Portfolio Management Team
Mr. Aaron B. Izenstark
Managing Director, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer
Co-Portfolio Manager, IRON Strategic Income Fund
Mr. Izenstark is a Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of IRON Financial. He is responsible for oversight of IRON’s investment management, research and trading capabilities and for the oversight and management of the firm’s approximately $1.8 Billion in current client assets.
Since IRON’s founding in 1994, Mr. Izenstark’s focus has been on designing specialized Fixed Income and Equity strategies that seek to reduce portfolio volatility and downside risk while earning competitive returns through full market cycles. Under the guidance of Mr. Izenstark, the IRON organization has grown from managing a small portfolio in 1994 to today managing approximately $1.8 Billion in assets for a range of Intermediary, Institutional and High Net Worth investors.
Prior to Co-Founding IRON Financial in 1994, Mr. Izenstark was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange where he specialized in the trading of Fixed Income and Equity derivatives. Mr. Izenstark began investing in High Yield fixed income securities in 1988 while a member of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) – where he first developed the investment process that has evolved into the full investment methodology IRON uses today in managing the IRON Strategic Income Fund. Mr. Izenstark received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Indiana University and he holds the FINRA Series 2 and 65 licenses.
Mr. Daniel L. Sternberg
Co-Portfolio Manager, IRON Strategic Income Fund
Mr. Sternberg is the Co-Portfolio Manager of the IRON Strategic Income Fund. Mr. Sternberg joined IRON Financial in 2002 and has been responsible for investment research, trading and portfolio management on the IRON Strategic Income Fund since its inception in October 2006. Prior to Co-Managing the IRON Strategic Income Fund, Mr. Sternberg was responsible for fixed income trading and investment research for fixed income separate accounts at IRON Financial.
Mr. Sternberg received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Ithaca College and holds the FINRA Series 65 license. He has been a member of the Investment Advisory Board for the Ithaca Real-Time Fund since its inception in 2008. The fund provides undergraduate students a valuable opportunity to manage real money in an active stock portfolio. Additionally, Mr. Sternberg has been Treasurer of the Board for the Chicago Mosaic School since 2010.
Mr. Ted F. Connolly
Director, Portfolio Management and Trading
Mr. Ted Connolly is a trader and portfolio manager for a series of Fixed Income strategies for IRON Financial. Mr. Connolly joined IRON Financial in 2006 and has responsibility for fixed income strategies incorporating the use of corporate, government, municipal and convertible securities.
Prior to joining IRON, Mr. Connolly worked for a number of market making firms at the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade including Blue Capital Group, GBAR and Tuscarora Trading. At GBAR, Mr. Connolly was responsible for the administrative start-up of a yield curve trading group. He also traded futures to hedge option trades as well as daily and overnight gamma. Likewise, at Tuscarora, Mr. Connolly traded futures to hedge option trades and compiled databases on the volatility, slopes and skews for 10 and 30 year treasury options.
Mr. Connolly earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Connecticut College and holds the FINRA Series 65 license.
Portfolio Management and Trading
Mr. Fanaro is a trader and portfolio manager for IRON’s Equity Derivatives and REIT strategies. Mr. Fanaro joined IRON Financial in 2012 and is also responsible for investment strategy research across asset classes including fixed income, equities, options and futures.
Prior to joining IRON, Mr. Fanaro worked in the futures industry as a Trader and Quantitative Analyst, where he researched, developed, executed and managed the risk of investment strategies. Mr. Fanaro worked extensively in the development of financial models to value derivatives and cash securities, covering both traditional and alternative investments.
Mr. Fanaro received his M.B.A. with honors in Finance from DePaul University, Kellstadt Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor’s of Science from DePaul University’s College of Commerce.
Investment Research Team
Dr. Ramesh B. Poola, Ph.D., CFA
Director of Investment and Quantitative Research
Dr. Ramesh Poola, Ph.D., CFA is the Director of Investment and Quantitative Research for IRON Financial. Dr. Poola joined IRON Financial in 2009 and he heads and oversees all quantitative investment research, financial modeling, portfolio construction, and risk analysis for IRON's investment strategies across all asset classes. He also leads investment research for IRON Financial’s ERISA 3(38) Investment Fiduciary Corporate Retirement Services business.
