Forstmann & Co. Inc. is a merchant bank whose goal is to identify and invest early in companies participating in large magnitudes of change.
"The entrepreneur as a creator of the new and a destroyer of the old, is constantly in conflict with convention. He inhabits a world where beliefs preceded result, and where the best possibilities are usually invisible to others. His world is dominated by denial, rejection, difficulty, and doubt. Although as an innovator, he is increasingly imitated when he is successful, he always remains an outsider to the “Establishment”. He is usually found to be disturbing and irritating, even unemployable for the most part. Yet ideas and dreams of his become the new reality in an ever changing world surrounding us. If he ever knew the friction and hurdles he would endure, he might never have ventured. But then venturing is grappling with the unknown well."
J Anthony Forstmann, Theodore Forstmann & Nick Forstmann
Forstmann & Co. Inc. is a merchant bank whose goal is to identify and invest early in companies participating in large magnitudes of change. A highly diverse, creative and experienced management team built this merchant bank for the benefit of its investors and business partners.
In the 17th Century the first banks were merchant banks. They bought the crops from Italian farmers and sold them at a profit so that the people benefited from enhancing their food production. It was a simple business, conducted on a bench in a town square where all participating parties had similar interests.
Merchant Banks have indeed evolved over time, where today, other people’s money and stock holders have been treated with reckless abandon. Banks today have become Hedge Funds, LBO Funds, Venture Funds, Real Estate Funds, Commodity Funds, Family Offices, Wealth Management Departments, and fee driven with little risk assessment.
A true merchant bank must have
complete alignment of interests for all parties.
Forstmann Leff Associates was founded in 1967 as a private incentivized firm by J. Anthony Forstmann and Joel B. Leff with a specific objective of managing other people’s money intensively for an above average rate of return. On the advice of Arthur Burns, a future Federal Reserve board chairman, they understood that the investment world would be dominated by an active Federal Reserve monetary policy.
The economy would not be determined by ordinary inventory cycles, but rather by the Federal Reserve’s active policies to undermine reckless congressional overspending on social issues and full employment. Monetary Policy, moving rates to dull the economy, would influence financial markets. Spikes in Federal Fund Rates would be used to suppress inflation and money supply would also be used as a tool to break the fiscal stimulus rendered by the Congress. The savings function needed to adapt to a changing world- the active fed and monetarists- versus the political tide of enhancing entitlement programs and subsidizing unemployment.
Mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, licensing & development
STRONG GLOBAL ALLIANCES
Dynamic national & international resources & partnerships
Execution, strategy definition, corporate actions & asset allocation
Chairman, Managing Partner
Mr. Forstmann is the founder, Chairman of Investment Committee, Chairman and Managing Partner of Forstmann & Co. Inc. He provides leadership, strategy and guidance for the firms overall decisions.
Mr. Forstmann founded Forstmann-Leff & Associates in 1967 and served as investment advisor to pension funds that became the second original hedge fund in the US. By 1985, the firm managed over $5 billion assets under management.
Notable assets under managements were: Intel, Pfizer, Standard Oil of Indiana, The Pension Guarantee Corp, The Ford Family, Northrop, Honeywell, Lockheed, Northwest Airlines, Knight Ridder, Delta Airlines, Texas Instruments, Raychem, Studebaker, Chrysler, Commercial Credit, MCA Universal, the City of New York, the State of Minnesota, the State of Maine, Holy Cross University, and the Archdiocese of New York.
Forstmann-Leff & Associates achieved an average compounded yearly gain of 22 percent on the investment partnerships. Forstmann-Leff & Associates outperformed all of other firms monitored by Investment Manager Profiles in the Balanced Account category." Forstmann-Leff & Associates was one of the nation's most prosperous investment firms, with a consistent, long term performance record that is still unmatched by other financial firms.
In 1975, he continued his career as the one of the founding member and the original investor for Forstmann Little & Co. one of the first leverage buy out and private equity firms in the US to become one of the largest financial firms globally.
