2012 Speaker Bios

Innovative Alternative Strategies Conference Speaker Bios


Jeff Gunlach Jeffrey Gundlach
CEO and CIO, Co-Founder
DoubleLine Capital LP
Mr. Gundlach was formerly associated with TCW where he was Chief Investment Officer and head of fixed income activities. He is recognized as a leading expert1 in mortgage-backed securities and investment asset allocation. His investment strategies have been featured in leading publications including The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Barron's, Forbes, Fortune, Pensions & Investments and Institutional Investor. In 2010, Mr. Gundlach was named to the SmartMoney Power 30 , one of the seventeen most influential people by The Mutual Fund Wire and "Fund Leader of the Year" by Fund Action. In 2011, he was featured as "The King of Bonds" in Barron's, named one of "5 Mutual Fund All-Stars" by Fortune Magazine and named "Bond Manager of the Year" by Foundations and Endowments Money Management. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College summa cum laude holding a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy. He attended Yale University as a PhD candidate in Mathematics.

John Mauldin
John Mauldin
President, Millennium Wave Investments
John Mauldin is a renowned financial expert, a New York Times best-selling author, and a pioneering online commentator. Each week, over 1 million readers turn to Mauldin for his penetrating view on Wall Street, global markets, and economic history. Mauldin's weekly e-newsletter, Thoughts from the Frontline, was one of the first publications to provide investors with free, unbiased information and guidance. Today, it is the most widely distributed investment newsletter in the world. Mauldin also offers The Mauldin Circle, a free service that connects investors to an exclusive network of money managers and alternative investment opportunities.

George Will George F. Will
Pulitzer Prize-Winning
Columnist, Journalist & Author
George F. Will is today's most widely read columnist. His newspaper column has been syndicated by The Washington Post since 1974. Today it appears twice weekly in approximately 400 newspapers in the United States and in Europe. In 1976, he became a regular contributing editor of Newsweek magazine, for which he provided a bimonthly essay for 35 years. In 1977, he won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his newspaper columns. In 1981, Will became a founding panel member on ABC television's This Week. Will was born in Champaign, Illinois, educated at Trinity

 Mark Yusko Mark W. Yusko
CEO & Chief Investment Officer
Morgan Creek Capital Management
Mark Yusko is the Founder, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Morgan Creek Capital Management.  Prior to forming Morgan Creek, Mr. Yusko was President, Chief Investment Officer and Founder of UNC Management Company, the Endowment investment office for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from 1998 to 2004.  Throughout his tenure, he directly oversaw strategic and tactical asset allocation recommendations to the Investment Fund Board, investment manager selection, manager performance evaluation, spending policy management and performance reporting. 

Rob Brown
Rob Brown, PhD, CFA
Rob serves as the Chief Financial Strategist for Eqis Capital Management, Inc. In this role he is responsible for financial product development, asset management strategy, and assessing the prospective macroeconomic and capital market environments. Rob also leads the discussion and debate of these three areas within Eqis, with business partners, and with investors.
Prior positions included:
  • CFA Institute - Director, Education Division, CFA Institute
  • Benchmark Plus Management, LLC - Managing Director of Investment Strategy &
    Research for this $2.4 billion hedge fund
  • Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System - Chief Investment Officer for this $7.4 billion public pension plan
  • Genworth Financial, Inc. - Chief Investment Officer, directing a $7.5 billion institutional portfolio
Rob's publications appeared in Journal of Derivatives and Hedge Funds, Journal of Investing, Journal of Investment Consulting, Pensions & Investments, On Wall Street Magazine, Royal Alliance Associates Sourcebook, Bank Investment Consultant, Investment News Magazine, London Financial Times, and Journal of Financial Planning.

 Mark Green Mark Green, CFA
Oxford Financial Group, Ltd.
Mark has spent over 20 years developing traditional and nontraditional investment strategies, including hedge funds, private equity, real estate and illiquid investments. His expertise includes econometric modeling, market analysis, strategic and tactical asset allocation, development of investment policy and guidelines, risk management and manager evaluation and selection.

Brad McMillan
W. Bradford McMillan, CFA,® CAIA, MAI
Chief Investment Officer
Commonwealth Financial Network
Brad oversees Commonwealth's retirement consulting and investment departments. Previously, he founded Dartmouth Realty Advisors, where he advised on more than $2 billion in real estate in 26 states and in Canada. Brad earned an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, an MS in Real Estate Development from MIT, and an MS in Finance from Boston College.



