Our team at Paragon Fund Advisors represents industry professionals, with diverse senior-level experience, from the financial services, legal and consulting areas. We work collaboratively with clients, from start-ups to organizations in the Fortune 500, to assist them with their goals through various stages of investment and development.
We welcome the opportunity to speak with you and provide you with information and/or resources to assist you in your future business objectives.
Joan Marie Asher, CIFD, IACCP
Ms. Asher is the Founding Director of Paragon Fund Services, a Delaware LLC based in Stamford, Connecticut. With dual citizenship in the U.S. and Europe, she has a 25-year career in financial services and investment management in roles that have included Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer. Having worked for several top-tier financial institutions that have included private equity, hedge funds (including seeding and incubation), fund of funds, broker/dealers and capital markets, these roles have culminated in a broad depth, breadth and scope of experience – a bird’s-eye view that is critical to the times.
Female Fund Director
Ms. Asher is a Certified Investment Fund Director (www.cifdi.org) and an Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional. (www.nrs-inc.com). As a Subject Matter Expert in her field, she assists National Regulatory Services in writing and reviewing exam questions for the Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional exam.
Her industry experience has fostered a comprehensive understanding of global financial and investment markets and the infrastructure necessary to successfully operate, flourish and succeed in those markets. In 1993, she began her career at Greenwich Capital Markets. In 1998, she shifted over to the (alternative) asset management space. Throughout her career, she has transacted with numerous financial institutions, custodians, fund administrators, legal teams and clients in the U.S. and abroad in a wide variety of investment related activity.
Ms. Asher’s extensive career in financial services has allowed her to play a critical role in deal negotiations, compliance and governance, risk management, operational due diligence and the oversight of third-party service providers. She is knowledgeable in launching funds, both onshore and offshore, of varying strategies and structured products with a wide range of experience in establishing and managing process driven back and middle office operations. With both buy-side and sell-side experience, her operational standard of excellence has allowed her to keep a keen eye on the balance sheet and regulatory climate while never losing sight of a firm’s overall strategic objective.
She graduated from Fairfield University’s Charles F. Dolan School of Business with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance (www.fairfield.edu).
Rhonda Eldridge, CPA, CA
Ms. Eldridge is an adviser with Paragon Fund Services. She has 30+ years audit and work experience in finance, FinTech and blockchain. She has held country and regional MD roles and been part of global re-engineering steering groups with top global European Banks responsible for due diligence, compliance, sales and relationship management for multi-B$ hedge funds. She holds a chartered accountancy designation.
She has become known for high impact results at leading financial institutions, including PwC, ABN Amro (Fortis) and UBS, holding country and regional MD titles in fund administration overseeing all related services such as client relationship management, sales, custody, banking and fund credit. She is currently Head of Strategy, Americas, for an award winning RegTech Blockchain solution provider and is advisor to various blockchain companies.
She is also founder of HAP, a non-profit social enterprise, encouraging those disrupted in work to embrace an exponential mindset for 21st century engagement through Future of Work seminars, programs and discussion forums.
Rhonda holds a business degree from Queen's University, Canada and is a chartered accountant.
Keith Augustyn, Financial Data Products & Operations
Mr. Augustyn is an adviser with Paragon Fund Services. He has an outstanding track record of developing new product offerings in financial information and technology SaaS companies as well as building and leading global business operations. He has extensive experience in developing the right business strategies, product roadmaps, operational designs, sales support and delivery plans to win and successfully deploy multimillion-dollar revenue generating products. With a client-centric mindset, he is deeply skilled at building large-scale global businesses from the ground-up to execute on new product revenue goals.
Keith joined FactSet Research Systems as a Vice President in 2007 to build the FactSet Fundamentals product and global content operation. He created overseas operations in India; spearheaded the idea and execution of FactSet’s subsidiary in the Philippines; conceptualized and built shared service centers for global document acquisition and language translation. Promoted to Director, he then created a new start-up Fundamentals offering focused on deep industry data including management of the Revere acquisition. Prior to this role, Mr. Augustyn was a Director at Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor’s Global Market Intelligence for 3 years. At Capital IQ, he was responsible for global Fundamental data strategy and content operations and in parallel, he developed and executed on an overseas start-up becoming the Country Manager of Capital IQ, Philippines. In the two years prior to Capital IQ, Mr. Augustyn was a Vice President with Thomson Financial in charge of merging four key Fundamental data set acquisitions including WorldScope. He led the integration of those acquisitions coupled with providing the strategic direction necessary to enhance the content offering while managing the day-to-day data operations. Prior experience in Investment Banking as a Sell-side Equity Analyst with Merrill Lynch as well as an analyst at Bloomberg. He received a B.S. in Accounting from Rider University.
George Hritz is an adviser with Paragon Fund Services and has been a lawyer in private and federal government practice in New York and Washington DC for over 40 years. He began his career as a law clerk for a federal judge in New York and as an associate at Cravath. He was a partner at Hogan Lovells and predecessor firms for over 30 years.His specialty is dispute resolution.
He was for over thirty years a board member and was General Counsel of the International Rescue Committee, a prominent refugee relief organization and is a founder, General Counsel and President Emeritus of Princeton in Africa, which has sent over 500 recent college graduates to service positions in Africa from universities all over the world since 1999. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Columbia Law School.
Mary Ellen DeWinter
Ms. DeWinter is an advisor with Paragon Fund Services. She has over 20 years of management experience from the financial services, legal and consulting industries in the areas of strategic planning, operations management, business development and client management.
In addition to her role with Paragon Fund Services, Ms. DeWinter is a Director with Distinct Solutions Group, a consulting group for professional service firms (e.g. banks, law firms). Prior to her role with Distinct Solutions Group, she held senior-level management positions with global law firms. She was responsible for strategic and operational priorities, including merger and integration goals, and client development opportunities across industries (e.g. financial services, private equity, technology) and geographic markets. Before her broad experience in the legal industry, Ms. DeWinter held similar management positions in the financial services industry. She led significant regional projects and operations and sales teams, including managing a bank investment program for high-net-worth individuals that surpassed aggressive revenue goals. She held FINRA Series 6 and 63 licenses.
Ms. DeWinter is active in professional associations, advises Board Members of non-profits and serves on the Board of Boston Women in Finance. She is a graduate of Providence College and holds an MBA from Northeastern University.