Atlas Team Member Spotlight: Jason Willis
Benjamin R. Eisler
We always appreciate the opportunity to put a face to a name, and understand that the companies we work with do not always have the chance to meet our Orlando team in person. So this fall, we wanted to share a little about Jason Willis.
Jason and his team oversee daily operations for Atlas’s Total Return Swap solution. That includes preparing and submitting trade orders, generating settlement calculations, validating that the banks are correctly calculating the settlements, generating the tax attributions for the underlying plan participants, and system development so the solution always meets the evolving needs and goals of Atlas’s clients.
Jason has spent nearly his entire career in Asset and Liability Management for Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans. Over the years, he has become a leading expert in the use of Total Return Swaps to hedge these plans in particular. Prior to joining Atlas, Jason worked for the nation’s largest nonqualified plan recordkeeper, The Newport Group.
Jason was born and raised in Orlando. Nothing was handed to him, he says, and that instilled a strong drive and work ethic that has helped him get to where he is today. “My sister and I – we come from a pretty modest background,” he says. “We grew up in a mobile home park and didn’t attend the best of schools.”
Jason was fiercely motivated to overcome these challenges, worked hard, and was accepted to the University of Central Florida, where he then worked multiple jobs to put himself through school. Jason also met his wife within the business fraternity, “during the Superbowl,” he says, “and my team won! Everyone was quick to give me a hard time for that one.”
During his years with Atlas, Jason’s team has caught many settlement errors by bank counterparties to the benefit of Atlas clients. Some errors have been as large as $2.8 million. “It’s usually things like incorrect pricing or missed dividends that result in errors that large,” he says.
When asked (only half-jokingly) to name his favorite TRS report, Jason points to the Hedge Performance Report. “The Hedge Performance Report allows us to see on a fund level where tracking error is coming from so we can investigate to see if it’s a short term timing issue, or if it’s something that requires additional considerations,” he says. Additionally, Jason adds that his favorite aspect of working at Atlas is the flexibility and ability to implement new ideas quickly and efficiently to best serve our clients, “We strive to always try and find additional value to provide our clients, and when we come up with a new report, or system enhancement, we’re able to develop and implement it quickly.”
Outside of Atlas, Jason enjoys reading and is a fan of UCF’s football and basketball teams, the Orlando Magic, and the Denver Broncos. He and his wife enjoy traveling, and when he can, he also writes screenplays (generally dramas, with sci-fi and/or philosophical themes).
Jason says he’s thankful and proud of how far he and his sister have come. “We see a lot of the people we went to school with that have lived pretty rough lives. I’m proud that we managed to beat those odds and get out of those tough neighborhoods. I’m thankful to have married a wonderful woman. And I’m proud of the work we do here at Atlas.”