John D. DesPrez III, a prominent executive in the financial services industry, was appointed InspereX’s Chief Executive Officer in January 2015. Mr. DesPrez previously served as CEO of John Hancock Financial Services and as Chief Operating Officer of Manulife Financial Corp., one of the largest diversified insurance groups in the world.
Mr. DesPrez oversaw the U.S. operations of Manulife for 10 years, during which time the company purchased John Hancock. As CEO and President of John Hancock Financial Services, Mr. DesPrez oversaw a broad-based financial services operation with multiple business lines, including annuities, mutual funds, group pensions, college savings plans, structured financial products, managed accounts, and life and long-term care insurance. In addition to Manulife’s U.S. operations, Mr. DesPrez was later also given responsibility for Canada and Asia, and then became COO with oversight of all the firm’s operating businesses around the globe.
A native of Cleveland, Mr. DesPrez majored in economics at Harvard College and graduated from law school at Georgetown University. He previously served on the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute and the Board of Directors of the American Council of Life Insurance, both in Washington, D.C. Mr. DesPrez continues to serve as an honorary trustee of the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Mr. DesPrez also serves on the boards of Halstatt, LLC, a Collier family holding company, Haversine Funding, LLC, a non-bank lender and of the Boca Raton Museum of Art.
Dave Rudd is a 20-year veteran of institutional fixed income sales and trading, and one of the visionaries behind 280 CapMarkets. Driven by a belief that dealers should compete for advisors’ business, and that technology should play an integral part of that process, he set out to develop a new firm with a new perspective; a conflict-free model centered around Best Execution. Prior to 280, Mr. Rudd was Director of Fixed Income Capital Markets and a top producer at RW Baird in San Francisco. Previous roles include Institutional Sales at RBC Capital Markets, Piper Jaffray, and Fidelity Capital Markets. He is a native of Silicon Valley and a graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree in Economics.
Brad Busscher is Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of InspereX and is responsible for overseeing the legal, compliance and technology departments. He is also a member of the InspereX Executive Committee.
Prior to joining InspereX in 2009, Mr. Busscher served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Mesirow Financial, where he was a member of the Executive Committee, supported a diverse group of operating entities engaged in brokerage, asset management, insurance, private equity and hedge fund of funds activities and participated in several material acquisitions by the firm. Before that, he held senior level positions at Van Kampen Investments – a unit of Morgan Stanley, and Kemper Securities / EVEREN Securities, Inc. / First Union Corporation (n/k/a Wells Fargo Advisors). He also served as a Branch Chief of Enforcement of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and began his career in private practice in Miami, Florida.
Mr. Busscher holds a BA from Cornell University, a JD from the University of Miami and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business. He recently completed his term as a Director of the National Society of Compliance Professionals, published a chapter in a securities treatise (“Corporate Transactions: The Role of Compliance”), and is a frequent speaker on securities regulatory issues.
Christine Carrels is the lead champion and guardian of the InspereX brand, having orchestrated its launch in 2021. She oversees the firm’s digital-first approach to building the firm’s reputation, engaging clients, and educating investors.
She is a veteran of creating, managing, and analyzing content to help build relationships for organizations ranging from start-ups to non-profits to the Fortune 500. Before joining InspereX in 2016, she was the director of marketing for a regional bank in Illinois for eight years, partnering with executive management to grow the bank’s market share.
Ms. Carrels graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois and was the lead writer and researcher for a published photo history of the university. She volunteers frequently for charitable causes and is a past president of Illinois Women in Leadership.
Laura Elliott helped co-found Incapital in 1999. As Co-Head of the Fixed Income division, she specializes in business development and relationships with Incapital’s top-tier clients.
Previously, Ms. Elliott worked at ABN AMRO as Syndicate Manager for the GMAC SmartNotes program, responsible for all dealer relationships. Prior to ABN AMRO, she was at Mesirow Financial for nine years, working consecutively in compliance, retail and institutional sales, and high-yield trading.
Ms. Elliott earned her BS in education from the University of Alabama. She has served as a member of the Bond Dealers of America board and the SIFMA Retail Fixed Income committee. She belongs to the Women’s Syndicate Association and the Security Traders Association of Chicago.
Steve Giles oversees information technology infrastructure, application development and business analytics.
Prior to joining InspereX, he spent 21 years at Manulife Financial and its U.S. division, John Hancock. While there, he held a variety of operations management positions, including most recently, Vice President of General Account Investment Operations. His experience includes mutual funds, variable annuities, fund administration and investment operations.
