BCA’s team is the cornerstone of our success and ability to deliver consistent results for clients. Our five most senior team members average three decades of relevant experience in investment banking, capital markets, accounting, management, and law, and bring a diverse set of skills to our practice groups. BCA’s senior professionals have held leadership positions at major investment banks, created and popularized new financial products and markets, advised major corporations and government entities, and built successful businesses from the ground up.


Len Blum

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Mr. Blum has more than twenty-seven years of investment banking and capital markets experience. Mr. Blum’s transactional experience includes M&A, equity offerings, debt offerings, offerings of preferred stock, fairness opinions, valuation of financial and other assets, securitization, and warehouse lending.

Before founding Blum Capital Advisors, Mr. Blum was a principal and Managing Partner of Westwood Capital, LLC. During his 15-year tenure at Westwood, Mr. Blum was responsible for structured finance, capital markets, and investment banking transactions, as well as valuation and expert advisory services. Mr. Blum ran Westwood Capital from 2003 until shortly before founding BCA.

Prior to joining Westwood in 1999, Mr. Blum was a Managing Director of Investment Banking and Group Head of the Asset-Backed Securities Banking Group at Prudential Securities. During Mr. Blum’s tenure as Group Head, the group achieved a number three market share overall in Asset-Backed Securities (by dollar volume; number one by number of transactions), and number one market share in subprime mortgages, leases and the unguaranteed portions of SBA 7(a) loans.

Early in his career, Mr. Blum traded approximately US $5 billion of swaps, options, futures, FRAs, currencies and Treasuries (domestic, C$ and Gilts) for Prudential Global Funding, an affiliate of Prudential Securities, including numerous innovative swap transactions, such as LIBOR arrears swaps, swaps with imbedded options, and other structures that had not yet become commonplace. Mr. Blum also served as a Vice President of Prudential Securities Secured Financing Corporation (PSSFC), a securities issuer for numerous primary offerings of asset-backed securities.

Mr. Blum has been a guest on a number of television and cable news, finance, and radio programs including Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Fox Business, CNBC Asia, Al Jazeera, the BBC, Business News Network, and Bloomberg Radio, and his writings have been published in several books and research/opinion publications. Mr. Blum has been quoted and/or featured by the news wires (Associated Press and Reuters) as well as publications including The New York Times, The Street.com, MarketWatch.com, American Banker, and the Wall Street Journal. He was also a lecturer at New York University from 2006 through 2012, where he taught classes on structured finance, intermediate structured finance, corporate finance, and swaps and their derivatives.

Mr. Blum holds an M.B.A. from the UCLA Graduate School of Management as a Carter Fellow, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees, cum laude and summa cum laude respectively from California State University.


Mark Sunshine

 

Mr. Sunshine has more than twenty-eight years of investment banking, capital markets, and business development experience. Before joining BCA, Mr. Sunshine held a series of executive-level roles, beginning as the CFO of Oppenheimer & Company, Inc.’s Municipal Partners Fund in 1989, and culminating as the Chairman and CEO of Veritas Financial Partners, a financial services firm. Following a brief pre-career practicing both law and accounting, Mr. Sunshine became an investment banker at Prudential-Bache Securities, Inc., where he and Mr. Blum worked side-by-side to execute complex structured finance transactions. Since then, Mr. Sunshine has executed and consulted on numerous financial advisory, M&A, securitizations, and capital markets transactions, built several financial service companies from the ground up, and established a career as a financial advisor and litigation support professional.

At Veritas Financial Partners, Mr. Sunshine provided senior secured credit facilities to small- and medium-sized businesses and loan servicing to regulated financial institutions and other investors. As President, CFO, and founder of First Capital and President and CEO of Siemens First Capital (a joint venture of Siemens Financial Services and First Capital), Mr. Sunshine built a top-tier international financial services company that specialized in commercial lending and provided financial institutions and industrial companies with loan servicing and outsourced accounting, bookkeeping, and accounts receivable management.  During the financial crisis, First Capital reported financial performance in the top 10% of all US financial institutions. At First Capital, Mr. Sunshine managed approximately 225 employees in North America and Asia, provided credit protection on more than $1.5 billion of accounts receivable and provided services to more than 170 companies with approximately an aggregate of $4 billion in annual revenue. Mr. Sunshine was the founder of Westwood Associates and, later, its successor, Westwood Capital, LLC. Throughout his tenure as founder and Managing Director of Westwood Capital, Mr. Sunshine led the effort that resulted in the firm becoming a top-tier financial advisor for non-bank financial institution M&A (by number of transactions). He also was instrumental in Westwood Capital’s 1998 IDD Deal of the Year award—the second such award of Mr. Sunshine’s career.

