ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., Nov. 15, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Asta Funding, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASFI) (the "Company"), today announced the formation of a wholly owned subsidiary Simia Capital, LLC ("Simia") to continue its position as a leader in the personal injury claims funding business. The Company has been in the personal injury funding claims business since 2011, operating through Pegasus Funding, LLC ("Pegasus"), an 80% owned indirect subsidiary. The Pegasus joint venture expires December 28, 2016, and will not be renewed. Instead, the Company has made the decision to liquidate its existing Pegasus portfolio and expand its position in the personal injury claims business by forming Simia, a wholly owned subsidiary. Gary Stern, Asta Chairman, president and CEO said, "We have enjoyed success over the last five years in the personal injury claims funding business, and we have renewed our commitment to this business segment by establishing a wholly owned entity to conduct its operations moving forward. Effective January 2, 2017, the Company will begin funding personal injury claims through Simia. We are excited to expand our presence in this business segment, and look to this as being an important component of the Company's overall growth strategy." As part of the formation, Simia has retained former GWG MCA Capital, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Patrick F. Preece, who joined Simia as its Chief Executive Officer on November 11, 2016 and has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Company, effective November 15, 2016. Mr. Preece was head of asset securitization for Autobahn Funding, a $6 billion commercial paper conduit for DZ Bank that specialized in alternative asset classes. Throughout his career Mr. Preece has focused on the origination and management of structured finance and asset-backed lending with an emphasis on litigation finance. Mr. Stern added, "Patrick has a wealth of experience, exceptional industry knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the marketplace. I am confident that Patrick's significant experience in structured settlements, asset-backed lending and esoteric assets will enhance the Company's position in the personal injury funding business, as well as other asset classes that the Company may consider as future investments, and will be a great addition to our existing management team."