Reggie Imamura, a Leading Voice for ABS Industry, Dies at 50

  • Founded Structured Finance Industry Group trade organization
  • Las Vegas convention holds minute of silence in his memory

Reggie Imamura, a former executive with PNC Financial’s asset-backed securities unit and the founding chairman of the Structured Finance Industry Group, has died. He was 50.

He died Feb. 29 at his home in Larchmont, New York, according to his wife Lisa Imamura. The cause was pancreatic cancer.

“Up until last Wednesday, he was determined he was going to SFIG’s conference,” she said Tuesday in a telephone interview, referring to the four-day ABS Vegas capital markets conference in Las Vegas that started Feb. 28.

Imamura joined Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group Inc., where he was executive vice president, in 2004. He had moved from i3 Capital Partners, the Charlotte, North Carolina, advisory firm he founded in 2002 with Stephen Geis. Previously, he was a managing director at Wachovia Securities, also in Charlotte, where he oversaw a $3 billion portfolio of asset-backed securities.

Formed Unit

In 2007, he was named head of PNC’s asset-backed finance group, advising U.S. financial services companies. Two years later, in the face of regulatory changes affecting capital markets, he helped form the bank’s Financial Services Advisory & Banking division.

Imamura left PNC in September following a restructuring of its asset-backed finance business. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November, his wife said.

“The world’s really lost an extraordinary man,” Geis, who had joined Imamura at PNC and is now head of Charlotte-based LEHNS Capital Advisory, said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “He made incredibly difficult endeavors seem effortless and he did it with the respect and the acknowledgment of both colleagues and competitors in the industry.”

SFIG Founder

In 2013, Imamura helped start the Structured Finance Industry Group, a member-based advocate for the structured finance and securitization industry. It was created as an alternative to the American Securitization Forum. Today, the Washington-based group has about 350 institutional members, according to its website.

SFIG’s executive director, Richard Johns, announced Imamura’s death Monday in a note to attendees at the ABS Vegas conference. 

“His courage and hard work enabled the initial decisions to form both SFIG and this conference, and whether you knew Reggie or not, I can guarantee you owe him a debt of gratitude for the way he championed this industry on your behalf,” Johns said.

The group held a minute of silence Tuesday at the conference and set up a message board on its website in tribute to Imamura.

“During the two years plus that we worked liked hand in glove, I recognized what an amazing individual he was,” Gregg Silver, chief financial officer of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota-based 1st Financial Bank USA and SFIG’s former treasurer, said on the message board.

Avid Sailor

Reginald Hiroshi Imamura was born July 11, 1965, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, one of two sons to Hideki and Kikuko Imamura. He graduated from the Choate Rosemary Hall preparatory school in Wallingford, Connecticut, in 1983. Four years later, he earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“His two girls, his sailboat and snow skiing were his passions,” his wife said. He had a small racing boat, “Ebisu,” named after the Japanese god of fortune, the ocean and fishermen. He would sail the vessel out of the Larchmont Yacht Club and also participated in many regattas on the East Coast, she said.

In addition to his wife, the former Lisa Shirley, his survivors include their daughters Natalie and Sophie; his mother; his brother, Anthony; and his brother-in-law, Bryan Slater.

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