When Mizuho Americas, part of the Japan-based Mizuho Financial Group, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, recruited Raffi Dawson in 2010 to help leverage its tremendous resources to grow its offerings in the region, he viewed it as an entrepreneurial and exciting opportunity. By then, he was an accomplished business development and structured finance professional with nearly a decade of corporate finance and capital markets industry experience, having served as a vice president of securitization and alternative funding within GE Capital’s capital markets business. His broad expertise across banking, capital markets, corporate finance, project finance, and structured finance gave him a well-rounded skill set to help attract and retain an expansive client base.
Raffi currently serves as co-head of origination and managing director of securitization. Under his leadership, and along with other key colleagues, the asset-backed securities and securitization platform has grown significantly each year. In fact, Mizuho has ranked among the Top 10 ABS Underwriters and the Top 10 Investment Grade Underwriters for the past five consecutive years on league tables such as Bloomberg and Dealogic.
As part of Mizuho’s extensive global network, Raffi and his colleagues deliver creative, content-driven ideas within capital markets, sales and trading, corporate and investment banking and asset management. Mizuho harnesses the best of both hemispheres—operating across the Americas with offices in North, Central, and South America.
Raffi’s roles at Mizuho demand a technical and personal touch, with much of his success depending upon his ability to build confidence and trust with clients and stakeholders. he identifies opportunities, originates deals from existing and new clients, and works alongside his relationship and product partners. “The bank doesn’t manage business on a one-off basis,” he explains. “We manage clients across a broader team of professionals to deliver the entire firm’s products and services; our Securitization and ABS platform is a critical, differentiating product of the Bank.”
As managing director of securitization and co-head of origination, Raffi is responsible for various industry verticals including technology media and telecommunications (TMT), financial institutions (FIG), energy, and sponsor finance. He also shares joint coverage of industrial and diversified industries (IDI). This has provided him with deep experience in auto, consumer, credit card, equipment, floorplan, handset and trade A/R assets, in both the prime and non-prime space as well as across both investment grade and non-investment grade clients. He and his team keep a close watch on the industry, sourcing deals, managing client relationships and carefully prospecting for potential securitization transactions. When he identifies a good deal, he takes the lead in presenting it to the bank’s existing or prospective clients.
Mizuho appealed to Raffi because of his own international background. Born in Italy to a British father and Armenian mother, he lived in the Central African Republic until the family relocated to Boston. Like his father, who had a long career with the United Nations, Raffi has always held an interest in finance and international business. He majored in finance and economics as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he graduated magna cum laude and a Commonwealth Scholar. He received an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 2010, Raffi left GE Capital well-equipped to join corporate and investment banking at Mizuho. At the time, Mizuho’s securitization and ABS platform was much smaller, giving Raffi the runway to proactively lead their growth. While growth and bottom-line results are an objective at most banks, Raffi was quick to highlight that Mizuho’s approach is broader than that. “At Mizuho, we take corporate social responsibility seriously, maintaining a culture of respect, passion, and purpose. We believe in doing things the right way, being a partner of choice, and demonstrating integrity while delivering outsized performance,” he says.
Managing Director of Securitization/Co-Head of Origination
LinkedIn: Raffi Dawson