Category Archives: FInance

The State of European Private Equity Report May 2024

Gain.pro report shows entry and exit multiples contracted sharply in 2023 despite Revenue growth for PE-backed assets being the strongest in years.

Gain.pro, a leading provider of private market intelligence, is proud to announce the launch of the inaugural edition of “The State of European Private Equity” report. This comprehensive report dives into the European PE landscape, offering invaluable insights into entries, exits, multiples, add-ons, holding periods, growth rates, margins, and much more.

The report sheds light on key trends and developments shaping the European PE market. Here are some notable findings:

Entries: Buyout deal activity in 2023 was the lowest it’s been in 6 years (down 32% from peak). Energy & Materials (-18%), Services (-27%) and Industrials (-25%) sectors proved to be more resilient. Q1 2024 data shows promise with the deal count exceeding both 2023 and pre-pandemic levels.

Add-ons: Add-on activity also took a hit in 2023 (down 31% YoY). Despite the decline, the ratio of add-ons to total PE deal activity remains near the decade-high. Close to half (47%) of PE-backed businesses employ a buy-and-build strategy (making at least one acquisition), with assets in Services and Financial Services leading the charge.

Exits: Exits slowed down meaningfully in 2023 but recent data suggests that exits have now stabilised. The current environment favors strategic buyers and it is no surprise that the share of strategic exits has risen from 33% in 2018 to 48% in 2023.

Holding Periods: Roughly 56% of assets that exited in 2023/24 stayed longer than 5 years in the portfolio. The average holding period is at an all-time high of 5.8 years vs. 4.9 years in 2020. By sector, Consumer, and by region, UK&I have the longest holding periods.

Multiples: Entry and exit multiples contracted sharply in 2023 (down 25-30% from the peak). TMT and Science & Health commanded a healthy premium vs. other sectors while the discount for add-on deals narrowed vs. platform multiples.

Growth and Margins: Revenue growth for PE-backed assets was the strongest in years. PE-backed assets grew 18.8% YoY in 2023 and EBITDA margins expanded too (up 170 bps in the last 7 years).

“We are excited to unveil the inaugural edition of ‘The State of European Private Equity’ report,” said Sid Jain, Head of Insights of Gain.pro. “This report not only provides valuable insights for industry professionals but also puts in the hands of investors a lot of industry data that they can benchmark against.”

Over 50% of SMEs say resisting bribery and corruption results in lost business opportunities

  • New research shows 59% of SMEs believe that standing up to bribery and corruption will result in lost business opportunities.
  • However, 67% of UK respondents agree a strong anti-bribery policy boosts customer confidence.
  • 68% of UK respondents say stringent anti-corruption guidelines increase the likelihood of large contracts with big businesses and public sector bodies.

 

A new report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Bribery and corruption: The hidden social evil on your doorstep, delves into the true extent of how bribery and corruption impact small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the world, highlighting the pressing need for enhanced transparency and robust regulatory frameworks.

 

The research shows a high prevalence and deep concern about the damaging impact of bribery and corruption on SMEs, with more than half (59%) of SMEs and their advisers believing that standing up to bribery and corruption will cost them business trade or opportunities. The UK appeared more relaxed, with 46% thinking taking a stand would cost them.

 

Yet the survey also reveals a strong understanding of the benefits of standing up to bribery and corruption. 77% of global respondents, and 67% of UK respondents, agree that having a strong anti-bribery policy boosts customer confidence in their business. Furthermore, 68% globally and 68% in the UK say it increases their chances of getting lucrative contracts with big businesses and public sector bodies.

 

Jason Piper, ACCA’s head of tax and business law, said: “Corruption is a poison; it distorts markets, stunts economic growth, and deters investment.

 

“Many very small businesses don’t have the bargaining power to refuse when small bribes are demanded of them. Entrepreneurs have to choose between paying the bribe or losing the business – and often that is no choice at all for someone trying to support a family.

 

“Our report aims to arm businesses and regulators with the necessary insights and tools to root out corruption and foster an environment of transparency and trust. This could include the use of the latest digital tools. Just as technology is being used by criminals, so regulators and enforcement agencies should embrace it in the battle to detect, prevent and respond to them.”

