Charles Bray is the founder and CEO of Astin. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degree in Economics. His academic interests led to him training with the derivative products boutique firm of O'Connor & Associates in Philadelphia and New York. He was an exchange member and an equity option specialist on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (‘PHLX’) and the American Stock Exchange (‘AMEX’) for O'Connor. Mr. Bray moved to London to work for Banque Paribas to trade and structure European OTC derivative products and in 1996 moved to Credit Suisse Financial Products, London to manage and trade proprietary equity risk. Eventually he led CSFB’s small and mid-cap convertible finance group dealing in capital market transactions for European SMEs. In 2002, Mr. Bray founded Astin and has subsequently joined the board of directors of several Astin portfolio companies including Aterian plc. Mr Bray joined the board of Aterian in 2019 to lead its strategic refocus, recapitalisation, and ultimate listing on the London Stock Exchange.
David Ummels is a Director of the Company. He graduated from the University of Liege with an MBA in Business Administration in 1993. Having received his graduate degree from the University of Liege he led a joint venture with the Belgian Options and Futures exchange creating a series of pan-European sector indices. Mr. Ummels began his career in 1995 with Banque Paribas as an equities trader. In 1997, Mr. Ummels moved to Société Générale, Paris, where he was Head of Benelux equity derivatives trading. In 2000, Mr. Ummels joined a specialised proprietary desk of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. Mr. Ummels co-founded Astin in 2002 and led the development of Astin's Private Capital Markets activities, covering the origination, structuring, due diligence and distribution phases of more than 35 arranged transactions raising funds in excess of 1 billion USD for Astin's clients. Mr. Ummels has an extensive network of connections within the corporate and the investment management world, especially in Western and Eastern Europe and currently presides on the board of directors of several companies.
Bruce Bland graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in June 1989. He was originally employed as an equity options trader with O’Connor & Associates in San Francisco and Toronto. In late 1991, he moved to New York to trade energy derivatives both over the counter and on the NYMEX floor for Lehman Brothers. In 1993, he was recruited to work in London as commodity derivatives trade for Credit Suisse Financial Products, and transferred to New York a year later to run CSFP’s global commodity derivatives trading. He continued in this role until late 1996, when he transferred back to London to run CSFP’s European Interest Rate Options Trading. In early 2000, he transferred to Sydney where he ran Pacific Fixed Income Derivatives Trading. In late 2000, he left CSFP to help found Sonar Capital Limited, proprietary fixed income and equity trading company, with several ex-colleagues, where he traded equity and fixed income futures and options. In 2005, Mr. Bland joined Astin Capital Management as an Investment Manager and is a Director of the Company.