Broker Village Bios

Stuart J. Speckman, CFA, CFP
Chairman
Stu is the "math guy" of the group. He created the algorithms for our products. Also, he is the main writer of our white papers and promotional pieces.

Stu has a broad finance background. He was an insurance agent, sales assistant, fund wholesaler, and director at several major financial firms. Like Mike R. (below), he has a solid understanding of portfolio theory and the financial sales process. But after too many long commutes to lower Manhattan, he packed it in. At the height of the dot-com craze, he helped start a dot-com: Broker Village. The next day, the Nasdaq hit an all-time high. The "bubble" had burst. Most firms failed, but Broker Village survived. We are one of the last dot-coms still standing.

From 1997 to 2000, Stu was Director of Fee-Based Programs at Oppenheimer Funds. From 1990 to 1997, he was at Prudential Securities. He rose to Director of Marketing, Wrap-Fee Programs, before becoming a top wrap-fee wholesaler. He also worked at Shearson Lehman Brothers and Met Life, where he was a producing agent.

Stu received a B.A. in Chemistry from Cornell University and an MBA in Marketing from Syracuse University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

Tidbit: Stu likes the outdoors, though he looks nothing like Grizzly Adams. He lived for three days in an igloo, paddled his kayak around the Statue of Liberty, and endured a 100-hour fast (four days and four hours without food) while hiking 25 miles out of the Rockies. That was all years before "Man vs. Wild" or "Survivorman" hit the airwaves. 

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Shash Patel
Principal and Chief Information Officer
Shash is the Chief Information Officer for Broker Village. He does hardware work, assesses our technology and information needs, and manages programmers as the needs arise. 

Shash has over 20 years of experience in the technology arena. His particular experience and expertise is as a CTO in the alternative assets area. He has the rare ability to understand business requirements in the context of technological solutions. In the end, technology is applied successfully to help firms achieve their goals...including our goals!

Shash also is the CEO of a boutique technology consulting firm. Previously, he was the Chief Information Officer at a world-class hedge fund and venture capital group. He oversaw network infrastructure, software development, systems engineering, and information security. He also worked for a large bank and for U.S. government defense agencies. 

Mr. Patel taught graduate courses in information security at Fairfield University. He has a Master of Science degree in software engineering from Fairfield University and a Bachelor of Science in information systems from Central Connecticut State University.

Tidbit: We think Shash really is James Bond. He's our snappiest dresser. He cannot take one step without some woman complimenting him on his appearance. Sean Connery, beware!

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Steven S. Cohen, CFP, CPA/PFS
Senior Business Advisor
Steve is an advisor to Broker Village, focused on business development and marketing. He's been with us since the early days and was part of developing our sister firm, Decision Wisdom.

Steve is Founder and CEO of Gold Coast Advisors, a NY-based Multi-Family Office and Merchant Bank. He has extensive expertise developing objective, customized investment solutions for clients. With a track record of building financial services and technology businesses, he provides strategic advice and brings clients a proven record of revenue generation through strategic planning, efficient risk management and flawless execution. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences.

Mr. Cohen holds an MBA from New York University and a BS from the University of Buffalo.

Tidbit: Grab your board! When not at work, Steve can be found with his family at the beach, practicing for the surfing senior tour.

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Michael S. Rosen, CFA
Director of Strategic Development
Mike helped found Broker Village in 2000. In the early days, he headed strategic development and led many of our sales meetings. Today he helps with high level strategy decisions, research, and securing resources for us.

Mike may be well known to many advisors, particularly those who live in the New York tri-state area. From 1983 to 2000, he was associated with The Rochester Funds, a hugely successful, multi-billion dollar investment management firm. Their specialty is investing in municipal bonds. He was a Managing Director and fixed income portfolio manager for almost that entire time. He was President of Rochester Fund Distributors and then President of the Rochester Division of Oppenheimer Funds, as a result of their January 1996 acquisition by Oppenheimer.

Mike has a lot of credentials to his credit, including being named "Best Bond Fund Manager" by Business Week in 1992. Further, from Lipper Analytical Services, he received a Performance Achievement Certificate for his #1 Rank for the five Years ending in 1995 and five years ending in 1996.

He is now Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Context Capital Management, a San Diego-based hedge fund that specializes in convertible arbitrage. He is a board member of a wireless technology firm, the Jewish Federation of San Diego, and Black Cat Decisions.

Mike has a BA in economics, and an MBA in finance and marketing, from the University of Rochester. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He is a member of the CFA Institute and the New York and San Diego Societies of Securities Analysts.

Tidbit: The first names of everyone in Mike's family start with the letter "M." There are four kids and two adults. For you baseball fans, can you make the Vern Law connection?  

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Alicia Kennedy

Principal and Marketing Director

Alicia is in charge of all things related to marketing communications and messaging ?from creating (and enforcing) our elevator speech, to issuing press releases, focusing our written pieces, and managing social media. She has been a marketing professional for over 20 years. Her experience spans Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and even job-seeking individuals.

