Our team consists of dedicated professionals with diverse backgrounds in consulting, investment banking, investment management, accounting, law, and other disciplines. Several of our professionals have experience working for regulatory and government agencies, which provides a critical perspective in today’s uncertain environment.
The Financial Markets Advisory team is fully integrated with the modeling and analytical capabilities of BlackRock Solutions. Moreover, BlackRock's most senior officers and subject-matter experts across the firm are available to contribute in their respective specializations for the benefit of our clients.
Craig S. Phillips, Managing Director, leads the Financial Markets Advisory ("FMA") and the Client Solutions ("CS") teams in BlackRock Solutions. He is a member of the firm's Operating Committee, the BRS Operating Committee and the Executive Committee of the Institutional Business.
The FMA team provides a wide range of advisory, valuation and innovative solutions for its clients, which include banks, insurance companies, official institutions, and other financial intermediaries. The team consists of over 200 employees based around the globe, and since 2008 has advised on or managed the disposition of over $8 trillion of assets, spanning over 150 discrete assignments across 20 countries.
The Client Solutions team is comprised of over 120 professionals globally that provide complex solutions support for the Firm's largest institutional clients. The team has a broad set of investment experience across fixed income, equity, alternatives and a wide range of specialized investment strategies. It also focuses on outcome-oriented investing solutions, taking into account liabilities, capital and other drivers of investment strategy.
Mr. Phillips joined BlackRock in 2008. He previously served as a Managing Director of Morgan Stanley from 1994 to 2006 in its Fixed Income division where he was responsible for oversight of its global Securitized Products Group. He served as a Managing Director of Credit Suisse First Boston from 1984 to 1994. Between 2006 and 2008 Mr. Phillips was engaged in running his own investment vehicle, Ptarmigan Capital LLC, based in Stamford, Connecticut.
Mr. Phillips is a member of the Board of Directors of Partnership for After School Education ("PASE"), a child-focused organization that promotes and supports quality afterschool programs in New York City. He is also a Trustee of The Children's School of Stamford, Connecticut, an early learning school. Mr. Phillips served as a member of the Steering Committee at Morgan Stanley in the development and fundraising for the project that resulted in the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Mr. Phillips earned a BA degree in economics and business administration from Vanderbilt University in 1976.
Ryan Marshall, Managing Director, is Co-Head of FMA Portfolio Management in BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group within BlackRock Solutions.
Prior to joining BlackRock in 2009, Mr. Marshall was at Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co., where he assumed multiple roles, first as senior member of the Corporate Credit Fixed Income Investment team in San Francisco, and then as the firm's resident Economist and Markets Strategist working closely with both the firm's Client and Partner Group and their Capital Markets Desk in New York. Previously, he spent 12 years at Morgan Stanley, most recently as Managing Director & Global Head of Fixed Income Credit Research, where he led a team of 150 research professionals and was member of the firm's Credit Products Group Operating Committee. During his time at Morgan Stanley, as Managing Director and Head of Securitized Products Trading, Mr. Marshall had oversight of CMBS trading, ABS trading including Credit Cards, Autos, Student Loans, Manufactured Housing, Aircraft Leases, Franchise Loans, Home Equity Loans, as well as Agency and Non-Agency CMOs and Pass-Throughs. While at Morgan Stanley, Mr. Marshall initiated a variety of new risk management techniques including the use of interest rate swaps, cash short sales, credit default swaps and total return swaps. The trading desk also pioneered the re-securitization of de-levered CMBS subordinate tranches. Mr. Marshall began his career in 1990 at First Boston where he focused on Resolution Trust Corporation asset sales and securitizations of residential and commercial real estate whole loans and mortgage backed securities.
Mr. Marshall earned a BS degree, cum laude, in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990.
Roland Villacorta, CFA, Managing Director, is Co-Head of FMA Portfolio Management in BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group within BlackRock Solutions.
Prior to moving to his current role in 2008, Mr. Villacorta was a member of BlackRock Solutions and co-head of BlackRock's Portfolio Analytics Group. Previously, he was a the co-head of Fixed Income within BlackRock's Risk & Quantitative Analysis Group, where he was responsible for overseeing the provision of risk management tools to all portfolio management professionals within the BlackRock organization. He also led the buildout of BlackRock's quantitative corporate credit analytics and trading platform. From 1997 to 1999, he was responsible for implementing and managing hedging strategies using interest rate and Agency mortgage derivatives. He began his investment career in 1994 as an analyst in BlackRock Solutions. His initial responsibilities included developing internal infrastructure for modeling derivatives and tools for analysis of treasury and mortgage markets as well as facilitating the Kidder Peabody mortgage trading book liquidation. He also served as a risk advisor to the mortgage and commercial banking industry.
