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Ezra Zask, (born 1950) President of Securities and Financial Consulting, LLC, Liquid Alternative Investments, LLC, and Empowering Investors, LLC, has spent more than three decades in senior positions in the hedge fund, securities markets and investment management industries. He has gained prominence as a foreign exchange and derivatives trader, financial risk manager, hedge fund manager, investment portfolio and asset allocation manager, author, speaker and teacher, having taught graduate level courses at, among others, Princeton University Graduate Department of Economics and Yale University Graduate School of Business. As of July 2017 Mr. Zask continues to work in finance, providing consulting services to investors. He has also founded a financial software company.
- 1 Current positions
- 2 Biography
- 3 Financial publications
- 4 Personal background and education
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Expert witness and litigation support
Ezra Zask is currently the President and Founder of Securities and Financial Consulting, LLC (SFC), an economic and financial consulting group which provides expert witness services in complicated securities litigation, including cases related to Bernard Madoff, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), State Street Global Advisors, United Bank of Switzerland, Citibank, Bank of America, Allied Irish Bank, Porsche, Standard Chartered Bank, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and the Canadian Revenue Agency. He has worked for some of the largest law firms in the world including Sullivan & Cromwell; WilmerHale; Sidley Austin; Quinn Emanuel; Dechert; Morgan Lewis; Katten Muchin Rosenman, and Weil Gotshal.
The issues addressed in these cases included investment suitability, hedge fund and complex derivatives valuation, damages, complex derivatives and structured products, mortgage backed securities, hedge fund due diligence, mortgage backed securities, currency and commodity trading, risk management, Ponzi schemes and brokerage and bank issues. Zask testified as an expert in over 20 times in FINRA/NASD arbitrations, U.S. District Court (Criminal), New York Supreme Court (Civil), Delaware Court of Chancery, IRS Court, Bankruptcy Court.
Hedge fund and investment management consulting
SFC (formerly known as Ezra Zask Advisors, LLC) also provides hedge fund consulting including hedge fund due diligence, portfolio construction, risk management and trading strategies. The company has provided consulting support to high-net-worth individuals, hedge funds and fund of hedge funds, and institutional investors in selecting managers, determining asset allocation and monitoring risk. Zask was the technical consultant in the development of the Standard & Poor’s Hedge Fund Index product and the Dow Jones Hedge Fund Index.
Liquid Alternative Investments
Zask is also the President and Founder of Liquid Alternative Investments, LLC, a newly launched Internet based database, analysis, information, education and consulting on the rapidly growing liquid alternative investments – hedge funds, and exchange-traded funds (collectively knows as 40-act alternative funds) that utilize strategies and tools typically used by private partnerships such as hedge funds.
Mr. Zask has recently founded a new company, Empowering Investors, LLC (www.empoweringinvestors.com), which provides consulting services to investors in assisting them to reduce the expenses associated with investing, including high management fees, unnecessary products, expensive products, skewed asset allocation, and investment in vehicles that attempt to "beat the market."
Zask has worked in several positions in the investment management industry, and is well-known among investment managers and investors. He has worked for hedge fund of funds including Azimuth Alternative Investment, which is affiliated with Emigrant Bank’s Private Banking Group, and Paradigm Capital Management, which was partially owned by Hunter Biden and Jim Biden, Vice-President Joe Biden’s son and brother, where he was the president of an SEC registered 40-Act fund of hedge funds, one of the first such funds in the U.S. Paradigm invested in dozens of hedge funds in a wide variety of strategies. Its investors were primarily high-net-worth individuals.
He was also a Managing Director of Ibbotson Associates (now part of Morningstar), widely recognized as an industry leader in manager selection, portfolio construction and risk management, where he oversaw the hedge fund investment management and asset allocation programs – both discretionary and non-discretionary – for banks, wealth management groups, funds-of-funds, and institutional investors. This process included such aspects as portfolio construction, asset allocation, and risk management, including approximately 150 due diligence investigations of various investment products, including hedge funds and fund-of-funds.
