Afina International, founded in 2011, is a private investment and advisory firm with a focus on Latin America.
The Firm provides unique access to private investors, businesses, institutions and asset managers seeking innovative, cross-border investments that create value through geographically local and sector-specific expertise.
The Firm is relationship-centered and draws on long-term and developing relationships to build international capital partnerships around well-researched, creative, customized and proprietary investments, actionable ideas, and asset strategies.
Mr. Ortiz has over 20 years of experience in trading and financial markets. He is a founding partner of Afina and leads the development of Afina’s global asset management business.
Prior to co-founding Afina in 2011, he was a private client portfolio manager at Chapin Hill Advisors Inc., an independent financial advisory firm with US$65 million of assets under management. Mr. Ortiz was responsible for creating and implementing asset allocations and conducting portfolio reviews for 150 clients. He analyzed new products and funds from wholesalers to select investments consistent with the firm’s investment philosophy and best suited for clients. Previously, he was a managing director at HCP Global, a long/short hedge fund, where Mr. Ortiz was responsible for day-to-day research, analysis, and trading in the technology and bio-technology sectors. In addition, Mr. Ortiz had a successful 12-year career as a senior proprietary trader for Oppenheimer & Co, where he managed markets in 90+ securities on Nasdaq with a sector concentration in semi-conductor, bio-technology, software, internet, and telecommunications companies. He was also responsible for supervising and training assistant traders.
As the son of a Bolivian diplomat, Mr. Ortiz lived in many parts of the Americas during his youth. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and a minor in Economics. Mr. Ortiz is fluent in English, Spanish and French.
Ms. Innocent joined Afina in 2014 and leads the firm’s operations management, client communications, and corporate governance. She also serves as an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. and was a foreign policy analyst at Cato from 2007 to 2013.
Ms. Innocent has appeared as a guest analyst on CNN, CBS, BBC, Fox News Channel, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, CNBC Asia, and Reuters. She has published reviews and articles on national security and international affairs in journals such as Survival, Congressional Quarterly, and Harvard International Review. She has also written for Foreign Policy, Wall Street Journal Asia, Christian Science Monitor, Armed Forces Journal, the Guardian, Huffington Post, the Washington Times, and other outlets in the United States and overseas. In 2011, she was awarded the distinction “Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders” by global affairs magazine Diplomatic Courier. With Ted Galen Carpenter, she is the author of Perilous Partners: The Benefits and Pitfalls of America’s Alliances with Authoritarian Regimes.
Ms. Innocent earned dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Mass Communications and Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago.
Mr. Blum is President of AXR, Afina’s international real estate investment business. Prior to co-founding AXR with Afina, David spent 25 years in institutional real estate investment management, having joined Urdang Capital Management at its inception in 1987 and retiring from the company in 2013. Prior to the acquisition of the company by the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation in 2006, David was a shareholder/principal of the firm. David served as Managing Director and as Portfolio Manager of Urdang Value-Added Fund II, L.P., a US$463 million closed-end private real estate fund that was ranked in the top quartile for its strategy/vintage by Preqin. A former CPA, David developed UCM’s accounting, reporting, performance measurement, and portfolio management processes.
As a senior executive, David was a member of UCM’s Investment Committee. During his tenure, the company invested in approximately US$6.7 billion of properties, including approximately 37,000,000 square feet of commercial property and over 30,000 multifamily apartment units located in over 30 states across the U.S. Prior to Urdang, David was a real estate and partnership tax specialist at Laventhol & Horwath and a practicing CPA.
He received a B.S. degree in Accounting and an M.S. degree in Taxation from The American University in Washington, D.C. David is a member of the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) and has served on the Advisory Board for the PREA Quarterly publication and the Valuation and Reporting Affinity Group.
Mr. Wilkes has over 25 years real estate experience and is the founder of InvestAg LLP, an investment advisory firm for international real estate and farmland investors.
Prior to founding InvestAg LLP, Mr. Wilkes was a Director of Savills (L&P) Ltd, the global real estate services provider, where he worked for 12 years, providing international real estate and farmland investment advice to a wide range of clients including: real estate companies, governments, institutions, investment funds, family offices and specialist investors. Before Savills, Mr. Wilkes was the international manager for property consultants Brown & Co, a London commercial real estate advisor for Weatherall Green & Smith (now BNP Paribas) and a land manager at RH & RW Clutton (UK).
During his career Mr. Wilkes has worked on a wide range of international and UK real estate projects and investments, in the residential, hotel, touristic, office and farmland sectors. This has involved project creation, sourcing, appraising, fund raising, project management, fund/asset management, as well as providing general property and investment advice. Mr Wilkes has travelled extensively through out his career including to: Africa, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, Far East, Middle East, North and South America.
Mr. Wilkes is both a Chartered Surveyor and Corporate Finance Representative. He is British and is based in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Lacavaro is a communications and marketing specialist. He is also active in the start-up space, advising several companies in the data analytics and governance, digital media and content distribution areas.
Prior to Joining Afina, Mr. Lacavaro was a Managing Director in Brand Marketing and Communications and Head of Corporate Communications at Guggenheim Partners, a diversified financial services firm with more than $300 billion in assets under management.
Mr. Lacavaro joined Guggenheim Partners from Morgan Stanley, where he served as Executive Director in Corporate Communications. He also served as Global Head of Internal Communications. During his tenure, he provided communications counsel and support for several key events and initiatives, including the firm’s negotiation of the 2008 economic crisis, its subsequent conversion to a bank holding company and partnership with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, its acquisition and integration of Smith Barney, successions of two CEOs, its 75th anniversary, and a global corporate brand relaunch.
Prior to that, he worked in public relations and as a journalist, primarily covering the financial services industry.
Mr. Lacavaro earned his BA in English with Honors from Hamilton College and his Masters in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and two children.