WSR Recognizes AAPI Heritage Month By Naming Leading Executives And Professionals As Winners Of Pathfinder Awards For Top AAPI Industry Leaders Of 2023
WSR continues our invitation-only Pathfinder Awards this month by honoring leading executives and professionals of AAPI heritage, as the Top AAPI Industry Leaders of 2023, in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. With our third installment of Pathfinder Awards for the year, we continue our dual emphasis of spotlighting excellence in wealth management and bringing voices for change to our industry.
As with the Top Black Industry Leaders of 2023 and Top Women Industry Leaders of 2023, our editorial staff spent many hours in research and discussion to identify advisors, professionals and executives of AAPI heritage with extensive experience and a strong reputation in wealth management, an outstanding track record of accomplishments, wide influence in the industry and the ability to serve as role models for those in or considering a career in our industry.
In profile interviews published alongside today’s announcement of winners, we provide a platform for our industry to listen as persons of AAPI heritage speak about issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Please join us in congratulating the winners:
AAPI Alts Leader of the Year
Sheldon Chang, President, CrowdStreet Advisors
With over three decades of experience in alternative products and distribution as well as investment banking, Chang joined private commercial real estate investment firm CrowdStreet two years ago. Since his arrival, Chang built a platform that manages 30 funds for thousands of advisors and individual investors, including its flagship CrowdStreet REIT, which provides access to value-add and opportunistic real estate investments.
He led over $50 billion in institutional and retail fundraisings and product development, including debt, equity and investment funds for high net worth investors. Chang also developed private equity tender offer funds and non-traded REITs.
Before CrowdStreet, Chang served as Head of Product & Distribution Strategy at alternative investment fintech platform Artivest, was a Partner at private equity and real assets investment manager Pantheon Ventures, and built and led the private equity and real asset products business at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
AAPI ESG Leader of the Year
Kuni Chen, Head of ESG Integration, Seeds Investor
With a background in equities focusing on sell-side research, ESG and portfolio management, Chen leverages his skills in sustainable investing and ESG at Seeds Investor, a fintech platform that helps advisors deliver portfolios aligned to client values.
Before Seeds Investor, Chen led climate change impact investing at The Nature Conservancy, which has executed over $200 million in impact investment transactions. While there, he focused on carbon offset credits, the retirement of coal mineral rights, sustainable forestry and renewable energy.
As an equity research analyst, Chen worked at UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, covering coal, mining and metals.
Chen has participated on multiple panels including the PEI Responsible Investing Forum, CFA Society ESG Investing, The Wall Street Green Summit and Financial Times – Investing for Good. When not at work, Chen enjoys the gym and plays hockey at Chelsea Piers.
AAPI Innovator of the Year
Rosh Cherian, Co-Founder and CTO, CogniCor
Cherian, who co-founded CogniCor with his wife, CEO Sindhu Joseph, leads CogniCor’s engineering and technology divisions, which develop the artificial intelligence and the CIRA digital assistant platform at the heart of CogniCor’s services to advisors.
With over 17 years of experience in systems programming and architecture, Cherian works with the firm’s clients and partners to develop innovative systems through the lab stage to launch.
Cherian originally founded CogniCor in Barcelona before relocating it to the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to CogniCor, Cherian served in roles as a software engineer and research and development engineer at Telefonica R&D, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Agilent Technologies and Honeywell Technology Solutions.
He holds a master’s degree in technology, computer engineering, computer systems and software from the Manipal Institute of Technology and received an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Cochin University of Science and Technology.
AAPI Branch Leader of the Year
Ken Furuya, Associate Managing Director, Prudential Financial
Furuya arrived at Prudential 19 years ago and held positions of leadership for 16 years. Currently he co-leads the largest revenue earning group in Prudential Advisors, the Mid-Atlantic Financial Group, across major markets in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia and Washington, where he participates in recruiting, transitioning and developing advisors. The group emphasizes training and comprehensive financial planning.
Furuya’s involvement in shaping the direction of Prudential runs much deeper than his role leading the Mid-Atlantic Financial Group. He participates in steering committees for investment and financial planning and the Field Advisory Council, which focuses on marketing and leads. Furuya also has led discussions in National Leadership Development Meetings, the RAS (retail advice and solutions) Townhall, territory meetings and study groups.
An immigrant from Japan at age 8, Furuya is a native speaker of Japanese.
AAPI Financial Advisor of the Year
David Hsieh, Founder and Managing Director, Beacon Wealth Advisory
Hsieh moved from the tech industry to a career in investment advice over 20 years ago, and now serves clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, specializing in minimizing taxes, optimizing Social Security benefits and helping clients manage liabilities. His clientele includes individuals, families and professionals.