Mr. Forstmann served as Board of Director to companies such as; Pullham Companies, HSN, Community Health Services, ABC Citadel Broadcasting. Mr. Forstmann serves on the Leadership Council for the Yale School of Public Health. He is a graduate from Yale University and Columbia Business School.
Chief Executive Officer, Managing Partner
Mr. Joe Parsons serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of Forstmann & Co. Inc. He is a strategic and operational leader with deep domain experience starting up and dynamically expanding the scale and performance of investment management and structured finance business models by creating highly accretive transactions and leveraging extensive customer relationships among the top 100 global investors.
During his 13 year career as a Corporate Officer and subsidiary CEO of the General Electric Company, and recent Board level/Management Committee role at the $150 billion asset management firm, Bridgewater Associates, he has structured, closed and run over $50 billion of acquisitions, mergers, strategic partnerships, private equity investments and high yield debt placements in the retail, healthcare, energy, financial services and internet commerce sectors.
Other key assets driving Joe's success are his ability to attract talent and build high performing international teams, capacity to sort through complexity and visualize P&L grounded strategic solutions, competence in designing efficient Six Sigma based operational infrastructure, and his cultural and operational intelligence developed working across all major and emerging international markets.
As a member and advisor to the Management Committee of Bridgewater Associates, Mr. Parsons was a leader in the transition from a founder led organization to an institutional quality enterprise, with specific focus on the recruitment of key talent and the transformation of existing business functions. Additionally, he directed key capital formation initiatives including structuring and closing over $1 billion in strategic investment partnerships and high yield debt placements.
Previously, Mr. Parsons was a Corporate Officer at GE, and CEO of four business units at GE Capital, the $700 billion subsidiary of GE, which contributed approximately 50% of GE net income (GE Global Investment Management; GE Real Estate/Americas; GE Private Equity; and GE e-Business). At GE Global Investment Management he created a differentiated global investment management business model, leading client facing activities and establishing key relationships with institutional investors in forming new investment vehicles – including a $4 billion TARP/PPIP MBS fund. As founding CEO of GE Real Estate/Americas he successfully integrated an underperforming operating unit with a $6 billion acquisition, delivering annual growth in excess of 25% with $3.2 billion in earnings while building he portfolio to over $15 billion in assets. As the CEO of GE Private Equity he managed a $5 billion global private equity investment management business operating in 12 countries, where his team successfully completed of over 200 transactions investing $1.7 billion and harvesting $1.4 billion in gains.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Parsons held leadership roles with progressive scale at Merrill Lynch, KPMG and Sovereign National Management, advising and structuring transformative acquisitions, leading integration activities and building high performance teams. Mr. Parsons’s Board experience includes holding both public and private company director positions at KnowledgeShares.Org, Regency Centers Corp. (NYSE:REG) and Wine.com; Board level role at Bridgewater Associates; frequent board interaction at GE; and is on the University of Connecticut's Foundation board of directors.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Connecticut, and his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Arkansas – both with honors.
President & COO, Managing Partner
Mr. Kim serves as the President & COO, Managing Partner of Forstmann & Co. Inc. He has more than two decades of diversified operation and management experience. He oversees the firms operations and the company’s portfolio of IP. Throughout his career, he has managed and advised significant transactions in the US and internationally. To date, Mr. Kim has managed more than $900 million in global product and professional services revenues and successfully raised private investments for clients and assisted more than 30 start-up companies. Mr. Kim’s core competencies include but not limited to: Information Technology, International Business, Real Estate & Development, Manufacturing, and Intellectual Property.
Previously, Mr. Kim served as Executive Vice President of ETRI/Newracom a fabless semi-conductor company with emphasis on the IEEE 802.11 industry with over 950 industry specific patents. The company is a spin-off from Electronics Telecommunication Research Institute (ETRI) under the Ministry of Information of Communication for the South Korean government.
