The Ascendant Management Team
President, Director, Partner | Connecticut
Jon is President and Director/Partner of Ascendant Compliance Management. Formerly Jon was Chief Operating Officer (COO) and acting President at National Regulatory Services (NRS). During his 17 years' experience in the compliance industry, he created the first Investment Advisor database and research tool housing public information from the Form ADV on over 28,000 Investment Advisers. He also engineered the Certified Compliance Program (CCP), a compliance educational training program. He is the recipient of the Public Service Award from the State of Connecticut presented by the Secretary of the State, Susan Bysiewicz. He is an avid supporter of non-profit organizations throughout the Northwest Corner of Connecticut to help children and families in need.
Director, Partner | Connecticut
Jackie is a Director of Ascendant Compliance Management and has over 25 years' regulatory and risk management experience. She was the founder of National Regulatory Services (NRS) which started the compliance resource business and served as its President for over 20 years. She also founded the National Society of Compliance Professionals (NSCP), a non-profit organization for compliance officers, staff and lawyers serving the compliance industry. It now boasts over 2000 memberships. Jackie has been a leading speaker to compliance professionals, including in-house training programs and various other industry association conferences, and has received numerous industry awards.
Jackie also serves as Director, Clerk of the New England Broker Dealer Investment Adviser Association (NEBDIAA), a non-profit organization, incorporated in 1997. The purpose of NEBDIAA is to provide a forum for the professional exchange of information among investment advisers, broker dealers, and persons who provide services to investment advisers and broker dealers, and to direct communication among its members which will improve their ability to serve the needs of their respective clients. The forum will help NEBDIAA’s members meet the increased regulatory demands placed on investment advisers, broker dealers, and persons who provide services to investment advisers and broker dealers.
John J. Gentile
Partner | Connecticut
John J. Gentile is responsible for overseeing various types of broker-dealer and investment adviser consulting engagements, including conducting SEC/FINRA internal control reviews, anti-money laundering testing, written supervisory policy and procedures testing, and other consultation services. John is a frequent speaker at industry conferences on various compliance topics, including "Effective Supervision," "Large Firm Testing,” FINRA Supervisory Control Rules” and "Anti Money Laundering Requirements for Broker Dealers under the PATRIOT Act." In 1987 John joined the SEC as a Securities Compliance Examiner, becoming a Branch Chief in 1991. He became Assistant Regional Director in 1993, supervising a team of twenty broker dealer managers and examiners. He also planned and conducted financial, operational, and sales practice examinations of the largest broker dealers and was among those responsible for a review of hedge funds' impact on broker dealer internal controls. Before joining the SEC, John was a Financial Damage Analyst with PaineWebber Inc. Most recently from 2000-2007 John was an Executive Consultant, Broker Dealer Services, at National Regulatory Services. John has an MBA from Fordham University and a BS in Finance from Central Connecticut State University. From 1995 to 2002, John was also a member of the Securities Industry Continuing Education East Coast Content Committee.
Partner | Connecticut
Keith provides consulting, annual compliance program reviews, risk assessments, on-site mock examinations and registration services to Ascendant’s clients, including the investment adviser divisions of regional banks, hedge fund managers, institutional advisers, wrap fee managers, Internet-based advisers, wealth managers and financial planners. Keith produces Ascendant’s FREE Form ADV Part 2 Template. He regularly speaks to compliance professionals and advisory firm staff at in-house training programs and at various other industry association conferences. In addition, he regularly contributes compliance-related articles for inclusion in industry publications. Before joining Ascendant Compliance Management, Keith was an instructor for the Center for Compliance Professionals, and Director of Investment Advisor Services at National Regulatory Services (NRS). Keith practiced law previously as an Associate with Day, Berry & Howard LLP (now Day Pitney LLP), a Hartford, Connecticut law firm. Keith served as a law clerk for two years in Connecticut's Supreme Court and Appellate Court. He earned his Juris Doctor degree Magna Cum Laude from Western New England College School of Law, and his Bachelor of Arts Magna Cum Laude from the University of Connecticut. He is a member of the State Bar of Connecticut, and is actively involved in raising funds for the Polycystic Kidney Foundation (www.pkdcure.org). Separate from his compliance consulting work for Ascendant’s industry clients, Keith is General Counsel to Ascendant.
