Capital Markets & Trading
Sales & Marketing
- Executive Committee
- Investment Committee
- Sales & Marketing
Mr. Robert Stein began his career as a project analyst for the Federal Reserve under former Chairman Paul Volcker and later went on to hold senior trading or portfolio management positions with large money-center Wall Street banks. Returning to Chicago in 1994, he formed Astor Financial, Inc., the parent company of Astor Asset Management LLC (“AAM”) a registered investment adviser and the predecessor firm to Astor Investment Management, LLC. Knight Capital Group (NYSE: KCG) acquired AAM in 2010 and Mr. Stein was appointed to the Executive Committee reporting to the Board of Directors and directly to the Chairman. In a management restructuring, Mr. Stein re-organized AAM as an independent firm (Astor Investment Management LLC). Mr. Stein is the co-creator of the Astor Economic Index® (AEI), the firm’s proprietary method used to create what we believe is a smoother, more accurate “live read” on the economy. He is also the author of several books, including Inside Greenspan’s Briefcase (McGraw-Hill) and Finding the Bull inside the Bear (John Wiley & Sons). Mr. Stein is the founder of the i-CARE Foundation, an organization that provides an annual grant to Northwestern Hospital to enhance patient experience and is Vice Chairman of the Board of Advisors to GlenKirk, an organization that supports people with special needs. Mr. Stein holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan. Email: rstein @ astorim dot com
Mr. Eckstein joined Astor in 2011 and serves as Chief Investment Officer. As Vice Chairman of the firm’s investment committee, he is responsible for international global macro strategies. In 1995, Mr. Eckstein founded Cornerstone Quantitative Investment Group, a global macro hedge fund with peak assets of $600 million. Prior to Cornerstone, Mr. Eckstein was a researcher for Luck Trading Company, a commodity trading adviser. Mr. Eckstein is a co-author of Commodity Investing (John Wiley & Sons, 2008) and is a frequent speaker at industry events. He holds a B.S. from Brown University and a Masters in Public Administration (International Economic Policy) from Columbia University.
Senior Managing Director
Mr. Bryan Novak joined Astor in 2002 and currently serves as Senior Managing Director. Mr. Novak has been involved in the research and development of the trading and investment strategies at the firm. He was instrumental in the launch of the firm’s mutual fund family in 2009 and has served as part of the portfolio management team since 2004. Prior to Astor, Mr. Novak was an equity options trader for Second City Trading, LLC at the CBOE in Chicago. Mr. Novak appears regularly in numerous financial media outlets and is often a panelist at ETF industry events. Mr. Novak earned his Bachelor of Science in Financial Management from the Ohio State University. Mr. Novak is a CAIA charterholder. Email: bnovak @ astorim dot com
The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (“CAIA”) designation is offered by the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association to individuals working in the field of alternative investments. In order to receive the designation, candidates must pass two four-hour exams, hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent with at least one year of professional experience (or four years of experience), and abide by the policies of the Association.
Ms. Deepika Sharma joined Astor in 2012 and serves as the Managing Director of Investment Research. As a member of the firm’s Investment Committee, she assists with the management of Astor’s multi-asset strategies while holding responsibility for the research and development of current and forthcoming strategies. Ms. Sharma is a CFA charterholder and was recognized in 2015 by the New York CFA Society (NYSSA) as the “Young Investment Professional 2015”. She began her career as an Analyst on the Fixed Income desk at Lehman Brothers, later acquired by Nomura and also worked in macro-strategy at Roubini Global Economics. Ms. Sharma completed her Masters in International Finance at Columbia University. Email: dsharma @ astorim dot com
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation is an international professional designation offered by the CFA Institute to financial analysts. To become a CFA Charterholder, candidates must pass each of three six-hour exams, possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (or have equivalent education or work experience) and have 48 months of qualified, professional work experience. Individuals are must also adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards governing their professional conduct.