He has also served as the CEO of Bksems Co. LTD a contract manufacturer specializing in OEM/ODM services with over $5billion market revenues. (Targus, Samsung, LG, Dell, HP, AT&T, Apple, Hyundai, Delphi, Verizon, AstraZeneca, FMC, Univar, Best Buy, Ingram Micro, CDW, Tech Data and many others). Mr. Kim attended UC Berkeley majoring in Psychology.
Finance, Managing Partner
Mr. Devine serves as the Managing Partner of Forstmann & Co. Inc. Previously, Mr. Devine was an Officer and Director of numerous leading consumer brand companies over 40 years constituting billions of dollars in revenue and finance management. He served on the Board of Directors of Salton, Inc. (NYSE), SafLink, House of Taylor, Malibu Capital and others. He was CEO at Salton At Home, BP Industries and other companies. Mr. Devine graduated from Iowa State University and served in US Air Force.
Head of Asia, Managing Partner
Mr. Kwon serves as the Managing Partner and Head of Asia of Forstmann & Co. Inc. and Forstmann & Co. Asia LTD. He has more than two decade of transaction and management experience with a track record of more than $20billion during his professional tenure.
Previously, Mr. Kwon served as Senior Partner at KPMG Korea, Head of Real Estate and led his team in numerous headline transactions such as Homeplus M&A, KEB Hana Bank, GS Parnas M&A and many others.
He led the team to be awarded as the “Best Advisor of the Year in Korean Real Estate Industry” by EuroMoney for two consecutive years.
Prior to KPMG, he served as a Managing Director for Macquarie Securities and managed critical real estate and general corporate transactions such as; Cheongjin District 5 office building, Yeouido Parc 1, Seoul Express Bus Terminal, and State Tower Namsan. Prior to Macquarie Securities, he was the Managing Director for CBRE Korea and Ssangyong E&C.
He has received a Bachelor and Master’s degree of Architectural Engineering from Yonsei University and Doctor’s degree of Urban Planning from Yonsei University.
Mr. Wong serves as the Managing Director of Forstmann & Co. Inc. Mr. Wong is a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in the technology industry. His companies have created billions in shareholder value. Mr. Wong is also the CEO & Co-Founder of Fliqs Media.
Previously, Mr. Wong was the Chairman & Co-Founder of iVideoSmart, a leading OTT online video platform that powers video for many top media companies & telcos and is the #3 Comscore-ranked online video network in SE Asia with over 100 million monthly active users.
Prior to iVideoSmart, Mr. Wong was the CEO of Qello, a leading online video platform & the “Netflix of music concerts.” In 2017, Qello acquired Mr. Wong’s 8sian Media, one of the leading online MCNs (multi-channel network), which managed social video distribution for some of the top Asian TV broadcasters including CCTV, Shanghai Media Group, Hunan TV & Arirang.
Prior to iVideoSmart, Mr. Wong was CEO & Co-Founder of DAVE.TV, one of the first IPTV platforms that pioneered online video and was the online video platform for more than 50% of Hollywood for media companies, such as Disney, MGM, ABC, Fremantle, Endemol, Oxygen, Participant Studios, etc. DAVE.TV was acquired in 2008. Mr. Wong was also the CEO & Co-Founder of Einux, a high-performance computing (HPC) server company which was acquired in 2002 and CEO and Co-Founder of Envision Computers.
Mr. Wong was the founding Investor of Applied Semantics, the creator of AdSense which was the first acquisition of Google in 2003. AdSense accounts more than 22% of Google’s total revenues.
Ms. Kelly Forstmann serves as the Managing Director of Forstmann & Co. Inc., she specializes in Social Media Analytics and Technologies. She is nationally certified in Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Content Marketing, Conversion Optimization, Display Optimization, PPC, Mobile Marketing, Analytics, & Search Engine Optimization. Previously, Ms. Forstmann has worked for Warner Brothers, William Morris Endeavor and Creative Artists Agency. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University.
