I have been fascinated by investment in smaller companies since my teenage years and, at the end of my Masters degree, I jumped at the chance of employment as a trainee investment analyst with a firm of Manchester stockbrokers. Unfortunately, my timing was not too astute as this was in the middle of the great 1972 – 74 bear market and my employment lasted just six months.
After a spell at the Manchester Business School, the lure of stockbroking was too great and I was charged with establishing an investment research department at another firm of brokers. Following my appointment as a partner and then upon the onset of Chinese Walls, I moved across to corporate finance, advising smaller companies on the junior market of the London Stock Exchange.
Since that time, I have continued to advise numerous companies involved in a range of industries. Whilst at WH Ireland, I created and built a team of Nominated Advisers that, ultimately, admitted over 60 companies to the AIM market of the LSE. In that period, WH Ireland grew from one office with a turnover of less than £1 million to 14 UK offices and an Australian subsidiary with turnover in excess of £30 million. We floated the company on AIM in August 2000 and, at its peak was valued in excess of £30m.
Between 1987 and 2009, I served on the boards of two public companies.
In 2010, I joined Acceleris to work with small private companies rather than quoted entities. The trials and tribulations are similar but the lack of public visibility of the client company enables us to take a much longer term view of, and a more strategic approach to, funding.
Having been either a regulated individual or working with regulated firms for over 40 years, I believe that my experience in documentation and process fits well with the disciplined and structured advisory model employed by Acceleris over the near 20 years of its existence.