Our Company and Sites

Our Team

Over 250 global FMA professionals who represent a wide range of expertise, as: Strategic Advisors, Project Managers, Financial & Statistical Modelers, Data Scientists, Subject Matter Experts, Regulatory Experts, and Capital Markets & Asset Class Experts.

Charles Hatami

Charles Hatami | New York, US

Charles Hatami, Managing Director, is the Global Head of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group. The Financial Markets Advisory Group provides a wide range of advisory, capital markets and innovative consulting solutions for its clients, which include banks, insurance companies, official institutions, and other financial intermediaries. Mr. Hatami is a member of BlackRock’s Global Operating Committee and Human Capital Committee.

Prior to joining BlackRock in New York in 2010, Mr. Hatami served as the Managing Partner of Xeryus Capital Management, a global macro hedge fund he founded in London, UK. Previously, he worked at Banco Itau in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he executed fixed income arbitrage strategies for the bank's principal investment area. Prior to that, he worked as a research analyst at a hedge fund in NYC and in risk management at BNP Paribas in Frankfurt, Germany.

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

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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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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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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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Stephanie Cohen

Stephanie Cohen | London, UK

Stephanie Cohen, Managing Director, is the Global Chief Operating Officer for BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group. In this role, she oversees day-to-day business management and execution of business strategy and development initiatives across FMA.

Ms. Cohen's service with the firm dates back to 2005, including her years with Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM), which merged with BlackRock in 2006. Prior to moving to her current role, she worked as the Global Chief Operating Officer for BlackRock's Active Equities business. Before joining MLIM, Ms. Cohen worked in Finance and Risk for The Royal Bank of Scotland and AEGON.

Ms. Cohen earned a MA degree, with honors, in politics and social policy from the University of Edinburgh and is also a chartered accountant.

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Samuel Coleman

Samuel Coleman | New York, US

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.

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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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Nils Hoffmann

Nils Hoffmann | Frankfurt, Germany

Dr. Nils Hoffmann, Managing Director, is the practice lead for Banking in EMEA for BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group.

Dr. Hoffmann is an accomplished industry leader with over 15 years of global experience in banking, with particular depth in strategy, risk management, and end-to-end performance transformation. Before joining BlackRock, he was a partner at McKinsey & Company where he led the Corporate & Commercial Banking practice for North America and also served as a senior leader in the global Risk Management practice. Most recently he has supported global and leading regional banks on priority topics in the field of growth strategy, independent risk review and new regulation / CCAR, and digital strategy and transformation. Prior to joining McKinsey & Company as an analyst in Germany, he had worked at Goldman Sachs (IBD) and Deutsche Bank.

Dr. Hoffmann holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the Martin-Luther-Universitat Halle-Wittenberg (Germany). He earned an MBA from WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management (Germany) and from Ecole de Management de Lyon (France).

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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.

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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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Reginald S. Leese

Reginald S. Leese | Boston, US

Reginald S. Leese, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group. 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.

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Shamit Mehta

Shamit Mehta | New York, US

Shamit Mehta, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory Group.

Prior to joining BlackRock in 2016, Mr. Mehta was a Managing Director with Citigroup. Most recently he was the COO and Interim Head of North America Local Consumer Lending within Citi Holdings where he oversaw a group of senior executives in managing the operations of a $15B+ portfolio of subprime mortgages, personal instalment loans, student loans, credit card receivables, and insurance assets located in the US, Puerto Rico, and Guam. As part of this role, he led asset sales including the prioritization, negotiation, and execution of agreements to sell $8B+ of mortgage, student, and personal whole loans; launched and delivered key strategic initiatives, including the build-out of an organization to support servicing of $8B+ of sub-prime mortgages; managed critical operations including payment processing, incentives, and special projects; and drove discussions with and formulated responses to key regulators (Federal Reserve, CFPB, and DoJ). In addition, Mr. Mehta was on the Boards of various entities that oversaw the operations and liquidation of these assets.

