Board Of Directors


Alex Urdea, CFA, FRM, CMT
Solus LP

Partnerships Liaison

Alex Urdea, CFA, FRM, CMT, joined Solus at its inception in July 2007 and has been managing risk for the hedge fund portfolios since he joined Stanfield Capital Partners LLC in 2004. At Solus, he leads a group responsible for developing and managing a proprietary system that integrates portfolio management, trading, risk, research, operations, legal, and investor relations functions. As such, his daily responsibilities include monitoring portfolio exposures and sensitivities while working to express the firm’s view in the most effective and efficient manner. Urdea has served as chairman for the Investment Strategy Committee for the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA). He was recently awarded the NYSSA Volunteer of the Year Award (2010). He also volunteers his time as a junior board member for Streetwise Partners, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the unemployed and underprivileged of New York find long-lasting and fulfilling careers. Urdea received a BSE in financial engineering from Princeton University in 2002 along with a Certificate in Finance and Engineering Management Systems. He was inducted into the Sigma Xi Research Society and served in several leadership roles. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), a Financial Risk Manager (FRM), and has recently been awarded the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) designation.

Vice Chairman

Philip J. Taylor, CFA

Fiscal Liaison

Philip J. Taylor, CFA, is a Managing Director in the Investment Banking Group at Lazard. In this role he is responsible for structuring and distributing exchanges in corporate convertible securities. Prior to this role, he managed a $1bn portfolio at RBC Capital Markets, and has a successful nineteen-year track record in portfolio management. He has served as Chair of both the Market Integrity Committee and Alternative Investments Committee at NYSSA, and has contributed to high-level discussions at the SEC regarding changes in trading regulations. Taylor has also published several articles in major hedge-fund research sites. Prior to RBC, he worked at three major hedge funds after starting his career at Bankers Trust. He holds a Masters degree in Mathematics and Management Studies from the University of Cambridge, and has held his CFA designation since 1998.


Drianne Benner, CFA 

Communication Liaison

Drianne Benner, CFA, is a Managing Director for Appomattox. She is responsible for business development and client service. Previously, she was Global Marketing Director at Cadogan Management LLC, where she was responsible for overseeing firm-wide marketing and client communications for institutional and family office clients. Prior to joining Cadogan, she spent the ten years, most recently as a Managing Director, at U.S. Trust Company, where she developed and led client and marketing initiatives focused on investment communications, initiated an institutional consultant relations program and serviced large institutional clients. Earlier she worked at Paribas Asset Management, a global asset management firm, in a variety of roles including institutional and consultant relations to some of the largest U.S. pension funds and as a manager of portfolios in an enhanced quantitative strategy. She earned a BA from Pennsylvania State University and attended graduate studies in regional planning in international development at Cornell University.  She is a CFA Charterholder and a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts. She serves on the Board of Peconic Green Growth as well as on the Philanthropy Committee of the Peconic Land Trust.


Antonella Puca, CFA, CIPM, CPA

Content Liaison

Antonella Puca, CFA, CIPM, CPA, is a senior manager with the Financial Services practice of RSM US LLP in New York, where she provides auditing and advisory services to private equity funds, hedge funds and registered alternative funds. Prior to joining RSM, Antonella was at KPMG/Rothstein Kass, where she helped launch RK’s Bay Area practice, and in the global hedge fund practice of EY in San Francisco and in New York. Antonella has worked on a variety of alternative investment funds, ranging from start-up funds to some of the largest players in the industry. Her areas of expertise include financial reporting and auditing, GIPS verification, investment performance measurement and reporting, investment valuation and regulatory compliance for alternative investment funds. Most recently, she has provided assistance to a number of hedge fund clients in conducting public offerings on the New York Stock Exchange.  Antonella is a co-founder and treasurer of SnehaCares, Inc, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to assist children with HIV in Bangalore, India. Antonella has collaborated with the CFA Institute as a Volunteer in the Future of Finance campaign and in a number of initiatives related to the CFA, CIPM and Claritas examination process. She is a member of the GIPS Verification Subcommittee of the CFA Institute. Antonella is the co-chair of AIMA’s recently released Sound Practice Guide to Liquid Alternative Funds and has collaborated with AIMA as a member of AIMA’s Research Committee and of the DDQ on Fund Directors Working Group. She has been an adjunct faculty member at New York University and is a frequent speaker at conferences on alternative investments. Antonella is licensed as a CPA in California and in New York, a Certified Valuation Analyst with NACVA, and a member of the Italian Professional Association of Journalists. She served as Director-at-Large on the NYSSA Board of Directors from 2014-2015. Antonella holds a degree in Economics with honors from the University “Federico II” of Naples, Italy, and an M.A. from New York University. She has been a research fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of the 420 Italian National Sailing Team. 


