David C. Stevens is CEO of Ascending Markets Financial Guarantee (AMF), a financial guarantee insurance company focused on developing nations. AMF is finalizing its capital raise with the expected support of six development banks in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Africa and two large global corporations. It is expected to launch in early 2013.
AMF’s core business is to provide financial guarantees on creditworthy essential infrastructure and public services financings, for the benefit of local and international investors. The financial guarantees will be rated A on the global scale when denominated in foreign currencies or AAA on the national scale when denominated in local currency. The financial guarantees will help mobilize some of the over $5 trillion in emerging nation pension funds, insurance companies and banks for investment in critical local development – roads, schools, hospitals, airports, ports, and power, along with “economic infrastructure” projects like microfinance, housing, and MSME financing.
AMF was catalyzed in 2010 by its having won a first prize in the Gates-World Bank-Agence Française de Développement-sponsored Marketplace in Innovative Finance. AMF is an outgrowth of Capital Markets Development Corporation (CMDC), a similar company also headed up by Mr. Stevens from 2004-07. CMDC had been expected to launch in 2007, but that launch was a casualty of the global financial crisis. CMDC’s investor group included a number of leading global insurance and reinsurance companies, private equity firms and social investors.
Mr. Stevens previously served as CEO of XL Capital Assurance, a New York-based financial guaranty insurance company. During his 1999-2004 tenure there, XLCA grew to become the fourth largest US bond insurer, focusing more heavily than its competitors on emerging market transactions, including financings in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Jamaica, Korea, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Turkey. Mr. Stevens resigned in 2004, when XLCA was a healthy AAA firm, in order to pursue his interest in the emerging markets. The firm went public in 2006 but eventually went into run-off, having taken on excessive exposure to the US sub-prime market after the departure of Mr. Stevens.
From 1990-1999, Mr. Stevens worked in senior management at MBIA Insurance Corporation, the largest firm in the financial guarantee industry. Previously Mr. Stevens worked as a commercial lender at Bank of America and First Interstate Bank; as a North Carolina state government telecommunications policy analyst; and as an English and Journalism teacher. He holds a BA from Stanford University, an MAT in English Education from Duke University, and an MBA from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He is married with one adult daughter and two grandchildren. He was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is fluent in both Spanish and English.