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Emerging Managers: Entrepreneurship in Asset Management

Event Description

Emerging Managers: 
Entrepreneurship in Asset Management

Sponsored by:

We invite you to participate in a multi-dimensional discussion on how to start and grow a successful asset management firm.  The panelists will highlight their firm’s evolution from inception to ultimately becoming successful investment managers.  They will share their trials and tribulations and lessons learned along with the value they provide to investors. Also, they will discuss the practicalities and challenges faced by new and small firms; such as financing new ventures, obtaining the first client, developing business plans, securing operational resources and developing a marketing network.

The panelists’ success is a testament to motivate small firms and entrepreneurial individuals to continue their quest for growth by defining their niche and pursuing opportunities aggressively.  Numerous research studies have shown that Emerging Managers, which are investment managers with less than $2 billion in assets under management, possess a distinct performance advantage, especially in asset classes where the ability to take calculated risks and move swiftly is vital to success. These entrepreneurs, driven by ownership incentives, are innovative with a distinct ability to access opportunity and navigate challenges.

Progress Investment Management Company, LLC (“Progress”) is proud to host this panel.  As a minority-owned enterprise Progress is an expert in investing with and supports the development of entrepreneurial talent among new managers.

Please join us and meet these exceptional investment firms.

Gilbert A. Garcia, CFA, Managing Partner, Garcia Hamilton & Associates
Gregory R. Lai, CFA, Founder, Lead Portfolio Manager, Affinity Investment Advisors

Jose Balagot, Deputy CIO, Progress Investment

Safia Mehta, CFA, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Manager,
Progress Investment


Wednesday, April 1, 2015
5:30 PM Registration and Networking
6 PM Program

Cost: Complimentary from Progress Investment
(Registration is required)


Speaker Bios

Gilbert Andrew Garcia, CFA
Managing Partner, Garcia Hamilton & Associate

Mr. Garcia received a B.A. in Economics from Yale University. After graduating in 1985, he joined Salomon Brothers in New York City where he became a Vice-President specializing in mortgage-backed securities. In 1990, he joined former Mayor Henry Cisneros to build Cisneros Asset Management Company, ultimately becoming its President. In 2002, he joined Garcia Hamilton & Associates, and is the firm’s Managing Partner.

Mr. Garcia currently serves as Chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County and is a member of the Board of Directors of Sanchez Energy [NYSE:SN]. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a non-profit providing summer internships on Wall Street for minority undergraduates.

Previously, Mr. Garcia served as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Houston Downtown Management District, member of the Board of Directors of the Yale Club of Houston and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Houston Municipal Employees Pension System. In addition, he is a Class X graduate of Leadership Houston. Mr. Garcia is married with four children and enjoys martial arts and coaching youth soccer.

Gregory R. Lai, CFA
Founder, Lead Portfolio Manager, Affinity Investment Advisors, LLC

Greg is a Principal and Lead Portfolio Manager for Affinity Investment Advisors, LLC. He works to maximize the investment team’s decades of experience to the benefit of all clients, having developed Affinity’s quantitative stock selection, risk management, and portfolio construction models. Greg’s leadership is an important aspect in Affinity’s commitment to performance and service.  

Greg’s founding role with Affinity spans its history since launching in 1992. The firm was acquired in 2007 by Morgan Stanley Investment Management. The team joined Invesco in June 2010 when Invesco purchased Morgan Stanley and Van Kampen’s asset management business. Greg and the team chose to re-enter the market at the end of 2010 as an independent firm to capitalize on the increasing investor interest in boutique management firms. Greg brings 27 years of experience working for a variety of firms, handling a wide range of clients, and building a well-earned reputation for his pragmatic quantitative approach to investments. Greg credits his experience as well as that of his other team members, who have worked through recent and past economic cycles, as a primary benefit to clients today. Greg’s industry experience includes Senior Portfolio Manager and Managing Director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Van Kampen and Invesco, Ltd. leading the U.S. Active Equity team, and Quantitative Specialist and Co-portfolio manager at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO).

Greg received a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from UCLA and an M.B.A from the University of
California, Irvine. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Jose Balagot
Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Progress Investment

As a member of the firm's Portfolio Management team, Jose leads the firm's manager research function and is involved in client portfolio construction, monitoring and rebalancing. He is a voting member of the Investment Committee and a member of the Management Committee. Prior to joining Progress, Jose was an international equity analyst for Bailard, Biehl and Kaiser, where he was responsible for database design, returns forecasting, performance measurement, attribution analysis and asset allocation modeling. Previously, he was an economic consultant for DRI/McGraw-Hill, building econometric forecasting models and market planning systems for Fortune 500 companies. Jose earned both bachelor of arts and master of science degrees in economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


Safia B. Mehta, CFA
Senior Vice President & Portfolio Manager  

As a member of the firm’s investment team, Safia is responsible for managing client portfolios, including asset allocation, portfolio construction, manager evaluation and rebalancing. Prior to joining Progress, Safia was a principal at North Point Advisors, where she was a member of the investment committee and responsible for all aspects of portfolio management utilizing emerging sub-advisors across asset classes. Safia has over 22 years of investment management experience. A few highlights includes her tenure at Alliance Bernstein, where she led the development of investment solutions for Asian and European investors, at Prudential Retirement she was responsible for the investment of over $20 billion across asset classes for institutional pension funds and at PepsiCo she managed pension assets of over $5 billion. Safia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, Canada and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Currently she is the Chair of University Relations and Advocacy for the CFA Society of Stamford, CT and a member of the CFA Institute’s Asset Manager Code Advisory Committee. She regularly speaks at investment industry conferences.

Event Type


Education Topic


Start Time

4/1/2015 5:30 PM

End Time

4/1/2015 7:30 PM





Event Country


Event Region



The Crescent Club
200 Crescent Court
Floor 17
Dallas, TX  75201



CE Credits


SER Credit




Member Price


Non-Member Price


Candidate Price



All Day Event





Dallas - Fort Worth


Content Type: MyCFA Custom Calendar
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