 Jerome Abernathy Jerome Abernathy, Ph.D.
Director of Research
Jerome leads the research efforts for new and existing products, especially alternative investments. Jerome has 20+ years of experience in the industry, including research, product development and portfolio management. He is also part of Rydex|SGI's quantitative investment and product development/ management teams.

John Abunassar
John Abunassar
Mr. Abunassar is a member of the William Blair Fund of Funds Investment Committee and is responsible for providing strategic and tactical guidance on manager research, strategy and portfolio construction for the William Blair Fund of Funds. Prior to joining William Blair in April 2011, he was a Principal at Guidance Capital and a member of the firm's investment committee.  Prior to joining Guidance Capital in November 2009, he was President and CEO of Allegiant Asset Management and was also President and CEO of the Allegiant Funds. Prior to joining Allegiant, Mr. Abunassar spent 11 years with Banc One Investment Advisors, where he was senior managing director of institutional asset management, a member of the Board of Directors, and a member of the investment management policy committee. Earlier in his career, Mr. Abunassar was an investment consultant with The Capital Control Group. He began his career as a pension consultant at Hewitt Associates. Mr. Abunassar holds his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business from Lake Forest College and an M.B.A. in finance from Keller Graduate School of Management.

 Ron Altman Ron Altman
Mr. Altman joined M.D. Sass in June of 2009 as a portfolio manager. Prior to M.D. Sass, he was a partner and portfolio manager at MB Investment Partners, Inc. From 1999 to 2005, Mr. Altman was a Senior Managing Director and Director of Research at Victory SBSF. Mr. Altman has more than 40 years of experience in the investment research and money management business in various positions.

 Sola Awofala Sola Awofala
Sola is a Vice President in the Asset Management division of ThinkEquity, a global, growth-oriented, entrepreneurial, full-service investment bank that provides customized money management, investment advisory services, equity research, strategic advisory, placement, underwriting, sales and trading services to corporate, institutional, foundations and high net worth clients. With over 20 years' investment experience sola was previously a VP at Bank of America Investments, Babcock & Brown, Lehman Brother and Morgan Stanley. He was also a corporate Lawyer in London and educated at the College of Law and the City of London Business School and holds a BA in Business Law and a BA Business Studies.

Tom Balcom
Thomas Balcom
Thomas Balcom, CFP®, CAIA, MBA is the founder of 1650 Wealth Management.  1650 Wealth Management is a fee-only RIA firm with offices in Miami and Boca Raton, FL.  Mr. Balcom is currently serving as the 2012 Chairman of the Financial Planning Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale and as an adjunct professor for the Certified Financial Planner program at Barry University.  He was one of five recipients of the 2008 Structured Product Association's Leading Edge Advisor award and currently invests approximately 35% of his clients' portfolios in structured notes.

 Joe Barrato Joseph Barrato
Joseph Barrato, CEO and Director of Investment Strategies, is a Founding Member of Arrow Investment Advisors, LLC, the adviser to Arrow Funds. Since co-founding Arrow in 2006, he has overseen the firm's growth from a single mutual fund provider to a boutique asset manager offering a unique lineup of tactical and alternative investments.

Akos Beleznay
Akos Beleznay, PhD
Chief Investment Officer of Alternative Investments, Commerce Advisors, LLC
President | Chief Investment Officer, Commerce Asset Management, LLC
President, Quantitative Alternative Management, LLC
Mr. Beleznay serves as President of QAM and CIO of Commerce Asset Management, LLC, adviser to the Heritage Funds.  He serves as the portfolio manager for both QAM and Heritage.
Mr. Beleznay served as the Director of Consulting Research for Equitas Capital Advisors, LLC and CIO of Equitas Evergreen Fund LP.  He began his career as a trader with ING Baring, led the private banking of the largest Hungarian commercial bank and served as an investment management consultant with Prudential Securities, Inc.  He holds an MBA from Tulane University and a PhD degree in Physics from Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary.

