Investment Team

SMC's Investment Committee has over 100 years of combined experience in investing. The firm’s senior investment professionals come from diverse backgrounds and bring skill sets that complement each other. The Investment Committee consists of John "Launny" Steffens, Gregory Ho, Raymond Wong, Jason Orchard and Haim Mozes.

Managing Members


John L. (Launny) Steffens

Mr. John L. Steffens is the founder of Spring Mountain Capital, LP, (“SMC”) an investment management firm located in New York City. Mr. Steffens is also a Member of SMC Fixed Income Management, LLC, the General Partner of SMC Fixed Income Management, LP (“SMC FIM”) and assists SMC FIM with portfolio management and strategy. Prior to founding Spring Mountain Capital, LP in 2001, Mr. Steffens spent 38 years at Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., where he held numerous senior management positions, including President of Merrill Lynch Consumer Markets, Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., and Chairman of its U.S. Private Client Group. Under his leadership, the Private Client Group experienced tremendous growth, increasing assets under management from $200 billion to $1.6 trillion. Mr. Steffens also served on the board of directors of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. from April 1986 until July 2001. Mr. Steffens has served as Chairman of the Securities Industry Association, as a Trustee of the Committee for Economic Development, and is currently National Chairman Emeritus of the Alliance for Aging Research. Mr. Steffens currently serves on the advisory boards of StarVest Partners and Wicks Communication & Media Partners, L.P. He is a member of the board of directors of HealthPoint Capital, and serves on the board of Colony Financial, Inc. Mr. Steffens also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cicero, Inc. In 2011, he was appointed to the Dartmouth Medical School Board of Overseers. In 2010, Mr. Steffens was the recipient of the Billie Jean King Contribution Award from the Women’s Sports Foundation. Mr. Steffens graduated from Dartmouth College in 1963 with a B.A. in Economics. He also completed the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School in 1979.

Gregory P. Ho

Mr. Ho is the President and Chief Operating Officer of SMC and a Co-Managing Member of its general partner. He was formerly a Principal and Chief Financial Officer of McKinsey & Company, Inc. During his 16 years with McKinsey, he led the financial and tax planning for the firm and its worldwide partner group, as well as the identification, evaluation and selection of traditional and alternative asset managers for over $1 billion of assets in its qualified employee plans and in-house investment office. Mr. Ho was a Trustee of McKinsey's Profit-Sharing Retirement Plan and a member of the Firm's Investment Committee. After leaving McKinsey in 1998 and prior to joining Spring Mountain Capital in June 2001, Mr. Ho was a private investor and consultant. He was associated with the law firm of Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine from 1977 until 1982. Mr. Ho graduated with honors from Yale College with a B.S. in Administrative Science. Mr. Ho graduated from Columbia Law School and is a member of the New York and California bars.


Other Investment Professionals


Lauren Brueggen

Lauren Brueggen is a Vice President in SMC's private equity group and has been with the firm since 2011. Ms. Brueggen was previously an Associate at The Wicks Group of Companies, a private equity firm with close to $1 billion under management, focused on selected segments of the information, education and media industries. Prior to joining Wicks, Ms. Brueggen was in the Restructuring and Mergers & Acquisitions group of Jefferies & Company, a middle market-focused investment bank. Ms. Brueggen graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in Economics.

Thomas J. Brophy

Mr. Brophy is a Portfolio Manager in SMC’s High Yield and Distressed Municipal Strategies Group and joined the firm in 2012. He has more than 20 years of experience in public finance. Prior to joining SMC, he was a portfolio manager with Ofelia Capital and before that a Co-Portfolio Manager of high-yield municipal bonds at Aroya Capital. He also served as Managing Director and Portfolio Manager with Neuberger Berman for nine years where he managed national and state specific municipal closed-end funds, as well as accounts for high net-worth individuals with net assets in the combined portfolios of approximately $2 billion. Additionally, Mr. Brophy spent 12 years in various portfolio management capacities at Columbus Circle Investors where he developed and implemented investment strategies for over $1 billion in actively managed tax-exempt assets. Mr. Brophy earned a B.S. from Manhattan College (1980) and an M.B.A. from Pace University (1983).

