James Oates is one of the best known and most experienced figures in Central & Eastern European finance. He currently runs Cicero Capital, a specialist investment company focused on Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) based in Tallinn. He is also a member of the council of Limestone Funds, a specialist asset management business active across CEE.
In a distinguished career he has been Head of Eastern European Equities at UBS and Lazard, has invested as a fund manager in the region for Flemings Investment Management, and began his career at JP. Morgan in corporate finance. In th past, he has been rated a number one analyst by Greenwich Investors and Institutional Investor magazine.
In recent years he advised UniCredit Group on its principal equity and equity related investments in the region, and has previously been a principal at Convergence Capital: an ING-affiliated alternative investment company. He has also personally advised institutions as the Zagreb and Tallinn stock exchanges, senior ministers in several countries, and institutions such as PBZ in Croatia, Equest Partners in Bulgaria and a well known Swiss private bank active in the region.
He is the author of numerous articles and co-author of various business books on the region. He appears regularly on such business programs as CNBC Squawkbox, CNN , BBC and Bloomberg Television.
His interest in the region dates back to his involvement with dissident organizations during the 1980s. He made the political economy of CEE his primary area of undergraduate study. He won the 1986 Tweedsmuir Prize that allowed him to study for a year at the University of Guelph, Canada. He subsequently undertook post-graduate study on the Baltic region at the University of Edinburgh. He occasionally lectures on Central European financial issues at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies - University College London. He holds a MA from the University of Aberdeen.
He is the Former Treasurer of BEST- the British Estonian Association - and is currently Vice Chairman of the British Estonian Chamber of Commerce. He speaks English, French and Polish and has some knowledge of Croatian, Italian and German. In 2007 He was decorated by the President Ilves with the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, Estonia's highest national order.