Broker Village Bios

Stuart J. Speckman, CFA, CFP
Stu is the "math guy" of the group. He created the algorithms for our products. He is a popular public speaker and the main writer of our 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 (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), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and member of the NY Society of Securities Analysts. He volunteers regularly in Temple and public school, and for the local Red Cross and Little League.

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. 

Send Stu an Email

Back to Top


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? 

Back to Top


Steve Bowers

Senior Programmer

Steve is our senior programmer. He joined us in mid-2005. He does much of our math-related coding and some design work. He works on new projects and is in charge of maintaining and polishing our entire suite of decision-making tools.

Steve also is the president of Encore Web Works, Inc. Encore is an internet development and consulting firm. Prior to founding Encore, Steve was the IT Manager for Datacore Marketing, a successful, fast growing firm. He supervised a team of 15 programmers and database specialists. 

Steve has sixteen years of IT industry experience. Hes worked with internet technologies since the early days of the modern world wide web. Since entering the tech arena, he's worked his way up from the help desk, to programmer, to Senior Programmer, to Manager, to Business Owner (where he started all over on the help desk). 

Tidbit: When not working with technology, Steve plays bass guitar and tours with regional recording artist Jodi Austin (who also happens to be married to him). See

Back to Top


Steven S. Cohen, CFP, CPA 
Senior Marketing Consultant
Steve is an advisor to Broker Village, focused on business development and marketing. He is currently CEO of Gold Coast Advisors, a NY-based independent registered investment advisory firm focused on family wealth management.

Steve has twenty years of experience building wealth management businesses. As President and co-founder of eFrontiers, Steve built a pioneering online wealth management platform for institutional and high net worth investors. Prior to eFrontiers, Steve was a executive with Morgan Stanley Institutional, responsible for global products and marketing. He was a member of the management team at Prudential Investments and Lehman Brothers. 

Steve is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology in the investment and wealth management industry. He holds a BS from the University of Buffalo and an MBA from New York University.

Tidbit: Steve is a very friendly and positive guy. Curiously, his favorite word is "but" and his favorite phrase is "the only problem is." Here's what he would say: "Yes, that super model is interested in me...but I still wouldn't date her. The only problem is that her IQ is only 140, not 150, which is not high enough for Mensa." 

Back to Top


Christopher Prajzner
Software Developer

Chris is the architect of the original Broker Village HTML calculators. He was a full-timer during our first few years. Now he is a consultant to us, assisting our current programmers with understanding the complexities of our code. 

Chris's interest in software development began when he worked as a software salesperson. After selling software and software related services for four years, he switched gears and began anew as a technical instructor. He taught everything from Windows to Visual Basic, and everyone from administrators to CEOs. Technical training led to  a decision to turn toward full-time software development. Working for himself and for firms both large and small, Chris has developed a wide range of software programs. 

Chris received a BA in marketing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  He has achieved several certifications from Microsoft and has taught at the University of California, San Diego Extension program.

Chris resides with his wife and two children in Carlsbad, CA. 

Tidbit: By watching enough of the Golf Channel, he hopes to one day qualify for the Senior Tour. If you've ever seen him play, you'll know why Tiger Woods has nothing to fear. 

Back to Top


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 16 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!

Back to Top


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 over a thousand hours on our projects, and for those of a separate company, Decision Wisdom (which handles 529 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. That's mainly Andrew and Mike.

Top CPAs handle most of the auditing of our code from a tax and math perspective. Many of our tools are audited. Clients receive an AICPA-compliant Attestation Letter. It states that our code does exactly what it claims to do. The work is done by Capossela, Cohen, LLC ( ) 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 number five.

No less than four 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 Fulbright & Jaworski: For contracts and investor issues we use Jones Day: For the legal opinion on the Share Class Tool, we use Patricia Foster of private practice. For 529 work, we use the renowned IP firm Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu:

We even work with true blue mathematicians. Our main man is William "Matt" Briggs. He helps from time to time, when Stu can't make heads or tails of extremely complex formulas and/or gigantic databases. Then it's time to call in our PhD in statistical analysis. From verifying drug efficacy trials, to predicting weather patterns, to validating the accuracy of sports predictions, to verifying the math related to 401(k) matches, he's the go-to guy. Check out his site: For some perspective on how smart this guy is, 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.  

Back to Top


Home  |  About Us  |  Calculators  |  FAQs  |  Contact Us  |  Legal

Copyright 2013 Black Cat Decisions