The Team

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Our team is a blend of experienced and young investment specialists.

To maintain the Vertem culture we have invested a lot of time in ‘growing our own’, encouraging individuality and fresh perspectives. This coupled with our size, means that our team are specialists in all areas of the business giving investors the confidence that their investments are in safe hands.They are analysts with diverse asset coverage, idea generators, portfolio managers and relationship managers.

 John Dance

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John is an investment manager and also the founder and branch principal of Vertem. He began his career at Wise Speke (now Brewin Dolphin) in 1996 and gained experience at international banks such as Merrill Lynch and ABN Amro before returning to Brewin Dolphin in 2004. He has worked with IFAs in building investment solutions for their clients over the last six years. He already holds a number of industry qualifications including the CII Certificate in Discretionary Investment Management plus the CISI’s Diploma in Investment Advice and Masters in Wealth Management.

“I have long been interested in financial markets and my academic skills were certainly mathematical rather than linguistic. Initially this suggested accountancy would be the right career, but fate took over when I was sent to Wise Speke by a temping agency, originally to stuff envelopes. Fortunately, they soon found other uses for me and my career has taken off since then.

“I enjoy the dialogue with clients and investors, helping them understand the factors that influence investments and talking through their portfolios. Making sense of the economic and corporate outlook and then translating that into sensible portfolios is all part of the challenge. My fascination and interest with all things economic or investment related, leads to the frequent use of the word ‘geek-like’ in describing me.

“Of course, we geeks rarely confine ourselves to one area and outside work I apply a similar dedication to cars. Although my intention is to race, drive and enjoy cars, the real joy is the never-ending tinkering, building, rebuilding and development process, although my wife would like me to point out that no progress has been made on the current project for the last five years! Like most I am an avid fan of almost all sports but horse racing and ownership has become a real passion in recent years. As we don’t have an Oil well in the garden we buy young untested horses and watching them develop and progress before they hit the track is a real joy. Dreaming they may become something useful also provides a welcome mental distraction from work.”

Gary Stockdale

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Gary is a co-founder and head of research at Vertem and has worked in investment management for 11 years, including time at Barclays Wealth Management and latterly Brewin Dolphin, where he was an assistant director. He is a former associate lecturer in finance at Northumbria University from where we have been very lucky to date in finding great new additions to our team. He won the Securities & Investments Institute’s (now the CISI) coveted National Award when taking his industry diploma.

“Although I used to watch share prices when I was at school and be interested in what caused them to move, I started my career in land surveying, which involved participating with early stage mining projects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. However, even then I was intrigued about how they were financed. Ultimately, I put the two together and decided to pursue a career in finance and investments.

“The investment world is fast moving and dynamic. We are always pitting our wits against a vast number of other investors and I enjoy `working hard to find hidden value and growth opportunities in companies.

“Although most of my reading matter is on topics such as finance and economics, I enjoy the occasional classic and even have a few Harry Potter books lurking on my shelves. The lecturing has been an important part of building my knowledge base. Away from work, I enjoy spending time with my family and travelling.”

James Flintoft, CFA

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James was our first graduate recruited from Northumbria University’s Finance & Investment degree and has since gone on to become a Senior Investment Associate. James is as vital a member of the team and management as any, the rapid development of his knowledge base and natural intuition to the investment world and the work we do make his presence invaluable. His roles include direct stock research, economic analysis and presentation, implementing investment ideas in to portfolios and managing our Managed Portfolio Service. James Flintoft is a CFA®charterholder.

James was drawn to a career in Investment Management having studied Economics at school and becoming fascinated by the complex and interconnected world of finance and how economic activity impacts asset prices.

“I enjoy conducting detailed analysis and modelling of financial statements that can unearth potentially over-optimistic or pessimistic forecasts being discounted into market prices. The continuous nature and differentiation of financial markets is enthralling and having to deal with this keeps my interest.