 

Drawing from a broad spectrum of global data, expert opinions, and real-world case studies, the report explores the multifaceted impacts of corrupt practices on SMEs and economic development. It highlights the severe consequences that businesses can face, including legal penalties and damage to their reputations.

 

The report also considers the effectiveness of current anti-corruption laws and policies across different countries, suggesting that while some progress has been made, much remains to be done to align international efforts.

 

Piper added: “As global markets become increasingly interconnected, the imperative for accountability and ethical business practices becomes more pronounced.”

 

Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, added: “The threat of bribery and corruption is something that businesses across Wales face on a daily basis. The fact our members are reporting improved prosperity through having anti-corruption policies in place is a good start, but there is more we can do to help them moving forward. How best to address modern-day corruption can be confusing, but we hope our latest report will provide some clear advice on how members can identify and prevent such activity.”

 

ACCA hopes this report will serve as a catalyst for change, encouraging entities across all sectors to evaluate their practices and align with the best standards of business conduct. The report is recommended for business leaders, policymakers, and regulatory bodies worldwide committed to uprooting corruption and fostering a fairer business environment.

 

The full report can be accessed here.

 

Visit ACCA’s website for more information.

VentureCEO 2.0: Cooper Parry leads collaboration to empower early-stage FinTech founders and CEOs

  • Cooper Parry officially launches the second instalment of VentureCEO.
  • Partners of the programme include AWS, Balderton Capital & AlbionVC.
  • The tailored programme provides direct access to seasoned FinTech CEOs and Founders, specialised content and personalised mentorship sessions with industry experts.

VentureCEO has officially launched its ‘Future of Money’ cohort programme, designed specifically for early-stage CEOs – at no cost – by Cooper Parry’s Tech & High Growth team – the leading UK startup and scaleup advisor in the accounting and tax space.

The VentureCEO programme officially launched earlier this year, debuting with its ‘Future of Health’ cohort. This second instalment, ‘Future of Money’, marks the first-ever programme that focuses on the FinTech sector, which currently has 76,500 people across the UK working in the industry, with this set to grow by 105,500 by 2030.

The cohort will see 15 FinTech CEOs across the UK participating. These are Fena, ZipZero, Mast, RQ, Sprive, EverUp, Profit.com, Plend, Doshi, Vega Investments, BibiMoney, Kaldi, Tred, Lightning Reach and Everything.

The 10-week cohort provides a series of initiatives to help the selected early-stage CEOs get unique insights and support from later-stage FinTech CEOs and advisors who have been through significant scaling and fundraising events themselves, whilst also creating a powerful peer group. The collaboration will foster impactful and beneficial connections and drive growth during their time with the cohort.

Steve Leith, Partner and Head of Tech & High Growth at Cooper Parry. Steve created the team to support over 500 scaleups and high-growth companies in the UK. Before joining Cooper Parry, he spent 20 years in Grant Thornton’s Technology team and has worked with scale-ups that have raised in total over $5bn in venture capital. He has mentored at Wayra, Seedcamp, Microsoft Accelerator, L Marks accelerators and Cisco EiR London. Steve also supported the Tech Nation sector and scaleup programmes working with the UK’s fastest growing scale-ups.

 

Steve Leith, spokesperson for VentureCEO and Partner and Head of Tech & High Growth at Cooper Parry, comments on the aim behind the initiative:

“The UK has a globally recognised reputation for incubating and building world-leading FinTech brands, with British FinTechs having raised £1.4bn in the first quarter of 2024. Cooper Parry is dedicated to curating the amazing network of founders and advisors in this country who can positively impact the next wave of FinTech innovators.

“With the economy continuing to prove a tougher climate than in previous years, we have designed the ‘Future of Money’ programme to deliver early-stage founders with valuable and actionable guidance from some of the best in the industry. We are extremely fortunate to have the commitment of  our amazing partners, together with experienced later-stage FinTech CEOs, who will facilitate connections, learning and community building to help fuel growth.”

