Our Key Team Members

Mark Stephens

Chief Executive Officer


As CEO/Founder of Blackstar Capital Group, Mark is responsible for the overall management and strategy of the business. Mark has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry, having occupied dealing and portfolio management positions across multiple asset classes.During the financial crisis and the significant industry changes that followed, Mark moved his focus to the working capital space having identified huge non-bank opportunities in this sector. This was the genesis of the Blackstar Group.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) from the University of Otago, New Zealand.

Andy Sweeney

Head of Capital Markets


Andy has 20 years of experience in Capital Markets, having spent time in bond syndication at Citigroup, Royal Bank of Canada and Mizuho. In those roles, he advised banks, corporates and governments on raising money in bond markets. After that, he spent three years in alternative finance, helping to establish one peer-to-peer lender whilst more latterly advising others on their approach to market. Since joining Blackstar in 2017 Andy has been focused upon trade finance and receivable opportunities, with a focus upon exploiting significant opportunities that exist in partnering with technology providers. Andy holds an MA in Law from the University of Cambridge.

Tim Davies

Head of Financial Design

Tim Davies has over 25 years’ experience in capital markets securitisation with blue chip global banks, including RBC Capital Markets, RBS and Lloyds. More recently, he has been on the leading edge of applying scalable ‘Fin’ to suit ‘Tech’ business models. He joins Blackstar from NatWest Markets where he established a unique digital, capital markets-based supply chain finance product. In the previous four years, as CIO he designed and built MORE Finance, Demica’s capital markets captive finance vehicle, as well as serving on the management team and as Head of Origination. He brings an evolutionary approach to trade finance product design and investor engagement. He is fluent in the North American, European and emerging markets across multiple asset classes and products.He has extensive experience working with the bank and non-bank investor communities. Tim has a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours from the University of Toronto, and an MBA with Honours from York University.

Simon Smart

Head of Credit

Simon has nearly 30 years’ experience in finance, spanning principal investments, insurance and reinsurance, structuring, asset management and wealth management. Most recently Simon was a partner of BTG Pactual Europe and Head of Reinsurance Principal Investments, having co-founded this business unit in 2010. Simon has particular expertise in insurance-based solutions as well as structuring transactions and investments for regulated insurance balance sheets. During his tenure at BTG, Simon set up and managed regulated insurance and reinsurance companies in Bermuda and Gibraltar, a $1bln Luxembourg joint venture with a sovereign wealth fund and managed a number of M&A transactions. Simon has been a board director of regulated insurance and reinsurance companies in the UK, Bermuda and Luxembourg as well as sitting on audit and risk committees. Prior to BTG, Simon ran his own consulting business after starting his career at Goldman Sachs and then UBS. Simon has a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Oxford.

Nick Warshaw


Nick is responsible for the finance and reporting functions of the business. Nick is a widely travelled finance professional with over 40 years experience in his field. Nick has worked in various roles for major organisations such as Price Waterhouse, American Express and Norton Industries. Nick was also a Senior Director of an international oil trader with offices in Geneva, Amsterdam and Singapore; a company with annual turnover in excess of $6bn. Nick was responsible for the reporting and tax function and had the sole responsibility of winding the group from 2008. Nick holds a B.Sc. in Economics from the University of London and an MBA from City University London and holds an international Oil Trading-Princeton Oxford Certificate. He is also used to working in French, German and Dutch.

John Stokoe

Technical Implementation Manager

John is a highly experienced & business-driven senior IT Leader with a successful background in B2B, B2C, investment banking and financial services. His career spans nearly 20 years with Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Kleinwort, Mitsubishi Securities and Mizuho International, where, as Joint Chair of Global IT Service Management, he was responsible for driving the transformation of UK and Global ITSM operations. John brings a collaborative approach to driving charge through business transformation, IT service transition, IT strategies, technology roadmaps, Business Continuity/DR planning, operational risk and governance and his current focus is on the coordination and successful delivery of the trade finance and receivables program for Blackstar Capital.