“The perpetual learning cycle that comes with analysing and managing multiple asset classes is particularly rewarding. Being able to carry out this work within a versatile and vibrant organisation is something that I have become attached to and from what I gather somewhat of a rarity in the professional world.

“I have always enjoyed skiing, football, travelling, reading and playing golf and more recently climbing.”

Fiona Ratcliffe

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Fiona graduated from Northumbria University in 2010 also with a degree in Finance and Investment Management. Fiona started with Vertem in January 2014 as an Investment Associate after spending some time travelling round south-east Asia, Australia and South Africa. She is covering many diverse sectors in her stock analysis and is also the local IFA and client point of contact.

“I have always found myself interested in the markets and what makes a company who they are; how they strive to success and alternatively, what makes them tumble. After graduating, I was unsure what career path to take but after meeting with John and discussing Vertem’s investment philosophy, I was excited to join the team and expand my learning further.

“I particularly enjoy seeing how one macroeconomic event, whether domestic or international, can affect markets and ultimately a multitude of companies across different sectors. The financial markets are fast paced, forever changing, and to see how one company can be affected from one day to another keeps you on your toes. I enjoy analysing company reports and digging out the bigger story of a company and how it can subsequently affect other stocks. Finding a stock that is undervalued and seeing the bigger picture is very rewarding.

“The office is a very open space where conversations are always flowing between the team, allowing us to constantly discuss stocks or news that is unfolding. There is never a time where I feel I can’t ask a question and enjoy listening to the knowledge and expertise of others.  I am looking forward to learning further aspects of investment management and the industry as a whole.

“Outside of work, I am keen to further my travelling experiences (albeit on a smaller timescale).  I have recently started to play badminton whilst the ongoing persistence to keep myself fit at the gym continues.”

Nathan Nicholson

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Nathan is an Investment Associate and is the fourth member of the team to have graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in Finance & Investment Management. Currently he researches the gigantic Support Services stock sector amongst others, provides regular technical analysis on major equity markets and has become a valuable contributor to team thinking.

Having come to terms with the fact he would never become a professional footballer or astronaut, a general interest in the business environment and desire to work in an ever changing industry meant a role in Investment Management seemed fitting.

“Just like a child after their first red bull, the financial markets don’t stand still for long. This is certainly my favourite aspect of the industry we’re in. I enjoy having to draw upon such a vast range of subjects when interpreting markets, everyday you learn something new and I enjoy the challenge of trying to keep up.

“I’m lucky in the fact that I work with such a good team. My appetite means our regular food challenges don’t go amiss and thankfully the rest of the team’s premier league predictions and fantasy teams mean I’m gifted pocket money each year.

“I enjoy travelling, watching/playing most sports and a good game of Countdown. I’m an avid golfer and although not the best, the sport is certainly one conducive to a Dominos diet. Other than that, during the winter when golf takes a back seat I enjoy catching up on my TV box sets.”

Mark Nicholson

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Mark is also an Investment Associate and as well as covering stocks within the Industrials, Support Services and Consumer Discretionary sectors he is often the ‘go to’ guy for one off thematic peices of research such as his self-described “ground breaking” analysis of the global polymer industry. Mark joined having completed both a Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Economics at Manchester University where his studies added to an existing intrigue in financial markets.

“On a daily basis I find myself working in a dynamic setting, helping the team appraise companies and the general economic environment – which is both interesting, rewarding, and certainly keeps you on your toes. This is great as I see much of what I studied in action on a daily basis, coming away everyday having learnt something new, and building a broad base of knowledge spanning the whole globe and different asset classes.

“Outside of the office I can be found in the gym, eating, trying to cook and occasionally deejaying/bolstering my music collection.  I was bitten by the travel bug after previously inter-railing Europe during University, and followed this up with a more recent six month trip to the USA and South America before I started at Vertem – an itch I try to scratch as often as possible.  Time out of the office is also spent lamenting what I did wrong in a former life to have the misfortune of following Leeds United, but luckily other sports teams in Leeds have picked up the notable slack at Elland Road!”