James Bode
James Bode
Senior Vice President, BOKF Alternative Investments
Mr. Bode is Senior Vice President and Manager of Alternative Investments, where he is responsible for all private equity, real estate and hedge fund investments by trust clients.  BOK Financial clients have investments in real estate and hedge funds plus commitments to private equity totaling almost $650 million.  Mr. Bode is also primarily responsible for the day to day operations of the BOKF Private Equity Limited Partnerships, including selecting and monitoring the underlying investments. He serves on two different private equity fund Advisory Committees.   He is also a member of BOK Investment Management's Asset Allocation Committee.  Mr. Bode joined BOK in 2001.  Prior to that, he was a general partner and co-managed three private equity funds from 1990 to 2001. From 1983 to 1989 he was with the accounting firm of Deloitte Haskins and Sells Mr. Bode also spent one year as Chief Financial Officer of an office products retailer, and worked in Corporate Finance with a regional investment bank.

Matt Brown
Matthew C. Brown
Co-Founder & CEO
Matthew C. Brown is a Co- Founder and CEO of CAIS and responsible for overall firm strategy, management and business development.  Mr. Brown has over 21 years of experience in financial services with a focus on global marketing and distribution of alternative investment funds and products. Over the course of his career, Mr. Brown has built and managed investment firms and platforms and has represented industry leading investment managers. Prior to forming CAIS, Mr. Brown started and managed Brownstone Advisors in 2001 and Brown Simpson Asset Management (BSAM) in 1995. He began his career in 1991 at Shearson Lehman Brothers. 
Mr. Brown received his Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary's College in San Francisco in 1991. Mr. Brown holds FINRA Series 24, 7 and 63 licenses.

Christian Chan
Christian Chan
Wells Fargo Funds Management Group
Christian Chan is the Head of Investments at Wells Fargo Funds Management Group. He is responsible for overseeing the firm's investment managers, developing the firm's investment strategy, and managing a suite of multi-strategy portfolios. Christian joined Wells Fargo Funds Management in 2002. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, he served as a Director of Investments at mPower Advisors, an investment advisor, where he specialized in evaluating investment managers and constructing portfolios for institutional clients. He has earned the right to use the CFA designation. 

Ron Cordes
Ron D. Cordes
Co-Chairman of Genworth Financial Wealth Management
Ron D. Cordes has enjoyed a 25+ year career in the investment industry, having co-founded and then sold AssetMark Investment Services to Genworth Financial in 2006. He is currently co-chairman of Genworth Financial Wealth Management, which is responsible for over $24 billion of assets under management for individual and institutional clients.
Cordes speaks and writes extensively in the field of impact investing, and chairs the Executive Committee for ImpactAssets, a new initiative to catalyze capital for impact investments formed in partnership with the Calvert Foundation.

 Eric Cott Eric Cott
As Director, Financial Advisor Education, of The Options Industry Council, Eric Cott endeavors to help advisors and their firms use options more effectively.  Mr. Cott is responsible for expanding OIC's outreach to financial advisors.  Additionally, he participates in conference panel discussions, presents advisor-oriented educational seminars.

 Gil Crawford Gil Crawford
Mr. Crawford is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of MicroVest. He is responsible for leading the company's investment operations and strategy since MicroVest's founding in 2003. As MicroVest's CEO, he led the launch of MicroVest I, LP, the first commercial private equity vehicle focused on microfinance in North America. Mr. Crawford has 25 years experience with microfinance institutions and capital markets across the globe.
Before helping to found MicroVest Capital Management, Mr. Crawford worked for the Latin American Financial Markets Division at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and focused on investments in microfinance institutions.

Brian Cunningham
Brian Cunningham
Brian Cunningham is President, CIO, and an owner of 361 Capital. He is responsible for managing the investment and oversight of macro-economic research, portfolio construction and portfolio management. He has over 27 years of experience in investment management and has personally provided investment advisory services to numerous institutions and high-net-worth individuals.

Tony Davidow Anthony Davidow, CIMA
As managing director and portfolio strategist, Mr. Davidow's primary focus is to provide
strategic viewpoints on financial markets for Guggenheim Investment's ETF business. In this role, he is also responsible for developing, marketing and positioning the firm's ETF strategy and
training key sales personnel on the use of these products.

