Fund Finance Association Awards

DIVERSITY IN FUND FINANCE ASSOCIATION

NATASHA PURI

Lloyds Bank

Natasha Puri, Vice President at Lloyds Bank, has been selected as the first recipient of the Diversity in Fund Finance Award. Natasha has been the driving force behind our Diversity in Fund Finance initiative. Her contributions to this cause are too numerous to mention but it is safe to say we wouldn’t be as advanced in this initiative as we are if it wasn’t for Natasha’s selfless dedication to the cause! Not only did she found the Diversity in Fund Finance affinity group, but she also created the group’s mission and strategy. Natasha led the group’s initial focus on creating relationships with diverse students early on in their careers to build opportunities for new talent and address the current lack of diversity within the fund finance industry. As part of that initiative, she organized multiple events with Baruch College and local NYC schools where FFA members participated in a teach-in and networked with students. Natasha leads the US and EMEA diversity committee while working closely with the newly established Asia committee and has supported all of the other events organized by the diversity committee. Did we mention she also does the same for her bank where she was also recognized as an I&D Role Model! 

We cannot think of a more deserving individual to be the recipient of the inaugural Diversity in Fund Finance Award.

Diversity in Fund Finance Association

The Diversity in Fund Finance Award will be selected based on an individual’s outstanding overall contribution to furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the fund finance industry, the FFA, their workplace, and/or the broader community. Emphasis will be placed upon the pillars of the Diversity in Fund Finance initiative, focused on: educating and connecting with students in order to help open the pipeline of diverse talent into the market; being a facilitator of action to advocate for positive change; striving to create opportunities of advancement for diverse professionals; and fostering an open, inclusive, respectful space for everyone no matter their background.

Selection criteria

The Award recipient will be selected based on their commitment of furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the FFA, their workplace, or the broader fund finance community.

[2020] ANNUAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE INDUSTRY AWARD

ARKIE SEMIDEY

East West Bank

Arquelio (Arkie) Semidey, Managing Director – Private Equity at East West Bank was selected as one of the 2021 recipients for his contribution to the fund finance industry during 2020. 
 
Arkie is described as a calm leader who is always willing to roll up his sleeves and get involved in any matter his clients or team work on.  He serves as a mentor to his younger team members and always makes time to share his experience.  Arkie is well respected by his clients, team, and the industry. 
 
We look forward to seeing Arkie continue to develop as an industry leader over the coming years.

JOSEPH ROCCO

Blackstone

Joseph Rocco, Managing Director and Head of Treasury Capital Markets at Blackstone, was selected as one of the 2021 recipients for his contribution to the fund finance industry during 2020.  
 
Joseph stands out for his ability to expertly navigate innovative financing solutions for complicated fund structures. Joe’s keen business sense, deep knowledge of the industry, and dedication to building relationships with market participants on both the borrower and lender side make him an excellent recipient for this award.  
 
We look forward to seeing Joseph continue to develop as an industry leader over the coming years. 

MICHAEL MBAYI

Wildgen

Michael Mbayi, Director at Wildgen, a Luxembourg law firm, was selected as one of the 2021 recipients for his contribution to the fund finance industry during 2020.  
 
Over the past year Michael has made outstanding contributions to the industry, including his successful webinar series on fund finance, a series where he meets with industry experts to share knowledge. In addition, Michael was actively involved in recruiting mentors for our first FFA Mentor program which kicked off in Europe in February 2021. Michael is also an active member of our Diversity in Fund Finance committee.  
 
We look forward to seeing Michael continue to develop as a leader in the industry over the coming years.

2020 Annual Contribution to the Industry Award

The Annual Contribution to the Industry Award aims to recognize several individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty during the prior year and demonstrated outstanding overall contribution to the Fund Finance industry, their firms and their clients, with an emphasis on professional contributions focused on excellence in client service, product and service innovations, diversity and inclusion, career development, training and mentoring, networking and community service.

Selection criteria

The Award recipient will be selected based on outstanding contribution to the FFA and the Fund Finance industry, over the past twelve months.

JULIAN BLACK LIFETIME CONTRIBUTION TO THE INDUSTRY AWARD

MARC UNGER

Marc Unger, formerly CFO at Harvest Partners, was selected as the 2021 recipient of our Julian Black Lifetime Contribution to the Industry Award. Marc’s untimely passing in December 2020 has been a great loss to the private equity industry with many of his former colleagues describing him as uniquely collaborative. Marc was an exemplary leader with a passion for his work. This passion extended well beyond his leadership role at Harvest Partners, as he mentored “the CFOs of the future” during his tenure as a board member of the Private Equity CFO Association (PECFOA). 
 