Mr. Villacorta earned a BA degree, cum laude, in mathematics from Princeton University in 1994.
Michael Hart, Managing Director, Co-Heads the U.S. client advisory business for BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group within BlackRock Solutions.
Prior to joining BlackRock in 2008, Mr. Hart was a Managing Director with Morgan Stanley where he spent 12 years. Most recently, he served as Global Co-Head of the Leveraged and Acquisition Finance Group and Global Head of the Loan Products Group. In this capacity he oversaw the origination, structuring and distribution of all non-investment grade bank and bond financings and all corporate lending activity. From 2006 to 2008, Mr. Hart also served as Co-Chairman of Morgan Stanley's Capital Commitment Committee. He began his career at the Chase Manhattan Bank in the Merchant Banking Group where he originated and executed LBO financings for the Bank's private equity clients.
Mr. Hart earned a BS degree in accounting from Duquesne University and an MBA degree from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.
Martin Small, Managing Director, Co-Heads the U.S. client advisory business for BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group within BlackRock Solutions. Mr. Small is a senior advisor with specialization in financial institutions, central banks, market intermediaries and financial market regulators. He is a member of the BlackRock Solutions Operating Committee and External Business Executive Committee, as well as BlackRock's Government Relations Steering Committee. Prior to joining BlackRock, Mr. Small was a transactional attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell, where he focused on private investment funds, structured products, derivatives, M&A and general capital markets debt and equity offerings. Prior to joining Davis Polk & Wardwell, Mr. Small served as Law Clerk to United States District Court Judge Richard Owen in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Small earned a B.A. from Brown University, and a J.D. from the New York University School of Law.
Don Benningfield, Managing Director, is the Head of Commercial Real Estate Portfolio Management in BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group within BlackRock Solutions.
Prior to joining BlackRock in 2011, Mr. Benningfield was at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) where he assumed multiple leadership roles over a 27 year period covering a wide range of product and transaction types in the real estate & leisure industry for both corporate-level and one-off project finance transactions involving office, industrial, retail, multi-family, lodging and gaming. During his tenure at BAML, Mr. Benningfield was responsible for restructuring advisory of syndicated, CMBS, and repo financing transactions; origination, structuring & sale of syndicated loans; risk management of CMBS and commercial real estate portfolios; and, resolution of troubled credit workouts for both investment grade and highly-leveraged borrowers consisting of corporate credits, private equity funds, privately-owned development companies, publicly-traded REIT's, and gaming & lodging companies. Mr. Benningfield has also served in various board, ownership, and operating advisor roles. Mr. Benningfield earned a BBA degree, cum laude, in finance from Southern Methodist University in 1983.
Zach Buchwald, Managing Director, provides capital markets advisory services to major financial institutions, focusing primarily on securitized and structured products. Prior to joining BlackRock in 2008, Mr. Buchwald spent ten years at Morgan Stanley, where he was a managing director in the Fixed Income unit. Mr. Buchwald and his team at Morgan Stanley led securitizations supported by many types of investment products, including high yield bonds and loans, emerging markets and asset-backed securities. Prior to that, Mr. Buchwald worked in the structured finance group at Lehman Brothers.
Mr. Buchwald is a trustee of the Public Theater, and also serves on the board of directors of the Jericho Project, a non-profit homeless service organization. Mr. Buchwald earned a B.A. in English with honors from Harvard College.
Katharine Briggs, Managing Director, was previously part of the senior management team at Helix Financial Group, a boutique real estate consulting firm, which was acquired by BlackRock in January of 2010. Ms. Briggs was a Managing Director at Helix Financial, responsible for full service underwriting of large, single asset transactions and portfolio underwriting in the U.S. and Europe. During her tenure at Helix Financial, the Real Estate Finance and Investment Group has analyzed over 6,000 properties worth in excess of $60 billion. Ms. Briggs was formerly the Vice President of Corporate Finance with Summit Properties, a multifamily developer and publicly traded REIT that owned 60 communities valued at over $2 billion. She was responsible for all capital markets activities, investor relations, financial forecasting and tax planning. During her tenure at Summit, she closed over $800 million of secured debt, common stock, preferred equity, tax credit and like‐kind exchange transactions. Previously, Ms. Briggs worked with First Union Capital Markets underwriting conduit, bridge, mezzanine and equity investments. Ms. Briggs began her career as a tax consultant with Price Waterhouse LLP in Atlanta. Ms. Briggs earned a BS in Finance & Accounting from Washington & Lee University and is a registered real estate broker and Certified Public Accountant (inactive).
