At the heart of NMRQL Direct, you’ll find a group of driven individuals with a wide range of skills and a wealth of experience. Learn a bit more about them here.
Chairman / Director
Michael has more than 22 years’ experience in the financial services sector and is celebrated as being at the forefront of business leadership, innovation and technology.
He held various CEO positions throughout the FirstRand Group, including founding eBucks and turning around FNB HomeLoans, before being appointed as CEO of First National Bank (FNB) in 2004 at the age of 36.
During the decade at the helm of the Bank, he led FNB to be named the “World’s Most Innovative Bank” in the 2012 BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards held in Washington, DC and in 2011 he made the Top Five list of SA Newsmakers of the Year for FNB’s social media presence.
Michael serves on the boards of several companies, including, CodeX, Invenfin, Compuscan and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). In line with his passion for technology he is actively involved in funding and mentoring small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Michael holds a PhD in economics and a law degree, both from the University of Stellenbosch. He also attended the Singularity University executive program in Palo Alto.
CEO / Director
Thomas has almost 17 years of experience in the asset management and hedge fund industry. He is the key individual for the NMRQL fund.
He started his career as an engineer on the Katse dam project in Lesotho, the largest project of its kind in Africa, before completing an MBA and working as a commodities analyst for the South African Breweries.
In 1999, Thomas joined Sanlam Investments where he started his career in finance as a quantitative analyst in the bond team, later managing several of the absolute return funds. During his tenure, the Sanlam Inflation linked fund achieved top quartile performance on a consistent basis.
In 2007 Thomas was appointed as CIO of one of the largest hedge fund of funds businesses in SA, Blue Ink Investments, where he became CEO in 2010. In 2012 Thomas was appointed the CIO of Sanlam International Investments, before co-founding NMRQL in 2015.
Thomas holds a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Stellenbosch and an MBA from Nijenrode University in Holland. Thomas also attended the Singularity University executive program in Palo Alto.
Chief Engineer / Partner
Stuart has four years of experience working as a quantitative analyst. He wants to bridge the gap between machine learning and investment management.
He started his career in 2013 as a Management Consultant at KPMG. Whilst in this role he worked on a number of audit and programme assurance projects in South African banks. Stuart was shortly promoted to a quantitative analyst in the Financial Risk Management practice at KPMG where he focussed on developing derivatives pricing models.
In 2014, Stuart joined Old Mutual’s Balance Sheet Management team where he worked on developing pricing models and hedging strategies for embedded derivatives.
In September 2015, Stuart joined NMRQL Research. Since joining NMRQL he has developed a cutting edge online machine learning framework called recipes.
Stuart holds an undergraduate and honours degree in Computer Science from the University of Pretoria. He has experience with numerous programming languages including Python, R, Java, Scala, C#, and C++.