Marc’s contribution to the private equity industry and those following in his footsteps made him an excellent choice as the 2021 recipient of this award. 

Julian Black Lifetime Contribution to the Industry Award

The Fund Finance Association (FFA) established the Julian Black Lifetime Contribution to Industry Award in 2018 to recognize individuals who demonstrate dedication to the selfless service of the Fund Finance industry, which is the legacy left by the beloved Julian Black. Mr. Black's contributions to the fund financing market both in the Cayman Islands and globally, as well as his extensive charitable efforts, are remembered and honored each year with the presentation of this award.

Selection criteria

The recipient will be selected based on outstanding overall overall contribution to FFA and the fund financing industry, with an emphasis on lasting professional contributions over time.

Past Winners

2020: Walt Jackson

2019: Timothy Powers

2018: Julian Black

DEE DEE SKLAR WOMEN IN FUND FINANCE AWARD

ANN RICHARDSON KNOX

Mayer Brown LLP

Ann Richardson Knox, Partner at Mayer Brown has been selected as the 2021 recipient of our Dee Dee Sklar Women in Fund Finance Award.  
 
For over two decades, Ann has been paving the way for women in the fund finance market. Ann has served as the Co-Head of the Women in Fund Finance US Committee since its inception. Ann’s enthusiasm for WFF has been a driving force behind the success of its mandate to increase engagement, recognition and the promotion of women within the alternative investment fund finance industry. Did we mention she also has a day job and leads Mayer Brown’s Global Fund Finance team! Ann is respected by the industry community for being a thoughtful leader and contributor. 
 
Ann’s dedication to supporting women is an expression of her overall commitment to being impactful and working to address career development issues for women. Ann truly embodies what Women in Fund Finance represents. Her continued dedication to helping other women succeed makes her the perfect choice as the 2021 recipient of this award.

Dee Dee Sklar Women in Fund Finance Award

The inaugural Women in Fund Finance Award was first presented to Ms. Dee Dee Sklar in 2018 to honor her tremendous efforts to create the Women in Fund Finance initiative and increase engagement and participation of women in the Fund Finance community. The purpose of this annual award, now named the “Dee Dee Sklar Women in Fund Finance Award,” is to recognize a member of the Fund Finance community who embodies the mission of the Women in Fund Finance initiative and demonstrates their commitment to helping women succeed through connection, education and professional advocacy.

Selection criteria

The Award recipient will be selected based on outstanding general overall contribution to WFF, their firm and the Fund Finance industry, with an emphasis on professional contributions that further the purposes and objectives of WFF.

Past Winners

2020: Danielle Roman

2019: Kate Downey

2018: Dee Dee Sklar

NEXT GEN MEMBER OF THE YEAR AWARD

CAMERON ROPER

Proskauer Rose LLP

Cameron Roper, Special Counsel at Proskauer Rose LLP was selected as the 2021 recipient of the NextGen Member of the Year Award. With so many deserving nominees Cameron stood out for his dedication as an excellent mentor to juniors and an advocate for the fund finance industry more broadly. Cameron is described by clients as having a cool head, a sense of urgency and an ability to advise on and prioritize matters that were most important. He has managed to maintain a busy workload without significant resources while keeping a strong focus on developing junior lawyers and encouraging them to forge their own careers in the fund finance industry.  
 
With demonstrated natural leadership ability, Cameron is clearly one to watch and we look forward to seeing him grow into a future leader in our industry! 

Next Gen Member of the Year Award

The Fund Finance Association (FFA) established the Next Gen Member of the Year Award to recognize the great work young professionals are doing in the Fund Finance space. The purpose of this annual award is to recognize a young professional in the Fund Finance community who embodies the mission of the NextGen Network and demonstrates their commitment to the industry.

Selection criteria

The Award recipient will be selected based on outstanding general overall contribution to the FFA, the Next Gen Network and/or the Fund Finance industry and their firm, with an emphasis on professional contributions focused on education, career development, mentoring, networking and community service. Nominees must fall into one of the following categories:
- Employed at a bank, service provider, investor or fund borrower below Director (or equivalent) level; or
- Employed at a law firm below Partner level

Past Winners

2020: Billal Malik