquisitions and investment banking groups, focusing on media and consumer products companies.
Hofferber said she came to Moody’s in order to follow her desire to further explore the analytical side of the business.
“It’s the area I really love the most,” she said. “I had taken the CFA exam and was successful and finished my MBA in finance and I joined Moody’s.”
She started at Moody’s as a senior analyst, where she covered investment-grade food and beverage issuers from 1995 to 1996.
Hofferber then served as a managing director at Fulcrum Global Partners, an independent equity research boutique, and was a director of equity research at Van der Moolen, the New York Stock Exchange specialist firm.
She rejoined Moody’s in 2006 as lead analyst for the U.S. consumer products and tobacco sectors and as a rating committee chairperson for several industry sector teams, and has been at the firm ever since.
In 2013, Hofferber became a managing director in the rating agency’s North America corporate finance group. There she has led analytical teams covering over 500 investment-grade and high-yield issuers in the real estate, consumer, retail, gaming, lodging, apparel and restaurant sectors.
Hofferber is an active supporter of the agency’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. She is co-chairperson of the policy and recruiting committee for the firm’s Veteran’s Business Resource Group. She is also an ambassador for Ratings & Research Support, which aims to improve recruitment and training for the agency’s younger credit analysts.
Looking ahead, she said, she will focus on keeping Moody’s standards high and will remain focused on the fundamentals for both the buy and sell sides.
“We have a very long tradition of analytic rigor and excellence,” she said. “And we have a very strong commitment to issuer and investor transparency.”
Hofferber said she was fortunate to have a talented team behind her.
“We have over 160 credit analysts and managers, located all over the country,” she said. “They are truly experts in their fields. So I’m really proud that I’m going to be able to lead them and follow in the footsteps of so many really great managers that have preceded me.”
She said the focus would remain on providing the most accurate, forward-looking, thoughtful opinions on the over 15,000 ratings that Moody’s monitors every day.
Hofferber said Moody’s was expecting continued refinancing activity in 2023, along with some new money needs for spending on infrastructure projects.
“It will again be another interesting year for public finance, but we’ll be here to serve the market as market conditions change and meet the demands of our customers,” she said.
Hofferber lives in New Jersey with her husband and has twin daughters.