Franklin Allen is the Nippon Life Professor of Finance and Professor of Economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been on the faculty since 1980. He is currently Co-Director of the Wharton Financial Institutions Center. He was formerly Vice Dean and Director of Wharton Doctoral Programs and Executive Editor of the Review of Financial Studies, one of the leading academic finance journals. He is a past President of the American Finance Association, the Western Finance Association, the Society for Financial Studies, and the Financial Intermediation Research Society, and a Fellow of the Econometric Society. He received his doctorate from Oxford University. Dr. Allen's main areas of interest are corporate finance, asset pricing, financial innovation, comparative financial systems, and financial crises. He is a co-author with Richard Brealey and Stewart Myers of the eighth through tenth editions of the textbook Principles of Corporate Finance.
Arshad Ashraf heads the Middle East and North Africa investment team at Passport Capital – a San Francisco based global investment firm with $4.7B in assets under management. Mr. Ashraf manages approximately $300M in portfolio investments in MENA region. Before joining Passport Capital, Mr. Ashraf has held various positions in engineering services, management consulting, technology start-ups and private equity. In 2001 he was the winner of the McKinsey National Business Plan Competition and voted as one of the Top 10 Entrepreneurs in Malaysia by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE). He holds a BS in Manufacturing Engineering and a BA in Religion from Boston University and is a Sloan Fellow with a MS in Management from Stanford University.
Mr. Cohen is a Portfolio Manager for all the Caspian funds. Mr. Cohen is co-head of Caspian and a Partner of Caspian Capital LP. Prior to joining Caspian, he was a Vice President in a proprietary distressed investing group at Goldman, Sachs & Co. He was responsible for committing the firm’s capital to positions in numerous sectors throughout the distressed and stressed market. Mr. Cohen also managed distressed investments for Goldman Sachs and taught distressed investing to other areas of the firm. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Mr. Cohen worked as an attorney in the business, finance and restructuring group of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Mr. Cohen graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law and summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.
Will Danoff is a portfolio manager for Fidelity Management & Research Company (FMRCo), the investment advisor for Fidelity’s family of mutual funds. Fidelity Investments, is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals, institutions and financial intermediaries. He manages Fidelity Contrafund and Fidelity Advisor New Insights Fund.
Mr. Danoff joined Fidelity as an equity research analyst in 1986. He became portfolio manager of Fidelity Select Retailing Portfolio in 1986 -- a position he held until 1989 -- and served as a portfolio assistant for Fidelity Magellan Fund from 1989 to 1990. Mr. Danoff was appointed manager of Fidelity Contrafund in 1990 when the fund’s assets were $300 million. He managed VIP: Contrafund from its inception in January 1995 until October 2007. Mr. Danoff began managing Fidelity Advisor New Insights Fund in August 2003.
Born in 1960, Mr. Danoff received a bachelor of arts degree in history from Harvard University in 1982 and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1986.
Don Graves was appointed as Executive Director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at the White House, where he provides advice to the President on continuing to strengthen the Nation's economy and the competitiveness of the United States, and on ways to create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for the American people. Mr. Graves also currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development and Housing Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In this role, Mr. Graves manages a portfolio of policy issues including business and small business finance and development, housing finance, community and economic development, capital access, job creation and issues related to underserved communities. Previously, he served as a partner with Graves, Horton, Askew & Johns, LLC. He is the former Director of Public Policy for the Business Roundtable, and was previously a Policy Advisor for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Domestic Finance. In addition, Mr. Graves oversees the newly created Small Business Lending Fund and State Small Business Credit Initiative.
Mr. Graves holds degrees of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Williams College and Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center where he received the Dean’s Award. He served as volunteer Chief Executive Officer of Progress Through Business, a national nonprofit focused on economic development, supporting lower-income employees and sustainability. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Community Reinvestment Fund and Board of Directors of the Center on Business and Poverty, as well as the Advisory Boards of Wall Street Without Walls and the Greater Washington Board of Trade’s Small Business Network.
Michael A. Karsch is the Founder and Portfolio Manager of Karsch Capital Management. Prior to founding KCM, Mr. Karsch was a Managing Director at Soros Fund Management LLC. Mr. Karsch shared responsibility for investments in special situations for the Quantum Fund. From 1995 to 1998, Mr. Karsch was one of four investment professionals at Chieftain Capital Management. From 1991 to 1993, he was an investment banking analyst in the Media and Entertainment Group at Wasserstein Perella & Co. Mr. Karsch graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. from Tufts University in 1990. He obtained his Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1991. Mr. Karsch obtained his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1995.
Jed Nussdorf is the Managing Member of Soapstone Capital. Prior to founding Soapstone in 2005, Mr. Nussdorf was a managing director at Force Capital Management from 2003-2005. Mr. Nussdorf holds a B.S. in Economics and a B.A.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School.
