Emma Peterson, Director FinTech Awards Wales & Finance Awards Wales Meets:
Corporate Finance Advisory Director from Grant Thornton
Kickstarting this new 11 part series of ‘Emma Meets', Emma Peterson, Director of Recruit 121 Finance & Accounting Solutions, finds out more about the sponsors of the up and coming Finance Awards Wales 2022.
Finance Awards Wales is designed to recognise, attract and invest in the talented finance professionals working in Wales, showcasing the best of the best in the finance industry. In this edition, Emma meets Jamie Roberts, Corporate Finance Advisory Director from Grant Thornton.
Tell me about yourself and career to date?
I am Grant Thornton’s corporate finance director in Wales and I advise dynamic companies and their owners on building and realising business value.
I have experience in a broad range of mid-market transactions including MBOs, acquisitions, disposals, fundraising and strategic planning and I have enjoyed working with a diverse portfolio of clients across sectors such as healthcare, logistics, consumer, technology, recruitment and more.
Can you give me an overview of your company and what you do?
We provide business advice to owners and their ventures. We are very approachable, insightful and additive. We look at building long term sustainable relationships which, along with our expertise and insight, are critical to the success of our business. We are of a size where the client is always visible – you don’t get swallowed by a huge corporate machine.
Across the UK we have 4,500 people who operate from 27 offices, led by 190 partners all of whom are focused on delivering outstanding client service.
In our South West and Wales offices we have 300 people with a rich diversity, led by an experienced team of 10 Partners and 16 Directors.
What has been the biggest challenge the company has faced and how have you responded?
The firm is always continuing its commitment to quality, to ensure it stays ahead of the market.
Quality remains our top priority and has increasingly become a driver in our clients’ decisions to work with us, as they recognise the benefits of our ongoing investment in skills and talent. Recently we have recruited a record number of new starters in Wales and the South West, with 26 school leavers and graduate trainees now set on a path that will see them become part of our audit and tax practices.
We’re continually looking for ways to improve and develop so that we are best placed to meet the aims of our clients. The measures we’ve adopted represent an investment in our structures, our people and our future, and as the audit market dynamics continue to evolve, our quality will help ensure we continue to attract the right talent and clients into our firm.
How do you feel the Welsh economy will fare over the next 12 months?
With job vacancies reaching record highs in November, the ‘Great Resignation’ has made the fight for talent amongst organisations fierce. Every two months, we ask business leaders across the country to share their expectations and priorities for the future.
People are at the heart of any organisation and it follows that one of the main challenges in Wales is attracting and retaining talent. Grant Thornton understands this challenge well and has a huge focus on talent. There’s certainly an empowered culture here that our team enjoy and is attractive in the marketplace – it’s one of the main factors people cite when joining our team.
Today’s job seekers consider a much broader picture when deciding where to work, and a company’s overall employer brand and offering has never been more important. People are placing much more emphasis on aspects of the employee proposition, such as the long-term development opportunities, the workplace culture, an employer’s focus on wellbeing, and inclusion and diversity.
What plans do you have for your business in 2022?
I’m immensely proud of what the firm has achieved over the past few years and the real momentum we’ve generated moving forward. The renewed sense of confidence and pride in the firm is something I know is shared amongst all our people and we’re well positioned for our next phase of growth.
We’ll continue to renew our focus on our core markets, enhancing our approach to quality and uniting our people behind a shared purpose of ‘doing what’s right ahead of what’s easy.’
We have a team of over 100 people advising on mid-market M&A nationally with a focus on key sectors and regions – Wales and the South West being one of those, so it’s important that we keep on investing in the best talent to continue providing the highest possible levels of service as our clients seek to explore and realise opportunities presented by the current M&A environment.
While there are challenges in some parts of the economy, there is also a lot of liquidity with private equity investors and corporates looking for high quality assets in the consumer, technology, food & beverage, human capital and healthcare sectors in particular.
Why did you choose to sponsor the Finance Awards Wales 2022?
We have sponsored the Finance Awards Wales since its inception. In looking back on the last year it is difficult to recall a period in time where finance professionals of all stripes have been called upon to demonstrate such high levels of resilience, ingenuity, and adaptability in order for our industries to transform, endure, and thrive in the way they have. It is important that the best finance professionals are recognised for their part in this and it’s why we are very proud to sponsor the Finance Awards again this year.
If you have sponsored the awards previously what were your highlights from last years ceremony?
We have sponsored previously and it was one of the first large scale face to face events held since restrictions started to ease during the pandemic. It was joyous to be back in the room physically interacting safely and within guidelines and networking with fellow Welsh finance professionals. The business community in Wales is all about connecting with people and forging strong personable relationships. The Finance Awards Wales grows connections with people, finance leaders with ideas and innovation, and businesses with opportunities. It’s both a night of connecting organisations and sharing inspiration.