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Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Nestor Plans a Direxion Sales and Marketing Push

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

After making two key hires, Rob Nestor is planning to further expand his team in two key areas.

David Mazza
Managing Director, Head of Product
"We will be investing much more in marketing and in sales going forward," Nestor, president of Rafferty Asset Management's Direxion [profile], tells MFWire. "We've hired a couple more sales people, and we will continue to grow both of those functions as we begin to get product into market and approvals at major distribution firms."

Benjamin Woloshin
Managing Director, Head of National Accounts and Relationship Management
New York City-based Direxion ($13.4 billion in AUM as of September 30) currently has 15 people in sales and marketing, about one-third of its staff, Nestor says. He aims to boost that substantially as they gain more shelf space on distribution platforms and launch new funds.

"Over the next three years, we would expect it to grow on the order of two to three 'X' where we are today," Nestor says of his sales and marketing team.

Meanwhile, last week Nestor added Dave Mazza as managing director of product and Ben Woloshin as managing director and head of national accounts and relationship management.

Mazza most recently served as senior vice president, head of ETF investment strategy, beta solutions at OppenheimerFunds. (OpFunds is being acquired by another big asset manager and ETF shop.) Woloshin served as BlackRock's head of retail insurance before departing this past summer.

"Ben's responsibilities have been assumed by others on the team," a BlackRock spokesman tells MFWire.

An OpFunds spokeswoman confirms that Ed Nini, senior vice president, now has a dual role as head of investment marketing and strategy. Nini reports to Sharon French, OpFunds' head of beta solutions.

"Since joining the firm in early 2017, Ed [Nini] has been a great asset to our team, leading the strategic marketing vision and content strategy for beta solutions," French states, adding that Nini has "over 15 years of marketing and sales leadership experience in the ETF industry."

At Direxion, Nestor describes Mazza's and Woloshin's new positions as "key roles and functions that [Direxion] needed to build out."

"Ben [Mazza] is coming aboard to really drive a national accounts presence," Nestor says. "We really haven't been relevant in that space," given Direxion's big focus on tactical traders.

"Dave [Woloshin] is coming on board to really drive product R&D and strategy full time," Nestor adds. "Dave's role frankly was not managed or led at a senior level in the organization ... It was a pretty significant gap that we needed to fill."

Nestor puts both hirings in the context of his new focus on two key channels: "strategic asset allocators with a lens of three, five, seven years"; and "macro, top-down thematic investors with horizons of six, 12, 18 months."

"I came aboard actually six months ago ... to run the firm, with a recognition that we've had a very dominant position in a frankly very nichey segment," Nestor says. "I came aboard to evolve our business, expand our business."

"I feel like my senior team is in place," Nestor adds. "But we will be adding to built out beneath them." 

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