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Our Team

BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory practice has over 280 professionals who bring to bear their substantial practitioner experience across banking, financial regulation, and consulting to address our clients’ strategic needs. Our team consists of deep financial asset-class & capital markets experts, former regulators, modeling and analytics specialists, data scientists, financial & statistical modelers, project execution leads and strategy consultants.

Global Head of Financial Institutions Group and Financial Markets Advisory

Charles Hatami

Charles Hatami | New York, US

Charles Hatami, Managing Director, is the Global Head of BlackRock's Financial Institutions Group and Financial Markets Advisory, and a member of BlackRock's Global Operating Committee, Human Capital Committee and Global Client Council. He oversees the insurance asset management business and the advisory team, which delivers a range of services - focused primarily on balance sheet management, capital markets & portfolio construction, data & analytics, and risk & regulatory matters - to public and financial institutions, including banks and insurance companies globally.

Prior to joining BlackRock in 2010, Mr. Hatami served as the Managing Partner of Xeryus Capital Management, a boutique global macro hedge fund that he founded in London, UK. Previously, he worked at Banco Itau in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Prior to that, he worked as an analyst at a hedge fund in New York City and in risk management at BNP Paribas in Frankfurt, Germany.

Mr. Hatami serves as a member of the Executive Council of the International Insurance Society, a global forum for all insurance industry stakeholders. He also serves as an Advisory Board member of the MIT Golub Center for Finance & Policy.

Mr. Hatami earned an MBA degree with concentration in finance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, and an MSc. in Financial Engineering, with honors, from Leonardo Da Vinci Engineering School in Paris, France.

Head of Americas

Kunal Khara

Kunal Khara | New York, US

Kunal Khara, CFA, Managing Director, is the Americas Head of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group.

Prior to joining the Financial Markets Advisory Group in 2012, Mr. Khara was a senior member of the Market Analytics team within BlackRock Solutions, responsible for managing and evolving the analytics platform and serving as a subject matter expert on risk analytics and financial models, with an emphasis on securitized products. Mr. Khara began his career at BlackRock as a member of the Portfolio Analytics Group where he performed portfolio risk analyses focusing on mortgage, structured, and derivative products for various commercial banks. Prior to working at BlackRock, Mr. Khara was a Senior Analyst at ALM First Financial Advisors, a firm that provides investment advisory and ALM services to credit unions and co-operative banks.

Mr. Khara earned a BS in Business Administration, summa cum laude, with a finance concentration from the University of Texas, Dallas. He is a CFA charterholder.

Head of EMEA

Roberto Speranza

Roberto Speranza | London, UK

Roberto Speranza, Managing Director, leads the business development efforts in Southern Europe and Italy for BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group.

Prior to joining BlackRock in 2016, Mr. Speranza worked at UBS AG (London), where he was a Managing Director and the head of the FIG EMEA Debt Capital Market and Client Solution Team. He was a member of the EMEA DCM Executive Committee; EMEA Sales Committee; EMEA Suitability and Reputational Committee; and the Investment Banking European Business Review Committee. Mr. Speranza's team mandate included primary market issuances of debt and hybrid instruments, liability management, ABS, solutions business with special focus on asset & liability management, balance sheet optimization, NPL advisory, and collateralized funding. Prior to UBS, Mr. Speranza worked at Lehman Brothers (Nomura post 2008 acquisition) where he was responsible for the Southern European Structured and Principal Finance teams. At Lehman, he served in a variety of leadership roles where, among other activities, he set up a direct mortgage-lending platform in Italy, created a special servicing joint venture in Italy and Portugal, and led the acquisition and financing of a number of distressed loan portfolios. Mr. Speranza started his career in 1996 at WestLB in London in the Securitization and Principal Finance team.

Mr. Speranza holds an MSc degree in finance from London Business School in 1999 and a BS degree in economics, with first class honors, from LUISS Guido Carli University, Rome in 1995.

