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Working With Us

ZAIS Group

ZAIS Group is one of several structured credit managers with a two-decade history. Our history and experience provides several distinct competitive advantages:


Specialization and Focus

ZAIS has consistently invested in alternative credit for over twenty years. Our history has allowed us to deepen our skillsets and our understanding of the credit markets. As a result, we have seen many alternative credit transactions since the 1990s and have managed through a diverse range of credit cycles.


Long-term Client Base

ZAIS’s clientele includes a long-term base, some of which have been invested with us for more than a decade. Over the years our clients have included: public and private pension funds, endowments, foundations, insurance companies, family offices, funds-of-funds, sovereign wealth funds and other investment advisors.


Experience and Longevity

We believe the longevity of our investment team reflects our focus and gives us an advantage in our core markets. For example, the core securitized credit team has been together for more than a decade and, combined, has multiple decades of sector-specific experience.

Key Team

Investment Team

Mr. Zugel serves as Founder and CIO of ZAIS and is also Chairman of the company’s Management Advisory Committee. Before founding ZAIS in 1997, Mr. Zugel was Head of High Yield Proprietary Trading with J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., where he led J.P. Morgan’s entry into many new trading initiatives. At J.P. Morgan, Mr. Zugel also served on the Asia Pacific management-wide and firm wide market risk committees. Mr. Zugel received a Masters in Economics from the University of Mannheim, Germany.

Mr. Curry serves as the President of ZAIS and is a member of ZAIS's Management Advisory Committee. Before joining ZAIS in January of 2018, Mr. Curry served as the Chief Executive Officer of DBRS Limited and DBRS, Inc. from December 2013 to August 2016. Mr. Curry served as Global President of DBRS from May 2012 to December 2013 and held the role of President of DBRS, Inc. beginning in December 2008 when he joined DBRS. Before joining DBRS, Mr. Curry was a Group Managing Director at Moody’s, where he co-managed the corporate finance group for the Americas, overseeing the ratings and research on over 2,500 non-financial companies, spanning both investment-grade and high-yield areas. At Moody’s, Mr. Curry also managed the Structured Finance rating groups for Europe and Asia. Mr. Curry holds an MBA from Columbia University Graduate Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University.

Ms. Crowley serves as Head of Securitized Credit and Head of Business Development and Client Relations at ZAIS. As Head of ZAIS’s Securitized Credit Business, Ms. Crowley is responsible for mortgage investments, including Non-Agency RMBS, CMBS, Commercial Real Estate debt and equity, ABS investments and CLO investments across our separately managed accounts and co-mingled funds. She is also a member of ZAIS’s Management Advisory Committee. Before joining ZAIS in August of 1997, Ms. Crowley worked at J.P. Morgan in the High Yield Trading Group. Before J.P. Morgan, she worked for Hon. Daniel P. Moynihan as an economic research analyst. Ms. Crowley received a B.A. from Boston College and an M.B.A. from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Mr. Ingato serves as Head of Leveraged Finance and a Portfolio Manager and Managing Director. He is responsible for managing ZAIS CLOs and investing in the underlying leveraged loans. Mr. Ingato is the Chairman of the Leveraged Loan Investment Committee and is a member of ZAIS’s Management Advisory and Investment Committees. Before joining ZAIS in June of 2013, Mr. Ingato was a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at CVC Credit Partners. He joined CVC in May 2008 in connection with the sale of ACA to CVC. Mr. Ingato established ACA’s leveraged finance business in 2004 and was responsible for the firm's Corporate and Leveraged Loan CDOs. Before joining ACA Capital, Mr. Ingato was Senior Vice President and Head of the Leveraged Finance Group at Fuji Bank. Before joining Fuji Bank, Mr. Ingato was Vice President and Area Manager of the Corporate Banking Group at Wells Fargo Bank where he was responsible for originating LBOs with the bank’s private equity firms. Mr. Ingato holds his B.S., magna cum laude, in Marketing from Fairfield University, and an M.B.A. from the College of William and Mary.

Mr. Kar serves as a Director within the Portfolio Management Team and is responsible for consumer and mortgage-backed credit investments including securities and asset-based lending opportunities. Mr. Kar has 14 years of experience in structured finance. Before joining ZAIS in August of 2009, Mr. Kar worked at Lehman Brothers, where he focused on the financing and securitization of various Consumer and Esoteric assets and at Capital One Financial where he worked in the Prime credit card origination business. Mr. Kar received an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kharagpur.

Mr. Nicklas serves as a Portfolio Manager and Managing Director is responsible for securitized credit. Mr. Nicklas has over 20 years of experience in the U.S. Structured Securities market. Before joining ZAIS in August of 2008, Mr. Nicklas spent eight years with Lehman Brothers where he was a Senior Vice President trading non-agency mortgage backed securities with a particular focus on credit. Before Lehman, Mr. Nicklas spent seven years at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette trading both the senior and subordinate parts of the capital structure in the Residential Mortgage space. Mr. Nicklas has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. from the University of Virginia.

Ms. Roche serves as a Portfolio Manager and Managing Director and is responsible for Securitized Corporate Credit. Ms. Roche joined ZAIS in September of 2004 and since has had significant involvement in the investment analysis of corporate backed CDO tranches, credit derivatives and synthetic securitizations and the management of the funds holding these securities. She also contributed to the development of analytical systems and the group’s quantitative modeling capabilities. Before joining ZAIS, Ms. Roche attended New York University and Trinity College Dublin. She earned a B.S. in Chemistry from NYU and an M.A. in Mathematics of Finance from Columbia University.

Mr. Stehnacs serves as Portfolio Manager and Managing Director and is responsible for securitized corporate credit. Mr. Stehnacs joined ZAIS in June of 2001 and since has had significant involvement in the structuring and investment analysis of CDO2, corporate backed CDO tranches and synthetic securitizations and the management of the funds holding these securities. Mr. Stehnacs has a B.S. in Finance from Monmouth University.