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Our Team of Experts

Our team is a collection of only the top people in their respective industry and have achieved successes. Professionally known and respected them for years but now I am fortunate enough to work with them at Synergy. They have not only years of experience in research but investments and insights in what’s to come. We try to pass on this experience and knowledge tour clients and connect the right people/businesses

LEADERSHIP TEAM

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John Lee (CEO)

John Lee, a UCLA graduate, began his career in California with Wilshire Asset Management and Verus Investments. There, he conducted asset allocation studies, Monte Carlo simulations, and manager selection using qualitative and quantitative metrics across all asset classes.
At Verus, he served as an institutional consultant for pension, endowment, and foundation clients before moving to Asia. As the Head of Sales at HSBC, Lee advised hedge fund and mutual fund clients on generating investment ideas, also serving on the management committee. He received numerous accolades as a top-ranking broker for several years and implemented strategies to lead the company in non-deal roadshows and conferences.
Currently, he is the Founder and CEO of Synergy Investment Consultants, LLC, focusing on assisting start-up alternative asset managers, real estate private equity funds, and fundraising. Lee has also served as a non-profit Board of Director for women with cancer and often speaks at biotech conferences and to MBA students as a keynote speaker.

Ronald K. Lee, CFA (Senior MD)

Ron is Synergy's Senior Managing Director and Head of Research. He currently resides in our South SF office and has extensive knowledge in start-ups, tech, AI, and biotech among others. He graduated from University of Texas at Austin in Electrical Engineering (BSc) with the Highest Honor Distinction (top 2%). He continued his studies at Stanford University and has a master's degree in computer engineering (recipient of full-tuition graduate fellowship). Then he went on to The Wharton School to receive his MBA.  He started his career at Connective Capital Management, LLC in SF managing US and Asian stocks. He continued his career at hedge fund, Citadel managing $300mn in SF. He moved to H.K. overlooking Asia ex-Japan for Conning managing the tech sector.  In addition to the tech sector, he has extensive knowledge in biotech sector and has been helping biotech companies in the northern California. He serves as Advisory Board Member (Climate Investment) in London. In addition to English, he speaks Cantonese and French.

Steve Yoo, CFA (Research Analyst and Portfolio Manager)

Steve Yoo, CFA (CFO | internet, software) – Steve has extensive financial services experience as an equity research analyst and portfolio manager.

Also has experience researching start-up internet/media companies. He has worked at Lehman and Nomura where he was a senior analyst. He has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and an MBA from NYU Stern Business School. 

Steve also played safety position in division one football prior to that and has a NCAA championship ring. Steve was also a three-year starting outfielder for the Georgetown Hoyas and was a part-time scout for the Detroit Tigers. He was also a lecturer in Finance at Yonsei University.

Irene Lee (Head of Business Development/Cosmetics & Brand Marketing)

Irene (Seunghee) Lee leads our Business Consultant team and currently serves as Head of Cosmetics & Brand Marketing. After receiving MA degree of MIS management information system at Yonsei University.  She started her career in business consulting servicing mega-size corporations for KPMG.  She implemented IT solutions, assisted in overseas growth, and assisted with upper-level management to achieve efficiency with organic growth and cross-border transactions mostly with U.S. companies. Some of her projects included leading the Financial Services Team, Business Advisory Service (Lotte Card Risk Adjusted Profit Management project, HANA Bank Sustainability Strategy, Korea Securities Finance Corp's Operation Dashboard and BPI/ BSC project, Pusan Bank IT ROI, KAMCO'S Risk Control. After KPMG, she moved to Cisco Systems as Business Develop Manager, APAC Emerging solution group. - Joint Financial modeling, B2B business partnership, Songdo S+CC u+City implementing development business modeling & partnering engagement and also helped launch innovation center. In addition, strategic business planning along with sales operations, led and managed commercial sales initiatives with business metrics. She has also led a team for Samsung Electronics in Mobile Division during when they lagged their competition in smartphones.  - Develop joint partnership for global accounts such as Citi Bank, Standard Charted, Microsoft. - Cross/Up selling sales strategy and Global partnership program. Later, she launched her own company in K-Beauty for the last 10 years in Irvine, CA. As an animal lover, later she launched cosmetic brands Koelcia, Ditebeau, Beanon and Shuamo pet brands at Hansung USA (www.hansungusa.com) in 2018. Currently, she works with the distribution side for household name retailers across US.

