Strolling around the boardroom in the Mayfair headquarters of stockbroking firm Old Park Lane Capital, Barney Gray contemplates a question about US debt and macro-economic misery. “If I thought about it too much I think it would make me stressed,” he says. With that, the conversation switches to natural resources – a subject close Gray’s heart and one which is helping to define Old Park Lane Capital as a broker that can make a very big impact on the fortunes of smaller quoted companies.

For the firm’s Inverness-born Director of Research, the traditional City summer lull is proving rather less relaxed this year. Since joining from Westhouse Securities last summer Gray has played a key role in building a corporate broking arm next to the already established stockbroking operation run by the firm’s founder, CEO and well-connected City broker, Michael Parnes. Among the growing corporate client list, which is entirely focused on natural resources stocks, is Range Resources (LON:RRL) – an AIM and ASX listed oil and gas exploration and production company whose popularity among investors is reflected in astonishing trading volumes. With Range’s recent announcement that exploration drilling is now underway on its licences in the former Soviet state of Georgia, plus indications that drilling could soon start in Puntland, the news flow and Gray’s broker notes are flowing fast.

Barney, tell me about Old Park Lane Capital and the companies and individuals the firm works with?

Old Park Lane Capital has a very simple structure; there are two parts. You have got the ultra high net worth individuals, including a lot of friends and family, and we have got a team of brokers on that side. Michael has got incredible connections and he’s built the business up through reputation and performance. It is very much a gentleman’s stockbrokers with very high service and very much about dealing with individuals. On the other side of the Chinese wall, we have corporate broking where we are purely focused on natural resources. Obviously there is mining and oil and gas but we do have a couple of clients that are involved in alternative energy – we have just signed Altona (LON:ANR), which is a classic company that gets overlooked because it doesn’t fall neatly into one of two camps.

Phil Swinfen, who is…

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