Instructor Biographies


Program Co-Directors

Dr. Lawrence Harris, CFA, PhD, holds the Fred V. Keenan Chair in Finance at the USC Marshall School of Business.  His research, teaching, and consulting address regulatory and practitioner issues in trading and investment management.  He authored Trading and Exchanges: Market Microstructure for Practitioners, a widely regarded “must read” for entrants into the securities industry.  Professor Harris served as SEC Chief Economist from 2002-2004.  He currently serves as lead independent director of Interactive Brokers (IBKR), director of the Selected Funds, and research coordinator of the Q-Group.  Dr. Harris received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago, and is a CFA charterholder. Dr. Harris teaches at Level I.

James Lewis, CFA, CIPM, is a Managing Director at TCW Group. Prior to joining TCW in 1999, Mr. Lewis was a Quantitative Analyst for Loomis, Sayles & Company. Mr. Lewis received a BS in Mathematics from the University of Oklahoma and an MBA from the University of Southern California. He is a CFA® charterholder, CIPM® certificant, and member of the CFA Institute. He is a past President of CFA Society of Los Angeles.

Program Instructors

Robert Baron, CFA is an Investment Counselor at Citi Private Bank where he advises ultra-high net worth clients on portfolio management and investments in equities, fixed income, hedge funds, private equity, real estate and capital markets transactions. Rob has over 25 years of experience advising both Institutional and Private Clients across a broad spectrum of investment solutions. Prior to re-joining Citi, Rob served for over nine years as an Investment Specialist with the J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Los Angeles, where he led a team covering private clients, endowments and foundations. Previously, he was a product specialist at Trust Company of the West, where he co-managed and marketed a suite of absolute return investment funds. Rob also spent 13 years at Citigroup in New York and San Francisco, where he was a Director in their Fixed Income Capital Markets group, concentrating on hedging solutions for institutional clients, the execution of investment-grade corporate bond transactions, and leading Citi's Leveraged Finance derivatives effort. Rob received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration at the University of California, Berkeley, and has an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a CFA Charterholder, and member of the CFA Society of Los Angeles. Rob lives in Los Angeles with his wife, three children and two rescued Labrador Retrievers. He is also a shockingly bad guitarist. Mr. Baron teaches at Level I.

David Cary, PhD, CFA, is a Professor Emeritus of Finance at California State University, Northridge where he taught for over 25 years. He has also been a visiting instructor at USC, UCLA, LSU and the University of Auckland, NZ, and taught twice in the CSU London (UK) Business Semester. During his academic career he published many papers in academic journals, served as Chair of the Department twice, and received his department's Outstanding Teaching Award. For ten years he taught a course titled "Current Topics in Investments and Capital Markets" in a Masters of Finance program in Hong Kong. He was elected twice to the CFALA Board of Governors and was co-director of the CFALA Review Program for two years. He served on the CFA Institute Technology Advisory Committee for six years. He has also been honored with the CFALA Outstanding Committee Member award and as a Volunteer of the Month. He has been teaching CFA review classes for almost twenty years. Before obtaining his PhD in Finance, he received his CPA (now inactive) working for Arthur Young and Company (now Ernst and Young). Dr. Cary teaches at Levels I and II.

Pamela Chen, CFA, CPA is Founder and Chief Investment Officer at Refresh Investments, a fee-only financial advisory firm that helps women and families grow and manage their wealth. Her professional career spans over 30 years as a CPA and CFA Charterholder and includes Senior Portfolio Manager positions at Northern Trust and U.S. Trust where she managed assets for institutions and high net worth clients. Prior experience includes SSI Investment Management, as a Portfolio Manager of a long-short market neutral fund, as well as an Equity Analyst at Financial Management Advisors. Ms. Chen earned an MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell University as well as a BS in Kinesiology from UCLA. She is a CFA Charterholder and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Brian M. Cronin, CFA is a Principal at the Cronin Family Office, a diversified family investment group covering commercial real estate, healthcare, life sciences, and manufacturing. Previous to forming the family office, Brian was the Vice President in the Corporate Treasury Group at MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation, specializing in liquidity and interest rate risk analysis and investments. Brian is a CFA Charterholder, and has a MBA from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, specializing in Financial Analysis and Valuation and Technology Commercialization. He is an inactive CPA in the State of California, and has other inactive designations in accounting and fraud examination. Prior to joining MUFG, Brian has had roles at other large financial institutions in their valuation and financial planning and analysis groups. Brian has a BS, Cum Laude, from Babson College in Strategic Management. Mr. Cronin teaches at Level I.

Milton Hadinoto, CFA is a Senior Investment Analyst for Cetera Investment Management. In this role, he analyzes investment processes and the performance of recommended funds and investment portfolios. Additionally, he oversees emerging markets, international equity, and domestic small and mid-cap funds. Before his current role, Mr. Hadinoto has had experience as a Quantitative Analyst for Standard & Poor’s Global (S&P Global) as well as a Curriculum Editor for Stalla Review, a company specializing in CFA exam preparation. During his time at Stalla Review, he specialized in Level I material. Mr. Hadinoto holds a Master's degree in Finance and a Master's degree in Engineering from Texas A&M University and received the CFA designation in 2014. Mr. Hadinoto teaches Level I.

