Matt Sutton, Director at Greenaway Scott, has ten years’ experience in Corporate Finance and Commercial Contracts. Business News Wales interviewed him about his career, innovations and educating the next generation for the future of Welsh business.
Can you give our readers a little background into yourself and your role within Greenaway Scott?
I am a Corporate Director and joined Greenaway Scott in October 2015 from a large regional firm. I have ten years’ experience in Corporate Finance and Commercial Contracts, such as mergers and acquisitions, MBO’s and MBO’s, corporate restructuring and employee share option schemes.
What are your plans for the next five years, and where do you see your challenges and opportunities?
We plan to continue our growth and expansion whilst maintaining our unique boutique approach. We have recently opened an office in the School of Management at Swansea University which was a natural next step for us given our close links with the university. We pride ourselves on our close relationships with each individual client and although we are expanding we will not allow those relationships to weaken.
Looking back at your career, are there things you would have done differently?
I don’t think I would have changed too much, there have been a few challenges but I would hope that I have made the most of the opportunities presented to me.
What do you think are the most important qualities for success in business?
I believe that the most important qualities for success in business are leadership skills, strong communication skills and the ability to take the initiative.
What are your top three tips for success?
Work hard, stay focussed and build relationships.
Are there any innovations within your sector that you believe should be adopted by the wider Welsh market?
Most businesses would benefit from thinking more commercially and innovatively. Greenaway Scott is in its 5th year and is still one of very few law firms that does not charge by the hour. We work on a fixed fee or retainer basis which is flexible and more conducive towards forming longstanding client relationships.
Do you foresee any issues that Welsh business will be facing in the short/medium/long term?
The effect of Brexit seems to be the main topic of conversation and it is currently not clear what the long term consequences of leaving the EU will be. I think uncertainty in itself can have a negative impact but that will hopefully subside in the coming months when a plan of how we leave the EU is finalised and implemented.
Do you have any predictions in regards to the impact of Brexit on your sector?
From a corporate perspective we are busier than ever, some overseas companies have seen Brexit as a great opportunity to acquire British companies at a cheaper rate due to the dip in the value of the pound.
What do you think Wales’ strengths and weaknesses are as a place to do business?
Wales’ strengths are that it is an upcoming place to do business and the main cities such as Cardiff and Swansea are becoming more attractive to businesses, in particular start-up businesses in the life sciences have real opportunities
I think people can be quite down on Wales and judge quite unfairly. In recent years investment in businesses has increased and there are some great opportunities for businesses based here.
What can Wales do to attract more inward investment?
Wales would benefit from more publicity outside of Wales and sending the message that it is open for business and further investment. 2015-2016 was a brilliant year for inward investment with Wales attracting 96 projects, I hope this continues to increase.
What skills should the education system be promoting to the next generation?
Communication and networking. The next generation is very socially active and they should use this to their advantage to communicate and network and build strong business relationships
How important is it for there to be a close relationship between business and higher education in Wales?
I think the link between businesses and higher education is crucial; the talent in higher education today needs to be cultivated and developed to benefit the businesses of tomorrow. We have close links with both Swansea and Cardiff Universities and have advised on several spinouts so we see first-hand the potential of future businesses in Wales.