Keith also serves as President of the New England Broker Dealer Investment Adviser Association (NEBDIAA), a non-profit organization, incorporated in 1997. The purpose of NEBDIAA is to provide a forum for the professional exchange of information among investment advisers, broker dealers, and persons who provide services to investment advisers and broker dealers, and to direct communication among its members which will improve their ability to serve the needs of their respective clients. The forum will help NEBDIAA’s members meet the increased regulatory demands placed on investment advisers, broker dealers, and persons who provide services to investment advisers and broker dealers.
Partner | Connecticut
Chris joined Ascendant Compliance Management with over 17 years' compliance experience. His responsibilities include on-site compliance reviews of advisory clients and consulting on regulatory and compliance-related topics. Chris's focus has been hedge fund consulting and he also performs due diligence reviews and mock examinations for institutional firms. Chris has prepared hundreds of clients for registration with the SEC and has led clients through the SEC and state adviser registration process with extensive knowledge of disclosure issues and requirements. Chris also consults on all aspects of investment adviser compliance, including the development of written supervisory procedures, guidance on the understanding of new SEC regulations, soft dollars, advertising review, SEC safe harbors and defining the regulatory issues associated with new advisory services. Chris frequently speaks at industry seminars, and other industry conferences. Before joining Ascendant Compliance Management, Chris served as Executive Consultant at National Regulatory Services (NRS) and chief compliance officer for an Investment Adviser. Chris received a B.A. from Aston University School of Business (England) and a M.A. in Public Policy/Economics, Trinity College.
Salvatore J. Papa
Partner, Director | New York
Sal consults on a wide variety of compliance, regulatory, structural and business matters, with a particular emphasis on Investment Advisers Act issues. He assists clients with the preparation and filing of their registration documents and counsels them on regulatory management and the development and assessment of compliance programs. He also conducts on-site compliance reviews, due diligence reviews and mock SEC examinations for investment advisers, including multi-family offices, advisers to private investment funds and institutional investment managers. Sal regularly speaks to compliance professionals at client in-house training programs and at industry conferences on a variety of regulatory topics. Before joining Ascendant, Sal was a Consultant at National Regulatory Services, and before that worked at a regional law firm and a hedge fund manager. Sal obtained his B.A. cum laude in political science with a minor in finance from Providence College. He earned his J.D. cum laude from New England School of Law where he served as Executive Editor of the New England Law Review. Sal is a member of the State Bar of Connecticut.
Partner, Director of Conferences + Education, Manager, Client Accounts | Connecticut
Sally joined Ascendant Compliance Management in 2007 with over 12 years' compliance experience, six of these years with conferences and educational services and six years in accounting. Sally provides the leadership and organization of compliance educational programs, both live and on-line, to further the understanding of compliance rules and regulations, by offering interactive training programs which clarify regulatory issues. Sally is also responsible for managing Ascendant’s administrative systems, organizing and maintaining all clients’ accounts. Prior to joining Ascendant, she was National Conference Manager for National Regulatory Services.
Partner, Director of Client Services | Connecticut
Roger manages and nurtures Ascendant’s interaction with clients and prospective clients. While the overall goal is to find, attract, and win new clients, Client Services deploys a company-wide business strategy that embraces all client-facing departments with the goal of superior services and maximum retention. Roger ensures that Client Services has an in-depth knowledge of each customer and assures that client needs are met in ways that improve their satisfaction. Before joining Ascendant at its inception in late 2006 Roger was a Regional Sales Manager at National Regulatory Services and its Top Sales Person for 2006. Outside of the office, Roger sits on the Board of Directors of The Bissell Fund, which pays medical bills for those in need, and the Housatonic Child Care Center which provides affordable child care in the northwest corner of Connecticut.
Partner, Manager, Client Services | Connecticut
Mike has been working in the regulatory compliance industry since 2002 as a customer service manager, ensuring delivery of expert, customized individual client service. Mike divides his time between our New York and Connecticut offices, working as a liaison between consultants, sales, and education to help develop and provide customized solutions for Ascendant clients. He works closely with the Ascendant Conference and Education Department in developing, marketing and promoting our educational offerings. Before joining Ascendant, Mike was a Regional Sales Manager at National Regulatory Services.
In his leisure time, Mike serves as a volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H groups, is a member and past-president of Putnam Speaks Toastmasters Club and is an active volunteer with The American Red Cross of Greater New York.