Mr. Attinger serves as a Strategic Partner of Forstmann & Co. Inc., focused on financial engineering and innovative financial product development. Mr. Attinger also serves as an advisor and strategic partner for Grow Capital, Additionally, Mr. Attinger is a Co-Founder and serves as Investment Strategist for Global Trust Group, a private association of industry experts who are collaborating to help grow and monetize a portfolio of innovative, high-growth companies with capital and operational expertise.
For the past 25 years, Mr. Attinger has been a leader and innovator in growing, financing, and grooming early stage and lower middle-market companies. Through his background in finance and investment banking, he has developed expertise in quantitatively evaluating companies and helping them manage their growth and exit opportunities “by the numbers”.
As a founder or co-founder of six companies and an adviser to dozens more, he has accumulated a depth of practical hands-on operational experience across a breadth of industries. As an investment banker for Morgan Stanley in the early 1990’s, Mr. Attinger structured more than $1 billion of publicly offered securities using innovative, derivative-based financing structures, and his derivative research has been published in the Financial Analysts Journal. Mr. Attinger earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and his Master’s Degree in Finance from the University of Alabama.
Mr. Gordon serves as a Strategic Partner of Forstmann & Co. Inc., focused on strategic partnerships. Mr. Gordon has co-founded a variety of domestic and international companies over his 20 year career. He co-founded Empire Commercial and Empire Trading International a real estate development and overseas trading company that managed the redevelopment of a landmark mall in Hanoi and various projects in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He was a Principal and Co-founder of Pinnacle Petroleum, LLC with Mr. George Olsen which was designed to provide foreign and domestic companies’ access to large independent and major oil producers in the US.
Mr. Gordon is a Co-Founder and serves as Chief Investment Officer for Global Trust Group, a private association of industry experts who are collaborating to help grow and monetize a portfolio of innovative, high-growth companies with capital and operational expertise. Most recently Nick has partnered with Grow Capital to help build out and expand the relationships of his partners in Georgia and Europe. Mr. Gordon has held management positions in sales and sales management with Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Medicis, Valeant, Mallinckrodt, Kythera, and Johnson and Johnson. Mr. Gordon attended Boston University and received his Bachelors and a Masters from UNLV.
Mr. J. Kim serves as the Managing Director of Forstmann & Co. Inc. and Forstmann & Co. Asia LTD. He has more than 10 years of transaction and management experience with a track record of more than $10billion during his professional tenure.
Mr. J. Kim core competencies are but not limited to the following: Investment Banking, Principal Investment, Cross-border Transactions and M&A. Previously, Mr. J. Kim served as a Managing Director for KPMG S. Korea Real Estate, Finance, M&A and Consulting.
Some of his notable transaction track records includes; Dream Tower in Sangam DMC, Metro Tower, The-K Twin Tower, Haman/Mokcheon Homeplus logistic center, and GS Parnas M&A.
Mr. J. Kim served under KPMG audit team managing more than 10 major clients simultaneously. (Shinhan Card, Han Kook Capital, National Credit Union Federation of Korea, Nice Total Cash Management, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Roche Korea, Kukdong Oil/Chemical, Greenbytech).
He received his Bachelor of Business from Yonsei University and he is a Certified Public Accountant (KICPA).
Mr. Myers serves as a Director of Investment Committee and Managing Partner of Forstmann & Company. Mr. Myers completed 38 years of service at General Electric, retiring in September 2006 as President and CEO of GE Asset Management (GEAM). At GEAM he was responsible for approximately $200 billion in assets under management for clients including GE’s pension funds, 401(k) plans, mutual funds and insurance companies as well as for more than 200 external institutional clients.
More than 80% of GEAM’s assets were internally managed with multi-strategy capabilities and a significant focus on alternatives. Mr. Myers’s GE career spanned 37 years beginning in 1970 at GE’s Financial Management Program, then offshore assignments in Germany and Italy, and returning to the US in GE’s operating businesses. In 1981, he was appointed Deputy Treasurer of the company, named a GE Group Manager of Finance in 1984, and joined GEAM in 1986 as Executive Vice President with responsibility for fixed income, private equity, venture capital and real estate. He was named President and CEO in 1996.After retirement from GE, Mr. Myers continued his interest in the investment business by joining Angelo, Gordon, & Co. as a Senior Advisor and Partner and joining the Aurora Capital Group as a member of its Executive Board.