Mr. Giles earned a BS in Business Administration from Northeastern University and an MSF from Boston College. He is an active participant in the Northeastern University community, where he previously served on the Board of Visitors for the Business School and the MBA Finance Career Track Advisory Committee and as a judge at the University’s annual international business case competition. He holds Series 7 and 24 licenses.
Hugh McHaffie leads InspereX’s development and distribution of market-linked products through its expanding presence in the financial advisor, banking, and broker-dealer communities.
Hugh is a veteran of the wealth management industry, previously having served as President of John Hancock Wealth Management, a division that offers mutual funds, retirement savings products and annuities. In addition, he oversaw John Hancock’s Investment Management Services and served as President of the John Hancock Trust and John Hancock Funds II mutual fund complexes. Prior, he was Senior Vice President, Individual Business Product Management for MetLife and served as Chairman of the Metropolitan Series Fund. A graduate of the University of Toronto with a BA in economics, Hugh is formerly a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and past member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
George Holstead is Co-Head of InspereX’s Fixed Income division, encompassing all fixed income trading, dealer and institutional sales, and the capital markets practice, including debt and equity syndicate businesses, and the firm’s industry-leading InterNotes program, offering individual investors access to new issue corporate debt offerings.
Mr. Holstead joined InspereX in 2019, bringing more than two decades of sales experience coupled with a track record of establishing and expanding highly successful fixed income divisions for large regional broker-dealers such as Raymond James and Sterne Agee. Prior to InspereX, he was a managing director at Brean Capital, where he was responsible for the build-out of the Middle Market and Financial Institutions Group.
A graduate of Texas Wesleyan University, Mr. Holstead holds FINRA Series 7, 9, 10 and 63 licenses
Prescott Nasser has over 15 years of technology experience, building financial services software and teams. He is a VP at the Apache Software Foundation. Mr. Nasser was previously VP of Engineering at Vouch Financial and Director of Engineering at Prosper Marketplace.
Prescott graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Cognitive Science and an emphasis on artificial intelligence. In addition, he studied Graduate Economics at Stanford University.
Sara Wehmeyer leads InspereX’s efforts to attract, recognize, reward and develop best-in-class talent in order to drive organizational effectiveness and productivity.
An experienced executive with direct experience in all aspects of human resources, Ms. Wehmeyer previously held a variety of roles focused on human capital within the wealth management industry. She spent 16 years at UBS Wealth Management Americas, most recently serving as Head of Talent and Development, where she partnered with the business on accelerating the firm’s wealth management transformation efforts via high-quality training, structured talent management processes and leadership bench development. She previously held a number of leadership roles including Senior HR Business Partner, Head of Compensation Strategy & Consultation, and Head of Next Gen Programs and Campus Recruiting, as well as roles in both fixed income and equity sales.
Ms. Wehmeyer graduated summa cum laude from the Pennsylvania State University and is a frequent speaker on human capital issues.
Tom Ricketts co-founded Incapital in 1999 and served as its CEO until 2009.
As CEO, Mr. Ricketts created Incapital’s flagship InterNotes Platform and then led the firm’s diversification initiatives in underwriting and distributing certificates of deposit, agencies, mortgage-backed securities, structured notes, preferred stock offerings and annuities. In 2009, Mr. Ricketts became Executive Chairman of the Chicago Cubs after leading the Ricketts Family acquisition of the team.
Mr. Ricketts is a CFA charterholder and earned a BA and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He was the University of Chicago’s Booth Graduate School of Business Distinguished Young Alumnus for 2005. From 2002 until 2007, Mr. Ricketts served on the Board of Directors of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. Prior to co-founding Incapital, he was a Vice President and Investment Banker for The Chicago Corporation and the brokerage division of ABN AMRO Inc. Before that, he was a market maker on the Chicago Board Options Exchange.
Mr. Ahluwalia is Vice-Chair of the Executive Board of Directors of InspereX Holdings and an executive advisor to Thomas H. Lee Partners. He brings over twenty-five years of operating and financial services experience with a proven track record of building, fixing and growing businesses, most recently in wealth management. Mr. Ahluwalia has provided strong leadership in a number of different roles including COO, CEO and President, and Chief Risk Officer. Mr. Ahluwalia is currently a director of Hightower Advisors and was a co-founder of 280 CapMarkets.