Christopher Cutler, CFA
Manager Analysis Services, LLC

Christopher Cutler, CFA, founded Manager Analysis Services, LLC [MAS] in March 2003 to provide outsourced due diligence services on investment managers. MAS covers all types of investment managers, with a focus on managers with alternative investment strategies: hedge funds, private equity, real estate, and venture capital. Consequently, MAS has built relationships with many of the most prominent managers in the hedge fund industry. Clients include foundations, family offices/HNW, FOFs, and others. Cumulatively MAS has reviewed over 1,500 hedge funds since its founding 12 years ago. Prior to founding MAS, Chris worked at Deutsche Bank from 1994 for 2003. He managed risk for specialized fixed income derivatives products, marketed OTC interest rate derivatives, and developed structured financial products. Chris conducted due diligence calls as early as 1995, when managing risk for the stable value Wraps business, where he reviewed the trading strategies of the largest US fixed income managers, and of hedge funds involved in structured product vehicles. Chris was an economist and bank regulator at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 1988 to 1994. He co-authored the Federal Reserve System's original Trading Activities Manual, the comprehensive guide to the Federal Reserve System's examiners when they examine banks' trading floors. Chris has an MBA in Finance from NYU's Stern School of Business Executive Program, a BA in Economics from the University of Chicago, and became a CFA Charterholder in 1998. He is also active in the NY Chapter of the CFA Institute, NYSSA, where he co-led a successful governance reform effort in 2014, which led to the creation of competitive elections for Board candidates. He also chaired its “Alternative Investments Committee” from 2005 to 2007 and again in 2014, and was Vice Chair of the Advocacy effort in 2012.

Andreas Dal Santo, CFA

Andreas Dal Santo, CFA, is an independent consultant based in New York City with more than 13 years of experience in asset management. Previously, he was senior portfolio manager – head of emerging markets equities at Arca Fondi Asset Management in Milan, Italy. Prior to that, he was European financial analyst and North American specialist portfolio manager for Arca Fondi. During his 12 years with the firm, Dal Santo managed funds that were rated among Italy’s best performing by Morningstar.  Dal Santo is currently board secretary and scholarship chair for the CFA Society Italy (CFASI). In 2010, he mentored the student team that won the finals of the CFA Institute Research Challenge in Omaha, NB, and with another volunteer, went on to create the CFASI Fund Management Challenge. This portfolio management competition for undergraduate students is aimed at increasing financial literacy and ethics, and won CFA Institute’s Most Innovative Project award in 2012. In the same year, Dal Santo worked together with other volunteers to write the exemplary CFASI governance manual, which won CFA Institute’s Best Governance Program award as a best practice. Dal Santo is an active member of NYSSA, and a member of the Investment Strategy Roundtable, Sustainable Investing and Career Development Committees. Dal Santo is a staunch believer in the importance of volunteering and mentoring future generations of finance professionals; his call to action is featured on the Get Involved – Volunteers webpage of CFA Institute’s website. He has a BA in economics from Ca’ Foscari University.

Robert Discolo, CFA, CAIA
Permal Group

Robert Discolo, CFA, CAIA, former Executive Vice President, Investments, at Permal Group where he managed a team of analysts and portfolio managers that invested in excess of $20 billion in hedge funds. He was also a member of the Group’s Global Investment Committee. Mr. Discolo joined in 2015, having previously spent 14 years working at AIG/PineBridge Investments, where he was Managing Director and Head of Hedge Fund Solutions Group, ultimately responsible for managing in excess of $10 billion in proprietary and client assets in hedge funds and other alternative asset classes. Prior to joining AIG, Mr. Discolo spent seven years at Bank Julius Baer where he was head of the Public/Private Funds Group, and before that was at Merrill Lynch in Partnership Financing, having started at Drexel Burnham Lambert in their Fund Services Group. Mr. Discolo is a frequent speaker at alternatives conferences and is quoted/profiled in major business publications. He has also authored or co-authored various white papers on alternatives investing. Mr. Discolo is a CFA® Charterholder and holds an M.B.A. from Pace University, Lubin School of Business, New York, and a B.S. in Accounting from St John’s University, Jamaica, New York. 

Patrick Holert, CFA, CAIA
BBVA Securities

Membership Liaison 

Patrick Holert, CFA, CAIA, is Vice President and Research Principal for BBVA Securities, where he oversees compliance with U.S. securities rules for the company’s research activities in the U.S., Latin America and Europe. In the past, Mr. Holert lived in Asia for many years and has served as an equities analyst for Nomura Securities in Thailand and Korea, an investment manager for a frontier private equity fund covering the Mekong region, and a consultant on projects in the Middle East, India and across Southeast Asia. He specialized in finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and has a BA in economics and mathematics from Claremont McKenna College. Mr. Holert served as Chair of the Global Investing Committee at NYSSA over 2013-2015 and as Chair of the Asia Pacific Community of Interest at the CFA Society of Los Angeles over 2010-2011.

