The Board

Ikigai’s Directors and key advisers have significant management expertise and extensive experience completing acquisitions in multiple jurisdictions around the world.

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Nicholas Bryan Brown 2

Nicholas Harris Bryan-Brown
Chief Executive Officer

Nicholas has over thirty years of experience in Asian markets, having lived for extended periods in both Hong Kong and Singapore, where he has been based for the last 11 years.

After working as a barrister in London he moved to the City, working first as a fund manager in the smaller company space (both listed and unlisted). He moved into corporate finance advisory with Samuel Montagu (now part of HSBC) in 1984 and helped establish the smaller company advisory team responsible for IPOs, M&A and capital raising on the predecessor smaller company markets to the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market.

In 1987 he began his career in Asia, working for HSBC and other investment banks in Hong Kong and in Singapore. His last position at HSBC was as co-head of investment banking for the Asia-Pacific region, responsible for over 100 employees across multiple markets. In 2003, he established his own vehicle for investment in smaller companies in Asia and the UK, whilst based in London, making unlisted early stage, as well as listed, investments.

In 2011, he co-founded Blackpeak Group, an international research and risk advisory firm specialised in investigative due diligence as well as business intelligence research and investigations. The business grew to become one of the leading firms in its sector, with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tokyo and Washington DC. ESG was at the core of Blackpeak’s business and it advised major global banks and manufacturing groups, as well as leading asset management, sovereign wealth and private equity funds, on assignments that included examination of ESG issues across all the major Asian markets.

Nicholas’s role included leading many major investigations as well as ensuring compliance with relevant legislation, such as the UK Bribery and Modern Slavery Acts, the US FCPA as well as data protection and employment laws across multiple markets. As a result, he is very familiar with the key ESG issues relating to investment in Asia and has spoken at conferences and seminars in the region on ESG and corruption issues.

In 2019, Blackpeak was acquired by Acuris, a provider of global data, intelligence, research and analysis. In his eight years with Blackpeak, Nicholas was responsible for the firm’s compliance and legal functions as well as leading or contributing to many investment-related investigative due diligence projects across Asia.

In 2019, he established a vehicle for investment in the early-stage venture capital market in Singapore and other SE Asian markets and has made several long-term VC investments, with exposure to markets including Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Nicholas is active in the voluntary sector including, since 2016, as a member of the Global Governing Council of the educational charity Enabling Leadership, which is focused on underprivileged children in India and elsewhere in Asia. He graduated with an LLB in law from the University of London in 1981 and is a member of the English Bar.

Ashley Charles Paxton

Ashley Paxton
Non-Executive Director

Ashley has worked in the financial services sector for nearly 30 years. He trained as a Chartered Accountant with McIntyre & Co in London, before moving to KPMG’s financial services sector upon qualification in 1996. Ashley moved to Guernsey in 2002 and in 2008 developed a Channel Islands advisory practice for KPMG, growing it into a full taxonomy of services across transactions, restructuring, management and risk consulting.

He has provided transactions and valuation support to clients on buy and sell sides across the regulated finance sectors, including as lead advisor to Heritage’s funds and fiduciary businesses, disposed in 2017 to Estera (backed by Bridgepoint), and to Ardel, which was disposed to Equiom in 2015 (backed by LDC). Ashley has also led a number of high profile and innovative transaction related engagements for government.

Ashley has gained deep sectoral specialism supporting the London listed fund sector throughout his 23 years with KPMG, as audit partner, as lead partner on capital market transactions, and various formal restructuring appointments. He retired from the firm in 2019. During his KPMG career, Ashley worked on various advisory assignments with a strong ESG focus, including leading KPMG’s Guernsey Green Fund certification for Bluefield Solar Fund Limited, the first company to adopt Guernsey Green Fund Rules and be certified.