Paschalis Bouchoris

Paschalis Bouchoris | Athens, Greece

Paschalis Bouchoris, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory European team. Based in Athens, he leads the development of the group’s regional presence in Southern and Eastern Europe. He has served as a senior oversight and co-execution lead in multiple engagements focusing on NPL management and asset quality reviews.

Before joining BlackRock in 2015, he was the CEO of Greece’s Privatization Fund leading the country's €10bn privatisation program of utilities, infrastructure and real estate assets. Prior to this, he worked for nine years at National Bank of Greece in a number of senior management roles including Head of Large Corporate Special Assets focusing on workouts and NPLs in Greece, Head of International Corporate overseeing the Group’s wholesale banking and asset recovery activities in South East Europe and co-Head of the mid-market buyout funds managed by the Group’s private equity arm (NBGI). Earlier in his career he had spent several years in strategy consulting, restructurings and private equity working in Greece and in the United States.

Paschalis earned a Diploma in Electrical & Computer Engineering at NTUA, Greece and a MBA at Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands.

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Andrea Castoldi

Andrea Castoldi | Milan, Italy

Andrea Castoldi, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group. The FMA team supports financial institutions and government entities on important engagements in the field of Risk Management and Regulation (e.g., valuation and risk assessment, balance sheet / capital and liquidity management, modelling and data services, transaction and due diligence support, BSA / AML compliance support). It combines BlackRock's deep asset expertise and insights into financial markets with distinctive capabilities in advanced analytics based on its Aladdin platform. Mr. Castoldi leads the Group business development efforts in Italy and is responsible for EMEA NPL Management product suite.

Prior to joining BlackRock in 2016, Mr. Castoldi worked for 12 years at McKinsey & Co, where he was an Associate Principal and member of the Corporate and Investment Banking and Corporate Finance practices. Mr. Castoldi area of expertise included: 1) Corporate Banking, Capital Markets, Investment Banking and Structured Finance, where he has led more than 40 strategic reviews, market growth strategies, organizational restructuring, business model evolution across EMEA; 2) CFO agenda (e.g. Finance Function transformation, Planning, Budgeting and Performance Management improvement) and M&A (e.g. target screening, due diligence, JV strategy and setup), topics on which he has advised more than 30 Corporate and Financial Institutions clients; 3) Private Equity / Hedge Funds, where he has advised clients on: Credit Funds setup, Banks-Funds co-origination partnership, due diligence

Mr. Castoldi holds a Master in Business Administration from London Business School in 2008 and graduated in Business Administration, magna cum laude, from Bocconi University, Milan in 2004.

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Mike Collar

Mike Collar | London, UK

Mike Collar's description: Mike Collar is the Head of FMA Business Development for the UK and Ireland, primarily responsible for driving the expansion of client relationships in EMEA. Before joining FMA, Mike spent 13 years at JP Morgan, most recently as Head of the UK & Ireland Financial Institutions Group. In this role he had senior coverage and execution responsibility for clients across the banking, insurance and asset management sectors, and also lead a large team covering FTSE 100, 250 and unlisted clients. He provided strategic and market advice to boards and senior management, including valuation, capital structure, capital markets interaction and M&A. Prior to JP Morgan, Mike spent five years at Cazenove & Co Financial Institutions Group, and started his career at PwC spending four years in Banking, Insurance and Capital Markets. He has a BA Honours in History from Exeter University and is a Chartered Accountant (ACA).

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Ashish Das

Ashish Das | New York, US

Ashish Das, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group. Dr. Das focuses on modelling, analytics and infrastructure-related client engagements and services development.

Prior to joining BlackRock in 2017, Dr. Das was a Managing Director at JPMorgan where he established and headed the Firmwide Forecasting & Analysis team in building a multi-purpose enterprise forecasting platform to improve transparency, speed, accuracy, and auditability of the stress and budget capital forecasting processes. Prior to this, Dr. Das headed the Quantitative Modeling team at Moody's Analytics in developing retail and structured credit products. Previously, he was a Vice President in the Prime Brokerage group at Morgan Stanley. Prior to this, Dr. Das spent six years at Moody's KMV heading the portfolio modeling team that built industry-leading products, including RiskFrontier, which is still used by dozens of large banks globally in their bank-wide economic capital estimation and allocation. Dr. Das has published in prestigious journals, including The Journal of Finance and The Journal of Credit Risk.

