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Working With Us

ZAIS Group

ZAIS Group is one of several structured credit managers with a two-decade history. Our history and experience provides several distinct competitive advantages:


Specialization and Focus

ZAIS has consistently invested in alternative credit for over twenty 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.


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.


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


Mr. Zugel serves as Founder and CIO of ZAIS and is also Chairman of the company’s Management Advisory Committee. 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 and is a member of ZAIS's Management Advisory Committee. 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 MBA from Columbia University Graduate Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University.

Ms. Crowley serves as Head of Securitized Credit and Head of Business Development and Client Relations at ZAIS. As Head of ZAIS’s Securitized Credit 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 co-mingled funds. She is also a member of ZAIS’s Management Advisory Committee. 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. Ingato serves as Head of Leveraged Finance and a Portfolio Manager and Managing Director. He is responsible for managing ZAIS CLOs and investing in the underlying leveraged loans. Mr. Ingato is the Chairman of the Leveraged Loan Investment Committee and is a member of ZAIS’s Management Advisory and Investment Committees. Before joining ZAIS in June of 2013, Mr. Ingato was a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at CVC Credit Partners. He joined CVC in May 2008 in connection with the sale of ACA to CVC. Mr. Ingato established ACA’s leveraged finance business in 2004 and was responsible for the firm's Corporate and Leveraged Loan CDOs. Before joining ACA Capital, Mr. Ingato was Senior Vice President and Head of the Leveraged Finance Group at Fuji Bank. Before joining Fuji Bank, Mr. Ingato was Vice President and Area Manager of the Corporate Banking Group at Wells Fargo Bank where he was responsible for originating LBOs with the bank’s private equity firms. Mr. Ingato holds his B.S., magna cum laude, in Marketing from Fairfield University, and an M.B.A. from the College of William and Mary.

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 Management Advisory, 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.

Mr. Russo serves as General Counsel and a Managing Director at ZAIS and is also a member of ZAIS’s Management Advisory Committee. 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. Shapiro serves as Chief Compliance Officer and Managing Director at ZAIS, with responsibility for the firm’s Compliance and Risk Reporting functions. She chairs ZAIS’s Conflicts and Cross Trades Committee and is a member of the firm’s Management Advisory Committee. Before joining ZAIS in June of 2013, Ms. Shapiro was Senior Compliance Officer and Compliance Consultant with Millennium Management LLC, CCO of Worldwide Life and Retirement Services with AIG, Inc. and CCO of International Insurance with Prudential Financial, Inc. She previously was an attorney with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in its Enforcement Division and practiced law with the firms Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson and Shaw, Pittman, Potts and Trowbridge (now, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman), in Washington, D.C. Ms. Shapiro has served as Chair of the Editorial Board of Business Law Today, a publication of the American Bar Association Section of Business Law and as a member of the Section’s Council, among other bar leadership positions and as a Visiting Professor of Law with the Central University of Finance and Economics Law School in Beijing, China. Ms. Shapiro received a J.D. from the Washington College of Law at The American University and her B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.