Mr. Sunshine has been a guest on a number of television and cable news shows, finance shows and radio programs including Bloomberg TV, Fox Business, CNBC, and CNN. Mr. Sunshine has been quoted by publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Seeking Alpha, Fortune, and Forbes. He is the former host of the Sunshine Report, a syndicated business, economics, and political talk radio show.

Mr. Sunshine holds a J.D. from University of Michigan Law School, as well as a B.A. from University of Pennsylvania Faculty of Arts and Sciences and a B.S. from University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, both magna cum laude.


Anne Pemberton Gregg

 

Ms. Gregg has more than eighteen years of investment banking, capital markets, and business development experience. Before joining BCA, Ms. Gregg spent five years working alongside Mr. Blum at Westwood Capital, where she focused on transaction execution across a variety of industries as well as litigation support. Prior to joining Westwood, Ms. Gregg was a Vice President in the Financial Institutions Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s investment bank, where she specialized in M&A and capital raising for both Fortune 500 and middle market clients. During her tenure at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and its predecessor entity, Ms. Gregg was involved in over $6 billion of public and private transactions for insurance, asset management, and financial technology companies.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Gregg was the U.S. Financial Executive for Motion Media Technology, Ltd., where as a CPA, she managed the treasury and accounting activities for a key subsidiary of a global technology manufacturer. Prior to this, Ms. Gregg was the Controller for a regional mortgage lender based in North Carolina, as well as a financial advisor with Paine Webber and Salomon Smith Barney. Prior to 2000, Ms. Gregg was also a co-owner and operator of a restaurant franchise group, as well as a private investor in and consultant to various early-stage companies.

Ms. Gregg holds an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and a B.A. in Political Science from Hollins University. Ms. Gregg is a Level III CFA candidate.


Tom Berner

Mr. Berner has more than thirty-five years of corporate and real estate law and business development experience. Before joining Blum Capital Advisors, Mr. Berner served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Veritas Financial Partners, a financial services firm. As one of five partners creating a $70 million firm from scratch, Mr. Berner was responsible for building the legal infrastructure. Prior to this, Mr. Berner served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of First Capital.

In 2004, Mr. Berner served as the Senior Legal Advisor to the US State Department’s Afghanistan Reconstruction Group—reporting directly to the US Ambassador and regularly meeting with Afghan officials.

Before and after his State Department recruitment, Mr. Berner worked as an attorney. He was an Associate in both corporate and real estate law at Dewey Ballantine for twelve years, and a Partner at KMZ Rosenman for fourteen. He served as an Official Observer for the New York Bar during the drafting of the Secured Transactions Convention at the UN and he has performed pro bono work in Afghanistan, Albania and Ethiopia.

Mr. Berner holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a B.A. with honors from University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Norman Chaleff

Mr. Chaleff is a risk management executive with more than thirty-seven years of experience in risk management, investment banking, and capital markets. Before joining Blum Capital Advisors, Mr. Chaleff served as Senior Vice President of Risk Management and CRO at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., where he had a key role in developing an enterprise risk management plan, which encompassed broker-dealer, bank, trust company, and investment advisor activities. In this role, he analyzed where the firm’s liquid capital was deployed and developed a stress test that measured the risk of equity capital loss and covenant compliance, regulatory capital and liquidity, and his observations and suggestions led to numerous control improvements. Mr. Chaleff also served as Senior Vice President of Investment Banking and was responsible for structuring, modeling, and analyzing asset-backed securities.

After beginning as a consultant at Arthur Andersen & Co. in 1977, Mr. Chaleff quickly moved up to Vice President and CFO positions. As Senior Vice President of Operations at EF Hutton & Co., Inc., Mr. Chaleff served on the crisis team responding to the market crash of 1987, and on the transition team for the sale of the company to Shearson Lehman Brothers. As a Managing Director in the Investment Banking Group of Prudential Securities Inc., Mr. Chaleff headed Mortgage and Asset Finance, and was responsible for commercial mortgage-backed securities banking, residential mortgage securitization, and execution of all mortgage- and asset-backed transactions. He developed a complex structure to avoid a critical tax problem and enable Prudential to lead its first REIT equity offering, which led to a profitable REIT franchise.

While at Prudential, Mr. Chaleff reviewed all banking transactions as a member of the Business Review Committee, reviewed all underwritten equity offerings for marketability as a member of the Equity Transactions Board, and reviewed fairness opinions relating to M&A transactions as a member of the Fairness Opinion Committee. As Risk Manager for Prudential’s Investment Banking Group, Mr. Chaleff successfully managed several workouts and developed due diligence guidelines.

