Senior Management Team
Christopher Geczy, Ph.D.
Dr. Christopher Geczy is the Founder, CEO, and Chief Investment Officer of the firm. In addition to overall firm management and firm direction, Dr. Geczy oversees investment decision-making including manager selection, portfolio construction, and tail hedge overlay management. He is also the lead member of the Investment Committee as well as co-portfolio manager on private funds for which Forefront is the investment manager.
Professor Geczy, has been on the finance faculty at The Wharton School since 1997 and has recently taken on the Academic Directorship of the Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research. The Jacobs Levy Center is an interdisciplinary research hub at Wharton focusing on innovative knowledge creation in quantitative finance. It supports faculty research projects and dissertation fellowships, and it awards the Wharton-Jacobs Levy Prize for Quantitative Financial Innovation. Chris became Academic Director in March 2014. He is also Academic Director of the Wharton Wealth Management Initiative at Wharton Executive Education. He has a B.A. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in finance and econometrics from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago.
Before his studies at Chicago, Chris worked for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, DC in its Division of Research and Statistics. He regularly teaches investment management and co-created the first full course on hedge funds at The Wharton School, a course on Impact Investing, and a number of executive education courses. He has taught AIMR/CFA Institute-accredited professional Risk Management courses through the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business.
Chris has also been the Academic Director of a number of Wharton Executive Education programs including the 2009 Securities Industry Institute in partnership with SIFMA, the Private Wealth Management program in partnership with The CFA Institute, and programs focused on advanced strategies, endowments and foundations, alternatives and hedge funds in partnership with the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA). In addition, he has taught Investment Management in the Penn-Securities Association of China (Penn-SAC) program for a number of years. He received the Best Elective Course Teaching Award in the Wharton Executive MBA Program.
He has served on the Economic Advisory Board of NASDAQ, acted as an editor of the Journal of Alternative Investments, and is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Wealth Management. Chris is also a founding board member and Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Hedge Fund Association and serves on the curriculum and exam committee of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIA).
Chris’ current research focuses on various topics including multi-factor models, wealth management, risk management, asset allocation, the performance of managed funds, and various aspects of equity lending and short-selling. His work has appeared in numerous books and scholarly journals including the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and the Journal of Political Economy. It has also been covered in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Financial Times, Forbes, NPR, SmartMoney Magazine, on CNBC’s Squawk Box and in numerous other media outlets.
He currently consults with and advises a number of private and institutional investors including pension plans, insurance companies, ultra-high-net-worth families, and others in the areas of portfolio construction, management and evaluation, asset allocation, investment selection, alternative investments including private equity, infrastructure, hedge funds, risk management, and subprime exposures in both the 1940 Act space as well as the private fund area.
Chris also serves on the Board of Directors of the Alexander Hamilton Friends Foundation.
Stephen Kitching is the Chief Operating Officer of Forefront and assists in servicing the firm’s clients and is a co-founder and managing partner of the Forefront affiliate, GKFO, LLC, a multi-family office he formed with Dr. Geczy.
Prior to joining Forefront, he was a Business Director at Guggenheim Partners where he co-headed the family office group, working with Ultra-High-Net-Worth (UHNW) families. Steve was part of the Private Family Office (PFO) and Private Family Networks (PFN), both of which were merged into Guggenheim Partners. PFO served UHNW families around the world. PFN was an infrastructure technology company that provided investment aggregation, data and document management around operating businesses, private equity firms and liquid pools of capital. He was also a co-founder of Family Solutions Group, which aided families and operating businesses with complex financial governance. He graduated with a degree in Finance from St. Joseph’s University.
Nicholas Neilio, CPA
Nicholas Neilio serves as Chief Compliance Officer of the firm. He is responsible for the day-to-day development and administration of the firm’s regulatory and investment compliance program, as well as implementing and managing the firm’s operational due diligence reviews of existing and potential hedge fund managers. Nick is also responsible for leadership and oversight of the back-office related activities of the firm, which includes fund financial reporting, trade reconciliation, profit and loss, and other various functions such as managing relationships with third party service providers. Nick has nineteen years’ experience in operations, strategy, and compliance, and is a member of the firm’s Management, Investment, IT, Compliance, and Best Execution Committees.
Prior to joining Forefront in 2008, Nick worked for a public accounting firm and its registered investment adviser (RIA) affiliate. During this time, Nick specialized in federal, state, and local tax compliance, FINRA regulatory filings and audit support for broker dealers, and portfolio accounting at the RIA. Nick has a B.S. in accounting from Wesley College and is currently a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJSCPA), and Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA).
