University of Southern California

Board of Advisors

The USC Marshall School Center for Investment Studies (CIS) recognizes the significance of fostering relations between industry and academia.  This promotes a valuable exchange of ideas and opportunities, an essential component of our Center. It is our commitment and priority to develop future business leaders and to offer the industry a source of unique talent from the Marshall School.

There are numerous corporate opportunities for involvement with our Center.  Some of them include financial support of finance and accounting research, attending various professional events, recruiting Marshall MBA students, networking with industry leaders, and funding students' education.

The CIS has developed many partnerships with well-known finance professionals and institutions and takes pride in the partnerships developed through our extensive network of SIF friends and alums.

The CIS Board of Advisors is made up of eight members from well known LA-based money management firms.  This group of professionals collectively manages over $900 billion.

The Board meets twice a year.  The Board serves as an active classroom participant and hosts many of our company site-visits.  The Director routinely consults with the Board for their guidance and input.  The Center also benefits from the financial support, formal publications and "door openings" help it receives from the investment management firms the Board represents.

The members of our Board of Advisors for CIS are:

Satish Swamy  |  David Iben  |  Scott Sterling Johnston  |  Robert Rodriguez  |  James P. Sarni  |  Sheldon Stone  |  Larry Tashjian  | 

Satish Swamy CFA, is a Director and Senior Portfolio Manager, and a member of the portfolio management team responsible for managing the fixed income portfolios for the Board of Regents, University of California.

Prior to joining the Treasurer’s Office of UC in 1998, Mr. Swamy was VP/Director of Reuters Risk Management; Quantitative Analyst for Lincoln Investment Management and Fixed Income analyst for Analytic Investors. Mr. Swamy earned his MBA in Finance from the University of Southern California, MS in Engineering from the University of Houston and BS in Engineering from the University of Bangalore in India. Mr. Swamy has also earned his CFA charter. He has contributed as an author, writing two chapters in the Handbook of Derivative Instruments.

He is currently the president of the CFA society of San Francisco. He founded the San Francisco chapter of GARP (Global Association of Risk Professionals) in 1997 and has since been serving as its Regional Director. He is also an Assistant Professor at the University of San Francisco and is currently teaching debt markets and portfolio management in the MS programs in the department of economics.

David Iben CFA CIO, Co-President, Executive Managing Director, Portfolio Manager Advance Tradewinds Global Equities Fund
Tradewinds' Chief Investment Officer David Iben directs the firm's equity and fixed income investment activity, including portfolio management, research, trading, and risk management.

In addition to serving as the lead portfolio manager of several of the firm's strategies, David is a member of the Tradewinds executive committee. As CIO, he also chairs the investment oversight committee. David helped launch the Tradewinds international investment platform after six years at NWQ. He was previously chief executive officer, lead portfolio manager, and founding member of Palladian Capital Management and, prior to that, senior portfolio manager at Cramblit & Carney.

David began his career with Farmers Group Inc. where over the course of 14 years he served as senior analyst, lead portfolio manager, and director of research for both equity and fixed income strategies. At the time of his departure in 1996, David was acting as Farmers' chief investment officer responsible for $16 billion of investable assets.

David received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California, and an MBA from USC Marshall School of Business. He earned the chartered financial analyst designation in 1984 and is a member of CFA Institute and CFA Society of Los Angeles.

Scott Sterling Johnston is the founder, chairman and chief investment officer at Sterling Johnston Capital Management, LP, an SEC registered investment advisor founded and headquartered in San Francisco in 1985.  Prior to founding the company, Mr. Johnston was the chief executive of Security Pacific Bank's investment advisor subsidiary, Pacific Century Group, Inc from 1981 to 1985, at the time the fifth largest bank in the U.S.  He began his business career in 1969 with Andersen Consulting; he then joined Smith Barney & Co in 1972, prior to becoming the senior investment officer at San Diego Trust and Savings Bank in 1976, where he began his investment career.

Scott is the architect of an investment style created in 1976 that has consistently produced superior investment returns for almost 30 years.  This style is hallmarked by its adherence to the following characteristics: dramatically accelerating earnings, strong and improving financials, strong company relative price strength, strong industry relative price strength, and low institutional ownership.

Sterling Johnston Capital Management specializes in smaller capitalization growth equity management for institutional funds and is dedicated to providing superior investment performance and distinguished service to a limited number of clients.  The company manages approximately $1.3 billion in assets with a staff of 17.  The firm has three products: a micro-cap, long only product, defined as companies with market values of $100-$500 million, a small-cap product, with market values of $500-$1.5 billion, and an onshore and offshore hedge fund, Sterling Equity Partners and Sterling Equity Offshore, all with strong historical performance.

Mr. Johnston has received national recognition for investment accomplishment as early as 1980, and has appeared in national publications such as The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Pensions & Investments, Institutional Investor, Money Magazine, Forbes, Business Week, The Wall Street Transcript and Barron's.  He is also featured exclusively as one of 18 investment professionals in the book Investment Gurus, written by Peter Tanous and published by Prentice-Hall in 1997.

