Meet the team at Optiva, an independent and full member of the London Stock Exchange and AIM nominated broker, with offices in Mayfair, London and international representation in Geneva, Switzerland.
Kurt Portmann founded Optiva in 1995, known then as Securities Trading (UK) Limited. Since 1987 he has also been President of Portmann Finances S.A., a private equity firm and as of 2005 President of EQ’Y S.A., a wealth manager, which are both based in Sarnen, Switzerland.
Kurt has over 50 years of experience in international financial markets, institutional stockbroking and fund management. He was instrumental in forming Canadian oil and gas company Epsilon Energy in 2005, where he is still a director. Epsilon (EPS) listed on the TSX in 2007 raising C$78m. He is also a non-executive director at Rockefeller Hughes Inc, a Canadian Private company active in the Oil shale exploration in Texas / USA.
Chief Executive & Head of Corporate Broking
Christian Dennis has over 28 years experience in finance working in both corporate broking and investment management in both the UK and New York. Christian founded Optiva Securities, formerly Orbis Equity Partners in 2008 as part of a management buy in of the existing Sectram business. Optiva Securities has since established itself as an AIM specialist broker offering both corporate broking services and investment management services to companies and retail clients. Before joining Optiva Securities he was part of the management buy-in team at Hichens Harrison Limited taking the company’s value from £2.3M to over £50M in 4 years when the company was sold to Religare Securities. Christian has worked extensively with the early stage development of many companies and was involved with the initial funding for Oxiana Resources, Kryso Resources, EMED and Dekel Oil to name a few. Christian qualified from the University of Birmingham with a BSc Hons in Biological Sciences and is an Associate Member of the CISI, Level 4.
Head of Corporate Finance
Jeremy King is a senior corporate finance executive with over 18 years experience and has advised clients on IPOs, fundraising, takeovers, mergers and acquisitions and continuing obligations. Jeremy is a director of Optiva and head of corporate finance. Previously he was a director of English Trust Company Ltd, a corporate finance house, where he originated and lead the IPO of Private Equity Investor plc on the Full List of the LSE, raising £100m from investors.
Jeremy started his career at Kleinwort Benson Investment Management Ltd, where he became Head of UK Smaller Companies, managing unit trusts, investment trusts and pension funds investing in that sector.
Mike heads up the discretionary and portfolio division of Optiva Securities. As a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments he brings a wealth of experience to Optiva and their clients. Mike has particular expertise in Exchange Traded Products (ETF`s) and tax free investment vehicles.
Graeme Dickson has been a stockbroker for 15 years and joined Optiva in 2010. He headed up a number of desks in the City with his last role prior to joining Optiva as Head of Trading at Cornhill Capital. Graeme has written for a number of publications including the Mail on Sunday, Citywire, the Investors Chronicle and the Hedge Fund Review. Graeme has a BA (Hons) in Economics from Kent University.
Hal Norwood joined Optiva in 2010 and has been stockbroking since 2012. Hal has expertise in equities and investment risk, as well as trading and dealing from previous roles. Hal has an entrepreneurial background, joining Optiva after successfully developing his own profitable media and events company.
Vishal Balasingham has been in the industry for over 15 years and joined Optiva in 2010. He started his career in investment management and moved to sales trading in 2001 when he joined Hitchen’s Harrison Ltd. In 2002 he moved to Seymour Pearce to manage a long only Equities Fund before joining WH Ireland in 2005 to run an Institutional Trading, Intermediary and Derivatives Desk. Vishal has looked after many major accounts for both UK and overseas institutions, including prominent Sovereign Wealth funds from Asia. He holds an MSc in Finance from Leicester University.
Ravi Davdra is an equity research analyst, specialising in the natural resource area. He began his analyst career in 2008. Prior to joining the firm in 2013, he was a commodity analyst at Lloyds Banking Group. Ravi holds a BSc in Economics from Brunel University.
Ed McDermott has over 10 years’ experience in finance having been at Board level with a number of UK public companies. Having started his career in banking as an interdealer broker at Creditex international Ltd he went on to work with a number of listed companies primarily focused on natural resources. He has significant experience raising capital for junior and mid cap companies with a variety of focuses.
Compliance Support Officer
James Jackson is Optiva Securities Compliance Support Officer, who joins us with over 10 years experience in the financial services industry. James comes with extensive knowledge of banking and FCA procedures. Prior to working at Optiva, James worked in a customer focused risk and compliance function with Lloyds Banking Group and later on with TSB.
Claire White has supported Optiva’s digital communications since early 2013. Claire has a range of specialist expertise including, email communications and social media marketing, as well as having a great interest in emerging market opportunities and the stock market.
David’s career has involved working for a number of leading UK and US Blue Chip companies ranging from the building and construction industry to the aviation sector. He has held a number of leadership positions serving in senior financial management or directorship roles within operating divisions of Hughes Aircraft Company, Raytheon Systems and the General Electric Group. He has also worked with government departments in the public sector. In addition to a background in accounting and finance David, holds an MBA and is a member of the Chartered Management Institute and past member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He is also a qualified green belt Six Sigma practitioner.