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Our Team

James M. Peterson

Founder & Managing Partner

Prior to founding Nearwater Capital, Mr. Peterson was a Senior Managing Director at Guggenheim Partners where he worked for over 14 years as Head of Origination of Guggenheim Treasury Services.  Prior to working at Guggenheim, Mr. Peterson was a Senior Vice President for Lehman Brothers where he worked for five years, both in London and New York as a banker in ABCP Origination where he structured and launched over 20 conduits for European banks.  Prior to Lehman Brothers, Mr. Peterson was Head of ABS for the Americas for Bayersiche Landesbank, where  he launched and oversaw two ABCP conduit programs with over $15 billion in CP outstandings.

Christopher R. Conetta

Senior Managing Director

Mr. Conetta joins Nearwater Capital with 25 years of experience in Fixed Income Trading and Origination. Previously, he was a Managing Director at Barclays Capital Inc., responsible for the U.S. Rates Cash Trading business, which encompassed U.S. Treasuries, Agencies and SSA’s.  In addition to managing Barclays U.S. Rates business, Mr. Conetta also managed the market-leading short-term Rates and Credit trading businesses at Lehman Brothers and then Barclays, while also being responsible for the Origination of ABCP and unsecured commercial paper programs.

Jonathan M. Kitei

Senior Managing Director

Jonathan Kitei is the Head of Risk Retention Financing and brings a wealth of experience and leadership in banking and structured products to Nearwater.  Previously, Mr. Kitei was a Managing Director at Barclays Capital responsible for managing US Securitized Products Sales and Global CLO Distribution.  His prior roles include Head of US CLO Origination and Syndicate as well as Head of US Loan Sales which he held at both Barclays and Lehman Brothers.  Prior to joining Lehman Brothers, Mr. Kitei was Head of Loan Sales and Trading at Sun Trust Equitable Securities and Head of Loan Trading at BancAmerica Securities and served on the Board of the Loan Syndications and Trading Association for six years including two years as Chairman of the Board.

Scott Kimmel

Managing Director & General Counsel

Mr. Kimmel has been a senior counsel in the financial industry with significant experience advising sales, trading and structured finance businesses on a broad range of legal, compliance and regulatory issues.  He was a Managing Director and Head of Legal for the Fixed Income businesses at both Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital, with additional responsibilities as chair of committees reviewing new products and transactions.   Most recently, he was Deputy General Counsel at Guggenheim Securities.  Mr. Kimmel has also participated in a number of industry initiatives and programs, and was a member of the Legal and Compliance Executive Committee of SIFMA.

Thomas (TJ) Gavenda

Chief Administrative Officer

Mr. Gavenda, joins Nearwater after 11 years at Credit Suisse in various senior roles across Operations, Compliance and Technology.  Prior to that, he held senior finance and regulatory roles at prominent financial institutions like Barclays, Evercore Partners and Deutsche Bank.  TJ started his career at Deloitte and is a CPA.

Ursula Clay

Chief Compliance Officer

Ms. Clay joins Nearwater from FINRA where she was a Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff for Member Supervision.  In this role, Ms. Clay advanced Member Supervision’s operational effectiveness and strategic direction, served as its regulatory counsel, and led its Core Functions teams that included policies and procedures, liaison to the SEC and other regulators, and publishing guidance to member firms.  Ms. Clay brings over 25 years of regulatory experience to Nearwater, having held senior compliance roles at Morgan Stanley, Barclays, and Exos Securities, practicing securities law at Bressler, Amery & Ross, and managing her own swap dealer consulting business. 

Robert Pascuzzi

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Pascuzzi brings nearly 20 years of experience leading Finance, Accounting, and Regulatory teams at some of the largest global Institutional Prime Brokers. Prior to joining Nearwater Mr. Pascuzzi held various senior Controller and Chief Financial Officer roles at Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, and Citigroup.  In addition to having responsibilities for Financial and Regulatory Reporting at these firms, Mr. Pascuzzi was also responsible for advising their Sales and Trading teams on regulatory and capital implications of new business initiatives as well as the impact of new regulatory regimes, such as Swap Dealer and Security Based Swap Dealer regulations.

