SoFi President Nino Fanlo to Leave Firm for Biotech Startup

By Peter Rudegeair Features Dow Jones Newswires

The number-two executive at online lender Social Finance Inc. is exiting the company to take a senior job at a biotechnology startup.

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Nino Fanlo, SoFi's president and chief financial officer, is leaving the firm at the end of the month to take over as finance chief at Human Longevity Inc., a four-year-old genomics company, the two companies said. After that time, Mr. Fanlo plans to remain a board observer and adviser to SoFi.

At SoFi, Mr. Fanlo served as the top lieutenant to CEO Mike Cagney and oversaw the company's efforts to fund both its own operations as well as the student loans, mortgages and unsecured personal loans it pitched to borrowers. Since its 2011 founding, the San Francisco-based fintech company has extended around $17 billion in consumer loans and raised $1.9 billion in equity capital from Silver Lake, SoftBank Group and other investors.

On an interim basis, Mr. Fanlo's duties will be assumed by Steven Freiberg, a former top executive at E*Trade Financial Corp. and Citigroup Inc. who joined SoFi's board earlier this year. The company plans to launch a formal search for Mr. Fanlo's successor.

Mr. Fanlo has been one of SoFi's main liaisons with Wall Street. He helped the company secure a triple-A rating, the highest offered by Moody's Investors Service, on one of its securitizations last year. For all of 2016, SoFi was the 15th largest issuer of asset-backed securities in the U.S., ahead of much larger financial institutions such as Citigroup Inc. and Discover Financial Services, according to industry publication Asset-Backed Alert.

Whereas rivals laid off staff and scrapped expansion plans over the past year, SoFi has continued to grow.

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"The company has never done better," Mr. Fanlo said in an interview. "After five years, I thought it was possible to do something different."

Before joining SoFi in 2012, Mr. Fanlo served as CEO of KKR Financial, a publicly traded debt investment firm that was a subsidiary of the private-equity firm KKR & Co., and as treasurer of Wells Fargo & Co. Mr. Fanlo currently serves on the board of prepaid card issuer Green Dot Corp.

Human Longevity Inc., based in San Diego, offers individuals services that sequence their genetic material to provide more targeted and efficient health-care advice. The company has raised more than $300 million from the venture-capital arm of General Electric Co. and other investors.

The firm "has been looking for a world-class CFO from its founding," said executive chairman J. Craig Venter, a pioneer in the science of DNA sequencing. "We could not be more pleased to have Nino join HLI [because] he brings a depth of experience that will be invaluable to us at this phase of growth of the company."

Write to Peter Rudegeair at Peter.Rudegeair@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 14, 2017 17:34 ET (21:34 GMT)