John M. Lacey, Ph.D., CPA, is Ernst & Young Research Fellow and Professor of Accountancy at California State University - Long Beach. He previously taught at the School of Accounting at the University of Southern California (USC) and at Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA. He earned his Ph.D. at UCLA and earned his MBA and BS degrees at USC. Professor Lacey is a CPA and has served on several committees and tasks forces for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), including the Accounting Standards Executive Committee (AcSEC). Professor Lacey has also served as Chair of the California Society of CPAs Accounting Principles and Auditing Standards Committee and chaired its Special Committee on the future of the accounting profession. He has also taught regularly for a large investment management firm, for banks, and for various judicial organizations. Professor Lacey is the author of a research study on auditor independence commissioned by the Chief Accountant of the Securities & Exchange Commission. Professor Lacey is widely published and also serves as an expert witness in major legal cases involving accounting and financial issues. Prior to his academic career, Professor Lacey was a supervisor in the national office of a major CPA firm and served as corporate officer and controller of a manufacturing company. Professor Lacey teaches at Level I.

Mohammad R. Safarzadeh, PhD is in the FBE, Marshall School of Business at USC. Professor Safarzadeh received his B.S. in economics from Tehran University and M.S. and Ph.D. in economics from Claremont Graduate University.  He is the author of a book in Mathematical Economics using Mathematica and has published several articles on exchange rate, trade, and finance in refereed journals. He teaches courses in econometrics, macroeconomics, risk analysis and forecasting. Dr. Safarzadeh teaches in Level I.

Lauren Semeniuta, CFA, CPA, CPWA(R) is a Vice President and Regional Investment Consultant at T. Rowe Price. In this role, Lauren is responsible for delivering investment insights and analytic tools to the advisor community in the Los Angeles area. Lauren joined T. Rowe in 2021 and previously spent 6 years at Dimensional Fund Advisors working with advisor and institutional clients on the West Coast. Prior to her time at DFA, Lauren worked as a manager in the accounting, valuation, and analytics group at Deloitte, where she led teams in advising public and private companies and financial institutions in addressing technical accounting and structuring issues related to complex financial instruments and transactions, including debt and equity financing, derivative hedging, consolidations, and securitizations. Lauren holds a BA in business-economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a minor in accounting. Lauren is a CPA in the state of California and a CFA Charterholder. Ms. Semeniuta teaches at Level I.

Eric Souders, CFA is a Senior Vice President and Strategist on the global unconstrained fixed income team with a focus on absolute return solutions. In this capacity, he is responsible for strategy implementation, risk management and performance attribution. Prior to joining Payden & Rygel, Souders worked as a Portfolio Manager at Guggenheim Partners, focusing on multi-sector and structured product dedicated strategies. In addition, he worked as a Portfolio Manager at Blackrock, focusing on investment-grade corporate credit strategies. Previously, he worked at BNY Mellon in their Wealth Management division. Eric Souders holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, and is a member of the CFA® Society of Los Angeles and the CFA® Institute. He earned a BA in Business-Finance at California State University, Fullerton. Mr. Souders teaches at Level I.

Michael Tully, CFA, ASA, CEIV is a Senior Managing Director at Oracle Capital LLC. Mr. Tully has nearly 30 years of “Big-4” valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and financial and tax accounting experience. Prior to joining Oracle Capital, Mr. Tully was a Partner/Principal in the Economic and Valuation Services practice of KPMG and led their Pacific Southwest Valuation Services group. Prior to that Mr. Tully was a Partner/Principal with Ernst & Young’s Transaction Advisory Services group. Mr. Tully also spent two years as the Valuation Fellow at the FASB where he was involved in all fair value, business combination, and goodwill issues. Currently, Mr. Tully is an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California teaching “Valuation for Financial Statement Purposes”. Mr. Tully has been involved in major transactions for numerous Fortune 100, mid-market, and small-cap companies, both domestically and globally. He has worked on valuation engagements involving numerous industries, including technology, engineering and construction, aerospace/defense, consumer products, health care/life sciences, and telecommunications. He provides valuation opinions for a variety of purposes, including financial reporting (US GAAP and IFRS), tax reporting (IRS and foreign tax), mergers and acquisitions/pricing, valuation and business modeling, and litigation. These opinions include the valuation of intangible assets, reporting units, common stock, minority and majority business interests, privately held interests, debt instruments, and other “Level 3” securities. Mr. Tully is a credentialed CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) charterholder, designated as an Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA), and is Certified in Entity and Intangible Valuations (CEIV) with the AICPA. He holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Business Administration (Finance) degree from Pepperdine University.

Ken Yee, CFA, CPA, JD is the president of an investment advisory company specializing in commercial real estate capital sourcing and asset-backed securities.  He has completed over $1 billion in commercial mortgage sales, originations, and asset-backed transactions on behalf of public and private institutions.  Mr. Yee also serves as an Independent Director and Audit Committee Chair of KBS Strategic Opportunity REITs I and II, which are two SEC-registered non-traded REITs.  He recently completed a second elected term as the Western U.S. Region Presidents Council Representative (PCR) for the CFA Institute, and was a past President of CFA Society Los Angeles.  Mr. Yee is a California Certified Public Accountant, a California licensed attorney, and a California real estate broker.  He graduated from the University of Southern California (BSBA, MBA and MBT), University of California at Los Angeles (JD), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MSRED).  Mr. Yee currently teaches Level I.


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