Previously, Mr. Ahluwalia was an advisor and COO at Ovo Cosmico, Inc., a VC-backed start-up with a mission of making credit affordable and accessible everywhere. He was also president and CEO of AssetMark, Inc., where he focused the company’s strategy on growth through advisor engagement, improved execution, and product and service innovations. As President and CEO of GE Private Asset Management and Genworth Wealth Management, he transformed the unit from a boutique business to one with industry-leading profitability. He previously served as a Senior Vice President at GE Insurance and Chief Risk Officer at GE Edison Life Insurance.
Mr. Ahluwalia holds an M.S. cum laude from New Jersey Institute of Technology, a B.S. of Computer Science from New York University College of Arts and Sciences, and a B.E. of Electrical Engineering from Cooper Union.
Since 2011, Mr. Ahluwalia has served as the President of the board of Ensaaf, whose mission is to fight crimes against humanity in India, with a special focus on Punjab, by documenting abuses, bringing perpetrators to justice, and organizing survivors.
John Amboian is the retired Chairman and CEO of Nuveen Investments, a position he held from 2007 through 2016. Prior to this, he served as Nuveen’s President from 1999 to 2007, after joining Nuveen in 1995 as its Chief Financial Officer. He previously served on the Nuveen Mutual Funds board from 2007 through 2015 and the public-company board of Nuveen Investments from 1995 through 2007. Prior to joining Nuveen, Mr. Amboian was Senior Vice President of Finance, Strategy & Technology at Miller Brewing. He began his career in corporate and international finance at Kraft Foods.
Mr. Amboian is the lead independent director of Danimer Scientific, a publicly-traded leader in biodegradable plastic polymers. He also is a board member of publicly traded special-purpose acquisition companies sponsored by Live Oak Merchant Partners. He is an independent director of Adams Street Partners, a leading private-markets investment firm and an industry advisor to private-equity manager Madison Dearborn Partners. Mr. Amboian also is a senior advisor to Estancia Capital, a small/middle market private equity firm with a focus on financial services and is chairman of North Square Investments, a multi-boutique asset management firm in Chicago. He is chairman of Evanston Capital Management, a hedge fund alternative-investment manager and serves on the board of InspereX LLC, a FinTech fixed-income underwriter and distributor. Mr. Amboian also is on the board of Cresset Capital, a high-net-worth wealth management firm.
Mr. Amboian received both a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He is on the board of Lurie Children’s Hospital and its investment committee. He chairs the board of the North Shore Country Day School Foundation. He also serves on boards of other not-for-profit organizations.
Kelly Herrell has a thirty-year career span in high tech industries. After earning his MBA at Cornell, he started in Product Management with large companies such as AT&T and Oracle, which landed him in Silicon Valley in 1995. From there, he quickly pivoted to software startups where he rapidly grew responsibilities to become CEO. Of the first four consecutive startups, two went public and two were acquired. Now at his fifth young software company, Hazelcast, he is driving rapid growth across the world’s largest financial services and eCommerce customers worldwide.
Kelly has served as an advisor to multiple young companies earning successful exits and is a mentor and lecturer for the Digital Immersion program at Cornell’s graduate business school.
U.S. Bancorp Experience
Jim is vice chair and head of Corporate & Commercial Banking (CCB) which serves middle market, large corporate and commercial real estate firms, as well as government and financial institutions.
Jim is a 34-year markets and banking industry veteran. Prior to joining U.S. Bancorp in 2009, he spent six years at Wells Fargo/Wachovia Securities (2003-2009) and ten years at Bank of America Securities (1993-2003). During this time, he managed various Capital Markets related groups. Jim started his career at Lehman Brothers in 1987, where he worked in New York (1987-1989) and London (1989-1993).
Jim earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Sociology from the University of Michigan.
Professional Affiliations/Community Involvement
Jim is a community advocate and involved in several community organizations in Charlotte, NC. He is the founder Banking on Our Community, an annual event which has raised over $1 million for numerous charitable organizations in Charlotte. He is also a member of the Charlotte Father’s Day Council for the American Diabetes Association, is an advisory board member for Charlotte Bridge Home and the John Crosland School, and volunteers as a head coach for Charlotte Junior Girls Soccer.
Jim serves as co-executive sponsor for the Development Network at U.S. Bank. Previously, he served on the boards of SIFMA (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association), MarketAxess, Incapital, and the American Bankers Securities Association (“ABASA”)
Marianna Lopert-Schaye leads strategic investments in Firmwide Strategy at Goldman Sachs in NY where she focuses on venture stage, strategic investing and strategy.