Gabe Plotkin is a Portfolio Manager at Sigma Capital Management LLC (“Sigma Capital”), a division of S.A.C. Capital Advisors, LP. In his role, Mr. Plotkin oversees upwards of $1Bn of public equity investments in consumer-facing industries, including retail, restaurants, gaming/lodging, internet and consumer products. Prior to joining Sigma Capital in 2006, Mr. Plotkin was Managing Director of North Sound Capital, LLC, where he oversaw investments in the consumer sector. Previously, Mr. Plotkin was a strategy analyst at Citadel LLC focusing on process improvements in the equities business. Mr. Plotkin received a B.A. in economics from Northwestern University, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Richard Pzena is the Founder and Co-Chief Investment Officer at Pzena Investment Management. He is the architect of the firm’s investment strategy and conceived and developed our proprietary screening model. He serves as co-portfolio manager on each of the firm’s domestic investment strategies and is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Prior to forming Pzena Investment Management in 1995, Mr. Pzena was the Director of U.S. Equity Investments and Chief Research Officer for Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. He joined Bernstein in 1986 as an oil industry analyst and was named to the Institutional Investor All America Research Team from 1988-1990. During 1990 and 1991, Mr. Pzena served as Chief Investment Officer, Small Cap Equities, and assumed his broader domestic equity role in 1991. Prior to joining Bernstein, Mr. Pzena worked for the Amoco Corporation in various financial and planning roles. He earned a BS summa cum laude and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1979 and 1980, respectively.
Managing Director, Chief Investment Officer of Fundamental Fixed Income Portfolios.
Rick Rieder, Managing Director, is BlackRock's Chief Investment Officer of Fixed Income, Fundamental Portfolios, and head of its Corporate Credit and Multi-Sector and Mortgage Groups. He is a member of BlackRock's Fixed Income Executive Committee and a member of the firm wide Leadership and Capital Committees.
Prior to assuming his current role in 2010, Mr. Rieder was BlackRock's Deputy Chief Investment Officer of Fixed Income, Fundamental Portfolios, and Head of its Global Credit Business and Credit Strategies. Before joining BlackRock in 2009, he was founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of R3 Capital Partners, a multi-strategy credit hedge fund with $1.5 billion in assets under management. He also served as Vice Chairman and member of the Borrowing Committee of the US Treasury. From 1987 to 2008, he was with Lehman Brothers, most recently as head of the firm's Global Principal Strategies team and Credit Businesses, including Investment Grade Corporate Debt, Emerging Market Debt, Credit Hybrids, Money Markets and Structured Products. He also was a member of the Lehman Brothers Management Committee and the Board of Trustees for the Corporate Pension Fund. He served as Chairman of Lehman Brothers' Investment Grade Capital Commitment Committee, Co-chairman of the Board of Lehman Brothers' commercial bank, and a member of the Fixed Income Division Operation Committee. Before joining Lehman Brothers, Mr. Rieder was a credit analyst at SunTrust Bank in Atlanta. This broad range of experience over the past 23 years has helped Mr. Rieder build a deep knowledge base across all fixed income sectors.
Mr. Rieder is a member of the Board of Trustees of both Emory University and Emory's Goizueta Business School, as well as a member of the University's Investment and Finance Committees. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of the North Star Academy Charter Public School System in Newark, New Jersey, the National Leadership Council for the Communities in Schools Educational Foundation, the Newark Youth Foundation, and the Committee for the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland. Mr. Rieder earned a BBA degree in Business from Emory University in 1983 and an MBA degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1987.
Brooks Taylor is an Investment Officer of MFS Investment Management® (MFS®). He is a Portfolio Manager of the balanced portfolios of our mutual funds, variable annuities, and institutional accounts. Brooks also manages the MBA intern program at MFS®.
Brooks joined MFS in 1996 as an analyst. Prior to MFS, he was an analyst with Lodestar Group, a subsidiary of Societe Generale. He has also held positions as an analyst with Fidelity Management and Research Company and Salomon Brothers. Prior to his current assignment he was a portfolio manager of our large-cap core portfolios.
Brooks earned a Master of Business Administration degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Yale University.
Brad Vogt is chairman and a director of Capital Research Company. He is a senior vice president and portfolio counselor with Capital Research Global Investors, with responsibilities in both growth and equity income funds. Formerly, Brad was an investment analyst who covered the U.S. telecommunications industry for 18 years. Brad is a director of The Capital Group Companies and American Funds Distributors, and a senior vice president of The Growth Fund of America. Brad joined Capital in 1987 as a participant in The Associates Program (TAP), a two-year series of work assignments in various areas of the Capital organization.
Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in international politics and economics from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He is married, with three daughters, and he enjoys golf and photography.