Features

Scott Kimmel – Nearwater Capital  

Putting expertise in business and the law to use 

Every school year, students across the country—and the world—read Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” And for so many, the stories told in the book have an impact felt beyond their formative years.  

For Scott Kimmel, the book is a big reason he is the person—and lawyer—he is today because of its message of fairness and doing the right thing.  

Scott Kimmel | General Counsel | Nearwater Capital  

Scott Kimmel | General Counsel | Nearwater Capital

Today, Kimmel stands at the legal helm of Nearwater Capital, steering the ship with a wealth of experience. As the general counsel for this specialty finance company, Kimmel brings a unique blend of legal acumen and financial insight, making him an important figure in Nearwater Capital’s strategic endeavors.  

Kimmel’s journey unfolds as a testament to his unwavering passion for the intersection of law and business. Since joining the Midtown Manhattan-based organization, Kimmel has spearheaded the development of the legal function, leveraging decades of experience to fortify the company’s position in a rapidly evolving financial and regulatory landscape.  

“I really try to lean on my past experiences to manage risks and enhance the company’s strategic endeavors. My focus remains on propelling Nearwater Capital towards greater success,” Kimmel says. 

Risk management  

In his role, Kimmel leverages available data to analyze transactions comprehensively. Collaborating closely with other infrastructure heads, he delves into the intricacies of each transaction, identifying potential legal, reputational and regulatory risks. By proactively anticipating challenges and leveraging data, Kimmel ensures that Nearwater Capital is well-prepared to navigate the complexities of the financial landscape. 

Scott Kimmel | General Counsel | Nearwater Capital  

“Hopefully, having worked through numerous financial market downturns and crises has better prepared me to anticipate and mitigate potential pitfalls and risks,” Kimmel says.  

Throughout the rest of 2024, Kimmel envisions helping to propel Nearwater Capital’s growth initiatives further. With a key focus on expanding the capital markets business and growing the company’s presence in Europe, Kimmel’s insights will be instrumental. Having recently added new personnel, the legal department aims to ensure it is optimally organized to support the business’s evolving needs. 

Kimmel’s journey is not just one of legal expertise but also of embracing technological advancements. He charts a course for Nearwater Capital that aligns with the company’s commitment to excellence and innovation in the ever-evolving financial landscape. 

All about finance 

Kimmel brings a wealth of experience, offering strategic insights that resonate with the company’s mission in the specialty finance sector. The company, dedicated to providing asset-based financing solutions, operates within three core business lines: risk retention solutions, liquid markets and capital markets. 

Scott Kimmel | General Counsel | Nearwater Capital  

Under Kimmel’s guidance, the legal department is exploring the potential of artificial intelligence in document management systems. Recognizing the efficiency gains that AI can bring, Kimmel envisions enhanced document storage, management and key-term research. These advancements align with Nearwater Capital’s commitment to staying at the forefront of innovation. 

Kimmel’s journey in finance is a testament to the symbiotic relationship between legal acumen and financial expertise. Through strategic leadership and a commitment to staying ahead of industry trends, Kimmel shapes Nearwater Capital’s trajectory in the dynamic world of structured finance. 

Inspired by Atticus 

Kimmel’s professional trajectory reflects a journey shaped by early inspirations and a curiosity about the law. Armed with a degree in international economics from Georgetown, Kimmel embarked on his legal career, inspired by the character of Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Although not following Finch’s sartorial choices, Kimmel’s dedication to justice and moral values was always a guiding force. 

His initial experience in a big law firm, marked by the typical challenges young associates face, led Kimmel to seek a more fulfilling path. A pivotal moment came when he accepted a junior in-house counsel position at Lehman Brothers, where he discovered a love for the in-house legal environment. This shift allowed him to work closely with the business, addressing time-sensitive legal and regulatory matters and making informed risk decisions. In this arena, he not only found satisfaction but excelled. 

Over 15 years at Lehman Brothers and another nine at Barclays, Kimmel solidified his expertise in navigating the legal complexities of the financial sector. His journey continued with a stint at Guggenheim Partners for over two years, further refining his skills. 

In January 2020, Kimmel joined Nearwater Capital as general counsel, marking a significant juncture in his career as he moved from a large bank to a much smaller financial institution. But his role remained the same – to leverage his extensive legal acumen to navigate the intricate landscape of the financial industry. 

“The opportunity to be GC at Nearwater has been immensely satisfying and truly energizing. In addition to learning new skills and areas of the law, I get to work with smart and fun people as we build out our business lines.  And being in the office together creates a real camaraderie, so what’s better than that?” he says.  

View this feature in the Vanguard Spring II 2024 Edition here.

Published on: April 9, 2024

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