He is on the Board of Directors of The Pebble Beach Company and also serves on the Advisory Board of Academy Securities. Mr. Myers serves on several not-for profit boards including Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Wagner College Board of Trustees, BuildOn, Hospital for Special Surgery Spine Care Institute, the Diocese of Bridgeport Cathedral Elementary School Cluster and American Corporate Partners, a veteran mentoring organization. Mr. Myers was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, and served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Line Officer. Mr. Myers graduated from Wagner College with a B.S. in Mathematics.
Dr. Arthur Betz Laffer is an American economist who first gained prominence during the Reagan administration as a member of Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board (1981–89). Dr. Laffer is best known for the Laffer curve, an illustration of the concept that there exists some tax rate between 0% and 100% that will result in maximum tax revenue for governments. He is the author and co-author of many books and newspaper articles, including Supply Side Economics: Financial Decision-Making for the 80s. Laffer is Policy Co-Chairman (with Lawrence "Larry" Kudlow) of the Free Enterprise Fund and serves on the "Board of Scholars" of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Dr. Laffer was one of four economists who acted as advisors to Donald Trump's successful 2016 campaign for the presidency of the United States. Laffer earned a B.A. in Economics from Yale University (1962) and an M.B.A. (1965) and a Ph.D. in Economics (1972) from Stanford University.
While he was teaching at the USC Marshall School of Business, Dr. Laffer played a key role in writing California Proposition 13, the property-tax-cap initiative that inspired a tax revolt across the nation. In the mid-1980s, Dr. Laffer left to teach at Pepperdine University in nearby Malibu. Dr. Laffer remained on the faculty for several years. In 1986, Dr. Laffer was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate—which he lost in the California primary to U.S. Congressman Ed Zschau who lost in the general election to the incumbent, Democrat Alan Cranston. Dr. Laffer identifies himself as a staunch fiscal conservative and libertarian. He has stated publicly that he voted for President Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.
Dr. Laffer references President Clinton's conservative fiscal and unregulated market policies as cornerstones of his support. In 2008, he was named a Distinguished University Professor of Economics by Mercer University in Georgia. Dr. Laffer is the founder and CEO of Laffer Associates in Nashville, Tennessee, an economic research and consulting firm that provides global investment-research services to institutional asset managers, pension funds, financial institutions, and corporations. He sits on the board of directors of several public and private companies. Laffer has been appointed to the advisory board of Sonenshine Partners, an independent investment bank focused on providing integrated strategic, financial and corporate advisory services. In 2004, Dr. Laffer joined the Board of Pillar Data Systems, a non-public Data Storage Company funded by Tako Ventures, a funding arm of Larry Ellison. In 2008, Laffer joined the Board of Alpha Theory, a non-public Fundamental Portfolio Optimization software for hedge and mutual funds. Laffer recently joined the advisory board of Collabarium Capital.
In 2010, Dr. Laffer joined the Boards of Executive Trading Solutions, an LLC providing the top technological solution for management of Rule 10b51 stock trading plans, and Consensus Point, a provider of an enterprise prediction markets platform. In 2015, Dr. Laffer joined the board of General Employment Enterprises, (JOB), a rapidly growing staffing company located in Illinois.
Dr. Laffer has branched into writing children's books along with Michelle A. Balconi. In 2014 they co-wrote "Let’s Chat About Economics." The second title in the series, "Let’s Chat About Democracy", released in late 2017. Laffer also regularly writes opinion articles in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times.