Ashley is currently a non-executive director of three London listed entities, Downing Renewables & Infrastructure Trust plc (an Article 9 fund pursuant to the EU taxonomy and the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulations) and Twenty Four Select Monthly Income Fund Limited (he acts as chair of the audit and risk committee for both), and JZ Capital Partners Limited. Ashley also plays an important role in the local third sector as chairman of the Youth Commission for Guernsey & Alderney.

Ashley is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a full-time resident of Guernsey. He holds an Economics degree from the University of Warwick.

Meriel Catherine Lenfestey

Meriel Catherine Lenfestey
Non-Executive Director

Meriel brings over 25 years of customer-centred strategic and design consultancy from a wide range of private organisations, government bodies and listed corporations. She began her career as a Product Designer with Microsoft Corporation in Seattle before returning to the UK to work for BBC Worldwide as Development Producer.
In 1997, she founded her own company, Flow Interactive Ltd, which became a global pioneer in the usability and user experience design consultancy market at that time with clients from the third sector as well as from the private and public sector. In 2010, with a client list of multinational corporations, including 14 of the FTSE 100, Flow Interactive merged with Foolproof Limited to become a highly-respected provider of digital customer experience strategy, design and research. In 2010 she also cofounded a social enterprise called Ecomodo which was one of the earliest entrants in the sharing economy.
She is currently non-executive director and a member of the ESG committee of International Public Partnerships Ltd., a FTSE 250 Investment Company, focused on responsible investment in public infrastructure assets around the world and is also a non-executive director and chair of the ESG committee of Bluefield Solar Income Fund, a London Stock Exchange listed renewables fund focussed entirely on the generation of renewable energy and the energy transition (solar, wind and battery). Meriel also acts as ESG representative for Jersey Telecom, which has a strong social remit and is currently looking at the potential telecoms connectivity has for delivering ESG impact, and for Aurigny Air Services which provides lifeline air connectivity for Guernsey and Alderney. She is also a non-executive director (chair) of Gemserv, the professional services firm which has a strong “profit with a purpose” mission, operating across energy, low-carbon and health sectors.

Meriel is a committee member of the Guernsey Branch of the Institute of Directors and also plays an important role in the local third sector as a director of Art for Guernsey, a Guernsey based charity which aims to bring societal impact through the application of creative skills.
Meriel graduated from the University of Westminster, has an MA from the Royal College of Art and holds the Financial Times NED Diploma.

Andrew Roberto Mankiewicz

Andrew Roberto Mankiewicz OBE

Andrew has over 20 years of experience in Japan and over 10 years of experience in Singapore in management consulting, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and venture-building. Andrew started his career as a Management Consultant for Deloitte Consulting Group with a focus on Japan & Europe. He was part of the EU Gateway to Japan Programme advisory team on behalf of the European Commission, assisting major blue-chip companies and small medium enterprises to enter the Japanese market as well as advising Japanese companies on entering and investing in the UK.

Thereafter, Andrew founded his own consultancy focused on advisory services to UK & European companies entering the Japanese market. Sectors included financial services, information technology, healthcare, data intelligence providers, property, retail, food & beverage, education, sports and luxury products.

Andrew was one of only a few foreigners in Japan to be elected as chief executive officer and board member of three Japanese listed companies, which he successfully restructured and managed, adding considerable shareholder value. Andrew was also the chief executive officer of a wealth management related company listed on Aquis Exchange in London

From 2007 to 2010, Andrew was elected the President of the British Chamber of Commerce for three terms and represented the United Kingdom on the Board of Governors of the European Business Council in Japan. Andrew also represented UK interests as a member of numerous business committees in Japan which included multinational companies, think tanks and government officials. He was appointed an Officer of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2011 for services to British business interests in Japan.

Andrew has also extensive experience with charitable causes in Singapore and the ASEAN region and was elected Vice President of the Rotary Club of Singapore from 2017 to 2018. Andrew graduated from the University of London and is fluent in Japanese, Italian and French.