Samuel Gong (Managing Director)

Sam, Managing Director | Consultant, has over 27 years of experience and serves our clients with extensive experience in FX trading, short-term funding, and credit rating after working with rating agencies like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. Then he moved on to trade cash equity trading at Samsung and Deutsche Bank where he was ranked #1 by Greenwich Associates. At Deutsche Bank he was the Head of Equity and joined the Board of Directors. He also worked as Head of Sales & Trading at Barclays, where he covered mostly Hong Kong, Singapore and UK clients. Later he joined Consul Asset Management as Executive Managing Director and managed a portfolio that outperformed KOSPI by 30% in 2022. He will be consulting our cross-boarder corporation clients as a consultant along with our advisors with FX implementation, transfer pricing, among other areas utilizing his diverse experiences.

Kassandra Coloma (Executive Assistant)

Kassandra is the executive assistant at Synergy Consulting Group. She is a dynamic and results-driven professional with a diverse skill set that spans the realms of executive support, client relations, marketing strategy, team management, and impeccable time management. In her role as an executive assistant, Kassandra has honed her ability to anticipate the needs of CEOs and senior leaders, providing crucial support that allows them to focus on strategic decision-making. Her keen attention to detail and proactive approach make her an invaluable asset in optimizing executive workflow and ensuring seamless operations within the leadership team. As she progresses through the crossroads of business strategy, client contentment, and collaborative team efforts, her influence is bound to echo through various aspects of the professional arena.

ADVISORS

Sang Chung (Advisor)

Sang Chung has over 25 years of experience as a fund manager and investment banker. His expertise lies in evaluating companies for investment, corporate finance, and M&A. His career, which began in NYC, has taken him to various parts of Asia including Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

He has been associated with leading firms such as Fidelity, Temasek, and Morgan Stanley. He earned his B.S in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Chicago Booth School of Business.

Beyond his professional life, he has volunteered to feed children in Kabul. He enjoys golfing and is an accomplished squash player.

Alison Yip (Advisor)

Alison Yip, a senior investment analyst at T. Rowe Price, specialized in the tech sector with a particular focus on long-term semiconductor and display price trends.

Notably, she was regarded as one of the best tech analysts in Asia. In addition, she evaluated semiconductor makers, ranging from small to mid-cap companies across Asia.

With 21 years of industry experience, she has also worked on the sell-side at CLSA and Credit Suisse.

Gene Ryang (Senior Advisor)

Mr. Gene Ryang serves as Synergy's Senior Advisor and is considered a pioneer in the financial industry in Asia.  After graduating from UCLA, he worked at Arthur Anderson as a Certified Public Accountant (US AICPA) auditing as a senior manager and supervised audits of large corporations in the greater Los Angeles area. After he relocated to London, Seoul and Hong Kong with W. I. Carr as Head of Sales and served clients in Europe and Asia. He was also a research analyst while at W. I. Carr. Then when HSBC James Capel started, he grew the franchise Korean (front and back offices). He led and managed a global team of 30 staff and the company's revenue from zero to double digits in the millions working with global investment firms. He also founded Deutsche Bank in Korea increasing the company's revenues and raising market share ranking 2nd among foreign investment banks and growing/managing a team to 50 staffs supervising all area of the businesses including compliance, back office and liaised with overseas offices in HK, NY and London. Later as an Executive Managing Director Daewoo Securities, he oversaw electronic trading, execution, Direct Market Access products and prime brokerage. Before serving as Synergy's senior advisor, he Co-founded SoHo Investments, a multi-asset solution investment firm raising multi-millions in AUM. He was at UCLA Varsity Golf Team and Korea Amateur Golf Champion (Johnny Walker Classic).  

Keith Whang (Advisor)

Keith Whang serves as our advisor and his specialty is in real estate. He's have conducted many deals including Novotel in Daegoo and other developments. Currently he is Representative Director at South Gate, a Seoul based financial consulting firm specialising in institutional inbound and outbound investments in Korea and Asia. Keith has over 25 years in real estate, hedge funds, equity research and sales based in Seoul and Hong Kong. Previously, he was with SG (Societe Generale) Securities Asia as an equity research analyst for Autos, Internet, and Media Sectors and at KDB Daewoo Securities as senior sales and Hana Securities as Head of International Sales. Keith was recognised in various polls as among Korea's top hedge fund sales and has strong research/trading background in technology as Managing Director at Tarascon Capital Management in Hong Kong, a hedge fund specalising in TMT. In addition, Keith has extensive experience in commercial real estate working with private funds in fund raising, value add strategies and analysis, advising on completed real estate investments of USD 500 million. Keith earned his BA from UCLA in Business Economics.