Prior to joining Citi in 2010, Mr. Mehta was a senior Principal with the Boston Consulting Group. He worked with a wide range of financial institutions on engagements related to Deposits, Consumer Lending, and Asset Management, with a focus on Cards and Payments. His work for clients encompassed growth strategy, cost take-out, and organization re-design.

Mr. Mehta received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and his BS in finance and accounting, summa cum laude, beta gamma sigma, and beta alpha psi, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Corinne Neale

Corinne Neale | Singapore

Corinne Neale, Managing Director, for is responsible for client outreach in Asia ex-Japan for BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory Group.

Ms. Neale has more than 20 years of experience of regulated financial institutions across a wide range of client types, including banks, government pension schemes, insurance companies and official institutions. Prior to joining BlackRock Ms. Neale headed up the Global Currency and Emerging Markets risk advisory practice at Credit Suisse in Asia Pacific. Ms. Neale also held Managing Director positions for Fitch Solutions-Algorithmics, Standard & Poor's and Bankers Trust Company in Asia Pacific and Europe. Ms. Neale has been an active speaker at risk management conferences for the past 20 years and has published 10 articles on risk management applications.

Ms. Neale earned a Master in Finance from EMLyon in 1988 and a MBA from University of Connecticut in 1987.

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Eoin Redmond

Eoin Redmond | Dublin, Ireland

Eoin Redmond, Managing Director, oversees engagement execution for EMEA for BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group.

Prior to joining Blackrock in January 2012, he worked for nine years with LBBW Asset Management Ireland as a Senior Manager in Portfolio Management managing fixed income and structured products through vehicles and funds with direct assets under management of EUR 7bn. Through his career in LBBW, Mr. Redmond was responsible for the structuring and restructuring and management of approximately EUR 40bn of fund and structured vehicles. In 2007, he was responsible for the complete due diligence and restructuring of Sachsen Bank LB Europe with assets totaling in excess of EUR 30bn. In a prior role within LBBW, he was responsible for managing the firm's high yield fixed income, leveraged finance, workout and credit opportunities portfolios. Between 1999 and 2003, he worked as a Senior Credit Analyst with Allied Irish Banks in the International Corporate Banking division, with responsibility for the analysis and management of investment and non-investment grade corporate fixed income and debt portfolios. Mr. Redmond began his career holding roles in CitiGroup and Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking.

Mr. Redmond earned a MBA from UCD Smurfit Business School in 2001 and a Bachelor of Business Studies from Trinity College Dublin in 1997.

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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.

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Coryann Stefansson

Coryann Stefansson | Washington, DC

Coryann (“Cory”) Stefansson, Managing Director, is a practice area leader in BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group. She assists clients to interpret and develop solutions for regulatory policies, assessments and problems with a particular focus on foreign banking and central counterparty clients.

Mrs. Stefansson joined BlackRock after more than five years at PwC where she advised large complex financial institutions, including the U.S. subsidiaries of FBOs and Systemically Important Financial Market Utilities (SIFMUs). Mrs. Stefansson co-led PwC’s Enhanced Prudential Standards (EPS) strategy, where she assisted the largest most complex FBOs develop solutions to the new supervisory requirements. Before her stint at PwC, Cory was the Associate Director at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, responsible for advising staff and the Governors on issues related to Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs), including supervisory policies, applications, enforcement actions, and examination strategies and approaches. Mrs. Stefansson co-led the Supervisory Capital Assessment Program, the FRB’s first round of capital stress testing and the foundation of CCAR. Prior to her responsibilities at the Board of Governors, Mrs. Stefansson led Basel II implementation for the FRS from 2003 to mid-2007. She was a lead FRB representative in the interagency committee for development of the US version of Basel II rules and guidance. She was a key participant in the development of Supervisory Colleges. She served as the Board's representative to the Accord Implementation Group and the Standards Implementation Group. Mrs. Stefansson also held a number of leadership positions at the FRBNY in the Market Risk Group and in the Relationship function for large, complex banking organizations. Mrs. Stefansson has also held positions as a bank analyst, trader and derivatives broker. Her areas of expertise include corporate governance, risk management, stress testing, prudential standards and capital planning.

Mrs. Stefansson holds a BA from Purdue 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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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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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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