The programme has several influential commercial supporters, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), ​​Mischon De Reya, and Capsule Insurance. In addition, fundraising advice and counsel will be given by Balderton Capital and AlbionVC, who both continue their support for the VentureCEO cohorts, alongside a dynamic array of sector-specific experts including CharlieHR, Luminous PR and Alex Arnot – one of the most prolific Board and Founder Advisors in the UK.. Each brings a unique set of resources and expertise to further enrich the experience for participating CEOs.

The later-stage FinTech CEOs involved include Tim Chong, CEO of Yonder,  David Jarvis, Founder of Griffin, Martina King at FeatureSpace, and Richard Davies, CEO of Allica Bank – between them, they have raised over $750m

 

Tim Chong, Co-Founder and CEO, Yonder. Tim is the co-founder and CEO of Yonder; a consumer lifestyle Fintech that’s disrupting American Express. Since founding Yonder in 2021 – Yonder has raised over £20m in venture capital funding from early backers of Spotify, Wise, Figma, Monzo, Datadog and UiPath; and over £62m in debt financing. Since launching – Yonder has processed over £100m in card transactions with over 40,000 visits to Yonder’s partners across dining, travel, fitness and online experiences

 

Tim Chong, Yonder’s CEO and co-founder said: “The UK is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to launch a FinTech startup, but the current climate has made survival tougher than ever. Advice and guidance from later-stage CEOs and industry experts were invaluable in helping me navigate the first few months of Yonder, so it was a no-brainer to join VentureCEO’s programme as a way to offer the same support to other new founders.”

Alongside addressing the needs of a rapidly scaling business, the programme will also prioritise personal well-being; MotivatePT will be rolling out group online fitness sessions, building community and encouraging participants to make time for movement to power up the mind-body connection.

 

Cat McDonald, Investment Director, AlbionVC
Cat joined AlbionVC in 2018 and focuses on backing founders across fintech, cyber and legacy industries. Prior to joining AlbionVC, Cat worked in New York and London as an Investment Banker with Goldman Sachs. Cat holds a degree in Economics from Harvard University, where she focussed on global economic development and behavioural economics.

 

Cat McDonald, Investment Director at AlbionVC concludes: “Despite the recent slowdown in UK FinTech funding, we remain optimistic about the opportunities in this sector and impressed by the quality of founders and startups in the UK ecosystem. I’m delighted to have been invited to support this great group of ambitious founders in the next VentureCEO cohort”.

Over the 10-week VentureCEO Future of Money programme, the CEOs and Founders in the cohort will benefit from:

  • A curated peer group of CEOs at the same stage and in the same sector.
  • Access to later-stage CEOs and their valuable insights.
  • Laser-focused content designed specifically to enable highly relevant support to founders on both their personal and scaling journeys.
  • Immediate commitment of support from best-in-class experts across legal, accounting, tax, HR, PR, digital marketing, growth and fundraising strategy, founder finance, founder wellbeing and more.
  • The opportunity to connect with vertical-specific domain experts and investors.

For more information about VentureCEO or to express your interest in being part of a future cohort, visit:  https://www.cooperparry.com/venture-ceo

Maggie’s and Swansea Building Society Host 5th Anniversary Celebration for Cancer Support in Cardiff

Maggie’s Cancer Charity and Swansea Building Society are collaborating to host a memorable event commemorating the 5th anniversary of the Maggie’s Centre opening in Cardiff. The exciting 5th Birthday Ball will be held on May 17th at Dyffryn Springs near Wenvoe, bringing together supporters and beneficiaries for an evening of reflection and hope.

Swansea Building Society has pledged its support as the event sponsor, continuing its steadfast commitment to Maggie’s as its official charity for the third consecutive year.

Since its inception, Maggie’s Cardiff has provided invaluable support to over a thousand visitors each month, offering practical, emotional, and social assistance to individuals and families navigating the challenges of cancer.

The centre, situated in Velindre Road, Whitchurch, works in harmony with conventional cancer therapies, offering a nurturing environment where visitors can access support, information, and practical advice. From financial and benefits guidance to complementary therapies and nutrition workshops, Maggie’s Cardiff plays a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of life for those affected by cancer.