 Edward Egilinsky Edward Egilinsky
Managing Director, Head of Alternatives at Direxion
Ed leads product development, messaging, training, and support for Direxion's suite of alternative strategies.
Previously he served as Managing Director of Alternative Strategies at Rydex Investments; he provided leadership for alternative strategy initiatives, expanded distribution channels, and effectively branded Rydex as a recognized provider of alternative investments.

 Scott Egner Scott Egner
Scott Egner joined TD Ameritrade Institutional in January 2010 and is responsible for business development of our Managed Account Solutions in the marketplace. Prior to joining TD Ameritrade he has spent 20+ years in the financial services industry mostly recently leading Placemark Investments North American Sales team in promoting unified managed accounts within the wirehouse/regional, independent broker dealers and RIA marketplaces. He has spent the past 15 years in a variety of wholesale distribution roles with asset management firms. He graduated from Lake Forest College with a double major in business and psychology and has his MBA from the Kellogg School of management. He is a CIMA certificate holder.

 Jed Emerson Jed Emerson
Jed Emerson is Chief Impact Strategist with ImpactAssets, a nonprofit financial services firm creating impact investing products to bridge the asset owner/impact fund market; Senior Fellow with the Center for Social Investing at Heidelberg University (Germany); and Senior Advisor to two family offices (RS Group/Hong Kong; IML Group/Chicago). He has held faculty appointments at Harvard, Stanford and Oxford Business schools. He is internationally recognized as a thought leader, originated the concept of Blended Value and has presented his work at the World Economic Forum, The Clinton Global Initiative and other events around the world. His various papers/research may be found at www.blendedvalue.org and is co-author of the Nautilus Gold award winning book entitled, Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference.

Kenny Feng
Kenny Feng, CFA
Kenny Feng, CFA is the President and CEO at Alerian, an independent provider of objective indices, data sets, and analytics for the Master Limited Partnership (MLP) sector. Over $8 billion is directly tied to Alerian's indices, including the leading benchmark of MLP equities: the Alerian MLP Index (AMZ). Mr. Feng is a former Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at SteelPath Capital Management LLC, a Dallas-based MLP investment manager. Prior to his experience at SteelPath, Mr. Feng covered MLPs, Electric and Gas Utilities, and Diversified Gas Companies at Goldman, Sachs & Co., in the firm's Global Investment Research Division. Mr. Feng graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. He also serves on the advisory board of Midstream Business, a monthly publication addressing the need for business market intelligence on North American midstream energy infrastructure.

 Doug Fincher Doug Fincher, CEO BIO:
Doug Fincher is the President and CEO of Rock Maple Services, LLC a registered investment advisory firm focused on alternative strategies. The firm was founded in 2002 and currently oversees $850 in assets.  Mr. Fincher is an investment committee member and serves as a portfolio manager for the Wilmington Rock Maple Alternative fund, a multi-manager, multi-strategy hedged mutual fund.  Prior to Joining Rock Maple, he was employed by CIBC World Markets, where he served on the firms U.S. Executive management committee. He worked in a trading capacity for a number of Wall Street firms, including Lazard Frères and Kidder Peabody.  Doug graduated from Lafayette College in 1986 and chairs the investment committee for the Christ & Holy Trinity endowment fund.

 Tom Florence Tom Florence
Tom Florence is CEO and an owner of 361 Capital. He is responsible for the general management of the firm. Mr. Florence has over 26 years of experience in the financial services industry having been exposed to all facets including investment management, sales and marketing, operations, and general business management.

Graham Fuller
Graham E. Fuller
Managing Director
Head of Alternative Investment Strategies, SunTrust Banks, Inc
Mr. Fuller has approximately 20 years of experience in successfully advising sophisticated investors on alternative investment strategies and progressive portfolio construction. His responsibilities include managing alternative investments research, due diligence, and investment manager relationships across hedge fund, private equity, real asset, managed futures, and other non-correlating assets for the benefit of SunTrust investment clients.
Mr. Fuller earned a double major in Political Science and Communications Studies and received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studied at the Essec Graduate School of Business in Paris, France, and received his MBA from Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management. Mr. Fuller also successfully completed the Harvard Business School/CFA Institute Investment Management Workshop certificate program.