Dr. Das earned a Ph.D. in Finance from Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University, an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona, and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

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Stefan Dreesbach

Stefan Dreesbach | Frankfurt, Germany

Stefan Dreesbach, Managing Director, is responsible for the advisory business in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group.

Prior to joining BlackRock, he has been a Senior Adviser to McKinsey & Co. Before that he was a member of the management board of Portigon AG (former WestLB AG) responsible for Capital Markets, Treasury and Restructuring, being based in Düsseldorf, Germany. He (re)-joined WestLB in late 2008 to lead the restructuring of its's Global Markets activities and later for the entire bank during the financial marketscrisis and following the decision of the European Commission on WestLB's final restructuring. He was also responsible for WestLB's / Portigon's global FICC businesses, and was a General Manager of the banks largest foreign subsidiary in London and a member of the management board of Germany´s largest financial services company (Portigon Financial Services GmbH), which was carved out from Portigon AG in 2014. He held various boards of director’s positions in WestLB´s asset management business with BNY Mellon, mortgage and foreign banks in Brazil, Russia, South Africa and Poland. Prior to joining WestLB he held senior front office and critical production roles at RBS in London (2004-2008). Before joining RBS, he held senior positions at Goldman Sachs in London (2000-2004) in DCM and Trading and in WestLB's trading businesses in Düsseldorf and Tokyo (1995-2000) and worked in Treasury at Kölner Bank eG (1990-1995).

Mr. Dreesbach holds the approval of the German Banking Regulator BaFin (KWG §33). He studied business administration at a Senior Executive Program at the London Business School.

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Benjamin Eddy

Benjamin Eddy | New York, US

Benjamin Eddy, Managing Director, is a member of the Client Advisory team within Financial Markets Advisory (FMA) group, and is a member of the group's Enterprise Risk Management and Regulatory Strategy practice areas. Prior to BlackRock Benjamin served as SVP and Head of Regulatory Liaison Office at HSBC. In this role, he was responsible for all regulatory relationships and remediation associated activity within the bank's U.S. Holding Company. As part of his array of responsibilities, Benjamin advised executive management and directors within the organization on strategic responses to regulatory inquiries and management responses to supervisory letters and regulatory concerns. From 2011 to 2013, Benjamin worked as Assistant Director of Liquidity Risk in AIG's Treasury & Capital Markets division where he led the development and deployment of a new firm-wide liquidity risk framework. As part of this role, Benjamin managed the Treasury Liquidity Risk Oversight team with a mandate to monitor liquidity risk at the holding company and subsidiary levels. Prior to AIG, Benjamin served as an on-site Senior Examiner at a bulge bracket bank and Senior Analyst on the Counterparty Funding & Credit Analysis team in the Bank Supervision department of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY. During that time, among other responsibilities, Benjamin owned Bank Liquidity risk monitoring and development of a data template designed to monitor Counterparty Funding for large complex institutions. Before working at the FRBNY, Ben spent nearly ten years as an Audit Manager at PwC. Benjamin holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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Olivier Van Eyseren

Olivier Van Eyseren | London, UK

Olivier Van Eyseren, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory Group. Mr. Van Eyseren leads the Group business development efforts with banks and global financial institutions in the UK.

