About Dennis

My name is Dennis Tilley. I had a late start in the investment field at the age of 33 after working for over a decade as a rocket scientist. Through a serendipitous encounter, I was hired by Paul and Jeff Merriman in 1999 to perform investment research at their RIA firm (now called Merriman, based in Seattle, WA). As of July 2021, Merriman manages over $3.5 billion for over 3,000 client households throughout the nation.

My current position is Director of Alternative Investments and Portfolio Manager, and I also serve on the Merriman Investment Committee. During my 20+ year career at Merriman, I’ve served as Director of Research, Director of Alternative Investments, and Chief Investment Officer. Merriman is a unique RIA firm because we agnostically offer both passive investment programs and trend-following strategies. Since 2001, I’ve been the lead portfolio manager of an active global tactical asset allocation fund with a track record going back to 1995. That is my primary job these days.

Finance-related articles written by me, or about the work we’ve done at Merriman, have been carried by many websites and periodicals, including Realclearmarkets.com, Etf.com, Advisorperspectives.com, Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities, and Formula Research.

Prior to joining Merriman, I spent 11 years as an engineer performing research and development in electric propulsion. I published many papers and won numerous awards and patents in the field. I’m an original patent holder on the Aerojet Rocketdyne 5 kW Hall Thruster (XR-5) flown on the AEHF satellite.1 I won a best paper award in electric propulsion at the 1993 AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference. 2 I was also awarded the Phillips Laboratory (now USAF Research Lab) 1993 Annual Civilian Excellence Award for Research and Technology (GS12 & below) – an annual “best engineer” award presented to a single junior-grade engineer for the entire Phillips Laboratory (more than 2,000 employees at the time).

I earned a master’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington.

I think I’m uniquely qualified to write a blog on asset class trading. For the last 20 years, I’ve evaluated asset classes, selected external asset class managers, designed portfolios and managed tactical asset class trading programs for our clients. My entire career has been devoted to science-based investigations, seeking truth, and figuring out what works in delivering superior investment returns.


  1. Dudney, R.S. “Rescue in Space”, Air Force Magazine, January 2012.
  2. Tilley, D.L., et al., “An Investigation of the Breakdown Voltage Characteristics of a 30 kW Class Ammonia Arcjet”, AIAA Paper No. 93-1901, 29th Joint Propulsion Conference, Monterey, CA, 1993.
Dennis Tilley

Dennis Tilley

Director of Alternative Investments & Portfolio Manager