Our Business Principles
Mikhail Samonov, CFA, MBA
Mikhail Samonov serves as a Senior Portfolio Manager & quantitative analyst at Forefront. Prior to Forefront, Mikhail founded the firm Octoquant, working with hedge funds on enhancing investment research process and identifying unique data inputs. Previously, he was Vice President and Portfolio Manager-Structured Equities at PineBridge Investments in New York City (formerly AIG Investments), where he managed nearly $3 billion in four equity funds, including $1+ billion in a Socially Responsible Enhanced Index Fund. He is an honors graduate of Brown University (B.S. in Applied Mathematics and Economics) and received his MBA from The Wharton School, where he studied under Professor Geczy, Managing Member of Forefront, and co-authored the influential paper “212 Years of Price Momentum: The World’s Longest Backtest 1801-2012” with Prof. Geczy. Mikhail is also a Teaching Assistant for Investment Management and Impact Investing courses at the Wharton School taught by Prof. Geczy. Mikhail is a CFA Charterholder and fluent in English, Russian and proficient in Spanish.
Athanasios Tsirukis, Ph.D., MBA
Athanasios Tsirukis is a quantitative analyst and member of the firm’s portfolio management team. Thanos aids in the identification of investment opportunities for the firm’s clients and in implementing the firm’s analytical infrastructure. He is a co-portfolio manager on a private fund for which Forefront is the investment manager.
Thanos received a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from Wharton, where he was a Palmer Scholar. His areas of specialization include finance, investments, dynamic systems theory, and linear, nonlinear and combinatorial optimization. Before joining Forefront, Thanos spent almost 20 years at a Fortune 500 company, holding positions of increasing responsibility in analysis, engineering, research & development, business development, product management, and asset and business management. His areas of expertise include new venture creation, business development, and project management in uncertain and multi-cultural environments. He has lived in Asia and is fluent in three languages.
Timothy Stezzi is a portfolio manager implementing the firm’s manager due diligence process and performing quantitative investment research. His efforts are focused on sourcing, vetting, and the analysis of hedge fund managers. He is a member of the firm’s investment committee as well as a co-portfolio manager on private funds for which Forefront is the investment manager.
Prior to joining Forefront, Tim worked as a Financial Analyst at Junto Financial where his responsibilities included portfolio analysis, investment model simulation, and trading system maintenance. Previously, Tim worked for Drexel Hamilton Asset Management as a research assistant building financial models and researching individual stocks. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Ithaca College where he was a member of the International Economic Honors Society. He also holds an NASD Series 65 license and is currently a CAIA candidate.
Alimu Abudu, M.S.
Alimu Abudu is a portfolio manager and quantitative analyst and a member of Forefront’s investment research team. He aids in identification of investment opportunities for the firm’s clients. His roles include quantitative analysis of investments, constructing tools for portfolio analysis, and timing model research and development. He is a co-portfolio manager on a private fund for which Forefront is the investment manager.
Alimu received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in China, and an M.S. degree from Temple University in Applied Mathematics. He was a research assistant in the Chaotic Systems Laboratory at Temple. His graduate research focused on mixing in Stokes flows due to resonance phenomena and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. He joined Forefront in 2011.
Wenjie (Nancy) Gao, MBA, CFA, FRM
Nancy Gao is an Investment Analyst for Forefront. She recently graduated from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with an MBA in Finance.
Before attending Wharton, she spent four years at China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), an arm of China Central Bank which manages $3.6 trillion in foreign exchange assets. At SAFE, Ms. Gao served as a Senior Associate in Risk Management. She has also worked as an equity research analyst at China International Capital Corp. (CICC), one of China’s largest investment banks; and during her time at Wharton she worked as an associate in the fixed income department at Santander Investment Securities, Inc. in New York City.
Ms. Gao is a graduate of Beijing Foreign Studies University (B.A. in International Economics) and Peking University (M.A. in Economics). She is a CFA Charterholder and was awarded the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) certification by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).
Alejandro (Alex) Sotolongo, CFA, M.S., FRM
Alex Sotolongo is an Investment Analyst for Forefront. He most recently graduated from Temple University with a Masters in Financial Engineering. Prior to attending Temple, he spent over three and a half years working as a Research Analyst for the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer, where he provided technical portfolio research support for the government department responsible for investing approximately $100 billion in pension assets for North Carolina state employees. Mr. Sotolongo is also a graduate of East Carolina University (B.S. in Finance), is a CFA Charterholder and was awarded the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) certification by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).
Evan Xu, M.S.
Evan Xu is an Investment Analyst for Forefront. He most recently graduated from Temple University with a Masters in Financial Analysis and Risk Management. Prior to joining Forefront, he gained experience working in corporate finance, doing analysis and financial research for an investment and merchant banking firm as well as at an academic institute. Evan is also a graduate of the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, with a BEc in Finance and a B.B.A. in Human Resource Management. He is also a CFA Level III candidate and passed FRM Part II.
Christopher Ryan, J.D.
Christopher Ryan joined Forefront as a Compliance Associate in 2016. He is responsible for assisting the Chief Compliance Officer in the day-to-day development and administration of the firm’s regulatory and investment compliance programs. Christopher received a B.A. in English Literature from Lehigh University, where he was a member of the varsity lacrosse team, and a J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law.