Serge Cooks, CFA

Mr. Cooks is a Quantitative Analyst and joined SMC in 2008. Prior to joining SMC, he consulted with hedge funds on various aspects of quantitative investment strategies. From 2005 to 2007 he was a Portfolio Manager with Hemisphere National Bank, responsible for pricing and risk management in the bank’s mortgage origination division. Prior to joining Hemisphere National Bank, he held an adjunct teaching position with Touro College. Prior to this, Mr. Cooks worked for Barclays de Zoete Wedd in Australia and was a member of the number one ranked Equities Quant team. He started his career as a research analyst with ABN Amro Hoare Govett in Australia. Mr. Cooks received an Honors Degree in Mathematics and Finance from University of Technology, Sydney in 1997. Mr. Cooks has published a number of papers on a wide range of investment subjects.

Avi Faliks, Ph.D.

Avi Faliks, Ph.D. is a Managing Director of SMC's private equity group and has been with the firm since 2011. Prior to joining SMC, Dr. Faliks was a private investor, acquiring distressed consumer companies that were restructured, rebuilt, and sold to strategic investors. Prior to his private equity investment activities, he was the Co-founder and Managing Director of Apex Capital Management, a hedge fund based in New York and Hong Kong specializing in Greater China investments. He was also previously the CEO of AccuImage Diagnostic Corp. Dr. Faliks began his investment career at Bear Stearns' Strategic Structures and Transactions Group. Dr. Faliks received his Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from Princeton University and graduated with honors from Harvard College with an A.B in Applied Mathematics.

Andrew Fiore

Mr. Fiore is an Analyst and joined SMC in September 2010. He received a B.S. in Mathematics from Drexel University in 2010. While at Drexel University, he worked on the trading floor with both the energy and convertible bond groups at Susquehanna International Group. Prior to this, Mr. Fiore was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a Precision Measurement Equipment Technician, and calibrated and repaired electronic equipment.

Garey M. Fuqua

Mr. Fuqua is Managing Director and Group Head of SMC’s High Yield and Distressed Municipal Strategies Group and joined the firm in 2012. He has more than 15 years of experience in public finance. Prior to joining SMC, he founded Ofelia Capital, an investment boutique firm focusing on municipal debt. He was also previously a Co-Portfolio Manager of high-yield municipal bonds at Aroya Capital, a multi-strategy hedge fund, Director with Cohen & Company, where he co-managed a $425 million municipal CDO portfolio as well as a Director at Fitch Ratings, where he rated and issued credit opinions primarily for municipal bonds of nonprofit healthcare organizations. Mr. Fuqua has also worked at Goldman Sachs, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Brown & Wood, Sumitomo and Sallie Mae. He has significant experience in a wide range of non-investment grade issuers as well as turnaround and distressed situations. He is also a recognized authority on operating trends and credit ratings for healthcare facilities. Mr. Fuqua earned a B.S. from the Stern School of Business at New York University (1994) and an M.P.A. from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University (2004).

Pavel Greenfield, Ph.D.

Dr. Greenfield is a Consultant and joined SMC in 2001. He is presently an Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department of Drexel University. He was employed by Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. from July 1996 to February 1999. While in the Management Science area, he contributed to the development of the ML Baby Boom Index and built and maintained a system designed to produce an optimal portfolio composed of mutual funds. Upon transferring to the Global Risk Management area, he monitored the VaR system, assisted in testing derivatives pricing models and was instrumental in designing the new risk system called S2, which monitors the market exposures of all trading groups. Dr. Greenfield received a B.A. in Physics from Princeton University in 1996 and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003.

Jeffrey B. Lee, CFA

Jeffrey Lee is a Vice President in SMC's private equity group and has been with the firm since 2005. Mr. Lee was previously a Senior Analyst in the Commercial Trading group of Premcor, Inc., focusing on oil and distillates. Prior to joining Premcor, Mr. Lee was an Analyst in the Fixed Income Research group of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. At Merrill Lynch, Mr. Lee focused on U.S. interest rate products; specifically, Treasuries, TIPS, swaps, and options, and published strategy reports on those markets. He was a member of a top three Institutional Investor ranked research team in the areas of U.S. Governments and Derivatives. Mr. Lee graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Economics and is a CFA charterholder.

Haim Mozes, Ph.D.

Dr. Mozes is a Consultant at SMC and joined the firm in 2001. He is presently an Associate Professor of Accounting at Fordham University, where he has taught a variety of courses in accounting and finance since 1989. From May 2000 to May 2001, he was Director of Research at StarMine Corporation. Dr. Mozes has also taught at New York University’s Stern School of Business and at Baruch College-CUNY and has presented numerous papers at academic and professional conferences. He has also published extensively on a wide range of investment subjects. Dr. Mozes received his Ph.D. in Accounting from New York University in 1989, a Masters in Statistics/Operations Research from New York University in 1986 and his B.A. in Economics from Touro College in 1984.