Mr. Flanigan serves as a Senior Advisor to Forstmann & Co. Inc., Thomas E. Flanigan, the first permanent Chief Investment Officer of the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) since its creation in 1984, developed and built an investment structure which has served the fund as it has grown from $14 billion in assets in 1984 to $75 billion and over $200 billion currently. CalSTRS is the largest teachers' retirement system in the world, with a total of more than 525,000 members. Mr. Flanigan was involved directly in all levels of investment program development for CalSTRS, including investment policy formulation, strategic planning, long-term asset planning, tactical asset allocation applications and currency management.
As Chief Investment Officer, Mr. Flanigan worked closely with the 12 member CalSTRS Board, the California State Legislature and key Legislative committees to implement investment policies. He also worked with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Treasurer, the State Controller and the State Director of Finance, all ex-officio members of the CalSTRS Board. The investment management plan Mr. Flanigan developed for CalSTRS provided for a fully diversified approach, using domestic fixed income and equity strategies, as well as equity and commingled real estate, alternative investments and venture capital. To facilitate large and growing cash flow responsibilities, Mr. Flanigan and his team managed 75 percent of the portfolio internally, using indexed strategies. The remaining 25 percent was managed externally under active monitoring and performance evaluation by the 40- member CalSTRS staff. As of December 31, 1995, the 10-year annualized rate of return of the CalSTRS fund ranked in the top 20 percent of the Trust Universe Comparison Service (TUCS) peer group companies and its funding level as of June 30 1997 was foo% on an amortized basis as compared to 55% in 1985. Prior to CalSTRS, Mr. Flanigan served as Senior Investment Officer with the $22 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, where he was involved in all facets of money management activities over more than two decades. In 1994, Mr. Flanigan created Thomas E. Flanigan Inc., a pension and investment consulting firm located in Sacramento, California. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Economics from Siena College in New York and attended Holy Cross College.
Risk & Compliance, Senior Advisor
Mr. Petrie serves as a Senior Advisor to Forstmann & Co. Inc. Mr. Petrie is the founder and managing member of Royal Oaks Insurance Services LLC (www.royaloaksinsurance.com), an insurance risk management and brokerage firm. He has 25+ years of experience in providing risk and insurance brokerage services to mid to large sized companies and individuals. The brokerage services include a broad array of commercial insurance, including professional liability (D&O/E&O), media and cyber liability, construction, property, general liability as well as personal lines (home, valuables – fine art and auto) insurance. In addition, specialized life and health insurance services are offered.
Mr. Petrie has broad experience with representing real estate owners/developers by marketing and placing commercial property and liability insurance, including office, retail, manufacturing/industrial, warehouse, hotels, apartments, and condominium and mobile home parks. We have extensive experience with construction risk and insurance, including owner controlled “wraps” for high end residential properties, as well as commercial properties including, multi-family housing, retail, office, and hotels. He has also worked extensively with business executives and affluent clients to provide personal insurance services, including personal lines, fine art, life insurance and disability insurance.
Mr. Petrie understands the risks faced by investment fund managers, general partners, and board members. He can identify and explain risks and insurance coverages in a simple and clear fashion. Mr. Petrie has 25+ years of experience in the D&O/E&O marketplace, having served as special in-house legal counsel to a large national D&O program with $40 + million in annual premiums and 200+ annual claims. Mr. Petrie has been providing insurance brokerage and risk management services to investment fund managers for 19+ years. Having a legal (member of the Missouri Bar Association) and accounting background has been of great benefit when dealing with client’s financial officers and legal counsel, especially in construction projects, during takeovers/mergers and with professional liability risks. He has a unique ability to work with clients and their attorneys and CPA’s.
Mr. Felmus serves as a Senior Advisor to Forstmann & Co. Inc. Ronald Felmus is a Senior Vice President of Laffer Investments, an Investment Management Firm and Laffer Associates, a Macroeconomic Research and Consulting Firm both headquartered in Nashville, TN. Felmus joined Laffer in 2008, after 24 years at General Electric Company and its insurance spin-off Genworth Financial where is served in various marketing, and sales leadership roles. Felmus earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Thermal Systems Engineering from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved — and always will solve — the problems of the human race.