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Reaz Islam is an entrepreneur and a seasoned investment/financial services professional with more than 25 years of leadership, innovation, restructuring, business development and execution expertise across various public and private markets in both start-ups and well-established companies. In addition to leading his own companies, Reaz serves as a senior advisor to the leadership team for public and private companies in the U.S. and abroad in such industries as Digital Media, FinTech, Gaming, Packaging, and Healthcare. In this capacity, Reaz oversees and guides strategic investments, M&A, due diligence, execution, integration and related financial matters.

Throughout his career, Reaz has strived to create innovative, ground-breaking products to allow his target customers to solve key challenges, increase transparency and fairness. Uncompromising tenacity coupled with leadership and management skills have allowed Reaz to break new grounds, regardless of obstacles and traditional thinking.  For instance, Eclipse Funding, founded in 1999, was the first of its kind to resolve liquidity and active management changes for senior secured debt fund investors. The Municipal Arbitrage fund launched in 2002 was the first fund that addressed high absolute returns for tax sensitive customers, leveraging the proprietary investment strategy Citi had mastered since the early 1990s. Reaz’s innovation continued as he successfully executed alpha strategies and managed highly-scalable funds in South Asia utilizing macro, fundamental and quantitative tools calibrated for emerging and frontier markets. More recently, Reaz is moving forward along with his lieutenants with his lifelong dream of democratizing financial markets globally, arming individuals and institutions to take control back from Wall Street to Main Street, while leveraging quantitative tools, advanced analytics, machine learning, cutting-edge digital and social media tools.

Reaz spent 18 years at Citigroup in New York and became Managing Director at the age of 32 during his ninth year there. Reaz’s educational background, can-do attitude, inquisitiveness, sharp investment and business acumen, made him an excellent fit at Citigroup from the start.  He began his career with the company in 1990 as a Management Associate and subsequently successfully completed the intensive Credit and Corporate Finance program at Citicorp Institute of Global Finance. Reaz became an Assistant Vice President and Senior Risk Analyst, and, in 1996, the Director and Head of Strategy and Structuring New York Credit Structures for Citigroup Alternative Investments.

Reaz continued to excel at Citigroup, building an impressive reputation as an outstanding results-oriented leader. He founded Citi Fixed Income Alternatives (CFIA) in 1999, as Managing Director leading a team of proprietary traders and highly experienced investment professionals.  He spent 12 years as the Managing Director, SIO, and CIO of the bank’s Fixed Income Alternatives unit, part of the Alternative Investments portfolio. Similar to all leveraged arbitrage funds in the space, his funds were hurt by the financial meltdown/liquidity crisis in 2008.  However they continued to perform strongly and consistently and distributed high realized returns since inception in 2002. For example, his Municipal Arbitrage fund earned an average of 12.6 percent p.a. from 2002 to the first quarter of 2007, and grew to $2 billion+ from $50 million in 2002. Within Citigroup Alternatives, the Fixed Income funds became the most successful division and developed the largest client base within the Bank.  Reaz was also a role model and ranked highly for his management, innovation and leadership skills despite being in a high stress environment. Reaz attracted many talents due to his natural leadership skills and unconditionally defended employees against corporate politics, needless bureaucracies and talented underdogs. He also served as Head of Diversity (Diversity Counsel) at the workplace for Citi alternative investments, believing that diversity led to innovation, creativity and results.

Due to Reaz’s strong moral character, ethical standards and discipline, he remained un-flinched throughout the worst financial crisis since the 1930s — despite negative press against financial institutions (including Citigroup) — and came out stronger. He also took a strong public stance against opportunistic “ambulance chasing” attorneys and unethical practices.  Although there were a few frivolous opportunistic legal claims, not a single FINRA arbitrator or regulator ever found that Reaz or any of his team members violated any rules or single investment guidelines under his leadership at Citigroup.  Reaz also always aligned his interest with his clients, investing with his investors, and as a result suffered materially during the crisis, including the restricted shares of Citigroup he never sold for almost 2 decades.

In 2008, Reaz did not let the financial crisis or financial loss hold him back and he left Citigroup on amicable terms to follow his visionary instincts and become a Managing Partner at LR Global — a frontier market investment firm founded by J. Murray Logan – Rockefeller & Co., in New York.  While expanding its presence in South Asia, he broadened his experience in both public and private equity in complex less transparent developing markets. Since 2009, funds managed and directed by Reaz Islam have substantially outperformed the market. Under his leadership, LR Global received “The Best Investment Manager of The Year” award from World Finance in 2013 and was among the top five finalists in 2014.  As at Citigroup, Reaz showed his vision and leadership with LR Global, which has had tremendous success in South Asia, developing a strong team of investment professionals, an excellent performance record (4.7% alpha from 2010 to 2016), a deep institutional client base, and the ability to attract more than US$150 million in client capital between 2009 and 2010, in the midst of global financial crisis.

In 2015, Reaz began actively working with legendary media mogul Robert FX Sillerman, a former client and a friend, exploring monetizing of various digital assets and M&A opportunities.

Reaz attended Cornell University in New York, where he earned a B.S. from the ILR School specializing in Economics and Statistics. Later, he enrolled in New York University’s Master of Business Administration program (MBA), with double majors in Finance and Operations Research (Financial Engineering Track).

 

 

 

 

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