Former treasury executive encourages others considering an interim career to ‘go for it’

22nd June 2018

Growing numbers of executives are leaving permanent roles and moving into the fast growing professional interim management market.

The drive for digital transformation and customer experience programmes across the consumer, retail and financial services sectors is creating huge demand for interims to help steer companies both large and small through organisational change.

The sudden departure of a senior director or need for a highly specialised skill set which a business may not have in-house are also major driving forces for this burgeoning market.

For the client seeking the interim manager, their appointment is an effective way to achieve key business objectives and obtain highly specialised leadership skills at a crucial time.

For the interim candidate, attractions include the flexibility, remuneration and variety of roles they can add to their CV.

We spoke to highly experienced treasury and financial consultant Goi Ashmore, who has recently move into interim management after a long and successful career in corporate risk and treasury in financial services, to find out what attracted him to consultancy.

 

Q. Tell us about your career to date

A. I’ve had quite a varied career function wise, starting off as an economist analysing country and corporate sector risk, before moving on to heading up risk management in the insurance world, covering the full spectrum from pricing to reserving and capital.

After a quick spell in front office, I was back in risk for Barclays retail bank, covering non-credit financial risks and their hedging and credit risk transfer. The last piece took me into treasury in Barclays, in the capital management area, before I became European Treasurer, covering the run-off European retail businesses, the wealth management business and corporate owned branches.

My last role there was helping out on Brexit arrangements. I’ve developed some charity and other third sector interests that I’m closely involved with and enjoy enormously. I sit on the board of Cadarn Housing Group and chair their Audit and Risk Committee and I’m a trustee of Shelter and chair their Audit Risk and Finance Committee.

 

Q. When did you move into interim – and why?

A. I’ve very recently moved into interim as a result of the year end restructure at Barclays and this is my first interim role, working within the Group Finance area of a financial services client with colleagues in the Treasury and FP&A space.

I’m looking at it on a ‘testing the waters’ basis to see if it could work for me longer term, but so far I am enjoying it. I find working in a new organisation and on a specific and important project very refreshing and invigorating. Personally I like being dropped in at the deep end and being able to get on with things and making an impact quickly.

 

Q. What do you particularly enjoy about life as an interim compared with a permanent role?

A. It is a bit early to say and I’m still grappling with complexities of running as a contracting business. I think it is going to vary, assignment to assignment, because of the differences in organisation.

But I would say being able to work in a style that suits me and being able to cut through hierarchies much more quickly can really reduce the frustration which I think is common in larger organisations.

Also because the interim is clearly a scarce resource, there is a much greater willingness of people to engage and to help with what needs to be done, so you feel your effectiveness can really ramp up.

 

Q. What advice you would give an executive considering moving into interim?

A. I would say if you are considering it, then go for it. Initially I found I was nervous about how it would work out, but if someone has asked for an interim there is a genuine organisational need for it and people are more helpful than I’d imagined.

I would also say, get your company set up in advance, because it’s so difficult getting a company phone. I’m serious! Setting up a company was really quick, a bank account a little more difficult, but a phone or transferring a phone…well, I still haven’t got one eight weeks in!

 

Are you thinking about moving into interim management?

HW Interim provides experienced and talented interim and change management executives to PLCs, private companies, SMEs and private equity backed organisations both in the UK and overseas.

The key sectors we work in include Retail, Consumer and Financial Services, and the wide range of recent assignments we have completed have included interim CFO, FD, CTO, CMO, Supply Chain/Ops Director and Head of Risk.

Working alongside our executive search business with a team of dedicated and experienced researchers, we can turn round a shortlist of professional interim managers for a client within three working days who can typically be placed within two weeks. Completion rates are well over 90 per cent.

But given such client demand we are always looking for new talented candidates. If you have board level director experience in financial services or private equity in finance, transformation or treasury, and are mobile, flexible, and are looking for varied roles – get in touch.

We are holding an advice workshop in July in Leeds for both existing interim managers and executives considering moving into interim – contact us to book your place if you would like to attend.

If you would like to discuss interim opportunities contact John Wakeford, MD of HW Interim, via his LinkedIn page, by emailing johnw@hwglobalpartner.com or by calling him on +44 (0) 113 243 2004 for an informal discussion.

New technology and traditional values the winning combination for building society sector

18th June 2018

Combining new technology with traditional values is the winning formula for the building society sector, which is enjoying a healthy growth in market share this year.

That was the upbeat message from the Building Societies Association’s annual conference in Manchester, a two day gathering which more than 500 executives from the UK’s 44 building societies attended.

The latest lending and savings figures from the BSA for Q1 2018 show that the societies, which last year had a 22 per cent share of the £1.4tr UK mortgage market, were accountable for 43 per cent of its growth – and took 40 per cent of cash savings deposits – between January and March.

Industry leaders believe the increased trust consumers have in building societies over the larger banks is one of the key factors in this growth in market share, a trend which the recent TSB online banking debacle will surely have only aided.

But there is also a recognition that the sector needs to move ever quickly on the adoption of digital technology to meet the demands of the tech-savvy digital consumer preferring a responsive banking app to a passbook at the counter.

One of the keynote speakers, Nationwide Chief Executive Joe Garner, wrote in his conference blog: “We must be able to adapt to members’ changing needs, whilst retaining the essence of our heritage and our humanity…Our goal is digital convenience with a human touch, a service enabled by technology, and made meaningful by people.”

In 2015, the Nationwide committed to invest £500m into its branch network, introducing new technology such as Nationwide Now which combines market leading technology and human service.

