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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As founder and principal of Vertem, John began his career at Wise Speke (now Brewin Dolphin) in 1996. He’s worked for international banks including Merrill Lynch and ABN Amro and, since launching Vertem, has built strong relationships with a number of Independent financial advisors, creating investment solutions for their clients. John’s strength is making sense of the economic and corporate outlook and translating it into sensible portfolios. He holds a number of industry qualifications including the CII Certificate in Discretionary Investment Management plus the CISI 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.”

James Flintoft, CFA

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James, head of portfolio management, was Vertem’s first graduate from Northumbria University’s Finance and Investment degree, joining in 2012. He has a natural intuition for the investment world and is incredibly adept at conducting detailed analysis and modelling of financial statements, which can unearth potentially over-optimistic or pessimistic forecasts being discounted into market prices. James is a CFA® charterholder and an invaluable member of the Vertem team.

“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 overseeing 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!”

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”

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!”