Sandra LaBaugh, CFA             

Sandra LaBaugh, CFA, is a Senior Director and Portfolio Manager for the TIAA-CREF organization and a member of the Private Markets Investment team which includes direct private equity investments in natural resources, energy and infrastructure. She is based in New York City and has been managing TIAA’s global timberland portfolio since 2003. Previously, she was a member of TIAA-CREF’s Alternative Investments team, where in addition to timberland investing, her responsibilities included mezzanine debt and private equity co-investments with sponsor private equity funds. Ms. LaBaugh joined TIAA-CREF in 1998 and has worked in several of its investment teams including direct private equity, private placements, lease finance and corporate public bond investment teams. Prior to joining TIAA-CREF, Sandy worked as a Senior Loan Developer for a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development small business lending program in Moscow, Russia and was a Commercial Banker at Old Kent Bank in Chicago. She holds a BA in Business from Hope College in Holland, Michigan and an MBA in Finance, International Business and Economics from the University of Chicago.

Peter Nesvold, CFA
Silver Lane Advisors

Education & Professional Development Liaison

Peter Nesvold, CFA, is a multi-disciplinary investment professional with 18 years of Wall Street experience. A CFA charterholder, lawyer and CPA by background, Peter is a Managing Director and Head of Strategic Initiatives at Silver Lane Advisors—a prominent investment banking boutique serving the financial services industry. Peter cut his teeth as a sell-side analyst, rising to Senior Managing Director at Bear Stearns in less than six years. In this role, he proved unafraid to challenge the consensus view—for instance, sharply and publicly criticizing GM’s balance sheet and financial prospects in the year leading up to the 2008 crisis. Over the course of his sell-side career, Peter covered approximately 50 companies and ranked in StarMine’s “Best Analysts” poll in three different industries: Autos, Machinery and Airfreight & Logistics. This versatility carried over to Peter’s role as a portfolio manager/analyst at Lazard Asset Management, where he was one of three managers of the firm’s SMid-cap product. During his tenure, the team grew AUM more than 10x and earned a coveted “five-star” rating from Morningstar. Peter has co-authored three books for McGraw-Hill, including The Art of M&A: A Merger, Acquisition and Buyout Guide. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Fordham Law School (cum laude, Order of the Coif), where he was elected Editor-in-Chief of his law journal. In his spare time, Peter is an avid long-distance runner, completing 36 full- and half-marathons.

Christine Phillpotts, CFA

Christine Phillpotts, CFA, is a Vice President and Equity Research Analyst covering Africa for AllianceBernstein’s Emerging and Frontier Markets portfolios, including the Next 50 Emerging Markets Fund. Prior to joining the firm in 2013, she was the Global Portfolio Manager for the Grassroots Business Fund (GBF), which was established by the International Finance Corporation. While at GBF, Phillpotts sourced, structured and supervised investments in privately held companies across several countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana, Rwanda and Mozambique. As a member of the fund’s internal investment committee, she also evaluated and approved transactions in Latin America and Asia. Before that, Phillpotts was an Equity Research Associate at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Phillpotts holds a BA in economics from Columbia University, where she graduated summa cum laude, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is also a Robert Toigo Foundation Fellow, the Co-Chair of AllianceBernstein's Black Employee Resource Group, and a CFA charterholder.

Anand Shahi, CFA, CFP®
Morgan Stanley

Anand G. Shahi, CFA, CFP®, is Vice President and Quantitative Risk Analyst at Morgan Stanley where he is responsible for developing modeling techniques and analytics capabilities to actively manage the risk of the Wealth Management business. Prior to this role, Anand worked with leadership at 25 of the top 50 commercial banks by asset size in finding key insights that could improve risk-adjusted returns in their loan portfolios.  Anand also ran his own consulting business providing in-depth equity research and strategic allocation recommendations for hedge funds with total AUM of over $700mn. From 2003 until 2009, Shahi was a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch where he co-managed discretionary investment portfolios for ultra high-net-worth clients. Since joining the NYSSA in 2007, Shahi has served as president of the NYSSA Toastmasters club, chairman of the Membership Committee and most recently as chairman of the Nominations Committee. In 2011, he received the NYSSA Young Analyst award. He has also served on both the advisory board and finance committee for the Women’s Education Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping young women succeed in their higher education and career goals. Anand graduated from the University of Rochester in 2003 with a double major in Computer Science and Economics.


Daniel Dagen, CFA 
Chief Executive Officer, NYSSA

Daniel Dagen, CFA, most recently was a Senior Financial Consultant in the Global Private Client Group at Laidlaw & Co. Ltd. In this role, he provided investment banking, portfolio management and risk management solutions to high and ultra-high net worth clients.  He served clients across six of the world’s seven continents.  At Laidlaw, he was responsible for launching a platform which makes insurance and advisory products available to the firm’s client base. Previously he was a Wealth Management Advisor with MassMutual Financial Group and Northwestern Mutual, where he was one of the leading producers in the country. He previously worked with Sands Brothers & Co., Inc., Axiom Capital Management, Gruntal & Co., and Lehman Brothers.  He graduated from Bowdoin College with a BA in economics.  He has been a NYSSA Board Director since December 2012 and has served on the Executive Committee as Secretary since September 2013. Dagen served as Charter President of the NYSSA Toastmasters club, was an Area and Regional Governor of Toastmasters International, has chaired events for the Wealth Management Committee, and been Chair and Vice Chair of the NYSSA Membership Committee. Dagen is a recipient of the 2011 NYSSA Volunteer of the Year award.

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