Prior to joining IRON, Dr. Poola was an Equities Research Analyst at Koch Quantitative Trading, LLC, a division of Koch Industries, where he was responsible for quantitative research; the development of new investment strategies; and the development and enhancement of advanced risk management practices. Previously, Dr. Poola was an Equity Research Analyst at Morningstar, LLC where he was responsible for fundamental equity research coverage in the diversified industrial sector. He conceived and organized Morningstar's first stock conference, "The Management Behind the Moat.“
Previously, Dr. Poola spent six years in advanced engineering research and development at General Motors Corporation and six years as a leading researcher at Argonne National Laboratory. Dr. Poola was awarded eleven U.S. Patents and authored/co-authored over 60 scholarly technical papers in leading peer-reviewed journals. Also, he was a recipient of GM’s “Outstanding Achievement Award” for exemplary leadership and excellence and was a three-time recipient of the “Argonne Director’s Award,” – the highest award provided by Argonne for outstanding achievements and research contributions. He was also a recipient of the “R&D 100” award from R&D magazine.
Dr. Poola received his M.B.A. with honors in Analytical Finance and Accounting from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. He also holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India. Dr. Poola is a CFA Charterholder and is a member of the CFA Society of Chicago and the Quantitative Finance Group.
Mr. Chirag Maru
Senior Quantitative Analyst
Mr. Chirag Maru is a Quantitative Analyst for IRON Financial. Mr. Maru joined IRON Financial in 2011 and is responsible for developing investment strategies in a number of alternative investment asset classes including the High-Yield and Convertible Fixed Income asset classes. He is also responsible for the development of various alpha generating investment strategies that incorporate extensive quantitative research and analytical methods.
Prior to joining IRON, Mr. Maru was an Investment Associate at Astor Asset Management, a subsidiary of Knight Capital Group. There he was responsible for quantitative research related to the firm’s flagship long-short fund and the development of new absolute return investment strategies. Previously, Mr. Maru spent 10 years at OPNET Technologies, where, as a Technical Director at OPNET, he oversaw modeling research and the development of networking protocols and simulation architectures.
Mr. Maru received his M.B.A. with honors in Analytic Finance, Economics and Accounting from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and a Masters in Systems Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. Also, Mr. Maru is a CFA Level III candidate.
Mr. Manzoor Abdul
Senior Investment Analyst
Mr. Manzoor Abdul is a Senior Investment Analyst for IRON Financial. He joined IRON Financial in 2011 and is responsible for developing investment strategies in alternative investment asset classes including the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) asset class. He is also responsible for conducting fundamental and quantitative-oriented credit and equity research, and for developing alpha generating investment strategies that incorporate extensive quantitative research and analytical methods. Manzoor also oversees the design and development of IRON's proprietary credit/equity analytics and portfolio management infrastructure.
Prior to joining IRON, he was an Investment Analyst at 1001 Steps, LLC, an independent advisory firm, where he was responsible for investment research and portfolio management of the firm’s flagship fund. His responsibilities also included development of new investment strategies and building quantitative models based on the principles of behavioral finance. Previously, Manzoor was a management consultant at ChapterHouse, LLC. (now part of Oliver Wyman), where he focused on issues related to corporate strategy, market positioning, and organizational transformation in the healthcare industry. Prior to that, Manzoor spent ten years as a technology consultant to industries including insurance, financial services, and retail. He also co-founded an IT solutions firm in India catering to small and mid-sized healthcare firms.
Manzoor received his M.B.A. with honors in Finance, Strategy, and Managerial and Organizational Behavior from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Calicut, India. He brings over 15 years of experience in strategy, operations, research, and capital allocation across various industries including financial services, technology, and healthcare.
Mr. Aaron Heltsley
Mr. Heltsley joined IRON Financial as a research analyst primarily responsible for the selection, evaluation, and ongoing monitoring of external investment managers for Iron’s ERISA 3(38) Investment Fiduciary solutions. In addition, he also provides portfolio and operations support to the IRON Strategic Income Fund.
Mr. Heltsley graduated with honors in Finance and Accounting from the Ithaca College School of Business in 2012. He also completed his internship at JP Morgan Chase & Co providing risk management reporting to upper management.