Jessica Dance

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Jess manages our investment management operations (platform) via our sister company Sapia Investment Services. As important as anyone on the team, she has responsibility for managing the asset transfer, client account opening and reporting, dividend payment processing and client custody functions amongst others. Jess started her career at Brewin Dolphin initially in Business Support before moving on to become an account opening and verification specialist.

As Vertem grew and we launched our own platform we were ‘third time lucky’ in persuading Jess to join and manage this area, knowing that her expertise and experience would be an invaluable addition and necessity in order to ensure it was managed properly. Jess is a self confessed ‘control freak’ and this leads to fantastic organisation of the functions she manages.

“I take pride in my job, knowing that rules and regulations are being followed and conducted down to a tee makes me thrive within the business. I enjoy leaving the office every night knowing that all my work has been fulfilled to a high standard and I can jump right back into it the next morning. I suppose the main enjoyment of my job, is knowing that I can learn something new every day from the Investment team, which I would not have been given the opportunity to in any other business support role.

“Once the working day is over I can go home to my adorable dogs, Reggie and Bella, they are definitely harder work than my actual job, but I love them all the same! During Summer months, I love nothing more than putting on my walking boots and walking off a day in the office while I attempt to control Reggie and Bella. My main interest outside of work would be Horse Racing. Although very hard to follow during winter, I enjoy getting myself up to our Trainers yard on a Saturday morning to watch 6 lots of up to 12 horses work on the gallops in North Yorkshire, seeing the progress of each individual horse, and how much dedication, hard work and effort it takes just to get them to a racecourse never mind racing, is all extremely enjoy for me. There is nothing better than revitalising your brain ready for a new week at work, than spending a day in the fresh air on a Saturday with a hobby I love, and friends I have made for life (the full English breakfast always helps too).”

 Dan Carter

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Dan heads up the trading/dealing desk at Sapia and in this capacity is responsible for securities, trading and execution.  He has developed numerous contacts within the City which helps in this fast paced dealing environment and his cheeky chappy personality helps him squeeze out better prices for clients from market participants.

Previously, Dan graduated from Leeds Metropolitan with a BA in Business and Marketing in 2005.  After identifying an opportunity for growth in the North East coupled with his entrepreneurial skills Dan grew and developed a successful business in the service industry.  After the sale of the business Dan was headhunted and recruited for the role of Regional sales manager for a high end lifestyle magazine.

After becoming intrigued and fascinated with the market, curiosity along with a fantastic opportunity drove Dan in to the Financial sector and is thriving in the day to day interaction with the market and market makers in the City and the satisfaction that comes from striking a deal.

“My biggest passions are football and food.  Having reluctantly hung up my football boots, through a combination of injury and old age, it now enables me to regularly follow the mighty Arsenal around the country.  Food glorious food…prepping it, cooking it and obviously eating it, for me, is one of life’s small pleasures.  Reigning office ‘Come Dine with Me’ champion should say everything it needs to!

 

Ed Midgley

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Ed joined Vertem in 2015 to develop new and maintain existing relationships with IFAs. He fell into the investment industry after leaving education, but 30 years later he says “I still love it, there is always something different to get your head around and with the ever changing world of regulation etc, there is no time to get bored”.

Ed has predominately been in IFA facing roles for large, well known national and offshore life offices in a managerial or technical capacity.  Ed has a wealth of experience in dealing with advisers throughout the UK and as such has a deep understanding of the issues they face in an ever changing and demanding environment.

Ed is a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society and a Chartered Financial Planner as well as holding a number of other specialist industry qualifications.

I enjoy my role as no two days are ever the same, and going out and meeting different people every day, makes the job so interesting.

Apart from being a full-time kids taxi service I have been known to pick up the odd tool and create something. Projects completed over the last few years include building an office at the bottom of the garden (man cave actually, but don’t tell my wife), a bedroom/en suite extension and currently building an orangery. In fact if I had to give up my current job you may well find me with a  pencil behind my ear and a large cup of builder’s tea permanently in my hand!”