But what about the other mutuals? How are they embracing FinTech? By being, well, innovative. They are courting the technology incubators and collaborating with the digital disruptors. Combining new technology with the popularity of local branches offering face-to-face customer service is the key.

In April the Coventry Building Society launched a recruitment drive for more than 80 head office IT roles, increasing personnel at its UK-based IT department to nearly 450 – double its size just three years ago. The positions include system delivery engineers, analysts, cloud specialists, IT security specialists and IT architects.

Meanwhile last month the Cambridge Building Society returned to its roots by launching a new city centre branch close to its original offices which opened in 1884. But following a model that worked for a relaunch of its St Ives store in 2017, the new branch offers customers digital and assisted-service technology as well as face-to-face expertise.

Andy Jukes, Head of Direct Distribution, said it “combines technology with expertise from our team members – something we know is valued by customers”.

Bank of mum and dad ninth biggest mortgage lender

And what about the financial needs of borrowers? People struggling to afford a mortgage or deposit was the subject of a recently released report by Legal & General which revealed that the ninth highest mortgage lender this year will be neither a bank nor a building society.

With £5.7bn of lending for £81bn of property purchases and an average ‘loan’ of £18,000, the bank of mum and dad is in the top ten mortgage lenders list.

The report found more than a quarter of housing transactions are dependent on financial help, with 43% of buyers aged 35 to 44 and 26% of those aged 45 to 54 relying on support from their family.

With the average age of a first time buyer having risen from 30 to 33 between 2006 and 2017 and a forecast that borrowing by people in their 20s will halve by 2030, the BSA has commissioned a study on intergenerational mortgages describing inequality between the generations as ‘a growing challenge in our society’.

Financial Services dinner

HW Global Talent Partner will be hosting an industry dinner in London in September. The informal networking event offers an excellent opportunity to make new executive and non-executive industry contacts.

Guest speaker is David Stewart, Chairman of Enra Group and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committees of M&S Bank, HSBC Private Bank (UK), and LSL Property Services plc., and former Chief Executive of Coventry Building Society. He will talk on how he managed to create a non-conflicting NED portfolio in financial services.

The event, which is aimed at helping FS executives to launch and develop their NED careers, is being held in Mayfair on Wednesday September 12th with drinks and canapes from 6.30pm. If you would like to attend please contact darceyl@hwglobalpartner.com as there are only a few remaining places.

To find out how we can help your business, or if you want to discuss executive search, interim or NED opportunities, contact MD of HW Interim and Head of the Financial Services practice John Wakeford via his LinkedIn page, email johnw@hwglobalpartner.com or call +44 (0) 113 243 2004 for an informal discussion.

 

Interim executives meet transformation talent gap

20th February 2018

By John Wakeford, MD of HW Interim

Has your business got a talent gap that could be bridged with a swift executive interim appointment?

The professional interim management market is enjoying rapid growth, driven largely by a corresponding increase in business transformation programmes across all industry sectors.

Companies both large and small are increasingly turning to interim executives to help steer them through organisational change – with a particular drive for digital transformation and customer experience programmes.

These experienced business leaders can provide stability following the sudden departure of a senior director, or offer a highly specialised skill set which a business may not have in-house.

Their appointment is an effective way for companies to achieve business objectives and obtain highly specialised leadership skills at crucial times.

The extensive benefits of interim management include flexibility and speed of placement, compared to an executive search for a permanent position which can take many months from commission to arrival in post due to the complexity of global searches and the need to fulfil notice periods.

There are cost benefits too; many SMEs may not be in a position to fund a permanent executive position for a particular specialism such as a digital transformation director.

And without the on-costs of a permanent executive such as bonuses, holiday pay, NI contributions, pension, private health insurance and company car benefits, the day rate suddenly does not seem so prohibitive.

Free from the shackles of office politics, a professional interim can offer a fresh perspective, objectivity and challenge. As a freelance operator whose work is heavily reliant on referrals and reputation, the interim is highly motivated and results driven, and will be fully committed to their client.

Professional interim managers are often over-qualified for the interim position they are commissioned for, meaning they can work independently and hit the ground running, with instant results. Their wealth of experience, skills, contacts and knowledge will also be transferred to the in-house team, giving benefits which outlive their interim contract.

The return on investment of a professional interim manager for a business can therefore be substantial, particularly at a critical time.

HW Global Talent Partner has built a reputation for excellence in executive search over the past decade among the many global and local brands we serve.

Many of our executive search clients also turn to us when they require a swift interim appointment at a crucial time for their business, often to bridge the gap during a search process we are conducting.

HW Interim provides experienced and talented interim and change management executives to PLCs, private companies, SMEs and private equity backed organisations both in the UK and overseas.

The key sectors we work in include Retail, Consumer and Financial Services, and the wide range of recent assignments we have completed have included interim CFO, FD, CTO, CMO, Supply Chain/Ops Director and Head of Risk.

We have access to an elite network of senior executives who specialise in change, turnaround or transformation whom HW have met, vetted, referenced and in many cases known as clients.

Working alongside the executive search business we can source the ideal interim to match our clients’ needs. With a team of dedicated and experienced researchers we can turn round a shortlist of professional interim managers for a client within three working days who can typically be placed within two weeks. Completion rates are well over 90 per cent.

Daily rates are typically between £850 to £2,000 per day.

Growing numbers of executives are making the move to interim management, attracted by the flexibility, remuneration and variety of roles they can add to their CV.

And, given the increasing demand for interim executives, we are always looking for new talented candidates.

To find out how we can help your business, or if you want to discuss interim opportunities, contact MD of HW Interim John Wakeford via his LinkedIn page or email johnw@hwglobalpartner.com or call +44 (0) 113 243 2004 for an informal discussion.