Terrell F Gates III
Terrell F. Gates III
Terrell F. Gates III is founder and CEO of Virtus Real Estate and is ultimately responsible for all strategic decisions. Mr. Gates is a third generation commercial real estate investor and operator who began his financial career in 1992. Since then, Mr. Gates has held numerous principal level positions in real estate, law and finance. Prior to founding Virtus, Mr. Gates was Director of the GGS Private Banking group at Merrill Lynch. Since establishing Virtus in 2003, Mr. Gates has been responsible for the sourcing, underwriting, and oversight of Virtus' 35 real estate investment funds and partnerships that have invested in more than 120 commercial properties with a combined acquisition cost of nearly $1.65 billion. After completing his undergraduate work in economics and Spanish at the University of Texas, Mr. Gates earned a law degree from Southern Methodist University Law School. He is a licensed attorney.

Clint Gharib
Clint Gharib, C.F.E.
Director of Managed Products & Insurance
J.P. Turner & Company
Clint is the Director of Managed Products & Insurance for J.P. Turner & Company. As a Certified Financial Educator with 20+ years of industry experience he advises both clients and financial representatives. He's been quoted in numerous media outlets including Dow Jones and WSJ.com as well as appeared on an ABC news affiliate.

Ryan Glaspell
Ryan Glaspell
For the majority of Mr. Glaspell's professional career, he has worked as an independent financial advisor and has extensive financial services experience. Licensed in 1997, Mr. Glaspell spent time working with non-profit firms and entities to provide tax-sheltered planning strategies for their employees. Mr. Glaspell currently works in the National Accounts role at Sterling Trust.  Ryan specializes in partnering with financial professionals to maintain tax efficient strategies in working with alternative investments including: hedge funds, commodity pools, private placement offerings from venture capitalists, real estate, oil and gas exploration as well as precious metals.
Rick Harper
Rick Harper
Head of Fixed Income & Currency
Rick Harper serves as the Head of Fixed Income & Currency for WisdomTree Asset Management, where he oversees currency, cash and fixed income products developed through our collaboration with the BNY Mellon Corporation.  Rick has over 18 years investment experience in strategy and portfolio management positions at prominent investment firms. Prior to joining WisdomTree in 2007, Rick held senior level strategist roles with RBC Dain Rauscher, Bank One Capital Markets, ETF Advisors, and Nuveen Investments. At ETF Advisors, he was also the portfolio manager for some of the first fixed income exchange-traded funds. He is a graduate of Emory University and earned his MBA at Indiana University.

Jim Herrell
Jim Herrell, CFA
Director of Investments
Jim brings a wealth of investment management experience to Partnervest, having spent 21 years in the asset management industry.  He specializes in alternative assets, particularly hedged and absolute return strategies.  A 1988 graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Jim honed his knowledge of hedged strategies as a trader at Kayne, Anderson in Los Angeles. In 1991, he became a partner and head trader at Strome & Co. in Santa Monica.  Management expertise coupled with opportunistic investing across a broad spectrum of global markets enabled the fund to grow its assets from $50 million to more than $1.1 billion by the end of 1994.  Prior to joining Partnervest Jim helped develop and manage a quantitative multi-strategy hedge fund for the Santa Barbara Market Neutral Fund.

Richard Horowitz
Richard Horowitz
Richard Horowitz has represented both registered investment companies, including open-end and closed-end funds, and private funds, such as hedge funds and private equity funds, for more than 15 years. He has particular experience with structuring hybrid funds, such as '40 Act registered hedge funds that can be offered to an unlimited number of investors.
Mr. Horowitz has advised some of the largest companies in the U.S. mutual fund industry, including Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Dreyfus Family of Funds. He regularly advises mutual funds on the full range of Investment Company Act issues, including disclosure under the new summary prospectus, affiliation issues, funds, and other compliance issues. Over the years, he has worked on numerous fund merger transactions. He has obtained no action relief on behalf of clients on a variety of issues, including the ability of mutual fund wrap fee programs to charge deferred sales loads and '40 Act issues associated with a three-tier registered fund of hedge funds structure.

 Matt Hougan Matt Hougan
Matt Hougan is the president of ETF Analytics and global head of editorial for IndexUniverse. In that role, he serves as editor-in-chief of IndexUniverse.com and the Exchange-Traded Funds Report (ETFR), and senior editor of Journal of Indexes. Widely quoted in the financial media, Hougan is co-manager of CNBC ETF Portfolios and a columnist for RealMoney.com

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