“Welcome back,
Your dreams were your ticket out,
Welcome back,
To that same old place that you laughed about

…” *

Some of us remember those lyrics from that ‘ole 1970s hit sitcom, “Welcome Back Kotter,” where the leading character, the high school teacher Mr. (Gabe) Kaplan, goes back to his old Brooklyn, NYC high school to teach the new zoo-crew generation of “Sweathogs” – kids in a special-ed class.” While never really explained in the show as to where Mr. Kotter was before, presumably he was honing his comedic craft similar to what the real-life Gabe Kaplan did in stand-up comedy. Like Gabe, I am returning to my credit analysis craft after taking a gap year off to re-charge and rejuvenate after 30+ years on Wall Street, and a more recent brutal eight years of battling the credit crisis and its aftermath.

Like Mr. Kaplan, I felt the need to go home to my credit, capital structure and risk management advisory roots, in order to fulfill my professional life’s mission using my own “teaching plans” for the next generation of credit “Sweathogs.” So, I have not forgotten my old zoo-crew “Sweathog” buddies, clients and customers that I got to know and cherish over these last few decades. But now, I plan to address the whole “kumbaya” group in a more holistic and enterprise-risk fashion; in order to have a credit community-wide conversation so that we all learn together and set the next level of excellence in risk management and credit/capital structure analysis.

So, you may ask, what’s the “same” and “different” this time versus the previous iterations of David Hendler credit guru P.I.? On the “same” side, you still get leading edge, value-added, transactional research ideas. These ideas allow customers to get “ahead of the curve” in order to take advantage of credit/capital structure and risk management opportunities before the rest of the investor/risk management and regulatory worlds. How do we do it at Viola Risk Advisors? With our inquisitive personalities and capabilities developed from our unique careers spanning more than three decades. In these efforts we dig deeper into publicly available filings, extrapolate more broadly across trends, and have the courage of our credit/capital structure convictions even when it is early-on and not in-sync with common convention.

In my view, credit/capital structure is all about “agreeing to disagree” and learning from the exercise, so at a minimum, we all as a credit community take away some new nugget of information. At our core, we the analysts and contributing analysts of Viola Risk Advisors are “analytical challengers” of credit/capital structure conventional thoughts and opinions. We have an analytical style similar to that succinctly stated by news icon Chris Matthews during his weekly news show where he barks out “tell me something I don’t know?” We will use this questioning style as one of our key mantras, as we will pursue this angle of analytical attack in our own research quests. We believe this will optimize the experience for all the major risk-investment stakeholders including risk managers, investors, regulators & government bodies, and corporate strategists.

So, what is “different” you may ask? The key difference is that we will approach the overall business of credit analysis from a more holistic and enterprise-wide risk approach with risk management at its core. Risk management begins with the underwriting of loan credit risk for banks & finance companies and conducting counterparty credit risk management for capital markets players. So, where appropriate, we will have specific commentary focused on the needs of risk management clientele like counterparty credit and enterprise risk managers. Yet, this commentary will be useful for other major company and entity stakeholders as this dynamic equilibrium among them affects their specific risk interests and resulting action plans.

In that vein, we will continue to be associated with various industry groups that ponder these financial sectors questions and challenges in order to set higher industry standards. So, our participation at various levels in the Capital Markets Credit Analyst Society (CMCAS); the Risk Management Association, NY Chapter (RMA); the International Association of Credit Portfolio Managers (IACPM), the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYYSA), as well as other groups sets us apart from competitor products and services. When we go to these society sponsored-events, we notice that the Wall Street research types are not in attendance, and there is a sparse showing from the rating agency and other sides. Our tenured association with these and other groups gives us an advantage in the “nuances and narratives” that are often more important than the “hard-core numbers” in terms of really leading the way in portending the next wiggle & turn in credit &capital markets analysis.

We are really excited to present Viola Risk Advisors’ products and services and believe that from preparatory consultation with many of our customer and client relationships, that they will be well-received. So, stay tuned to this “risk-channel” to receive “business-useful” and “transactional” research on companies, industry trends, topics and themes that will help you, our valued customer base, to optimize and outperform your risk management goals and investment benchmarks.


* “Welcome Back”, Performed by John Sebastian