Mr. Johnston received his undergraduate degree in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1967 and an MBA from the University of Southern California in 1969. 

Robert Rodriguez is the principal and CEO of First Pacific Advisors, Inc. (FPA), an investment management firm that strives to provide consistent, long-term and superior services and returns for clients.  Mr. Rodriguez, who joined the firm in 1983, manages equity separate accounts, the FPA Capital Fund in the Small/Mid-Cap Value equity style, and the FPA New Income bond fund.  As of December 2002, he managed more than $2.9 billion.

Prior to joining FPA, Mr. Rodriguez served as Senior Portfolio Management in the Chairman's Department of Kaufman & Broad, Inc.  He was also a portfolio manager at Transamerica Investment Services, Inc., which is now part of the AEGON Insurance Group, one of the top 50 largest public financial companies in the world ranked by assets.

Mr. Rodriguez holds a BS in business administration (magna cum laude) and an MBA from the University of Southern California.

James P. Sarni, CFA, is a managing principal at Payden & Rygel and is a member of the firm's Executive Management and Global Investment Policy Committees.  Sarni oversees the firm's low duration investment strategies totaling in excess of $30 billion.  He serves as a senior portfolio manager who advises pension funds and other institutional clients.

Prior to joining Payden & Rygel, Sarni was a vice president and senior portfolio manager at First Interstate Bank where he managed the trust department's commingled bond funds as well as institutional client portfolios.

James Sarni is a member of the board of advisors of the Center for Investment Studies at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business and a board member of the Washington, D.C.-based Investment Advisor Association.  He is past president of the Los Angeles Society of Financial Analysts and a member of the CFA Institute where he has played an active role in educational and mentoring programs.  He is also past president of the St. Philip the Apostle School Board of Trustees, a former member of the School Board of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and past Chairman of the Academy of Business Leadership.  Sarni has also been a regular guest on CNBC as well as local and national radio business programs.

Sarni holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He earned an MBA with an emphasis in finance and a BS from the University of Southern California.

Sheldon Stone is a founding member and principal of Oaktree Capital Management, a Los Angeles-based institutional money manager specializing in alternative investment strategies.  Mr. Stone manages the firm's domestic high-yield bond portfolios and has supervisory responsibilities for Oaktree's European high-yield bond activities and Mezzanine Fund.

Prior to forming Oaktree, Mr. Stone was a Senior Vice President of Trust Company of the West (TCW) and became Managing Director two years after his arrival.  He worked at TCW for ten years before leaving with four associates to form Oaktree.

After completing his MBA, Mr. Stone spent five years as a Director in the Corporate Finance Department of the Prudential Insurance Company of America.  After Prudential, Sheldon spent two years at Citibank as a high-yield bond research analyst before joining TCW.

Mr. Stone serves as a trustee of Bowdoin College and serves on the National Advisory Board for Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth.  He also is on the Board of Governors of the California Community Foundation, where he chairs the Investment Committee, and is a member of the World Presidents' Organization.

Mr. Stone holds a BA from Bowdoin College and an MBA in accounting and finance from Columbia University. 

Larry Tashjian is the founder, President and CEO of CAM Capital Advisors, an opportunitistic valued based manager in all asset classes.  Prior to starting CAM Capital Advisors, he was Chief Executive Office of Provident Investment Counsel (PIC), a Pasadena-based investment company that specializes in growth stocks across all capitalizations.  During his time with PIC (1981 - 2005), Mr. Tashjian was an integral part of the company's growth.

In 1995, he was intimately involved in the sale of PIC to United Asset Management, a New York Stock Exchange-listed company.  He would go on to serve on its board of directors. At the time of the sale, PIC was one of the largest money management acquisitions in the history of the industry.

Near the end of 2000, United Asset Management was acquired by Old Mutual PLC (OM) the largest and oldest financial institution in South Africa.  With PIC once again on the move, Mr. Tashjian was, again, instrumental in negotiating a successful monetary transaction for the principals of PIC for a change in corporate governance.

Prior to joining PIC, Mr. Tashjian worked for the Bank of America, both in retail banking and Corporate Finance. His professional career in investment management spans over 20 years.

Mr. Tashjian's community and corporate activities include directorships of Annandale Gold Club where he served as its president in 2001, Bavarian Specialty Food Products, Southland Title Corporation until it was sold in 2004 to Land America Financial group a New York Stock Exchange company, and the San Gabriel Valley chapter of Boy Scouts of America.  He currently serves on the advisory council of the USC Entrepreneur Program, the advisory boards of Linage Capital Partners and PGP Capital Advisors, and the National Advisory Council for the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University.  He helped found and now serves on the board of directors for Professional Business Bank in Pasadena, California.

In 2002, Mr. Tashjian conceptualized and funded the Center for Investment Studies' Capital Markets Training Room.  He and his wife Karen continue to ardently support the Center for Investment Studies and the Student Investment Fund.  Mr. Tashjian has served as the Chairman of the Board of Advisors of the Center for Investment Studies since the inception of the center.

Mr. Tashjian holds a BS in finance and an MBA from the University of Southern California.