Managing Director of Operations
Mr. Brian Durbin joined Astor in 2011 and currently serves as the Managing Director of Operations. Mr. Durbin has been involved in many aspects of Astor’s business. Mr. Durbin uses his broad knowledge to manage the technology and portfolio administration functions of the firm. As a member of the Investment Committee, Mr. Durbin assists the Portfolio Managers with research, trading, and investment decisions. Additionally, Mr. Durbin sits on the Executive Committee. Prior to Astor, Mr. Durbin conducted regulatory audits within the futures industry as an auditor for the National Futures Association. Mr. Durbin earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Finance and Accountancy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Email: bdurbin @ astorim dot com
Managing Director, Head of Distribution
Mr. Mac O’Brien joined Astor in 2016 and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of distribution, including the management of the internal and external sales teams and the management of national accounts. Mr. O’Brien also has a direct role in production and is involved in corporate strategy, product development and the creation of marketing collateral. During his 13 year career, he has also help positions as a Sr. Vice President at Dearborn Capital Management (Grant Park Funds) and Managing Director at Zacks Investment Management. Mr. O’Brien began his career at one of the industry’s largest independent equity research firms, where he gained experience in quantitative modeling, portfolio construction and sales. He received BA in Economics from the University of Michigan. Email: mobrien @ astorim dot com
Mr. Scott Thomas joined Astor in 2008 and currently serves as the Director of Finance. As a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, he oversees the financial operations of the firm and supports business development and strategic relationship initiatives. Mr. Thomas began his career in the financial services industry with Equity Consultants and previously held managerial positions at Bank of America. Mr. Thomas earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Purdue University in 2004. Email: sthomas @ astorim dot com
Senior Technology Officer
Mr. Jeffrey Schwartz joined Astor in 2016 and serves as the Senior Technology Officer. Mr. Schwartz is involved in improving the firm’s research and operations via automated processes and programmed applications. Prior to Astor, Mr. Schwartz developed technology solutions supporting research, trading, and operations at Tradition and Cornerstone Quantitative Investment Group. Mr. Schwartz earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 1995. Email: jschwartz @ astorim dot com
Mr. Lee Oliff joined Astor in 2009 and currently serves as General Counsel. Mr. Oliff assists with all legal and compliance matters. Before serving as General Counsel, Mr. Oliff provided operational and compliance support while earning his Juris Doctorate from Chicago-Kent College of Law. Mr. Oliff is admitted to the bar in Illinois and is an active member of the American Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, and Illinois State Bar Association. Mr. Oliff holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Kansas. Email: loliff @ astorim dot com
Regional Vice President – Southeast
Mr. Tom Reid joined Astor in 2015 as Regional Vice President. Mr. Reid manages Astor’s sales and distribution efforts in the Southeast region. Prior to joining Astor, Mr. Reid worked as a Director for Sterling Capital Management LLC and as a Regional Vice President at Riversource Investments LLC. Mr. Reid received his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Villanova University. Email: treid @ astorim dot com
Regional Vice President – Northeast
Mr. Keith Schlingheyde joined Astor in 2015 as Regional Vice President. Mr. Schlingheyde manages Astor’s sales and distribution efforts in the Northeast region. Prior to joining Astor, Mr. Schlingheyde was the Senior Regional Director for Wells Fargo Advantage Funds and the Vice President/Senior Regional Director at PIMCO Funds and Strong Capital Management. Mr. Schlingheyde graduated from Marist College. Email: keith @ astorim dot com
Regional Vice President – West
Mr. Matt Johnson joined Astor in 2015 as Regional Sales Manager. He manages Astor’s sales and distribution efforts in the West. Prior to joining Astor, Mr. Johnson spent 2 years at Mt Diablo Private Wealth Advisors and prior to that was with Wells Fargo for 12 years where he was Regional Director for the Wells Fargo Funds Management Group. Mr. Johnson received his Bachelor of Science degree from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. Email: mjohnson @ astorim dot com
Vice President – Internal Distribution
Mr. Brandon Balazi joined Astor in 2013 and is currently the Vice President of Internal Distribution. Mr. Balazi manages Astor’s inside sales and distribution efforts. Before joining Astor, Mr. Balazi had sales and distribution experience at a local investment firm. Mr. Balazi graduated from DePaul University. Mr. Balazi is a candidate to earn his CIMA® certification. Email: bbalai @ astorim dot com
CIMA® – The Certified Investment Management Analyst® certification involves a two-hour qualification examination, the completion of an education program at a top-20 business school registered with the Investment Management Consultants Association, and passing a four-hour certification examination.
Mr. Trenton Grens joined Astor in 2015 as an Internal Wholesaler. Mr. Grens helps oversee distribution of Astor’s products external/internal sales support and maintains relationships with the firm. Before joining Astor, Mr. Grens has previous financial sales experience with Chase and Merrill Lynch. Mr. Grens received his Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University where he was also a varsity scholarship athlete. Email tgrens @ astorim dot com
Personal Asst. to CEO Rob Stein, Office Manager, Senior Executive Asst.
Ms. Stephanie Yuskis joined Astor in 2010 and serves as the Personal Assistant to the CEO – Rob Stein, as well as the Office Manager and Sr. Executive Assistant. She is responsible for providing assistance to the CEO and Executive staff, maintaining office services and efficiency, maintaining vendor relationships, supervising office staff, and managing office records. Prior to joining Astor investment Management LLC, Stephanie worked at Citi Banking as a Commissions Specialist and Pfizer as a Senior Finance Coordinator. Email: syuskis @ astorim dot com
Internal Sales Associate
Mr. Jace James joined Astor in 2015 as an Internal Sales Associate. Mr. James supports the internal and external wholesalers with sales efforts. Prior to joining Astor, Mr. James received his degree from the University of Missouri where he was also a varsity scholarship athlete. Email: jjames @ astorim dot com