Meet Our Team

Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come

Oliver Cooke

Chairman

Oliver has over 30 years of financial and business development experience gained in a range of quoted and private companies including over ten years’ experience as a Public Company Director. He has considerable experience in the fields of acquisitions, disposals, fundraisings, turnarounds, restructurings and strategic transformation. Oliver is a Chartered Accountant and Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Brian Raven

Chief Executive

Brian was Chairman of Blacksquare and has been involved in the financial services sector since 2010. He has a wide range of business experience, having held many sales and general management posts at senior management and board level, including running public companies on both AIM and the Official List. Most notably, in 1991 Brian founded Card Clear Plc, subsequently renamed Retail Decisions plc, a business engaged in combating the fraudulent use of plastic payment cards. He led the company until 1998 by which time it was an international group, listed on AIM, with a market capitalisation of some £100 million. As a principal, Brian has been responsible for identifying, negotiating and integrating numerous acquisitions, as well as for delivering organic growth.

Roderic Rennison

Non-executive Director

Roderic has spent more than 35 years in financial services encompassing a variety of roles including sales, strategy, product development, proposition, operations and latterly acquisitions, mergers, and integrations together with corporate affairs, risk and regulatory matters. He provides consultancy services in the financial services sector to a range of providers, fund managers and intermediaries and particularly specialises on RDR, for which he chaired the professionalism and reputation work stream within the Financial Services Authority. Roderic is a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Disciplinary Committee, having previously been a member of its Professional Standards Board and Executive Board.

Peter Dornan

Non-executive Director

Peter has spent more than 40 years in the financial services industry. Having joined AEGON in 1981 as a sales consultant he progressed through a series of sales and general management positions to being appointed to the executive management board in 1999. He had executive responsibility for post-acquisition integration of a number of businesses including Guardian Assurance, Positive Solutions and Origen. Peter was also responsible for Scottish Equitable International in Luxembourg from 1996 until 2002 and was appointed chairman of AEGON Ireland when it was launched in 2002. Since 2012, Peter has acted as a consultant to a number of businesses within the financial services sector with a particular emphasis on governance, risk management and financial controls.

Oliver Cooke

Chairman

Oliver has over 30 years of financial and business development experience gained in a range of quoted and private companies including over ten years’ experience as a Public Company Director. He has considerable experience in the fields of acquisitions, disposals, fundraisings, turnarounds, restructurings and strategic transformation. Oliver is a Chartered Accountant and Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Brian Raven

Chief Executive

Brian was Chairman of Blacksquare and has been involved in the financial services sector since 2010. He has a wide range of business experience, having held many sales and general management posts at senior management and board level, including running public companies on both AIM and the Official List. Most notably, in 1991 Brian founded Card Clear Plc, subsequently renamed Retail Decisions plc, a business engaged in combating the fraudulent use of plastic payment cards. He led the company until 1998 by which time it was an international group, listed on AIM, with a market capitalisation of some £100 million. As a principal, Brian has been responsible for identifying, negotiating and integrating numerous acquisitions, as well as for delivering organic growth.

Roderic Rennison

Non-executive Director

Roderic has spent more than 35 years in financial services encompassing a variety of roles including sales, strategy, product development, proposition, operations and latterly acquisitions, mergers, and integrations together with corporate affairs, risk and regulatory matters. He provides consultancy services in the financial services sector to a range of providers, fund managers and intermediaries and particularly specialises on RDR, for which he chaired the professionalism and reputation work stream within the Financial Services Authority. Roderic is a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Disciplinary Committee, having previously been a member of its Professional Standards Board and Executive Board.

Peter Dornan

Non-executive Director

Peter has spent more than 40 years in the financial services industry. Having joined AEGON in 1981 as a sales consultant he progressed through a series of sales and general management positions to being appointed to the executive management board in 1999. He had executive responsibility for post-acquisition integration of a number of businesses including Guardian Assurance, Positive Solutions and Origen. Peter was also responsible for Scottish Equitable International in Luxembourg from 1996 until 2002 and was appointed chairman of AEGON Ireland when it was launched in 2002. Since 2012, Peter has acted as a consultant to a number of businesses within the financial services sector with a particular emphasis on governance, risk management and financial controls.

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Technical Perspectives

In last week’s blog we discussed the ‘Nasdaq whale’, Softbank, and the role it played, alongside an army of retail investors, driving tech prices ever higher prior to the recent correction. These short-term ‘technical’ flows are driven by the options market as traders look to hedge their underlying exposure, amplifying moves both lower and higher.

The NASDAQ Whale

The ACUMEN Portfolios continue to perform well. As you can see from the table below, performance for the rolling quarter (to the end of August) remains strong relative to the market composite benchmark and the current assigned IA sector, which I understand many advisers use for comparison purposes. ACUMEN Portfolios 3-8 were all in the first quartile and ranked in the top 15 within their category.

A Speech For The History Books

In a speech for the history books, last week Fed chairman Jerome Powell announced a significant change to the way it conducts monetary policy by formally announcing ‘average inflation targeting’. This means the Fed will now allow inflation to overshoot its official 2% target to compensate for prior years where inflation failed to reach that level.

Room to Run

Despite the fact the coronavirus has plunged many countries into recession, global equity markets are now back at all-time highs, as measured by the Bloomberg World Exchange Market Capitalisation index.

Rising Phoenix

In The Return Of Inflation (5th June 2020) we made the case for a transition from the existing deflationary narrative to one in which markets start to price-in inflation.

A Currency For All Seasons

Having identified, and benefited from, the 7% fall in the value of the US dollar index since late April, we have now turned tactically cautious.

All That Glitters…

In last week’s blog, This Time It’s Different (24 July 2020), I suggested the US dollar was on the cusp of crashing through its decade-long uptrend.

This Time It’s Different

There are growing signs that the US dollar may finally roll over.