Sandra T. Matthews

Ms. Matthews is Director of Research and Credit of SMC’s High Yield and Distressed Municipal Strategies Group and joined the firm in 2012. She has more than 10 years of experience in public finance and joins from Ofelia Capital where she was a credit analyst. Prior to Ofelia, she was a Co-Portfolio Manager of high-yield municipal bonds at Aroya Capital. She was also previously a Vice President with Cohen & Company, where she co-managed a $425 million municipal CDO portfolio, as well as a Director at Fitch Ratings, where she rated arid issued credit opinions primarily for education related municipal bonds. Ms. Matthews also worked with Neuberger Berman, Radian Asset Assurance, and Standard & Poor's. She is a specialist on operating trends and credit ratings of bonds in the education and general nonprofit organizations sectors, particularly those of non-investment grade issuers. Ms. Matthews earned a B.A. from Queens College (1993) and an M.P.A. from the Wagner School at New York University (1998).

Jason L. Orchard, CFA

Mr. Orchard is a Principal within the Investment Group and also serves as Chief Financial Officer. He has been with the Firm since 2004 and additionally heads the hedge fund analyst group. Prior to joining SMC, Mr. Orchard was a Senior Analyst for Rutherford Asset Management LLC from 2002 to 2004. Rutherford Asset Management actively managed an $800 million hedge fund of funds portfolio for a private family office. Mr. Orchard has also been associated with Stern Stewart & Company as a Senior Analyst in the Financial Institutions Group and Arthur Andersen, L.L.P. as a Senior Consultant in the Strategy, Finance, and Economics Group. Mr. Orchard graduated with honors from Villanova University in 1998 with a B.S. in Finance and has been a Chartered Financial Analyst since 2001.

Lucianne Painter

Ms. Painter is a Managing Director at SMC, and focuses on Investments and Strategic Relationships. She also performs various duties in connection with Seven and Eight Investments, a single family office affiliated with SMC. Prior to joining SMC in 2001, Ms. Painter was a Principal and Research Analyst at RiverRock Capital Management, L.P., a New York based hedge fund, from June 2000 to August 2001, focusing on certain sectors within the technology and media industries. Before joining RiverRock, Ms. Painter was employed by Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. from August 1995 to June 2000, first as a First Vice President/Senior Research Analyst following computer hardware and software companies, and from 1999 to 2000 as a First Vice President/Senior Relationship Manager focusing on business development and asset growth within the technology, telecom, media, and financial sponsors franchises for the Private Client group. From May 1989 until August 1995, Ms. Painter worked at Salomon Brothers where she was a Senior Vice President and technology Research Analyst. She has been recognized by both the Institutional Investor and The Wall Street Journal All-Star Analyst Polls for her coverage of the Personal Computer Hardware and Software industries from 1992 through 1998.

Raymond L.M. Wong

Raymond Wong has been a Managing Director of SMC's private equity group since 2007. Mr. Wong was previously a senior Managing Director in the Investment Banking Division of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. While at Merrill Lynch, Mr. Wong served on the Investment Banking Operating Committee and as Chairman of the Corporate Finance Committee. During his 25 years at Merrill Lynch, he had responsibility for the corporate finance relationships for many of the firm's largest corporate clients. Before joining SMC, Mr. Wong was the Managing Member of DeFee Lee Pond Capital LLC, a financial advisory and investment firm. Mr. Wong serves on the board of directors of several companies, including Alleghany Corporation and Merrill Lynch Ventures, LLC. Mr. Wong received his M.B.A. with honors from Harvard Business School and graduated summa cum laude from Yale College with a B.A. in Political Science.

Jamie Weston

Jamie Weston is a Managing Director of SMC's private equity group and has been with the firm since 2011. Mr. Weston was previously a Partner at The Wicks Group of Companies, a private equity firm with close to $1 billion under management, focused on selected segments of the information, education, and media industries. During his 15 years at Wicks, he was an integral part of its investment and management activities, and served on the board of directors of many of its portfolio companies. While at Wicks, he directly structured and negotiated more than 20 acquisitions and divestitures and worked on more than 40 additional closed transactions. Prior to Wicks, Mr. Weston worked at IBJ Whitehall Bank & Trust Company and National Westminster Bancorp, where he completed leveraged financings. Mr. Weston received his M.B.A. from Fordham University and graduated cum laude from Drew University with a B.A. in Economics.