Partner, Managing Director | New York
Since 1980 Brian has held compliance and legal positions, including serving as Chief Compliance Officer of Lazard Asset Management, INVESCO Institutional and Aeltus Investment Management (now ING Investments), and as General Counsel to a mutual fund company. A seasoned professional with experience in implementing effective compliance programs and solutions, Brian assists clients in implementing compliance solutions that are effective, cost efficient and aligned with regulatory expectations and business needs and realities. He consults on compliance risk evaluations and the implementation of risk management methodologies, prepares clients for regulatory examinations and due diligence meetings, assists clients in establishing compliance programs to comply with Rules 38a-1, 206(4)-7, 3012 and 3130, provides guidance in drafting compliance policies and manuals, designs continuing education training programs, and assists clients in their investigation and resolution of alleged violations. Brian is a frequent speaker on compliance matters at industry conferences, including the SEC's CCOutreach National Seminar. Brian is a FINRA arbitrator and member of the New York and Connecticut Bars. He earned his BA in Economics from Whitman College, MIM from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) and JD from New York Law School.
Vice President | New York
Since 1993 Lisa Caruso has served in the consulting industry, working with hundreds of brokerage firms and their legal counsel, assisting them through the labor intensive and rather lengthy broker-dealer application process with FINRA. In addition to her expertise with the electronic filing requirements of FINRA’s new Form NMA, Ms. Caruso is involved in all aspects of the application process. She was one of the original participants in the new electronic Form NMA filing pilot program and worked closely with FINRA on updating and enhancing the electronic Form NMA. Ms. Caruso is an expert with respect to complex CRD filings, entitlements, deficiencies, WebIR filings and post registration and annual filings (such as Contacts, CMA filings, Limited Size and Resource, and 17a-4 filings) as well as simultaneous 50-state filings. Ms. Caruso has assisted legal firms and brokerage clients with all aspects of the new membership process, including developing firms’ business plans, tailoring written supervisory policies and procedures and developing the continuing education needs analysis and training plans, preparation of complex Form BDs and Form U-4s, handling ancillary registrations (DTCC, SIC, MSRB, OATS, etc.), obtaining fidelity bond coverage, and managing all aspects of web-based filings.
Korrine Kohm, CFE
Vice President | New York
Prior to joining Ascendant Compliance Management, Korrine was the Chief Compliance Officer and Head of Operations at Estabrook Capital Management, where she was responsible for all compliance functions of this SEC-registered, $2.1B investment advisory firm. Korrine began her regulatory career while working at Allied Irish Bank (NY) in the Operations Department where she was a key member of AIB’s Compliance Committee, responsible for ensuring compliance with Federal and State regulations. An active member of the National Society of Compliance Professionals for six years, Korrine earned her Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional (IACCPTM ) designation in 2006, is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and recently obtained her Certified Fraud Examiner designation. In addition to her experience in compliance and banking, Korrine began the sixteen-week intensive training course in Quantico, Virginia, to become a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She has particular experience in creating policies and procedures, developing and implementing compliance programs, conducting onsite compliance reviews, risk assessments and mock SEC examinations. She routinely counsels clients on various regulatory matters, including SEC registration issues, advertising, developing or refining compliance programs, disclosures and the annual review process. Ms. Kohm is a graduate of St. John’s University where she obtained both her B.A. in History and M.A. in Government and Politics. Korrine also attended Trinity College, Dublin, pursuing Irish history and literary courses.
Vice President and Managing Director | San Francisco
Larry Cowen has practiced Investment Management law for over 15 years, and now provides compliance consulting and due diligence services for investment advisers, hedge fund managers and private equity funds. Larry drafts compliance policies and procedures, conducts annual compliance reviews and on-site mock examinations, and provides SEC registration services.He is a frequent speaker at various industry seminars, as well as at the annual Ascendant conferences and online ComplianceCasts. Mr.Cowen previously served as the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Bellatore Financial, Inc.Prior to joining Bellatore, he was Of Counsel to the San Francisco law firm of Shartsis Friese LLP, where his practice involved counseling investment advisers, hedge fund managers and corporate clients. He was also previously the Chief Compliance Officer for a San Francisco-based hedge fund manager and a Senior Associate in the San Francisco office of K&L Gates LLP. Before relocating to the West Coast, Mr. Cowen practiced law in New York City and counseled various investment management clients, derivatives market participants and private equity/hedge fund managers. Mr. Cowen received his B.A. from Binghamton University in Philosophy and Law & Society and his JD cum laude from New York Law School. He is admitted to the California and New York bars.