Theo Fleishman

Managing Director, Risk Retention Financing

Theo Fleishman joins Nearwater Capital as a Managing Director with over 15 years of banking experience.  Most recently, Mr. Fleishman was a Director at Natixis where he managed Structured Credit Syndication, primarily focusing on the execution and origination of CLOs, ABS, and CMBS, both domestic and abroad.  While at Natixis, he syndicated over 200 transactions to a global investor base, consistently ranking in the top 10 of the league tables.  Prior to that, he worked out of Natixis’ head office in Paris and spent two years at Morgan Stanley, where he began his career in 2006.     

James (Jay) Vasser

Managing Director, Head of Structuring

Mr. Vasser was most recently the head of Treasury and Risk Management at Guggenheim Securities in New York where he worked for the past 5 years.  Prior to that he was the primary trader for the Structured Lending Group at Citigroup Global Markets where he originated, structured, and owned the risk on a multi-billion dollar portfolio of structured loans.  He began his career in 2004 at Lehman Brothers and continued at Barclays Capital until 2010 where he worked in the Structured Portfolio Finance team in Prime Services.    

Haley Ratner

Associate General Counsel

Ms. Ratner is responsible for providing legal counsel to Nearwater’s three core lines of business. Prior to joining Nearwater, Ms. Ratner was an associate in the global finance practice group at Ropes & Gray, where she represented private equity firms, corporate borrowers, and other borrowers in complex financings and an associate in the global finance practice group at Greenberg Traurig, where she represented private equity sponsors, public and private borrowers, lead arrangers and lenders in connection with syndicated and bilateral loan financings. Prior to becoming an attorney, Ms. Ratner had a career in financial services at Bloomberg LP, where she ran a team that focused on risk, compliance and operational matters.  Ms. Ratner is a member of the State Bar of New York.

Monica Wu

Senior Risk Officer

Ms. Wu brings over 10 years of experience in global financial markets risk management to Nearwater.  Prior to joining the firm, she worked for Morgan Stanley (New York), HSBC (New York and Hong Kong) and Westpac (Sydney).  Ms. Wu’s experience and focus include ensuring that risk management systems and framework are in compliance with regulatory requirements, as well as risk model development and validation, with a view toward applicable regulations.

Andrew Clark
Head of Operations

Andrew Clark joins Nearwater with over 20 years of operations experience across the Americas, EMEA and APAC. Andrew had previously spent 10 years at UBS, where he was global lead of equity operations and middle office and over saw the transition from regional to global reporting, as well as working with sales, trading and structuring on numerous new business initiatives. Prior to UBS, Andrew had worked for US broker dealers including MF Global and Jefferies and Co, Australian investment bank Macquarie Bank and London hedge funds in operations, working with existing businesses and in the creation of new businesses.

Adam Wigderson

Senior Director, Rates Trading

Mr. Wigderson brings over fifteen years of fixed income market experience to Nearwater Capital.  Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Wigderson was a senior trader on the US Agency desk at UBS where he focused on providing client solutions through primary and secondary market execution.  Prior to UBS, he held senior trading positions on the US Agency and US Treasury desks at JP Morgan.  Mr. Wigderson began his career as an auditor with KPMG and has held roles at Chase Bank and Barclays Capital.

Paterno (Tino) Luzano

Director, CP Trading/

Liquidity Management

Mr. Luzano was a Director of Short-Term Fixed Income Trading at BoAML from 2007-2014.  While at BoAML, he traded CP and ABCP for over 18 programs with cumulative outstandings of over $50 billion.  Prior to BoAML, Mr. Luzano worked at JPMorgan in Global Treasury where he was responsible for managing the funding and liquidity requirements of the bank-sponsored ABCP programs.  In addition to his experience as a trader, Mr. Luzano has worked in Administration rolls at major conduits for Chase Manhattan and Credit Lyonnais where he gained experience in managing the issuance, liquidity management and administration of  large conduits.   

