With the Finance Awards Wales now only just 8 weeks away and everyone buying their tickets in order to guarantee not missing out on what will be one of the most exciting nights in the financial calendar, we ask Mark Tweed Deputy European CFO of Opel Vauxhall Finance one of the judges about his involvement in the awards.
Tell us about Vauxhall Finance?
Vauxhall Finance is the UK trading business of Opel Vauxhall Finance, the automotive finance organisation of Vauxhall and Opel. The company has been trading in the UK since 1933 and provides consumer and commercial funding to Vauxhall, MG and SsangYong and their associated dealer networks and consumers. Opel Vauxhall Finance was created on the successful completion of the sale of the European business of GM Financial to Groupe PSA and BNP Paribas in November 2017.
What are the future plans for Vauxhall Finance?
Following a 100 day strategic review conducted after the completion of the acquisition the business will focus on launching new competitive automotive solutions as well as expanding into new customer segments.
What are the advantages to your business being in Wales?
Having been based in Wales since 2000 the company has benefited from the rich talent pool that exists and has been leveraged to maintain the growth of the company into the 4th largest financial services company in Wales. Centralising functions such as ALM/Treasury/Finance/Compliance into the Cardiff office has brought efficiencies for the European business whilst generating significant career opportunities.
What was it about Finance Awards Wales that made you want to be involved
I think it is very important to recognise individual and team contributions/achievements and as a people-centred business it is part of our DNA at Vauxhall Finance. Finance Awards Wales creates the opportunity for anyone to nominate another individual and/or team and quite uniquely covers all aspects and levels within Finance. It is also important that the awards have creditability and through the judging, interviews and presentations it is clear that whoever wins will have been through a rigorous process.
Why are the awards important for Wales?
Wales needs to showcase its talent and also to demonstrate the availability of skill set across the country. Too many times I have heard ‘you won’t be able to recruit that skill set in Wales’ only to prove the sceptics wrong. Wales and Cardiff has a lot to shout about and it needs to do that loudly!
What was the standard of the applications and nominations?
It was very heartening to see such quality of application and nomination as it demonstrates the investment in thought and evidence supporting the submissions. It was a very tough process to get to the shortlist and so I already know that the next stage will be very tough.
How important is it for Welsh businesses to nurture future talent?
People are at the core of business and it is essential for the Welsh economy that we identify, develop, nurture and sustain our talent. If we don’t, that talent will simply move away from Wales. Equally, it is important to provide opportunities to bring talent into the Welsh economy and lobby hard to create that migration into the country. We have 13 different nationalities working within the Cardiff office, contributing to the value and diversity of the Welsh economy.
What would your advice be to someone looking to enter the industry?
Flexibility is key. It is increasingly unlikely you will retire in the role, company or even sector in which you commence your career and so being open to opportunity and taking risks is very important. The finance profession is a great career enabler and as the demands on business increase Finance has never been more relevant…just take a look at how many of the FTSE 100 CEOs are accountants.