Vice President and Compliance Services Consultant | New York
Kevin Loria has held several senior level compliance and sales supervision positions throughout his 18-year career and draws upon broad based experience to provide customized compliance consulting services to clients across the asset management and broker dealer industry. Prior to his work as a consultant, Mr. Loria was an Associate Compliance Director with LPL Financial/IFMG where he managed multiple compliance units including investment advisory compliance, branch examinations, internal audit, regulatory inquiries/customer complaints, advertising compliance, AML, and licensing/registration. Mr. Loria has also served as Assistant Compliance Director with AIG Advisor Group, where he managed the branch exam program. He was a VP/OSJ Principal with Bank of New York Investment Center, Vice President of Funds with the Aquila Group and held other positions supervising branch compliance functions with both Charles Schwab & Co. and Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. Mr. Loria has particular experience in conducting onsite compliance reviews and risk assessments, formulating compliance metrics, creating policies, streamlining procedures, and developing and implementing effective compliance programs.He has extensive experience with successfully collaborating with Senior Management, Legal, Internal Audit and regulatory agencies including FINRA, SEC and State Securities regulators. Mr. Loria received a BA in Finance from Baruch College in New York City.
E.J. Yerzak, CISA, CRISC
Compliance Services Consultant, Vice President of Technology | Connecticut
E.J. conducts on-site compliance program reviews, risk assessments, due diligence reviews, trade blotter analysis, and consults on a variety of other matters for Ascendant’s clients, including advisers to private funds and funds of funds. E.J. produces the ComplianceCasts™ Minute podcast series available on Ascendant’s website, and has authored articles and alerts on emerging regulatory and technology issues. As a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA®) and Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISCTM), he is Vice President of the technology team at Ascendant which performs IT risk assessments of firms’ technology controls. E.J. brings experience in both information technology and law to the compliance arena. Prior to Ascendant, E.J. served as a federal law clerk to the Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Connecticut, and worked for 8 years as a Partner and Senior Consultant at a New York-based firm, where he managed several software development teams, drafted manuals and specifications, and provided web-based demonstrations.
E.J. holds a Bachelor of Arts in both English and Computer Science, Magna Cum Laude, from Colgate University, a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Technology from Central Connecticut State University, as well as a J.D., Magna Cum Laude, from Quinnipiac University School of Law. He is licensed to practice at the State Bar of Connecticut and in federal court before the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Vice President | Connecticut
Linda has been in the compliance consulting industry since 2004, working with investment adviser firms in the preparation and filing of their registration documents and with compliance concerns. She has extensive familiarity with the IARD and CRD filings that includes Forms ADV, BR, U4 and U5. Linda assists firms with annual updating amendments and other types of filings as they may be required to submit. She has extensive experience with all aspects of state registration filings that begins with the application process and continues through to post-registration filings. Before joining Ascendant Compliance Management, Ms. Noyes was an Investment Adviser State Services Consultant at National Regulatory Services.
Vice President, Client Services | Connecticut
Dick has been in the compliance consulting industry since 1995, when he started with National Regulatory Services as a Senior Sales Representative. Prior to joining the Ascendant team Dick represented Accounting & Compliance International. He specializes in customizing regulatory compliance programs relative to SEC, NASD/FINRA, and State requirements for both large and small Investment Adviser firms, Broker Dealers, Investment companies, Hedge and Private Equity Funds and Insurance institutions to meet specific customer needs. Early on in his career Dick also was the Regional Vice President and branch office manager for Primerica, where he supervised over 80 NASD registered representatives. He is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and did graduate studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Tim Villano, CISA, CISM
Chief Technology Officer, Compliance Services Consultant | Connecticut
Tim joined Ascendant in 2011 with more than 20 years of experience in the investment research and management business. As a Senior Compliance Consultant, he provides services including risk assessments, annual reviews, and presence exam preparation to investment advisers, hedge funds, and private equity clients. Tim also serves as Ascendant’s Chief Technology Officer and has conducted IT Risk Assessment and Technology Audit services at private and public financial companies. He has assisted with the development of trade surveillance and monitoring software, Risk Assessment tools, and Ascendant’s Trade Blotter Manager, a proprietary web application for the analysis of the consolidated trade blotter of both investment advisers and broker-dealers. Prior to joining Ascendant, he has been President of his own research and consulting firm, Lakeville Research LLC, advising hedge funds, broker dealers, and high net-worth individuals. His analysis of equity, commodity, and currency markets has been published in several industry periodicals, including Barron's. Tim has conducted risk analysis, structured accounts, served as a portfolio manager for hedge funds and private clients, and has designed alternative investment products for broker-dealers and advisers. He has an extensive background in technology which led him to options analysis and modeling and his first job on Wall Street, where he also assisted in the installation of networks and ILX quote systems. Tim helped customize first generation Instinet machines for use in NASDAQ and OTC trading. He has experience with several trading and management platforms, has worked with numerous third-party technical analysis systems, and has developed proprietary data mining queries and tests using historical market data. He has experience transacting equities, bonds, futures, ETP's, and options with major domestic and international broker-dealers. His unique industry experience serves as a bridge to compliance issues for advisers and fund managers. He has a B.A. in English from Yale University and a M.F.A. from Columbia University. He is Series 7 and 66 licensed. In his spare time, Tim is a firefighter/EMT and Assistant Chief of the Lakeville Hose Company.
