Spotlight On...Andrew Monk, VSA Capital, chief executive

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The Independent Online

Andrew Monk. Name rings a bell. Something in the City, isn't he?

He is indeed. Despite being known affectionately as "Monkey" by some in the Square Mile, he is one of the brightest chaps in the stockbroking world.

How bright?

For a stockbroker, very. Spend any time with him and you'll quickly work out he went to Oxford. So proud of that fact is he that he's called his last three firms Blue Oar (something to do with paddling at uni), Oriel (his college) and Third Quad (where he lived).

So what's his business called now? Take-A-Punt?

Not quite. He's now running a brokerage called VSA Capital, which he bought for a pound in 2010. He wanted to rename it with another Oxford-related moniker, but his colleaguessaid "enough already" and he called time. Ask him what VSA stands for and he'll respond "Very Sexy Andrew".

Is he?

That's for you to judge from the picture above. His new business is on the pull in a big way these days, though. Yesterday he hired one of his old chairmen, former Stock Exchange chief executive Gavin Casey, to chair the company, and took on a large bunch of brokers from rival Religare.

So he's worked with Casey before?

In extremely tough circumstances. Together they tried to defend Andrew's Blue Oar broker from a takeover launched – ahem – controversially by a group of former directors including so-called "Dr Death" Edward Vandyk. The duo failed but kept their reputations intact.

What does VSA do?

It's a broker like his previous operations, but specialises in the global natural resources sector. Mr Monk reckons being international and focused on oil, gas and mining will keep him out of the mire that's seen so many traditional London brokers go to the wall lately.

Is the formula working?

So far, so good. VSA just raised $125m for a client in Hong Kong, and Mr Monk says he's working "eight days a week". Perhaps if he'd been to Cambridge his maths might be better.