Hsieh founded Beacon Wealth Advisory, a partner of Stifel Independent Advisors, in November 2022 after serving as a Senior Financial Advisor and First Vice President, Investments at Wells Fargo Advisors and a Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
A native Californian, Hsieh attended Palo Alto High School and raised his twin sons in the Bay Area. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.
AAPI Wealthtech Leader of the Year
Helen Johnson, CTO, COMPLY
With three decades of experience in technology and most of that in the financial services industry, Johnson joined regtech firm COMPLY’s subsidiary ComplySci a year ago, before COMPLY was formed. Prior to that, Johnson served as CTO at Data Dynamics and held various roles at AIG, including as Global Head of IT Delivery Partnerships, Head of Science Technology and Chief Data Officer.
Johnson also served as Global Technical Director for Thompson Reuters Eikon, held various roles at RBS Global Banking & Markets including Director, Head of Risk Technology Americas, and worked at Bloomberg and FactSet Research Systems, among others.
Johnson serves as an advisor to Sorcero, a software developer in the life sciences space, and an advisory board member for Wallaroo Labs, a machine learning and AI company. She received an undergraduate degree in computer science and economics from Cornell University.
AAPI RIA Leader of the Year
Jennifer Kim, Managing Senior Partner, Signature Estate & Investment Advisors (SEIA)
In March, we awarded Kim with the Pathfinder Award for Woman Financial Advisor of the Year and interviewed her on advancing women in wealth management, balancing motherhood with career and reaching clients from underserved backgrounds.
She spent the entirety of her three-decade career at SEIA and is the first, and currently the only, woman to be named to the firm’s partnership. Kim has built relationships with many clients in underserved groups, especially the Korean American community of Los Angeles.
Kim’s accolades include many Advisor of the Year awards, multiple Women Achievement Awards from the Century City Chamber of Commerce and being the seventh woman inducted into the John Hancock Hall of Fame.
Kim is active in community services as a member of the St. James Episcopal School Parent Association, President of the Harvard Westlake Korean Parent Association, a Board Member of Aviva Children’s Services and the Century City Chamber of Commerce. She actively supports the Hancock Park NGA, which supports shelters for survivors of domestic violence and needy women and children.
AAPI Portfolio Manager of the Year
Carin Pai, EVP and Head of Portfolio Management and Equities, Fiduciary Trust International
Pai leads Fiduciary Trust International’s equity strategy and process as head of the firm’s equity strategy committee, oversees the firm’s portfolio management team, and manages client portfolios. She also serves on the firm’s asset allocation committee, working with investment leadership to develop strategic and tactical asset allocation strategies, and various other committees. In addition, she serves as Co-Chair of her firm’s Asian Pacific Islander Business Resource Group.
Pai began her career with a modest and soft-spoken demeanor, but had an epiphany, realizing that if she didn’t display her internal confidence outwardly, her career would not move in the direction she desired. She now mentors other professionals, especially women and minorities.
In 2022, Crain’s New York Business named her to the “Notable Asian Leaders” list. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a mission to achieve constructive change for New York government services and finances.
AAPI Industry Association Leader of the Year
Eric Pan, President & CEO, Investment Company Institute (ICI)
Appointed as CEO in 2020, Pan leads the ICI’s response to increased regulatory activity, as the organization responds to SEC proposals on behalf of its members from the $38 trillion global investment funds industry.
Recently, Pan advocated on behalf of the asset management industry for the SECURE 2.0 Act and oversaw the launch of the ICI’s newest office, in Brussels. He appears frequently in national news media outlets and the ICI’s work under his leadership is often quoted in congressional testimony.
Prior to joining ICI, Pan was the Director, Office of International Affairs at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Head of International Regulatory Policy and Associate Director, Office of International Affairs at the SEC. He represented both the CFTC and the SEC at international organizations such as the International Organization of Securities Commissions and the Financial Stability Board.
Pan, a graduate of Harvard Law School, is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and previously taught at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
AAPI Family Office Leader of the Year
Vik Sasi, Chief Strategy Officer, Manhattan West
Recently promoted to the newly created position of Chief Strategy Officer after leading Manhattan West’s blockchain and cryptoassets strategy as Managing Director of Digital Assets, Sasi is responsible for acquisitions, strategic investments, business development, partnerships and corporate strategy with a focus on developing and implementing strategies for including technology in the firm’s private wealth and alternative investments platform.
Sasi leads the firm’s inaugural digital assets fund and worked on over 100 venture capital transactions in various roles including as a Partner at Dreamers VC and at American Family Ventures and Healthbox, among others. He is the Chief Instructor of Venture Capital at Wall Street Oasis.
Julius Buchanan, Editor in Chief at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at email@example.com.
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