After ten years at Prudential, Mr. Chaleff served as Principal at Structured Finance Partners LLC, where he helped clients avoid losses from banks that failed shortly after his review. He also served as Principal at Duvera Billing Services LLC, where he developed the business strategy for a profitable specialty finance, billing, and collections business, and served as interim president, ultimately selling his interests at a substantial profit. As Senior VP and Head of Structured Finance for Mortgage-Backed Securities at HSBC Securities (SA) Inc., Mr. Chaleff helped start a residential mortgage securitization conduit and raised questions about sub-prime purchase guidelines that were not welcomed by direct management.

Mr. Chaleff has lectured at New York University since 2005, and currently teaches a securitization course as part of the Risk Management Certificate program. In the past, Mr. Chaleff has served on the Board of Governors for the Pacific Stock Exchange.

Mr. Chaleff is a CPA and holds an M.B.A. from New York University Stern School of Business, as well as an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University, cum laude.


Diana Pipia

 

Ms. Pipia runs Blum Capital Advisors’ licensing, merchandising and retail practice areas. Ms. Pipia has an extensive background in brand development including marketing, merchandising, worldwide sourcing, and the identification and management of the retail distribution channel. Ms. Pipia has been instrumental in the development of many well-known brands such as American Eagle Women’s, Saks Fifth Avenue “The Works,” Harley Davidson Women’s, Ann Taylor Weekend and Donna Karan Kids. She has also advised Allied Federated Stores, Nordstrom’s and Hot Topic, as well as provided business incubation strategies for start-up brands such as CLU. Ms. Pipia was able to help CLU’s designers by developing a solid merchandise mix that facilitated the selling of their product at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Ms. Pipia has worked with artists such as Rob Zombie, Damian Marley, Nas, Steve Tyrell, Jesse Cook, George Benson, Marc Anthony, and Static X developing merchandise to be sold at retail.

Ms. Pipia has worked extensively as a consultant introducing American Brands to Japan, China, and Greece and also introducing their national products to American retail markets. She is currently working with Hanku Department, Osaka Japan in the development of special events and introducing US brands to their buyers.

Ms. Pipia has consulted for Sony Latin, RMM, and Edgardo Diaz providing imaging, branding, marketing, and licensing for their clients. She is one of the pioneers in creating merchandise that has crossed over from the Latin market to North America and Europe.

Ms. Pipia has worked with E1 Entertainment pioneering non-traditional music and merchandise distribution with Nordstrom, QVC, Whole Foods, Coffee Bean, and Fairway Market.

Ms. Pipia taught Merchandise Strategies, Global Marketing, and Product Development at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in Los Angeles and LIM College.  Ms. Pipia is a graduate of Fordham University.


Mariam Ballout

A Senior Associate at Blum Capital Advisors, Ms. Ballout has worked on numerous advisory assignments related to the securitization of financial assets, due diligence, disclosure, and securities fraud. Before joining BCA, Ms. Ballout was a Senior Associate at Westwood Capital, where she worked with Mr. Blum and Ms. Gregg in the litigation support practice.

Prior to joining Westwood, Ms. Ballout was a Senior Communication Consulting Analyst at Mercer Inc., where she developed and implemented change communications and employee engagement strategies for corporations.

Ms. Ballout holds a B.A. in world politics, with honors, from Hamilton College. She was the first student representative to the faculty/trustee Budget and Finance Committee.


Stewart F. Berkeley

An Associate at Blum Capital Advisors, Mr. Berkeley has provided support in several matters, including advising clients on issues related to securities disclosure. Before joining BCA, Mr. Berkeley completed a legal externship at Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., where he drafted and analyzed sponsorship, distribution, consulting, lease, and non-disclosure agreements; compiled reports on charitable contributions and lobbying expenses for Bacardi’s corporate tax return; and consulted Bacardi’s Legal, Business and Finance teams on various issues relating to corporate governance, marketing, contractual remedies and commission structures.

Mr. Berkeley holds a J.D., magna cum laude and LL.M. in Taxation from University of Miami School of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and served as the Articles and Comments Editor for the University of Miami Business Law Review, and a B.B.A., magna cum laude from University of Miami, where he triple majored in Business Management and Organization, Finance, and Marketing. Mr. Berkeley is admitted to practice law in the states of New York and Florida, and is admitted to the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, US Tax Court, and US District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.


Michael Blum

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An analyst at Blum Capital Advisors, Mr. Blum has worked on numerous assignments related to securities disclosure, due diligence, and market practices. Before joining BCA, Mr. Blum worked at the offices of the New York Attorney General and the Doe Fund.

Mr. Blum holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College, magna cum laude, with a double major and high honors. At Dartmouth, Mr. Blum was a Rufus Choate Scholar and a recipient of the Erich Kunzel Class of 1957 Award, the Euguene Roitman 1943 Memorial Award and the Macdonald-Smith Prize. Mr. Blum is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.