Samuel Coleman, Managing Director, joined BlackRock in 2009, prior to which he was President and founding partner of S.R. Coleman and Co. LLC. Prior to this he held a variety of roles including senior coverage of U.S. Depositories, co-head of Asian FIG, head of Latin American FIG and head of M&A Transaction Development groups at Citigroup Global Markets. Previously, he spent 13 years at Credit Suisse where he held various positions including head of Specialty Finance and head of European FIG. Mr. Coleman started his career at Chemical Bank in 1977.
Mr. Coleman earned a BA degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976 and an MBA degree from Dartmouth College in 1983.
Wayne M. Fitzgerald II, Managing Director, is a member of the Commercial Real Estate Advisory team within BlackRock Solutions' Financial Markets Advisory Group. Mr. Fitzgerald is a senior advisor with specialization in commercial real estate and related analytics.
Prior to his current role, Mr. Fitzgerald managed the development of BlackRock Solutions' proprietary commercial real estate loan loss modeling platform (SPEAR). Mr. Fitzgerald's service with the firm dates back to 2006, including his years with Helix Financial Group LLC which was acquired by BlackRock in 2010. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Fitzgerald was a Vice President at Wachovia Capital Markets LLC where he managed the issuance of approximately $19 billion of commercial mortgage backed securities. Mr. Fitzgerald also negotiated the sale of certain private equity positions as well as various loan funding arrangements. Prior to this, he practiced law with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein; and Wyatt Early Harris & Wheeler from 1999 to 2004.
Mr. Fitzgerald co-authored "Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities" (The Handbook of Fixed Income Securities, 8th Edition). Mr. Fitzgerald earned a BA degree in history from the University of North Carolina in 1996 at Charlotte and a JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1999.
Lili Forouraghi, CFA, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group within BlackRock Solutions, where she is responsible for leading relationships with central banks. She is also involved in BlackRock's broader strategic initiatives with official institutions.
Prior to moving to her current role, Ms. Forouraghi spent over three years in BlackRock's Official Institutions Group, to oversee the firm's relationship with select European central banks and supranational organizations. Ms. Forouraghi joined BlackRock in 2002 as a founding member of the firm's newly formed Wealth Management team, where her primary responsibility was to build, develop and maintain relationships with the firm's ultra-high net worth clients including family offices, wealth management advisors and private banks. Prior to joining BlackRock, Ms. Forouraghi was a Vice President and Senior Investment Strategist for Fixed Income at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Global Multi-Manager Strategies. She was responsible for the evaluation and selection of external fixed income managers for Goldman Sachs' high net worth and institutional clients. From 1991 to 1999, Ms. Forouraghi worked at the Treasury of the International Finance Corporation (a World Bank affiliate), most recently as Senior Financial Officer, where she was responsible for the management of the Corporation's $10 billion liquid asset portfolio. Ms. Forouraghi began her career at The World Bank Treasury in 1990.
Ms. Forouraghi earned a BS degree in French and German literature from Georgetown University and an MBA degree in finance and investments/international business from George Washington University.
Stéphane Lapiquonne, Managing Director, joined BlackRock in 2010 and has been leading or involved in several high profile, complex engagements for large financial institutions. Prior to joining BlackRock, Mr. Lapiquonne worked as a senior investment advisor to Lone Star Europe, a private equity fund focused on special situation and distressed investments across the real estate, corporate and banking space, where he was involved in the underwriting and on-going management of structured credit and securitized asset portfolios. Previously, Mr. Lapiquonne spent four years as the deputy head and a senior portfolio manager of the structured credit investment team at AXA Investment Managers in Paris that had over $5bn AuM in structured credit equity and debt. Before that, he worked for over three years as a structurer and product specialist in Morgan Stanley's CDO group in London. He began his career in 1996 in London as an analyst in Banque Nationale de Paris's fixed-income markets research team.
Mr. Lapiquonne earned a degree from École Centrale de Paris and an MS in Finance from University of Cambridge.
Reginald S. Leese, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group within BlackRock Solutions. Mr. Leese focuses on commercial real estate debt.
Prior to moving to his current role in 2008, Mr. Leese was a member of the Fixed Income Portfolio Management Group, where his primary responsibility was managing structured credit product securities, including CMBS, ABS, and CDOs. Mr. Leese's service with the firm dates back to 2000, including his years with State Street Research & Management (SSRM), which merged with BlackRock in 2005. At SSRM, he was a portfolio manager and member of the Specialty Products Group. Earlier, Mr. Leese was Senior Vice President/Portfolio Manager with Citizens Bank. His positions there included member of the Treasury and Corporate Loan Syndication Groups, Credit Officer, Compliance Manager, and manager of the REO Department. He was a Vice President responsible for commercial real estate loan origination and credit administration with Fleet Bank of Massachusetts, N.A. from 1993 to 1994. From 1991 to 1993, Mr. Leese was a Vice President with Ensol, a regional environmental consulting company. From 1988 to 1991, he was with Bank of New England, N.A. in the loan recovery and commercial lending groups. He previously worked as a mine geologist.
