This week Joanne Gill catches up with an old friend over breakfast and finds out why things aren’t always black and white in the world of corporate finance.
What does a Corporate Finance Director do?
A lot of corporate finance people come from a background of traditional accountancy and will have started out in audit and accounts teams. The transition from work that is seen as a necessary evil to one where there is more perceived value is exciting. What we do is really varied, we help clients going through transactions or refinancing, acquiring other businesses or being sold, seeking investment, raising funds, or due diligence. It can be absolutely anything from business planning to board level advice. And it’s a step up from auditing or compliance because you’re dealing with people who are more focused and value your time more. We get to understand the people and what drives them and their businesses and with some only doing one or two transactions in their life, which could be their retirement fund, it’s also a privilege to be involved.
What do you see on the horizon for the Corporate Finance sector in region over the next year?
I think it’s going to be steady away, it will tick up a little bit but nothing significant, some of the initial uncertainties of Brexit are now the new norm, uncertainty is there and it’s going to be there for some time but it’s not going to stop people doing what they planned to do with their businesses.
What’s the most challenging or interesting deal you’ve worked on in your career?
Each deal is very different and bespoke with the motivation behind it sometimes very personal. They’re all challenging, any transaction has a number of different teams involved, it can be banks, lawyers, private equity, corporate finance teams and sellers and buyers, aligning all those different interests so it works can be challenging, but it’s also a great feeling when it comes together and everyone is working towards the same goal. There’s also no right answer or black and white with a deal, it’s an advisory role and clients understandably don’t have to take the advice given.
Your lovely wife is Chinese, do you see opportunities for a closer relationship between the UK and China post Brexit?
Since the beginning of the year there have been greater controls around moving capital out of China so there isn’t as much Chinese money flowing into the UK, say, the London property market or football clubs. In terms of what Brexit will mean to relations between us and China they see it as a small issue for a small country, losing our access to the European market could impact on decisions about where to invest but we’ll have to wait and see. Their focus is on opening up new markets through resources and population growth so there is a lot of Chinese money going into Africa, Australia and Asia.
Coffee and cake or wine and cheese?
A nice red from the Southern Rhone accompanied by Brie and Jarlsberg.