Ekra Mir

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Ekra first joined Vertem in early 2016 as an intern, whilst completing her Masters in Global Financial Management. Having impressed us during that time she joined on a permanent basis after completing her education. Ekra’s principal responsibilities revolve around stock research, analysing individual companies and also monitoring the recommendation updates from the whole team.

“A career in investment is a never ending learning experience, which is what makes it so interesting and particularly appealing to a nerd like myself – its like you are still at University, always being educated – minus the debt. The knowledge that is passed around the office and the support available is what makes it such a fine environment to work in.

The office soon caught on of my passion for cars. I wouldn’t class myself as a petrol head, because I don’t necessarily know the ins and outs, but I do appreciate the sound of a good AMG and aesthetics of a beastly GTR. I’m a family girl so when I’m not stalking supercars, i’m usually spending time with my old man, harassing him, to buy me a supercar”

Vinay Bedi

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Vinay joined Vertem in October 2016, following a long career as Senior Investment Adviser at UBS Wealth Management and Brewin Dolphin, based in the North East. He commenced his career in the industry over 30 year’s ago as a Specialist Research Analyst focussing on North East companies, which led to work in corporate broking and advising football clubs and other companies on fund raising, including the flotation of Manchester United Football Club in the early 90’s.

Vinay’s clients were initially large institutional investors including pension funds and insurance companies before moving on to managing money on behalf of private clients, smaller corporate pension funds and charities.

Away from his day to day business life, Vinay has been a Judge for many Years for the North East Business Executive of the Year Awards and also a Governor and Chairman of Red House School in Norton.

Vinay’s experience in researching, investing and managing funds for North East clients has enabled him to build a large network of contacts; clients and business professionals across this area.  Vinay has also helped to bring investment to the region.

Vinay is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.

“Being a “stockbroker” in Margaret Thatcher’s 80’s was the dream of many graduates – it was considered both a  “sexy” and lucrative career then…not entirely sure if either proved to be accurate, but I was luckily  recruited as a trainee research analyst and loved every minute of it.

I have been very lucky to work across a large range of activities within the stockbroking spectrum and have found that wherever you are focussed no one day is ever the same. Even during a quiet period you are always on the look out for opportunities and the best way of doing this is to meet and talk to as many people as possible. I was once told that as a research analyst you are never “off work”, you are always on the look out for “growth ideas” to invest in or help to grow further. It’s a fantastic world to work in.

I have always been sport obsessed yet, like ones taste in food and drink, I have found that your focus on “favourite” sports tends to mature over the years. Right now I play more golf than I used to, probably watch less football than I did, have become more interested in rugby and remain very keen on cricket and racing. My biggest regret is not taking some time out after university and spending a season becoming a much more accomplished skier – ski trips now are focussed on finding the best mountain restaurants for lunch!”  

Catherine Hart

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Catherine joined Vertem in 2017 as Head of Business Strategy. She has worked in Investment Management for 11 years, including time at global asset managers Schroders and Fidelity. Most recently, Catherine worked in Investor Relations for Global Macro Hedge Fund specialist Brevan Howard. Her principal roles at Vertem include business development & marketing, business strategy and managing and developing Vertem’s processes. Catherine holds the Investment Management Certificate.

After graduating I worked at a couple of Investment Banks in London to gain some work experience and really enjoyed the fast-paced, international atmosphere. I then made the transition to the buy side where I have remained ever since. 

I find it interesting how the asset management industry is intrinsically linked with global events; from politics to extreme weather, anything that affects markets and their behavior is relevant to the industry. I enjoy keeping informed on current affairs, so the two tie in very well. 

I appreciate the variety that my role provides, no two days are ever the same. I am currently involved in lots of different and interesting projects at Vertem. 

Outside of the office I am a keen foodie and cook and enjoy reading and yoga. When time allows, I love to get out and see the world!”