Charles Jo (Advisor)

Charles Jo is our advisor with special focus in transfer pricing for most of his life. Charles specializes in Transfer Pricing under U.S. Treasury Regulation section 482 of the Internal Revenue Code. Charles has over 15 years of extensive experience providing Transfer Pricing planning, compliance, valuable intangible property (IP) valuation and IP migration/cost sharing, tax audit defense, and other related services to large, multinational corporations with respect to their cross-border, intercompany transactions. Charles has provided these services while working for mainly the Big 4 accounting firms in the U.S., and also has extensive experience providing Transfer Pricing services under the Korean Transfer Pricing Regulations and the OECD Guidelines, while working in Seoul for the Law Offices of Kim & Chang and Ernst & Young. Charles is pursuing a Master of Applied Science in Supply Chain Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Southern California. In his spare time, Charles loves to golf, snowboard, hike, and swim.

Avaneesh Acquilla (Advisor)

Mr. Avaneesh Acquilla is currently our Advisor in Blockchain. Avaneesh founded Arrano Capital in 2019 and has been in the investment industry for over 20 years serving on the sell-side and the buyside overlooking research and investments in multi-countries as a hedge fund manager. He currently serves and Chief Investment Offer at Arrano Capital investing and hedging crypto currency. Avaneesh experiences past experiences include capital markets and asset management. He was most recently responsible for managing the investment team at Kenetic Capital, a blockchain investment firm with portfolios including early-stage and publicly traded digital assets. Prior to joining Kenetic, he was an Equity Analyst at Och-Ziff Capital Management Asia, a position which he held for nine years. Prior to Och-Ziff he was an Equity Research analyst at Goldman Sachs and UBS in London.

We are also advised by Advisory Boards from CEOs of Private Equity, Venture Capital, Investment Banking, and Industrial Industries. Our Marketing Team Includes Sports Casters, Aerospace Engineers, Cosmetic Logistics and Branding and Sales.

The Power of Synergy

Collaborative effort to create greater value.

SGC in the works:

We educate the investors in the market/businesses/industry trends and investments. There are many new asset classes and however, some while correlation may differ from traditional assets, there are other risk factors to consider. Our consultants consists of experts that have over 20 years of experience in their respective fields and have gone through many market cycles.

Current projects:

Digital marketing/Brand ambassador consulting and negotiations with retailers. SGC is currently consulting to an international cosmetic company expanding their business in the Americas launching their brand with FDA guidelines, usage of various ingredients and designing their products.

SGC is currently looking for deal sourcing for our international fund with strong track record since inception. We are searching for an infrastructure sourcing. They have already funded in building infrastructure in Europe, US and emerging market countries.

Assist in sales of a smaller pharmaceutical company sell their services to the bigger pharmas. Biotech and tech are one of our stronger areas. Testing and going through the trials could be expensive but also rewarding in monetary and moral aspects. One firm figured out how to get more accurate results species that only grow in their country.

Institutional investment consultants generally use asset allocation strategy, peer group performance (mostly looking at 3 to 5 year) track-records and fees to evaluate managers. However, over the last 2 decades, equity market has changed. Many pension, endowment, and foundations are no longer the usual 60/40 asset allocation. There are many new and interesting funds in the market that don’t belong in your traditional asset class. Many endowment funds have allocated beyond these asset classes so it has become more difficult to classify them in a box. Consultants now have to take a deeper qualitative research and see if it makes sense to invest in such asset classes. We help our clients understand, how these relatively new alternative funds work and investing risks and reward profiles are.

Most consultants have already attended more than thousands of meetings with corporates, attended multiple conferences, meetings with management. Additionally, as for fund investing, some of us have met and experienced, how various funds invest in their portfolio. As a client, through our research portal you get access to real experiences of meeting not only the corporate management but also the fund managers and their strategy.

SGC not only help fund raising process but also help start-ups generate strategy and sound structure.

For larger clients, we move our consultant team assigned to the project, utilizing the shared-office space so they are available at all times.