Retail Financial Services & InsuranceOur retail financial services practice works broadly across this large sector, with particular experience in some of the more niche areas such as secured lending, wealth management and spread betting. Our Insurance franchise works across the value-chain with Insurers, MGAs, Brokers as well as Services to the market with a particular focus on private equity backed companies. [key_contacts]
Blackwood’s client is a very well known UK retail bank, headquartered in London with offices globally and additional business across asset management, investment banking and private equity. There had been a change of CEO and, as is often the case, a change of head of corporate development. The new head had a consulting background and the incumbent team had come from within the ranks mainly from a finance background. The decision was taken to augment the team with some M&A bankers from the major investment banks.Contact team members
RoleBlackwood worked closely with the Managing Director to look at other corporate development teams in the key competitors, as well as at the financial institutions teams in the large investment banks and those sitting outside of these teams but with a good understanding of the sector. The key requirements were to find people with a real understanding of the sector, ideally not just banking but also insurance and asset management, and the ability to build relationships and credibility with the senior management team across the business.
Search ProcessIt was a straightforward mapping exercise of the investments banks and corporate development teams of other financial institutions. We were looking to build a team and therefore finding complimentary skills for the proposed five man team was important. The new head of the team was relatively inexperienced. The team had previously not been one with the highest reputation and was not a centre of excellence. Therefore the sell of the new strategy was key to attracting the right people. The main difficulties were always going to be compensation related and career trajectory. There was also the sensitivity around going to interview with a client and the possible negative repercussions of having done so. The hires needed to be able to move into line roles after three years and to be comfortable with this transition.
OutcomeBlackwood appointed five people over a twelve month period. Of the first three senior hires, two came out of banking, one out of a large integrated house and one from a boutique, and one was a former banker who had already made the transition into corporate development. Blackwood completed full referencing throughout the process.
Blackwood’s client is a very successful privately held company which was looking to expand outside of its core business to start up a financial betting and trading marketplace. The thesis was to be a unique opportunity to offer binaries, spreads and CFDs to retail customers on an exchange. The business was to leverage off an existing client base and use some very strong existing technology and funding from the parent company
RoleBlackwood worked closely with the new head of corporate development of this business, a former IT director from the parent company, to recruit for this role, by default his future boss. The challenge for the successful candidate was to build and operate an innovative business and provided visionary leadership in a new area for the broader business. The remit was to become the number one in a competitive market and create the world’s largest retail derivatives exchange. The brief was to find someone who had run a P&L in a financial services institution or FSA regulated environment and who had international experience. The person needed to have strong industry knowledge as well as being well networked within the industry. This background needed to be balanced with someone who was entrepreneurial, had strong people and diplomacy skills and good management credentials.
Search ProcessThere were three possible buckets for this person to come from: investment banking or trading, an existing financials spread betting business or someone who had moved into broader financial services but understood trading and the markets well. The financial trading incumbents were easy to research but difficult to attract the right calibre person from, mainly because the industry is very diverse and not always of the highest calibre. There are also many founder entrepreneurs who are too expensive to move. The candidates from banking who were not too expensive to move had limited P&L and management experience. The cultural fit was also key as this person needed to fit with the broader management team of the group.
OutcomeBlackwood appointed a former Capital Markets MD from one of the major houses who had spent two years in a COO role and therefore had more management and operational experience than most bankers. There were 3 shortlisted candidates who met the board, one from each of the three buckets. Blackwood completed full referencing throughout the process. Contact team members
+44 (0) 207 220 0268
Jessica works on assignments in the Insurance and Retail Financial Services Practices. Prior to joining Blackwood, Jessica worked at a boutique recruitment firm with a particular focus in the legal sector. She read History at Edinburgh University.
Blackwood’s client is a privately owned wealth advisory business that has seen considerable growth since re-launching in 2010. The business offers fee-based independent financial advice and investment management services to private clients with investable assets in excess of £100,000. The business has acquired a number of smaller companies in the IFA space as it looks to strengthen its position in a fragmented sector. The board, sponsors and management were considering an IPO and were looking to strengthen the board well in advance of this.