Prior to joining BlackRock in London in 2016, Mr. Van Eyseren worked with Société Générale (the French bank) as a Managing Director, where he was most recently leading the bank advisory team within Global Markets, which executed several public and private mandates for various European institutions, on a broad variety of topics including legacy management, portfolio valuation & disposals, RWA & regulatory ratios optimization, asset & liability management and risk mitigation strategies. Prior to joining Société Générale in 2007, Mr. Van Eyseren worked with Bear Stearns in London, as a structured credit specialist, supporting the sales and distribution efforts in Europe and, prior to that, with Commerzbank as the head of the financial engineering team in London, where he was responsible for the design and implementation of an integrated cross-asset derivatives pricing and risk management front-office platform. Mr. Van Eyseren started his career in 1994 with Banque Paribas, as a quantitative analyst in the derivatives research and pricing team.

Mr. Van Eyseren holds a degree from Ecole Polytechnique in France, with a specialization in financial modelling and stochastic calculus.

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Ashwin Laheja

Ashwin Laheja | New York, US

Ashwin Laheja, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group and is the Global Head of the Markets Practice. The Financial Markets Advisory Group advises clients in managing their capital markets exposure and businesses. Mr. Laheja specializes in managing portfolios of CDOs and other credit derivatives.

Prior to joining Blackrock in 2008, Mr. Laheja was a Vice President in the Securitized Products Group of Morgan Stanley, where he structured, analyzed and traded CDOs. In addition, he was responsible for establishing valuation frameworks for CDOs and correlation ABS related correlation products. Prior to attending business school in 2005, Mr. Laheja worked at Oracle Corporation as a Product Manager in Applications. He began his career at TenFold Corporation, designing billing and database systems.

Mr. Laheja earned a BS degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in 1997, an MS degree in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999, and an MBA degree from the University of Chicago in 2005.

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Benjamin Leax

Benjamin Leax | New York, US

Ben Leax, Managing Director, is the U.S. Head of the Markets & Analytics team in the Financial Markets Advisory Group. The Markets & Analytics Group is a global team that combines the best of FMA's markets and portfolio management skills with data, analytics and modeling capabilities.

Prior to assuming his current responsibilities in 2016, Mr. Leax was a Portfolio Manager within FMA with a focus on CMBS and Real Estate Debt. Before moving to FMA in 2008, Mr. Leax was a member of the Portfolio Analytics Group, where he was responsible for fixed income risk management, with a focus on financial institutions.

Mr. Leax earned BS degrees, with honors and highest distinction, in economics and finance from the Pennsylvania State University.

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Paige Maire

Paige Maire | New York, US

Paige Maire, Managing Director, is a member of the Financial Markets Advisory (FMA) team at BlackRock. FMA supports clients across a range of advisory services focusing primarily on balance sheet management, capital markets and transaction support, data and analytics, and risk and regulatory matters. Prior to joining BlackRock, Paige was the Head of U.S. Financial Institutions within Debt Capital Markets at Barclays, where she was responsible for day-to-day management and leadership of a team focused on the origination of unsecured debt, preferred stock products and related services across U.S. and Canadian depositories, insurance companies, specialty finance companies, asset managers and agencies. Regulatory capital, capital allocation, share repurchase strategies, credit valuation, fixed-income investor marketing, liability management, acquisition financing and risk management were also areas of focus and engagement with clients. Paige was directly responsible for many key client relationships and was relied on for driving progress, enhancing client dialogue and partnerships, particularly with complex client organizations. For example, Paige covered BlackRock and assisted our Treasury team with funding solutions, including BlackRock's $2.5 billion debt offering in 2009 to finance its acquisition of Barclays Global Investors. Paige began her career at Credit Suisse First Boston, where she was an Analyst and promoted Associate in Debt Capital Markets. Paige earned her BS degree from Cornell University in Industrial and Labor Relations.