Among his other projects in the investment management industry, Zask was one of the initial officers of Advisor Software, Inc., (ASI) an Internet-based company providing financial management and asset allocation advisory to investment managers, 401K plans and institutional investors. ASI’s clients include Charles Schwab, Russell Investments, Ameritrade, LPL Financial, Fidelity and State Street Global Advisors.
Zask was also a managing director at Berkshire Capital Securities, a firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions in the asset management industry, where he served as research director and worked on a number of transactions.
Hedge fund management
Zask was Founder and President of Ezra Zask Associates, a Commodities Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC) registered global arbitrage hedge fund with over $1 billion in market positions, where he managed all aspects of the hedge fund including the investment strategy and its implementation including back office, operations, compliance, and marketing. The fund’s strategy used a sophisticated arbitrage program in currencies, emerging market debt, commodities and equities. Its investors included a large number of sophisticated investors, including, for example, Swiss private banks, pension funds, funds-of-hedge-funds, wealth management and private bank groups, broker-dealers, investment and commercial banks, and government authorities. The hedge fund was extensively involved in trading both exchange-traded and over-the-counter derivatives with broker-dealers and investment banks that included Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Canada and Chase Bank.
Foreign exchange and derivatives trading
Zask was one of the early practitioners in the growth of financial markets and derivatives in the 1980s and 1990s. He managed large scale trading and risk management positions for Mellon Bank and Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company (now part of JP Morgan). In the latter he held the position of Senior Vice President and Global Trading Manager, where he oversaw all the trading conducted by the bank, including trades initiated by the bank’s private banking and investment management groups. In addition to the management of various trading and investment portfolios, he was responsible for the back office, operations, regulatory and internal policy compliance, risk management and client relations in the trading areas. He was also actively involved in the operations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) regulated broker dealers owned by both banks.
Zask has taught graduate level courses on investment managed and hedge funds as an adjunct instructor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Business, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally Graduate School of Business, Carnegie Mellon’s Graduate School of Business Administration, Princeton University’s Bendheim Center for Finance, and Yale University’s Graduate School of Business and Columbia University.
Zask has previously held Series 7 license administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) on behalf of the SEC. The license is also known as a general securities registered representative license and is a requirement for anyone who sells securities products in the U.S. He also held a Series 63 license known as the Uniform Securities Agent license – from FINRA, as well as a Series 3 covering commodities futures and options contracts.
Zask is the author of All about Hedge Funds, 2nd edition (McGraw Hill 2013) a widely used comprehensive overview of the hedge fund industry, which was also published by McGraw Hill in Chinese in 2014). His other publications include the following:
The E-Finance Report, McGraw-Hill, 2001
Global Investment Risk Management, Edited, McGraw-Hill, 1999
“Hedge Fund Industry Report,” The Journal of Alternative Investments, February, 2000
“Hedge Fund Valuation,” The Journal of Alternative Investments, June, 2000
Personal background and education
Zask was born in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1950 and emigrated to the United States with his family in 1959, living first in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and attending Yeshiva Torah Vodaath and then in Bensonhurst where he attended Brooklyn Technical High School, one of New York City’s elite examination schools. He was the first Brooklyn Tech student ever to be admitted to Princeton University, where he graduated with a B.A., Cum Laude. He then received an M.A., M. Phil at Columbia University where he was the recipient of Columbia University President’s Fellowship; New York State Herbert Lehman Fellowship and the National Science Foundation Thesis Grant. He was sentenced to serve five years' probation after admitting to possessing one video depicting a child under the age of 16 engaged in sexual acts.
- Financial advisers get more tools for navigating the liquid alts space, Investment News, Sep 24, 2015, By Jeff Benjamin, http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20150924/FREE/150929939/financial-advisers-get-more-tools-for-navigating-the-liquid-alts
- SFC Associates
- Yale School of Management Welcomes Ezra Zask Archived 2009-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.
- E-Finance Report
- Investment Risk Management
- Hedge fund guru Ezra Zask pleads guilty to possession of child porn , BY Shayna Jacobs , Larry Mcshane, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2013, 10:57 AM, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/hedge-fund-guru-ezra-zask-pleads-guilty-child-porn-possession-article-1.1523339