Lauri Martin, B.S. ’95

Doing Due Diligence

By Jim Sciancalepore, M.A. ’93

To illustrate the necessity for expert hedge-fund advisory services, Lauri Martin mentions the infamous tale of Nick Leeson, a derivatives broker whose fraudulent, unauthorized trading in the mid-1990s led to a $1.5 billion loss for, and the eventual collapse of, Barings Bank.

That case would spur the development of operational risk practice in global capital markets – to help investors evaluate the businesses that support their hedge-fund investments. It would also create a career path and business opportunity for Martin.

Martin had parlayed her UAlbany degree directly into her first job at Ernst & Young, an active recruiter of students from the University’s highly regarded accounting program. She would go on to other positions at JP Morgan and Swiss bank Union Bancaire Privée, gaining experience in the relatively niche area of operational due diligence for hedge funds and private equity funds.

In 2009, Martin decided to strike out on her own, forming PRISM LLC, a global hedge-fund advisory business. She now helps banks, consultants and other institutional investors evaluate and understand risks, and make informed decisions – to avoid any ‘Nick Leeson disasters.’

Martin’s job literally takes her around the world – something she greatly enjoys. “One of my passions is travel,” she noted. “A career in international finance brings so many qualitative benefits to my life.”

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Martin also loves the “investigative-work” aspect of her job – doing the research that will help protect her clients. A few years after starting PRISM, she is very happy with her decision.

“I love being an entrepreneur,” she said. “It is a whole new phase in my career.”

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