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Edward Smith

Edward Smith | New York, US

Edward Smith, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory group. Prior to joining BlackRock, Mr. Smith held several senior risk-focused roles, in both banking and consulting. As EVP, Director of Risk Architecture, at Santander Holdings USA, Mr. Smith headed the enterprise risk management, risk data, and risk modeling functions for Santander's US bank holding company. Previously, Mr. Smith worked at State Street Corporation, serving as SVP, Head of Model Risk Management, and as SVP, Basel Program Director. As part of these roles, Mr. Smith led several high-profile risk and regulatory remediation initiatives across the firm.
As a consultant, Mr. Smith served as Partner in Oliver Wyman's finance and risk practice, and more recently founded a boutique consulting firm specializing in prudential risk and regulatory compliance for large and complex banking organizations.
Mr. Smith earned an A.B. degree, with honors, in Physics from Harvard University.

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Joel Toms

Joel Toms | Charlotte, US

Joel Toms, Managing Director, is a member of the Markets & Analytics team in the Financial Markets Advisory Group. The Markets & Analytics Group is a global team that combines the best of FMA's markets and portfolio management skills with data, analytics and modeling capabilities.

Prior to joining BlackRock in 2010, Mr. Toms was the Director of Research and Analytics at Palmetto Hospitality Fund, a commercial real estate private equity fund. Previously, Mr. Toms worked in the CDO Structuring Group at Morgan Stanley where he developed CDO models and structured CLOs. Prior to that, he worked at Longship Capital Management, a manager of a fixed income fund of funds. Mr. Toms started his career at Lehman Brothers in Fixed Income Sales and Trading.

Mr. Toms earned an MBA from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and a B.S. degree in Economics from Duke University.

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Julien Wallen

Julien Wallen | Zurich, Switzerland

Julien Wallen, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group.

Prior to joining BlackRock in 2011, Mr. Wallen was an Associate Principal at McKinsey where he served banking clients on Corporate Finance, Sales & Marketing and Performance Improvement issues. After McKinsey, he co-founded a successful web start-up in 2008 and, most recently, was interim COO and Management Committee member of Merrill Lynch Bank (Suisse) S.A.

Mr. Wallen earned an MBA from INSEAD in 2004 and a MSc. in Economics & Finance from HEC Lausanne (Switzerland) in 2000. 

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Matthew Widham

Matthew Widham | London, UK

Matthew Widham, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group and is responsible for business development and engagement execution for the group's balance sheet advisory practice. Mr. Widham specializes in advising financial institutions, central counterparties, central banks, market intermediaries and financial market regulators in managing their capital market exposures and balance sheet businesses.

Prior to joining the Financial Markets Advisory Group in 2009, Mr. Widham worked in BlackRock's Aladdin risk technology business where he was responsible for managing client relationships with financial institutions. He joined BlackRock in 2007. Previously, Mr. Widham was a teacher in the New York City Teaching Fellows program, where he taught math and economics to at-risk high school students in Manhattan.

Mr. Widham earned a B.S. in economics from Duke University and a graduate degree in mathematics education from City College.

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Matthias Wyrwoll

Matthias Wyrwoll | London, UK

Matthias Wyrwoll, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory (FMA) group in EMEA, where he acts as Co-Head of the Official Institutions business and serves as Senior Expert in Risk & Regulation. He focuses on clients including Central Banks, Supervisors & Regulators, Multilateral Development Banks, as well as Private Sector Financial Institutions. His expertise covers Financial Stability, Risk Management, Regulation, and Capital & Balance Sheet Management. BlackRock's FMA team supports clients across a range of advisory services focusing primarily on balance sheet management, capital markets and transaction support, data and analytics, and risk and regulatory matters.

Since joining BlackRock in 2014, Matthias has served in oversight and leadership roles on numerous assignments with Official Institutions and Private Sector clients globally, including leading supervisors and G-SIB banks. Prior to joining BlackRock, Matthias worked as an advisor to Lone Star Funds, leading the team responsible for the Financing and Hedging activities for Lone Star's investments in EMEA. He started his career at Landesbank Hessen-Thueringen in Frankfurt/Germany, where he served in different roles in Risk Management, Regulation and Securitisation Structuring.

Matthias went to university in Berlin, Paris and Heidelberg and holds a Master's Degree in Economics from Free University Berlin. He is a CFA Charterholder.

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