Our team

Tom Waring - CEO

Tom gained extensive experience over 30 years in the asset management business in Asia, the U.K. and the Middle East before joining Blackfriars in 2011 as Chief Executive Officer. His early career was spent in Asia as a portfolio manager and he has since held Chief Executive/Managing Director positions at Royal Trust Asset Management, Credit Lyonnais International Asset Management Asia, Nicholas Applegate Capital Management and First State Investments Asia. In 2003 Tom moved to London to become the CEO of First State Investments International, managing Commonwealth Bank’s First State asset management businesses in the U.K., Hong Kong and Singapore as well as developing two new start-up businesses in China (joint venture) and Indonesia. Between 2003 and 2006, First State established itself as a very successful Asian and global emerging markets specialist boutique. Prior to joining Blackfriars, Tom was the Group Head of Investments and Senior Executive Director of Gulf Finance House in Bahrain.

Tony Hann - Head of Equities

Tony joined Blackfriars (formerly WestLB Asset Management) in 1998 as head of the Asian desk. Initially responsible for managing the Compass Emerging Asian Fund, he became a co-manager of the global emerging markets funds in 2005 and took on his current role of Head of Equities at the beginning of 2009. He continues to have day to day responsibility for the Asian stocks across the GEM portfolios and co-manages the Blackfriars Oriental Focus Fund. Tony began his investment career in 1988 at National Mutual Life where he was responsible for insurance funds across the Asia Pacific region before going on to manage two Asian unit trusts at the Japanese investment bank Sanwa International. Prior to joining Blackfriars, Tony was at General Accident in London for 5 years where he ran the Asia Pacific desk managing a range of pension and life funds. He earned a first class honours degree in Applied Physics from Brunel University, followed by 4 years post-graduate research with the Electro-Optics teams at Brunel and Reading Universities.

Anastasia Levashova - Portfolio Manager

Anastasia gained over 15 years’ experience in GEM and frontier markets in London, New York and Russia before joining Blackfriars in 2014. Her early career was spent as senior analyst at Firebird Management in New York, one of the oldest and best performing emerging markets funds globally, where she focused on Russian & Eastern European portfolio & private equity investments, as well as frontier & emerging markets companies. In 2006 Anastasia moved to Moscow to open Bank of America Merrill Lynch Russia & CIS office as Head of Research and Strategist. Following the successful build-up of a strong research team, Anastasia was responsible for Merrill Lynch’s Russian Sales & Trading in Equities & Derivatives during 2007-2009. Most recently, Anastasia was Head of EMEA Sales at BNP Paribas in London from 2011-2013 where she also managed a successful EMEA long/short portfolio for a specialist boutique. Anastasia holds a PhD from Moscow Lomonosov State University in International Relations and Masters from Columbia University in International Finance.

Bill Rudman - Portfolio Manager

Bill joined the investment team (formerly WestLB Asset Management) in 1999 as Head of Latin America. He has run dedicated regional portfolios throughout his tenure and became a co-manager of the global emerging markets funds in 2005, whilst still retaining a specialist focus on Latin America. Recently he has been the lead manager for the GEM Infrastructure Fund and the prospective GEM Income strategy. Bill started his investment career at Norwich Union (now Aviva) in 1990, focusing on UK equities before moving to a similar role at NPI (now part of Henderson Global Investors) three years later. In 1997 he transferred within NPI to managing Latin American funds. Bill's first employment was in the textile sector, with extensive work experience across Asia. He graduated from Pembroke College, Cambridge with a first class honours degree in Modern Languages, specialising in Spanish and French.  He is an Associate of the CFA Society of the UK.

Gariesh Sharma - Portfolio Manager

Gariesh joined Blackfriars in 2011 as a Director and Portfolio Manager. He has over 20 years’ experience in equity markets and before Blackfriars, he worked at C Brooke Investment Partners (subsequently Soditic CBIP) where he co-managed small and mid-cap portfolios for US endowments, foundations and pension fund clients as well as family offices. He became a Director of Soditic CBIP in 2005. Gariesh started his investment career at Mercury Asset Management (subsequently Merrill Lynch Investment Managers) and spent eight years focusing on the research and management of small and mid-cap portfolios. Prior to Mercury, Gariesh worked at IBM. Gariesh follows an investment style best described by the books of Peter Lynch, Richard Oldfield and Anthony Bolton. He is also influenced by the work of Nassim Taleb and John Kelly. He is an Associate of the CFA Society of the UK and has a Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning (DipPFS). He has a degree in Engineering, Economics and Management from Oxford University.

Henry Thornton - Portfolio Manager

Henry joined Blackfriars in 2014. He began his career at Thornton Management (Asia) in 1985. In 1989 he was appointed investment director of Royal Trust Asset Management (Asia), a position he retained during subsequent acquisitions by Credit Lyonnais International Asset Management and Nicholas Applegate Capital Management. In 1999 he was appointed head of emerging markets at Colonial First State Investments, a position he retained until his resignation in April 2000. Henry went on to co-found BDT Invest LLP and was chief executive officer for 14 years, where he managed the Establishment Investment Trust and co-managed BDT Invest's Oriental Focus and Asian Focus Funds (now the Blackfriars Oriental Focus Fund). He holds a BSSC from Bristol University.

Stephen Simmons - Head of Business Development & Sales

Stephen brought some 19 years of experience in Asian markets to Blackfriars in 2014. After leaving the Army he returned to Hong Kong and spent 11 years with CLSA Asia Pacific Markets in Hong Kong, London and latterly in Thailand where he was Country Head. He left CLSA to become a partner in Cambodia’s first private equity fund. He remained with the fund until its successful hard close at which point he returned to London to join BDT Invest as Client Relationship and Marketing Director.

Jennifer Essen - Client Services & Operations Analyst

Jennifer joined Blackfriars in 2014 whilst completing her PhD. She holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees from University College Cork in Ireland, as well as an MPhil and PhD from King's College London. As Client Services & Operations Analyst she brings with her a wealth of marketing, communications and operations skills in a range of sectors from business consultancy to the NHS.