Joan Marie Asher, CIFD, IACCP
Ms. Asher is the Founding Director of Paragon Fund Services, a Delaware LLC based in Stamford, Connecticut. 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
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.
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.
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.
Ms. Asher is a Certified Investment Fund Director (www.cifdi.org) and an Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional. (www.nrs-inc.com) She graduated from Fairfield University’s Charles F. Dolan School of Business with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance (www.fairfield.edu).
She is a member of the advisory board for Harness All Possibilities (www.harnessap.org) and EndowBridge Capital. (www.endowbridge.com) She volunteers in her community serving as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for Stamford Dollars for Scholars (www.stamford.dollarsforscholars.org).
Rhonda Eldridge, CPA, CA
Ms. Eldridge is an adviser to 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 to 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 to 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.
Ms. Cardaci is an advisor to Paragon Fund Services, and the founder of SYNA Communications LLC, a marketing communications consulting firm based in New York. She has enjoyed an extensive 30+ year career in financial services, focused on developing and leading global marketing teams, strategy, policies and processes. She has successfully developed marketing functions for renowned multi-national asset managers, specializing in team building and leadership, objectives setting and measurement, product and content strategy, as well as digital marketing management.
Ms. Cardaci brings her Chief Marketing Officer experience to assist organizations with developing their marketing communications strategy, including establishing content hierarchies, identifying competitive advantages, building brands and improving product messaging all in the context of market and buyer behavior. She works directly with institutional clients, as well as consults with digital marketing agencies.
Cari holds a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Bucknell University. She also holds the FINRA Series 24, 7 and 63 licenses.