William Yang

Director, Trade Compliance / Transaction Management

Prior to Nearwater, he was a cross asset derivatives structurer at Credit Agricole focusing on structured solutions for corporate clients and institutional investors. Previously, Mr. Yang was with Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital Markets. Mr. Yang holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, and a M.S. in Financial Engineering from Baruch College of the City University of New York.

Izabela Olito



Izabela manages the accounting and reporting functions for the Company. She joined Nearwater Capital from Miura Global, where she performed Controller functions for the Funds and Management Company. At Miura Izabela was responsible for oversight of accounting and audit, tax reporting, monthly NAV closings, supporting traders and reporting for various groups within organization. Prior to Miura Global Izabela worked at Goldman Sachs Administration Services where she was Senior Fund Accountant and managed accounting for various hedge fund clients.  Izabela began her career in 2005 as an auditor at Ernst & Young LLP within Asset Management Group. Izabela is a CPA licensed in New York and holds BBA in Public Accounting from Baruch College.  

Ankur Joshi

Director Swap Dealer Operations

Mr. Joshi was most recently the head of Dodd Frank Swaps Dealer Operations at ING Capital Markets in New York where he worked for the past 2 years.  Before ING, he was the at Morgan Stanley where he worked in Dodd Frank Swaps Dealer Compliance.  His career began in 2007 at UBS where he worked in a variety of operation roles supporting the equities swaps and structured derivatives business and continued at DTCC Trade Repository until 2016 where he worked on regulatory reporting initiatives.

Claudia Lemmer

Director of Administration

Claudia Lemmer started her career with AIM Fund Services in Houston, TX.  Currently Ms Lemmer is Head of Administration for Nearwater Capital, where she is responsible for Human Resources, Administration, Commercial Logistics and operational efficiency.   Prior to Nearwater, Ms Lemmer worked at New England Consulting in inside sales and marketing. 

Kristy Giardino

Associate Director, Trade Compliance/Transaction Management

Mrs. Giardino was an Associate Director and Sr. Portfolio Manager for FMS Service Group from 2010-2018 where she issued commercial paper for Kells Funding LLC and managed the daily administration of the conduit.  During her tenor, she also administered a $5 billion Total Return Swap warehouse facility consisting primarily of CLO’s and Student Loans.  Prior to joining FMS-SG, Mrs. Giardino worked for DEPFA Bank plc from 2004-2010 where she was a Jr. Trader for a $25 billion ABCP conduit, Morrigan TRR Funding.  Ms. Giardino began her career at Salomon Smith Barney in 1999 as a trading assistant for Retail Sales and Trading.

Nearwater Capital | Specialty Financing Company Based in New York, NY

Peter Baumann

Associate, Origination

Transaction Managment

Mr. Baumann worked at Wells Fargo Securities as an Analyst in the Corporate Debt Finance group, originating, structuring and underwriting CLOs and warehouse facilities backed by corporate loans. Mr. Baumann has internship experience at Nearwater, Merrill Lynch and Guggenheim and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from George Washington University

Malthi Narayan

Associate Director, 

Operations / Trade Settlement

Mrs. Narayan comes to Nearwater from Dexia Credit Local’s New York office, where she worked for more than 15 years in various settlements and operational roles.  She has extensive operational experience in money market instruments such as CP and CDs, as well as interest rate and credit derivatives and foreign exchange.  She began her career at Fortis Bank’s New York branch where she held as senior roll in derivative operations.

Kimberly Villanella

Associate Director, Trade Settlement/


Mrs. Villanella joins Near Water as a specialist in the operations and settlements departments, having worked hands on with a number of assets classes including Equities, Fixed Income and Foreign Exchange and numerous markets, both international  and domestic. She brings years of experience across the whole trade lifecycle and documentation requirements, as well stakeholder management both internally and externally.

Jairo Orejuela

Associate, Trade Settlement/


Mr. Orejuela serves as a Transaction Support Analyst.  In this role, Mr. Orejuela supports closings for new and existing customers, including legal documentation review, preparation of operational documentation for booking and preparation of closing checklist packages. Prior to joining Nearwater, Mr. Orejuela was a paralegal at Holland & Knight LLP within their Structured Finance Group. He also served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a Platoon Sergeant.

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