Catalyst Funds Names Lai, Schoonover To C-Suite Roles

Jul 11 2017 | 9:01pm ET

Liquid alternative mutual fund specialist Catalyst Funds has named former Wedbush Securities executive Lawrence Lai as chief risk officer and promoted Michael Schoonover to the position of chief operating officer as the company expands its risk team. 

In his new role, Lai will be responsible for overseeing the company’s risk management program, according to a statement. Prior to joining Catalyst, he served as operational head of risk management for Wedbush Securities’ futures division. A CFA charterholder, he brings significant risk and quantitative portfolio management experience, particularly with alternative strategies and derivatives. Schoonover, meanwhile, has been with Catalyst since 2011 serving in various roles in operations, marketing and portfolio management and was most recently a portfolio manager and senior analyst. 

In tandem with the appointments, Catalyst has also inked a consulting arrangement with RCM Risk Advisors LLC that assist the firm in developing and analyzing the risk parameters of the 25 different mutual funds Catalyst currently offers. As part of the consulting arrangement, three additional members have been named to Catalyst’s risk management team: 

  • RCM partner Ed Sweeney, who previously held senior positions at O’Connor & Associates, Stafford Trading, TD Securities and Starboard Specialty Funds, LLC. 
  • Matthew Racine, who serves as director at RCM Risk Advisors LLC. Racine previously worked in risk management and portfolio analysis roles dealing with multiple asset classes at Wedbush Securities.
  • Jakob Bax, who serves as Risk Analyst at RCM Risk Advisors LLC. Prior to joining RCM, Bax worked as an Analyst for Wedbush Securities.

“We are proud to greatly expand our risk management team with the addition of these highly talented and experienced professionals. We believe that this demonstrates our commitment to continue to enhance our infrastructure as our business expands,” said Jerry Szilagyi, CEO of Catalyst Funds, in the statement. 

Catalyst offers a range of strategies and liquid alternative products in mutual fund form with the goal of producing income and equity-oriented returns while seeking to control risk and volatility. 

The company’s 25 distinctive funds, including three hedge funds that were converted into mutual fund products, encompass a wide spectrum of investment approaches including dynamic equity, hedged strategies, alternative income and global equity. The Huntington, NY-based firm has more than $5.8 billion in assets under management.

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