How workplace culture can make a difference
When I co-founded ACF Equity Research, with our MD Christopher Nicholson, we were very clear that we wanted to be different. A different kind of research house. With very different values to those of our competitor set. We believed – and still do – that there’s a way to do business that greatly benefits our clients and also helps to change the financial services industry for the better. To ensure SMEs get the clear and unbiased advice they need to grow; to get a fair deal in a sector that often seems set up exclusively for large listed companies. And for our team to have a sense of purpose (and fun) in doing what they do.
Social media is awash with start-up culture “hustling” in neon letters against a bare brick wall. Although post- We Work’s recent withdrawal from its IPO and the departure of its CEO, we’ll wait and see whether shots of arty lettering and flat whites dies down. I don’t say this in any way to deride the founders of small businesses who work incredibly hard and put their reputations (and their financial security) on the line to build something amazing. We know that the UK economy is powered by SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) and that their innovation and grit are what will ensure that the economy will continue to thrive. Many of these companies are looking to change how business is done and done right, as well as generating profits.
That’s why when ACF launched, we put a lot of thought not only into what we were offering our clients but also how we offered it. We deliberately built a team that was a mix of those with decades of experience, together with individuals who brought a fresh perspective. We wanted to build something more inclusive. That’s why our core team is far more representative of the world our clients serve than many other organizations and we’re proud of that. But this is not about virtue. It’s about the fact that we know a diverse team can provide insights and services that cannot be delivered by organizations who just…hire people like themselves.
We know there’s more we can do and more we can learn. But right now, we think that this is where financial services needs to be. More inclusive. More dynamic. Less group-think. All the better to serve our clients, who don’t need to be told what they already know but are looking for accuracy, clarity and foresight. And you don’t get that from someone just like you.
Amalia Barnoschi – Worked closely at board level for over 15 years with SMEs in the City and in other financial markets. I co-run ACF with our MD, as Head of Operations, responsible for driving profitability and developing and designing processes and managing projects for ACF and for client partners to allow their businesses to grow.