Firmwide Strategy focuses on supporting the cross-divisional, strategic priorities of Goldman Sachs and accelerating growth initiatives through a framework of build, buy, partner and invest. As a lead investor in the Firmwide Strategy team, Marianna spends her time engaging with startups across various market segments including wealth technology, trading technologies and market infrastructure, as well as digital assets and crypto. She spends a large part of her time engaging with various internal stakeholders across different businesses as well as spearheading internal strategy on various new business initiatives.
Prior to joining Firmwide Strategy, Marianna was part of the Principal Strategic Investments team focused on global markets and digital assets. She was formerly part of a Structuring and Marketing team based in New York which focused on liquidity risk management, collateral management as well as capital and liquidity optimization. Marianna joined Goldman Sachs full-time as an Analyst in 2010 as part of a cross-asset derivatives Sales and Structuring team in Sydney, Australia.
Marianna has an Honors degree and University Medal in Economics from the University of Technology, Sydney and a Bachelor of Accounting (Co-op Scholarship) and University Medal in Accounting from the University of Technology, Sydney
Adam is head of the Private Investor Products Group (PIPG) for the Americas and co-head of Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) Custody at Goldman Sachs.
PIPG focuses on the pricing, distribution, origination and trading of Securitized and OTC derivative products across all major asset classes with a focus on Private Banks, Broker Dealers, Retail Banks, Registered Investment Advisors and other distributors that provide structured solutions to high net worth or retail investors. RIA Custody focuses on delivering integrated trading and custody solutions to independent advisors as well as developing partnerships with asset management and wealth technology firms.
Adam joined Goldman Sachs as a vice president and head of PIPG Americas in 2018 and was named managing director in 2019. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, he worked for 10 years at Barclays, where he most recently oversaw efforts as head of Structured Retail Product Distribution for the Americas. Adam joined Barclays in 2008 from Lehman Brothers, where he also focused on the sale of structured products and OTC derivatives.
Adam serves as a board member of SIMON Markets.
Adam earned a BBA, with high honors, with a dual focus in Finance and Marketing from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in 2004.
Fixed Income Market Advising, Starkweather Management LLC
Tom Vales began his advisory, Starkweather Management LLC, in 2021 to address market structure for fixed income management and trading. He is currently serving as an Independent Trustee for the Axonic Funds managed by Axonic Capital LLC.
Prior to starting his advising practice, Tom was the Chief Executive Officer for TMC Bonds (TMC, formerly TheMuniCenter), an electronic marketplace for trading fixed income which was acquired by the Intercontinental Exchange in July of 2018. Mr. Vales had started the ATS in May of 2000, with backing from industry leaders including Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Assured Guaranty. He oversaw and managed the company to become a market leader for electronic bond trading with over 1000 firms participating on its live trading platform at the time it was sold.
While running TMC, he was an active participant in industry groups speaking at conferences and writing comment letters for regulatory initiatives. Mr. Vales served as a Member of the FINRA Fixed Income Steering Committee, Subject Matter Expert for the MSRB, and participant for the FIMSAC Municipal Market sub-committee.
Prior to starting TMC, Mr. Vales spent ten years with Bankers Trust where he was a Managing Director of the Relative Value Arbitrage Group and Senior Manager of the Tax-Advantaged Arbitrage desk. From 1989 to 1996, he worked as a Vice President at BT Securities in municipal trading, sales, and derivatives.
Mr. Vales graduated in 1986 from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He is an outdoor enthusiast, spending a great deal of his free time in the Adirondacks.
Ms. Vazirani brings over twenty years of experience in financial technology. She most recently was the head of payments and strategic partnerships at Netflix for Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Prior to Netflix, Ms. Vazirani worked at Apple, where she was responsible for the development and launch of Apple Pay Cash and the conceptualization of the Apple Card. Ms. Vazirani has held several senior management positions at Visa in innovation, including building the company’s money transfer capabilities globally.
Ms. Vazirani previously led marketing for Calypso Technology, an early stage capital markets trading technology company where she oversaw marketing, sales operations, and partnerships for the company globally. She has also worked with financial services clients at the Boston Consulting Group and began her career at Citibank in the consumer technology group.
Ms. Vazirani holds a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where she was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and a Joseph Wharton Scholar and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management.