Her strength is an ability to quickly understand a client’s industry, unique selling points, and business challenges. Then she solves creatively to deliver exactly what is needed.

Alicia has a long history of providing strategic marketing services to clients. Notably, for 13 years, she was a Managing Director and Vice President at Ryan Partnership -- a big-time sales promotion agency. She led an account and creative team that delivered strategic planning through execution services. Over the years, her clients included AIG, The Hartford, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Digital Equipment, TCI Cable, GE, Sara Lee International (Paris), Chanel, the NBA, and Harley-Davidson.

Her broad experience brings a fresh perspective to us “Wall Street guys.?Alicia helps ground our work in market relevancy and consistent communication.

Alicia also is the owner of Ace the Interview, where she provides interview coaching services to young professionals and seasoned executives. She trains motivated job seekers to position themselves as the perfect fit for the job they are seeking.

Alicia has an MBA from Syracuse University and a BA in Business from West Liberty State College, Cum Laude.

Tidbit: Growing up an avid Steelers fan, Alicia has sports in her blood. While she loves to watch and attend many sporting events, she dances, skis (water and snow), and constantly tries new classes at the gym. She’s even driven a racecar! In fact, she’s logged so many driving miles (often to watch sports) that she’s nicknamed Road Warrior.  

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Richard Lee

Senior Programmer

Rich is our senior programmer. He joined us to help bring our trademark tool -- the Share Class Calculator -- to the next level. It's been a long process and the new version is set to launch in in mid-2018. In the interim, he's working on our compliance and fiduciary duty suite of offerings.

With over 20 years of IT experience, Rich is a seasoned professional. He brings to our table a skill-set that includes infrastructure design, configuration, deployment, support, and systems administration. Moreover, he can pull the best ideas from several industries. He's worked for large firms in the investment (J.P. Morgan), healthcare (Oxford Healthcare), and Technology fields (Acxiom). This long and broad experience gives him unique perspective on IT issues...and that benefits our firm.

Importantly, his background covers client support and managerial duties. He's worked closely with clients in developmental and servicing roles. He managed teams of programmers and IT staff, as well. He has a great sense of what works in the real world, not just in theory-land.

Rich has so many designations and certifications, that we won't list them. The point is that, since the late-'80s, he's worked with hugely complex computer systems, servers, databases, and programming tools. He's seen it all, and suffered through it all...yet lives happily in New Milford, CT.

Tidbit: Don't mess with our man Rich. When not challenging himself with technology-related projects, he's on the mat training for his 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.

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The Rest of the Crew
Lots of CPAs, Lots of Lawyers, and a PhD in Statistical Analysis
At Broker Village, we love math. That's no surprise. We also love tax and law. Almost every day we work with a CPA or lawyer. These folks are rightfully considered part of the team. They have logged thousands of hours on our projects, and for those of a sister company, Decision Wisdom (which handles 529 and housing work). 

We work with our CPAs on lots of very tax-intensive issues. For example, we tackle issues like the state income taxation of a mortgage refi. We also codified the federal taxation of UGMA accounts (which was exceptionally complex). On the legal side, our lawyers help us with everything from contracts to issuing opinion letters. For example, Patricia issued the legal opinion on the algorithms that underlie our Share Class Calculator. Then there are all the copyright, trademark, service mark, and patent applications.

Top CPAs handle the auditing of our code from tax and math perspectives. Many of our tools are audited. Clients receive an AICPA-compliant Determination Letter. It states that our code does exactly what it claims to do. The work is done by Capossela, Cohen, LLC (www.capossela.com ) in Southport, CT. They're a 30+ person, very high-end CPA and consulting firm. Capossela is part of one of the biggest accounting and consulting firms in the world: BDO Siedman. BDO is currently ranked #6.

No less than three law firms represent us. The firms are among the largest and most respected in the country. For intellectual property work, formation, and litigation, we use Norton Rose Fulbright: www.nortonrosefulbright.com. For contracts and investor issues we use Jones Day: www.jonesday.com. For the legal opinion on the Share Class Tool, we use Patricia Foster of private practice.

We even work with true blue mathematicians. When Stu can't make heads or tails of complex formulas and/or gigantic databases, then it's time to call-in the big gun. That's William "Matt" Briggs, our PhD in statistical analysis. From verifying drug efficacy trials, to predicting weather patterns, validating the accuracy of sports predictions, and verifying the math related to 401(k) matches, he's the go-to guy. Check out his site: www.wmbriggs.com. Here's his educational background: Ph.D., Statistics, Cornell University, 2004; M.S., Atmospheric Science, Cornell University, 1995; B.S., Summa Cum Laude, Meteorology and Math, Central Michigan University, 1992.

Tidbit: We make our lawyers go gray...really fast. We make our CPAs lose their hair...well, almost. Every document they write, every opinion they issue, and every financial statement they create, we review with a fine tooth comb. If it's written in legalese, we re-write it in English. If a lawyer makes a typo, we catch it and correct it. If a CPA makes a math error, we'll find it. And, yes, we all get along swimmingly.  

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