Andrew received a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from Philadelphia University. Prior to joining Forefront, Andrew worked on financial reporting at a Fortune 500 company. During his studies, Andrew partook in a study abroad program in Rome, Italy where he studied International Business. Mr. Brewster joined Forefront Analytics in 2011 and has over 4 years in the financial services industry. He aids in performance reporting, fund accounting, research, trade execution, operations, portfolio analysis, and compliance testing. He also assists the portfolio managers in implementing strategies across the firm’s clients as well as other middle office functions. Mr. Brewster is on the Investment Committee as well as Best Execution Committee. Mr. Brewster was awarded the Investment Foundations Certificate by CFA Institute.
Andrew Shertzer, CFP®
Andrew received a B.S. in Accounting at West Chester University and has recently passed the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ exam. Andrew Shertzer joined Forefront as an accountant in 2009. His responsibilities include the construction of internal & external client reporting products, maintenance/development of 3rd party and proprietary accounting & investment systems, as well as various ad hoc client and administrative requests. He also oversees the portfolio level accounting for both of Forefront’s internal hedge funds, including monthly correspondence with the fund administrator and preparation of the annual audited financial statements. Andrew is a member of Forefront’s Best Execution Committee.
Gregory Dob, CFP®
Greg received a B.S. in both Accounting and Finance from St. Joseph’s University and has recently passed the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ exam. Gregory Dob joined Forefront as an accountant in September 2009. His current responsibilities include the implementation of the firm’s hedge fund of funds portfolio which also involves facilitating AML, KYC, and various Audit requests, assistance in the firm’s operational due diligence process on hedge fund managers, as well as various ad-hoc financial reports. He is also a member of the firm’s IT and Compliance Committees.
Tim MacFarland, CPA
Tim received a B.S. in Accounting from La Salle University. Some of Tim’s roles include analyzing and recording daily client transactions and preparing monthly financial reports. Tim has recently passed the CPA exam.
Michael received his B.S. in Accounting from Temple University and is a candidate for the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) designation. Michael O’Rourke is an Accounting Associate for Forefront. He is responsible for the oversight of the firm’s trade activity and reconciliation process. His other responsibilities include the monitoring and tracking of the firms various Hedge Funds and Hedge Fund Portfolios.
William received a B.S. in Accounting from Cabrini College and is currently enrolled in the Master of Accounting Program while pursuing the CPA designation. William’s daily responsibilities at Forefront Analytics are back office accounting, analyzing and recording daily client transactions, investment accounting and financial reporting.
Alex received a B.S. in Accounting from Temple University. He is currently enrolled in the Masters of Accountancy at the University of Scranton and pursuing the CPA designation. Some of Alex’s roles include analyzing and reporting on investment activity, preparing for trades, and monitoring portfolio performance for various clients.
Rebecca Cahill joined Forefront Analytics in 2009 where she heads Client Services, acting as a client liaison and striving to ensure that all client needs are properly and efficiently met. She initially joined the financial services industry working at The Hartford Financial Services Group as an Executive Assistant to the National Sales Director for the Independent Division. Rebecca received her Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from Widener University.
Jamie Doran has served on the IT staff at Forefront Analytics, LLC. Since the firm’s founding in 2008 and is responsible for the design, implementation, and maintenance of technology and infrastructure resources. These resources include technologies pertaining to data availability, accessibility, and security.
Jamie began his IT career in 1995 when employed at Micro Gallery, a value added reseller and IT services company. There he served the technology support and procurement needs of corporate and government clients including The Ohio State University and the caucuses at the Ohio Statehouse.
In 1998, Jamie moved to Pennsylvania and took a position at Softmart, an international volume licensing reseller for large and mid-sized corporate and government clients. Jamie attended The Ohio State University.
Peter is a Research Analyst for Forefront. He joined the firm in 2011. With a background in business journalism, equity research, and management consulting, he prepares macroeconomic analyses and conducts due diligence on investments.
Before joining Forefront, he had been Research Analyst at Endowment Capital Group, a long/short equity hedge fund manager. He has worked as Internet Business Strategist for Fusive.com, a web integration consultant. He also spent ten years as a network TV news producer, with line responsibility for more than 3,000 broadcasts at PBS, Wall Street Journal Television, and the Fox News Channel.
Peter has a B.A. in political science from Columbia University and is a U.S. Army veteran, having served in NATO’s peacekeeping force in Bosnia.
Blair Kaplan, J.D.
Blair Kaplan is Forefront’s Marketing Communications Manager, joining the firm in 2014. Overseeing the implementation of both internal and external marketing and development strategies, she works with Forefront’s advisor-partners, helping them to leverage Forefront as a direct resource of their firm. Blair received her B.A. in Advertising/Public Relations from Pennsylvania State University and her J.D. from Widener University School of Law (now Delaware Law School), where she served as President of the Sports and Entertainment Law Association. She is licensed in PA and NJ.