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Working With Us

ZAIS

ZAIS is one of several structured credit managers with a twenty-six year history. Our history and experience provides several distinct competitive advantages:

1

Specialization and Focus

ZAIS has consistently invested in alternative credit for twenty-six years. Our history has allowed us to deepen our skillsets and our understanding of the credit markets. As a result, we have seen many alternative credit transactions since the 1990s and have managed through a diverse range of credit cycles.

2

Long-term Client Base

ZAIS’s clientele includes a long-term base, some of which have been invested with us for more than a decade. Over the years our clients have included: public and private pension funds, endowments, foundations, insurance companies, family offices, funds-of-funds, sovereign wealth funds and other investment advisors.

3

Experience and Longevity

We believe the longevity of our investment team reflects our focus and gives us an advantage in our core markets. For example, the core securitized credit team has been together for more than a decade and, combined, has multiple decades of sector-specific experience.

Key Team

Leadership

Mr. Zugel serves as Founder and CIO of ZAIS. Before founding ZAIS in 1997, Mr. Zugel was Head of High Yield Proprietary Trading with J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., where he led J.P. Morgan’s entry into many new trading initiatives.

At J.P. Morgan, Mr. Zugel also served on the Asia Pacific management-wide and firm wide market risk committees. Mr. Zugel received a Masters in Economics from the University of Mannheim, Germany.

Mr. Curry serves as the President of ZAIS, Chief ESG Integration Officer, and head of ZAIS’s Leveraged Finance team. Before joining ZAIS in January of 2018, Mr. Curry served as the Chief Executive Officer of DBRS Limited and DBRS, Inc. from December 2013 to August 2016. Mr. Curry served as Global President of DBRS from May 2012 to December 2013 and held the role of President of DBRS, Inc. beginning in December 2008 when he joined DBRS.

Before joining DBRS, Mr. Curry was a Group Managing Director at Moody’s, where he co-managed the corporate finance group for the Americas, overseeing the ratings and research on over 2,500 non-financial companies, spanning both investment-grade and high-yield areas. At Moody’s, Mr. Curry also managed the Structured Finance rating groups for Europe and Asia. Mr. Curry holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University.

Ms. Arrington serves as a Managing Director, Head of Client Relations at ZAIS Group (UK) Limited in London and is responsible for managing and developing relationships with clients and investors in the EMEA. Before joining ZAIS in May of 2016, Ms. Arrington was a Vice President of Investor Relations at Marathon Asset Management where she was responsible for business development for multi-asset credit strategies.

From 2010 to 2012, Ms. Arrington worked in the Fixed Income, Currency, and Commodities Department at Goldman Sachs. Previously, she worked as a Mergers & Acquisitions Analyst at Evercore Partners in New York. Ms. Arrington received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to English, she is also fluent in German.

Mr. Brune serves as Managing Director, Head of U.S. Client Relations and Business Development, and is a member of the ZAIS Group Investment Committee. Prior to joining ZAIS in December of 2022, Mr. Brune spent over a decade at J.P. Morgan Securities in New York. Most recently, Mr. Brune served as a Managing Director in the Corporate and Investment Bank, where he was responsible for leading the subsidiary coverage business for North America, and was a member of the U.S. and EMEA Corporate Banking management team.

He received a Masters of Business Administration (Diplom-Kaufmann) from Otto-Friedrich-University in Bamberg, Germany and also holds the title of Bankkaufmann after a two-year apprenticeship at Deutsche Bank in Duesseldorf, Germany. Mr. Brune is a member of the American Council on Germany and a member of the Board of Directors of the German American Chamber of Commerce in New York.

Ms. Crowley serves as Head of Structured Investments at ZAIS. As Head of ZAIS’s Structured Investments Business, Ms. Crowley is responsible for mortgage investments, including Non-Agency RMBS, CMBS, Commercial Real Estate debt and equity, ABS investments and CLO investments across our separately managed accounts and comingled funds.

Before joining ZAIS in August of 1997, Ms. Crowley worked at J.P. Morgan in the High Yield Trading Group. Before J.P. Morgan, she worked for Hon. Daniel P. Moynihan as an economic research analyst. Ms. Crowley received a B.A. from Boston College and an M.B.A. from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Mr. Lensborn is the Chief Technology Officer of the ZAIS Group, bringing 20 years of technology experience in a wide variety of roles and industries. Before joining ZAIS in October of 2019, Mr. Lensborn was the Chief Information Officer for DBRS, a Global Credit Ratings Agency. He spent 10 years in this role at DBRS where he modernized the Technology, Cyber Security, Quantitative Modeling and Data Management organizations.

Prior to DBRS, Mr. Lensborn spent 10 years in consulting, engineering leadership and software engineering roles with clients including major financial institutions and large firms in the air travel, technology and telecommunications sectors. Mr. Lensborn studied Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Ms. Nisha Motani serves as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Accounting Officer at ZAIS and is a member of ZAIS’s Commitments, and Conflicts and Cross Trades committees and serves as chair of the Valuation Committee. Ms. Motani brings over 20 years of financial and accounting experience to her role.

Before joining ZAIS in October 2003, Ms. Motani served as a Senior Manager in the Financial Services audit practice of Deloitte & Touche where she specialized in Investment Management. Ms. Motani is a Certified Public Accountant with a B.S. in Accounting from Rutgers School of Business.

Dr. Ross serves as Head of New Product Research and Development and Managing Director at ZAIS. Prior to assuming his current role in 2021, he was a member of the Structured Credit Portfolio Management Team at ZAIS responsible for trading Credit Derivatives and developing Quantitative Strategies.

Before joining ZAIS in September of 2013, he was a Postdoctoral Researcher in Theoretical Physics at Carnegie Mellon University and at Yale University investigating elementary particles, cosmology and black holes. Dr. Ross holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Masters in Physics from the University of Karlsruhe.

Mr. Russo serves as General Counsel and a Managing Director at ZAIS. Mr. Russo was appointed General Counsel in April 2017. Before joining ZAIS in February of 2007, Mr. Russo was an attorney at Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP in the Structured Finance Practice Group from 2004 to 2007. 

He received a B.S. with distinction from The Pennsylvania State University and a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law.

Ms. Ryan serves as Chief Compliance Officer and Director at ZAIS Group, with responsibility for the firm’s Compliance and Risk Reporting functions. She chairs ZAIS’s Conflicts and Cross Trades Committee. Ms. Ryan has worked as a paralegal in several prestigious firms as Kriss & Feuerstein LLP, Proskauer Rose LLP, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and ZAIS Group.

In 2017, Ms. Ryan joined the Goldman Sachs Bank Corporate Governance team as a Vice President and Assistant Corporate Secretary. She returned to ZAIS Group in 2019 as a Compliance Specialist and was named Chief Compliance Officer on March 31, 2022. Ms. Ryan received a BA from Seton Hall University.