Mr. Leese is a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association's Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Board of Governors. He is also co-Chair of the CMBS 2.0 Advisory Committee of the CRE Finance Council (formerly the Commercial Mortgage Securities Association). Previously, Mr. Leese served on the Executive Committee and Board of Governors of the CMSA and completed a term on the Board of Directors of the American Securitization Forum (ASF). He earned a BS degree in mining geology from the University of Leicester in 1982 and an MBA degree in finance and international business from Babson College in 1988.
Liam Miley, Managing Director, joined BlackRock in January 2012 and is a member of the Financial Markets Advisory Group EMEA region, with a focus on BlackRock's business in Ireland.
Prior to joining BlackRock, Mr Miley served with LBBW Asset Management (Ireland) plc for 12 years, initially as Head of Credit, and since 2002 as Managing Director. LBBWI, which was a MiFID authorised firm, was involved in the provision of investment management, risk analytics, valuations and administration services to funds and conduit structures including the management/restructuring of distressed conduits and CSO's. Prior to joining LBBWI Mr. Miley held a variety of positions with Industrial Credit Corporation, Barclays Bank-BZW and Smurfit Paribas Bank over a period of 18 years.
Mr. Miley is a Certified Accountant, a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of Harvard Business School and holds both a Certificate and Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors.
Morris B. Pearl, CFA, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group within BlackRock Solutions, focusing on consumer credit. Prior to his current role, Mr. Pearl was a member of BlackRock's Aladdin group, responsible for BlackRock's mortgages databases.
Prior to joining BlackRock in 2005, Mr. Pearl worked on computer security research at Columbia University. Previously, Mr. Pearl led the Fixed Income Research Department at PaineWebber/UBS, and was responsible for the systems and technology supporting the asset securitization business. Mr. Pearl began his career in finance at Prudential Bache Capital Funding in 1987.
Mr. Pearl earned a BS degree in economics degree from the Wharton School of Business and a BAS degree from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, both at the University of Pennsylvania in 1982.
Vilmos Pongracz, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group within BlackRock Solutions in EMEA. Since joining BlackRock in 2009, he has been leading or involved in several high profile assignments on behalf of government clients and financial institutions in the UK, Greece, Ireland, Germany and Sweden.
Previously, he was a Senior Vice President at private equity firm Lone Star, focusing on financial institutions, corporate and real estate investments across Europe. Before that, Mr. Pongracz was an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley in London, first in the M&A and then in the Fixed Income division where he focused on acquisition and take-out financings for private equity clients as well as whole loan principal investments for Morgan Stanley across Europe.
Mr. Pongracz holds a Masters in Management from ESCP Europe (Paris, Oxford, Berlin). He is fluent in English, German, Hungarian and French.
David Sayles, CFA, Managing Director, has been a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group within BlackRock Solutions since 2008.
Prior to moving to his current role, Mr. Sayles was a portfolio manager and member of BlackRock's Fixed Income Portfolio Management Group. His primary responsibility was managing taxable client portfolios, with a sector emphasis on derivatives and government/agency bonds, and implementing and managing hedging strategies. Prior to joining BlackRock in 2005, Mr. Sayles was at Alliance Capital Management and its private capital affiliate, Albion Alliance, specializing in private capital transactions and fixed income derivatives. Mr. Sayles was with Lehman Brothers from 1991 to 1996, as a Senior Vice President in the Emerging Markets fixed income trading group. He spent six years with The First Boston Corporation, where he was a Vice President in the Mortgage Capital Markets Group and, earlier, an Associate for the Asset Finance team. He began his investment career in 1983 with Morgan Guaranty Trust where he worked in Corporate Finance and in Foreign Exchange Trading.
Mr. Sayles earned a BS degree in chemistry from Yale University in 1981 and an MS degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, in 1983.
Nik Singhal, Managing Director, is a member of the BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group within BlackRock Solutions. Prior to joining Blackrock in 2010, Mr. Singhal worked as a Senior Analyst at HBK Capital Management in Dallas where he was responsible for originating and managing corporate loans and other opportunistic investments. He joined HBK in 2005. Prior to that, Mr. Singhal was a Vice President in the Fixed Income Division of Lehman Brothers in New York responsible for structuring and managing principal transactions, primarily focusing on esoteric ABS and distressed corporate debt. He joined Lehman Brothers in 1998 and became Vice President in 2003.
Mr. Singhal earned a BS degree in Computer Science & Engineering from IIT Delhi in 1995 and an MBA degree from IIM Ahmedabad in 1998.