James Paul

Credit Structurer/Portfolio Manager

As a Portfolio Manager for Blackstar, James is responsible for the origination and credit structuring of new transactions, as well as the ongoing monitoring of existing deals. He is primarily focused on creating highly structured secured financing solutions for corporate clients. Prior to joining Blackstar, James spent over 8 years in a number of credit-focused roles at J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse & 23 Capital, covering a range of industries, geographies, asset classes and product types. James holds an MMath in Mathematics from Oxford University.

Sarah Gharu

Operations Manager

Sarah has 20 years of experience within Operations across various financial institutions and multiple asset classes. Starting in the back office for a small agency bond broker, she soon worked her way up to her first operations manager role in a small, growing business. After some time at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, supervising the Trade Support team, the opportunity arose to bring her experience and skills to an agency broker startup (The Seaport Group) where she developed a talent for building business infrastructures efficiently, whilst assessing and mitigating risk. The Seaport Group also gave Sarah exposure to in depth knowledge of risk management, compliance, accounting and HR. Sarah has achieved relevant certifications from CISI, including The Principle of Financial Regulations and Managing Operational Risk in Financial Institutions.

 Sudeb Sarbadhikary

Head of MENA


Sudeb has more than 25 years of experience in the Financial Services and Banking Industry across the emerging markets of South East Asia and the Middle East. In his prior assignment he was responsible for successfully establishing a startup Finance Company in India, a joint-venture with Punjab National Bank (one of the largest public sector banks in the country). As CEO of India Factoring and Finance Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (IFFL), he was responsible for establishment of the company and building an asset portfolio of about INR 10bln spread across 300 client relationships. Prior to this he had successfully setup a greenfield financial services companies in DIFC, Dubai whose operations covered the GCC & Levant. His experience also includes stints with ABN Amro, West LB and HSBC. He has graduated from IIT, Varanasi (B.Tech) and subsequently did his Post Graduation in MBA from FMS, Delhi University.

Michael Ogan

Special Advisor to CEO

Mr. Ogan has more than 25 years of experience in the credit and structured finance space. He has served in a number of roles across finance and investment organizations. He currently presents opportunities to his long-term relationships who seek asymmetric returns in uncorrelated assets as diverse as intellectual property, leasing, real estate, fintech, esports and other industries. Previously to founding his firm, Mr. Ogan was President and Chief Investment Officer of JNF Asset Management (“JNF”), which was created to capitalize on predicted dislocation of the structured credit markets. At JNF, he was responsible for building an asset management platform, which managed the approximate $2.0 billion general account and accumulated third-party money to capitalize on opportunities in the structured credit market. In 2005, Mr. Ogan co-founded Koch Global Capital (“KGC”), a structured products asset management company. Capital for KGC was provided exclusively by Koch Industries, the second largest privately-held company in the United States. Prior to KGC, Michael ran or held senior positions at structured credit platforms at firms including: Jefferies, Bank One, and JP Morgan. Over his tenure at these firms, Mr. Ogan structured: project finance transactions, CDOs, CLOs, dealer floorplan credit, total rate of return of swaps, conduit financings, and other esoteric securitizations.

David Goucher

Special Advisor

An expert in building businesses both with banks and small commercial businesses with a passion for innovation and new business development combined with nearly 30 years’ experience, in Capital Markets, StructuredFinance and Commercial Banking. David has unique understanding of FinTech, and product development combined with a deep understanding of organisational and operational challenges in delivering for customers and stakeholders.

David joins Blackstar from Santander where he played a pivotal role is developing a global marketplace proposition to enable SMEs to trade internationally and access working capital seamlessly. Prior to that was a founder and investor in AVC Tyre Recycling a new business start-up developing and using a unique technology to process and convert waste car tyres back to their raw constituents: oil, gas and carbon black with zero harmful environmental emissions. David has lived and worked in the UK, US, and Asia, working for RBS, Standard Chartered and Santander.

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Regulated activities are performed by BLACKSTAR CAPITAL BCE1 LTD. BLACKSTAR CAPITAL BCE1 LTD is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 12598019 and with the FCA as an Appointed Representative with FRN 926919. Its registered office is at 11 Bressenden Place, London, United Kingdom, SW1E 5BY and is an Appointed Representative of Finex LLP, which is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) with firm reference number 507537.

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