Manuel Villar has more than 20 years of fixed income trading experience in the investment grade, crossover, and liquid high-yield credit markets as both a trader and portfolio manager. Most recently, he was a managing director and portfolio manager at Millennium Partners, responsible for a $400-million long/short credit fund. Prior to this, he was a managing director and portfolio manager at RBC's Global Arbitrage Trading proprietary trading unit, where he was recruited in early 2008 to build out its credit trading business with primary responsibility for investment grade, crossover and liquid high-yield trading.
Villar graduated from Fordham University's Gabelli School of Business in 1994 with a BS in business administration with a dual focus on finance and economics. In addition to his role on the Gabelli School's Advisory Board, he is an executive committee member of the University's President's Council.
While pursuing his undergraduate degree at Fordham, Villar worked at Bankers Trust and at Paine Webber in fixed income. After graduation, he joined Paine Webber's asset management unit, Mitchell Hutchins Asset Management, where he immediately joined a team responsible for restructuring a multi-billion-dollar bond fund. This experience provided him "hands on" experience in interest-rate derivatives and mortgage-backed securities. Shortly thereafter, he became a vice president and junior portfolio manager in Mitchell Hutchins' Quantitative Group, responsible for managing fixed income indexed and ALM portfolios.
In 1999, Villar took a sabbatical from the firm to work for the government of Puerto Rico, running its lobbying and political efforts in Washington, D.C. This proved to be an invaluable opportunity that gave him a unique insider's perspective on sovereign, municipal and emerging-market credit issues.
Upon his return from Washington in early 2000, Villar rejoined Paine Webber/Mitchell Hutchins as a vice president and portfolio manager in Active Fixed Income, responsible for trading its investment-grade, high-yield, and strategic-income mutual funds. After Paine Webber was acquired by UBS, he worked for a year at Generali Insurance's private bank, BSI Advisors, as a fixed income portfolio manager for private investors, endowments, and sovereign pension funds in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. In 2002, Villar joined former Paine Webber/Mitchell Hutchins colleagues at a structured-finance "startup," Westmoreland Capital, as head trader, reporting directly to the CIO. He established the firm’s trading operation, risk-management framework, and infrastructure for the group. In addition, Villar had responsibility for handling all negotiations related to ISDAs and repo agreements.
Villar joined Bear Stearns Asset Management in early 2004 as a managing director in its High Grade Structured Credit Strategies hedge funds. He oversaw the buildout of the fund's corporate credit trading platform, including CDS, bonds, credit options, and synthetic CDOs. His team managed a liquid credit trading alpha-generating strategy within the hedge funds while also managing its single-name credit exposure in CDOs/CLOs that the funds invested in.
A native of Puerto Rico of Cuban heritage, Villar is fluent in Spanish and English. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children. Outside of his involvement with Fordham University, he and his wife are actively involved with the Saint David's Student Sponsors Partners.