Compliance Services Consultant | Connecticut
Eugenie joined the Ascendant team in late 2011, and brings her legal background to the compliance arena. Eugenie was a business litigator in California, including as an associate at K&L Gates LLP and Loeb and Loeb LLP. Eugenie focused on consumer protection defense, primarily against federal and state regulatory agencies in administrative, state, and federal tribunals. Additionally, Eugenie managed cases and litigated in the fields of intellectual property, employment, civil contempt, unfair business practices, and deceptive advertising. Eugenie earned a B.A. in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College in Los Angeles; and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she was on the Connecticut Law Review; clerked for the United States District Court, District of Connecticut; clerked for Connecticut’s Office of the Attorney General, Antitrust Department; worked in the Criminal Clinic, Appellate Division; and studied at the University of Dublin Trinity College School of Law, for which she received UCONN’s Elihu Burritt academic success award. Currently, Eugenie conducts annual reviews, risk assessments, and due diligence exams; and provides other registration and reporting guidance, including for new exempt reporting advisers under the Dodd-Frank Act. Eugenie participates in numerous volunteer activities and serves locally on the Board of Directors for the Salisbury Land Trust. Eugenie is licensed as an attorney in California, New York, and Florida, as well as Authorized In House Counsel in Connecticut. Separate from her compliance consulting work for Ascendant’s investment advisor clients, Eugenie is Associate In-House Counsel to Ascendant.
Compliance Services Consultant | Connecticut
Adam provides consulting, annual compliance program reviews, risk assessments and registration services to Ascendant’s clients. Adam practiced corporate law prior to joining Ascendant and has an extensive background in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, Adam served as Assistant General Counsel at Capgemini - one of the world’s largest providers of Consulting, Technology and Outsourcing services – where, among his duties, he drafted and negotiated master services agreements, alliance and reseller agreements, and software licenses. Adam was responsible for Capgemini’s corporate governance across North America and has handled corporate filings for numerous entities. Adam earned his B.A. from Pitzer College, his J.D. degree from UC Berkeley – Boalt Hall School of Law, and his LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law. He is a member of the New York State Bar. Adam is fluent in French and Spanish.
Director of IT Development | Connecticut
Neil Visnapuu has been involved in finance and technology for over 15 years, having worked with firms as substantive as Accenture and DE Shaw, as well as smaller hedge funds and technology start-ups. He has developed trading systems, CRM platforms, and portfolio analytics suites, as well as covered hedge funds for Oppenheimer, and seeded / developed hedge funds at Borton LLC. He is a co-founder of Market 76, an integrated CRM / portfolio management system available to RIAs and broker dealers as a web based marketing platform.
Marketing and Public Relations
Director of Marketing | Connecticut
Melissa joined the Ascendant team in 2010, after spending 8 years in the sales and marketing capacity in the hospitality industry. She was most recently National Sales Manager for InterContinental Hotels, Boston. Melissa brings a passion for excellence and unparalleled customer service to her role in marketing. She has received a Masters degree, with distinction, in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing and International Business from Keller School of Management, and received her bachelor of arts degree in English from Wheaton College in 2002. Melissa also studied abroad at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia. She has served on the Steering Committee for the MS Cure Fund and has been involved in "Light the Night" and "Race for the Cure"