strategy, risk management, and leadership.
H. Russell Fraser – President and Chief Executive Officer
Russ Fraser has for more than 40 years built new and innovative financial service businesses and products that have delivered significant returns to investors and exceptional services and value for customers. Russ is highly regarded for his success with AMBAC and Fitch and is known for his visionary leadership and high ethical standards. Russ has consistently built strong and experienced management teams who have operated and maintained very high standards of performance.
Before forming HRF Associates, LLC, Russ recognized the need and opportunity for an underserved segment of the industry and founded American Capital Access ("ACA") serving as Chairman and CEO. The company was the first ‘A’ rated financial guaranty company providing credit enhancement to issuers with little or no access to the capital markets. Under his leadership the firm experienced rapid growth and an outstanding underwriting record.
Prior to ACA Russ saw the potential to challenge both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s as the preeminent providers of debt ratings. He arranged financing to acquire Fitch Investors Service and served as Chairman and CEO. By again building an experienced management team that adhered to strict credit and analytical standards, he succeded in raising Fitch's profile to a point where it could very successfully compete against its larger peers.
Before being recruited to run AMBAC. Russ was Director of Fixed Income Research for Paine Webber and a member of its Board of Directors. Previously Russ had headed both the municipal and corporate debt ratings at Standard & Poors where he developed the modern-day process for rating corporate bonds.
Russ served as President and CEO of AMBAC, the first financial guaranty insurance company, and was responsible for developing the first financial strength model, illustrating the company's ability to withstand the Great Depression. This model became the industry standard and is used today by all major rating agencies to evaluate risk. In addition, he led the firm through its parent’s bankruptcy and ultimately negotiated the sale to Citibank after raising the company's market share more than tenfold.Russ received his degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Arizona. He has served on multiple boards and is the recipient of the Life Time Achievement Award from the Fixed Income Analysts Society.
Robert M. Smith – Executive Vice President
Robert joined HRF Associates, LLC in January 2007, and has over 28 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining HRF, Robert served as Executive Vice President/Managing Director of American Capital Access/ACA Capital. As a founding member of the company, he managed several key departments in the organization including, sales/marketing, investor relations, business development, public affairs, and human resources. Under his leadership, the company gained national market acceptance and significantly out-paced revenue projections.
As Senior Vice President at Financial Intermediary Credit Service, providing engineered financing, financial guaranty underwriting, merger and acquisition consulting, as well as ancillary services related to mergers and acquisitions such as financial planning, and executive search consulting, Robert led all activities involving sales and marketing, corporate communications, and business development. He also played an integral role in consulting with owners and potential owners of thrifts in the area of financial institution acquisitions and assisted in the preparation of regulatory applications for submission to the Federal Home Loan Bank and the State of California.
Robert developed his analytical acumen during his years at Standard & Poor’s Corporation which led to holding senior level positions at both Capital Guaranty Insurance Company and Financial Guaranty Insurance Company. In addition, he held consultant positions at Merrill Lynch and Charles Schwab.
Robert received his degree in Political Science from Tulane University. He has held several Board of Director positions and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the PUSD. He has also been a member of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts, Municipal Analysts Group of New York, and the San Francisco Municipal Forum.
Thomas W. Hoens, CPA – Executive Vice President
Thomas joined HRF Associates, LLC in 2004 and has over 27 years of financial services experience. Prior to joining HRF, Thomas served as Executive Vice President of Community Capital Partners, LLC. Tom served as the company's Chief Financial Officer and Chief Risk Officer where he was instrumental in securing over $10 million in financing for the Company.
Thomas was part of the initial senior management of American Capital Access, the first single 'A' rated financial guaranty company. He began as a senior member in the company's underwriting department where he developed the firm's criteria for many municipal and structured financing bond types and led the firm to insure its most profitable transaction bringing over $8 million in recurring annual profits. He assumed the role of Managing Director & Chief Financial Officer of the company in 1999. During his tenure he dramatically improved the company's financial reporting capabilities including a quarterly reporting of results on the company's website and was cited as strengthening the internal control environment. He successfully raised $15 million in additional capital from private investors and improved relationships with insurance regulators.
Prior to joining ACA, Thomas was manager of Industrial Ratings at Fitch Investors Service where he was credited by The Wall Street Journal with developing the Cash Flow Adequacy Ratio, a predictive indicator of changes in corporate credit quality. He was successful in growing the firm's revenue base by spearheading its entry into several new areas. He gained his formal experience in credit during his tenure with AMBAC Inc. and Citibank, NA. While at AMBAC he served as the company's representative on the then largest corporate bankruptcy.
Thomas received his degree in Accounting from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. He is a member of the New York Society of Securities Analysts and the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants. He has held several Board memberships and currently serves on the Board of Advisers for Audio Incorporated.