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Our Team

Disciplined Alpha is comprised of a dynamic, cohesive team of innovative and entrepreneurial investment professionals. Each of them have numerous years of investment industry experience and significant academic credentials. Above it all, they each share a deep and sincere commitment to ethics and integrity — a commitment that is essential to earning the long-term trust of clients and ensuring the fair-functioning of financial markets.


In addition to the in-house team for day-to-day management, Disciplined Alpha also benefits from the industry experience and objective input of its Advisory Board. The Board consists of distinguished professionals in financial services and related industries. The Board’s diversified expertise extends the capabilities of the firm in the areas of business development, strategic relationships and talent acquisition.


Kevin W. Shea, CFA – Chief Executive Officer, Portfolio Manager              


Mr. Shea is CEO of Disciplined Alpha LLC. and has 25 years of investment experience.  Previously he was the Director of Quantitative Research at Cadence Capital, responsible for implementing a regime-based approach across multiple products representing $5 bb.  Mr. Shea has also held the positions of Portfolio Manager at Batterymarch where he managed $600 mm, and CIO and Founder of DA Capital where he grew the firm from $10 mm to $450 mm over four years.  He has also been a Portfolio Manager at Invesco, responsible for $100 mm, and a Quantitative Analyst at John Hancock Funds.  Mr. Shea holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from the University of Notre Dame, an A.L.M. in Biology from Harvard University, and an M.B.A. in Finance and International Studies from Boston College.  Mr. Shea co-teaches a Proseminar in Finance at MIT's Sloan School of Management.  He is a member of the CFA Institute, and the Institute for Quantitative Finance, also known as the Q Group.  He is also a member of the Financial Accounting Standard Board’s (FASB’s) Investor Advisor Committee (IAC).  Mr. Shea has been quoted in numerous publications including aiCIO, Emerging Manager Monthly, Hedge Fund Alert, HFM Week, Institutional Investor, and WatersTechnology.  He has spoken at numerous conferences in the U.S. and internationally sponsored by Allianz, Argyle Executive Forum, Battle of the Quants, Capital IQ, FactSet, HFM Week, International Quality & Productivity Center, Northfield and Sentiment Analysis Symposium.                    


Todd C. Smith – Managing Director, Director Of Research               


Mr. Smith began his career in the corporate finance division at Cowen & Company in the mid-1990s, working on IPOs and M&A transactions in the Information Technology sector, before transitioning to the equity research team.  After moving to Morgan Stanley, Mr. Smith was part of a team that received multiple distinctions, including being part of the top ranked equity research team awarded by Institutional Investor Magazine. Subsequent to his work on the sell-side, Mr. Smith joined Boston-based hedge-fund, 033 Asset Management, where he was responsible for the technology sector.  Most recently, he spent the last 8 years at Cadence Capital as a Senior Analyst covering the Technology, Alternative Energy and Telecom Services sectors.  Mr. Smith graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Engineering Sciences.              


Dan Potter, PhD, CAIA – Research           


Dr. Potter focuses on Quantitative Research at Disciplined Alpha.  In addition to his responsibilities at Disciplined Alpha, he also teaches Scientific Computing and Data Science at Brown University, where he is an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science.  His professional life has focused on the development of statistically based approaches to solving real world problems involving pattern recognition and data modeling for the financial, healthcare and technology sectors.  Previous positions include Managing Partner, Quantitative Research at Gotham Research, an institutional brokerage and RIA, Chief Technology Officer for Advanced Image Enhancement, Chief Technology Officer for Third Level Data, Chief Executive Officer of Ars Analytica.  Dr. Potter holds a B.S. in Mathematics & Computer Science as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Brown University.  Dr. Potter is also a former National Science Foundation Fellow.         


Kirby S. Richards, CPA – Co-Head of Operations

Mr. Richards is the Co-Head of Operations of Disciplined Alpha LLC and has 27 years of experience in financial services.  Prior to joining Disciplined Alpha he was a Vice President responsible for the Boston office of SS&C Technologies, Inc., which focused on providing fund administration services to alternative investment partnerships.  He joined SS&C when they acquired Gravity Financial, LLC, a fund administrator he founded.  He was the managing partner of Gravity Financial, for 10 years, providing accounting, tax and consulting services to 65 alternative hedge funds and their managers, representing $4 billion in assets.  He previously held the position of Chief Financial Officer for an alternative asset manager, which managed five Long Short hedge funds focused on the Technology and Healthcare sectors, representing $700 million in assets.  He began his career with the Big 4 accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche and worked within both the audit and tax functions.  He left Deloitte as a Senior Tax Manager.  Mr. Richards holds a B.S. in Accounting and a Master’s degree in Taxation, both from Northeastern University.

Charles Zaffuto – Co-Head of Operations

Mr. Zaffuto is the Co-Head of Operations of Disciplined Alpha LLC and has 36 years of experience in financial services.  He has extensive experience in the alternatives industry and has developed forward thinking solutions to industry roadblocks.  Mr. Zaffuto is Co-Founder and Managing Member of The Alpha Cooperative.  His previous roles have included Chief Operating Officer of Promethean Asset Management, a diversified credit fund, and Co‐Founder of Double Alpha Group Inc. in 1994, a single manager quantitative strategy.  Mr. Zaffuto grew Double Alpha into a multi‐manager platform of quantitative strategies where he focused on managing individual portfolio exposures as well as combined end product risk monitoring.  While managing Double Alpha, he was the Chairman and owner of ESP Technologies, a direct market access brokerage firm.  In 2007, Mr. Zaffuto sold ESP to the private equity subsidiaries of Credit Suisse, Bear Stearns and Susquehanna.  He began his career in the hedge fund industry in 1986.  Mr. Zaffuto received a BBA in Accounting from Pace University – Lubin School of Business.


Sara Malak – Head of Compliance

Ms. Malak is the Head of Compliance of Disciplined Alpha LLC and has 24 years of experience in the Hedge Fund industry.  She has extensive experience in managing complex business structures with a focus on cross departmental integration across Compliance, Governance, Administration and Investor Relations.  She has been a member of a variety of committees during her career, including risk, valuation, operations and investment committees, and has acted as a director for multiple fund structures as well as Chief Compliance Officer for several management firms.  Ms. Malak is Co-Founder and Managing Member of The Alpha Cooperative.  Her previous roles have included Co-Founder and Managing Member of ClearVest Advisers, and Chief Administrative Officer of D5 Advisors, a Hedge Fund specializing in high dividend equity securities.  She was also Executive Vice President of Double Alpha Group, a multi-manager statistical arbitrage fund.  She began her Hedge Fund career in 1997 at The Palladin Group.  Ms. Malak holds a B.A. in Sociology, Anthropology from Gustavus Adolphus College.

Advisory Board

Yaacov Kopeliovich, Ph.D.

Dr. Kopeliovich is currently an Assistant Professor of Residence at the University of Connecticut and CEO of Kopeliovich Associates.  Previous positions include Director of Research at RixTrema, a risk management firm focused on down-side tail risk, Quantitative Analyst at Munich Re, & Senior Associate at S&P/Duff Phelps.  Dr. Kopeliovich holds a MFE from University of California Berkeley – Walter Hass School of Business, a Ph.D. in Mathematics from The Hebrew University and a Ph.D. in Finance from the EDHEC Risk Institute.  Dr. Kopeliovich is a recent winner of the prestigious Bernstein Award, for his co-authored article “Risk Estimation and Hedging: A Reverse Stress Testing Approach”.  The Bernstein Award is given each year for the best paper in Institutional Investor Journals.  



Bill J. Papp 


Mr. Papp is Head of Sales for Digital Assets at BankProv.  Previously, Mr. Papp was Regional Manager, Institutional Business Development – Alternatives for PENSCO Trust.  Previous positions include Vice Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Investment Committee for the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA), a $4.0 Billion 529 Plan.  Mr. Papp has also been appointed to the Workforce Training Fund, the Massachusetts State Workforce Investment Board, the Massachusetts State Workforce Investment Board, the Commonwealth Corporation and the Finance Advisory Board.  Mr. Papp has over twenty years of experience within Global Equity Capital Markets and Asset Management in various senior positions at Casoro Capital, Beachhead Capital Management, Mizuho Securities USA, Pacific Crest Securities, Prudential Equity Group, and Lehman Brothers. Mr. Papp  holds a B.A. in Finance from Michigan State University.  He later attended Tufts University - The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Global Master of Arts - GMAP) - International Affairs.



Amber Ramsey, CPA 


Mrs. Ramsey is an Executive Director in the Cayman office of Waystone Governance.  She has extensive experience serving as an independent director on the boards of a variety of hedge funds and related structures representing over $110 billion in assets.  Mrs. Ramsey leads a team of professionals at Waystone, supervising the fund governance of hedge funds and providing guidance on accounting, regulatory, legal and financial issues.  She was previously Manager for Deloitte & Touche LLP.  Mrs. Ramsey holds a Masters in Accounting from the Stephen F. Austin State University, where she has also been an Adjunct Professor in Accounting.  Mrs. Ramsey  has authored the articles “An introduction to Cayman Private Equity Funds” as well as “To Thrive, Hedge Fund Industry Needs New Managers to Succeed”.



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