Supporting the charity over recent years, Swansea Building Society has organised a diverse range of successful fundraising activities, including dress-down days, raffles, and sponsored events like dog walks and open water swimming. These initiatives have resulted in an impressive cumulative fundraising total exceeding £60,000, providing vital resources to empower Maggie’s in delivering its essential services.

Richard Miles, Area Manager / Head of Savings & Marketing, Swansea Building Society, said:

“As proud sponsors of Maggie’s for the third consecutive year, Swansea Building Society is honoured to support such a vital cause. Our ongoing commitment to Maggie’s reflects our dedication to making a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by cancer. We are delighted to be part of the 5th Birthday Ball celebration and look forward to continuing our partnership with Maggie’s to ensure their important work can thrive for years to come.”

Rachael Davies, Fundraising Manager at Maggie’s, added:

“We’re incredibly grateful that Swansea Building Society has sponsored our 5th Birthday Ball. Sponsorship of our events is so important, and we can’t thank everyone at Swansea Building Society enough.”

Swansea Building Society Reports Record Results, Presents Major Donation to Maggie’s at AGM

At the annual general meeting (AGM) hosted at the Swansea.com Stadium on Thursday, April 25, Swansea Building Society unveiled outstanding financial results for the year. Additionally, the Society showcased its dedication to community support by presenting a significant donation to Maggie’s, amounting to more than a pound per vote received.

At the well-attended event the board of the Society presented and explained its best-ever set of results to members as it benefitted from supporting local communities from its growing network of local branches across South Wales while reaping the rewards of an investment programme it started in 2015.

The Society was thanked by a representative from cancer charity Maggie’s, which received almost £20,000 of donations from the Building Society last year. This figure was topped by a further donation of £2,000 rounded up based on the almost 1900 votes it received from members, the highest number of votes ever submitted.

Alun Williams, Chief Executive of Swansea Building Society, said:

“As we reflect on the past year, I am pleased to announce that Swansea Building Society has achieved an unprecedented level of success, despite navigating through turbulent market conditions. Our steadfast commitment to serving the needs of both borrowers and savers amidst a challenging backdrop of cost-of-living crises, fluctuating house prices, and rising interest rates fills me with immense pride.

“Furthermore, throughout our centenary year, the dedication and care exhibited by my colleagues surpassed all expectations, reaffirming our unwavering commitment to our members. Central to our mission is our dedication to social responsibility and community impact. Beyond our core products and services, we have been proud to contribute our time, skills, and resources to support local initiatives. In commemoration of our milestone anniversary last year, we proudly donated an additional £100k to local charities alongside our ongoing support for Maggie’s, our official charity partner.

“Looking ahead, Swansea Building Society is poised to navigate the complexities of today’s economic landscape with confidence. Our strategic focus on digital transformation underscores our commitment to adaptability and innovation, ensuring our members experience continual enhancements in our products and services. The sustained growth and profitability we’ve experienced in recent years will enable us to make strategic investments that benefit both our current and future members.”

Lucia Osmond, Centre Fundraising Manager, Maggie’s, said:

“We extend a massive thanks to Swansea Building Society and are so grateful that the Society has extended its support of our charity for a third year. Our centres now cover the whole of Wales, but we cannot do what we do without this kind of support. So, thanks again to the Society team and its members for their continuing generosity.”

The Society achieved double digit growth in its total assets, mortgages, savings and capital last year despite the difficult economic environment.

For the year to December 31, 2023, total assets grew by 15% driven by mortgages and savings growth of 16% and 15% respectively. Total assets increased by £77.2 million to £607 million, savings balances increased by £72.6 million to £565.5 million, while mortgage balances grew by £66.9 million to £477.8 million. The Society’s mortgage growth was driven by gross mortgage completions of £120.1 million, another record, beating the previous highest set in 2021.

The Society’s growth was supported by record profits before tax of £6.2 million, beating the previous record of £5.4 million achieved in 2022. This increased the Society’s capital reserves to £39.8 million. This is vitally important to the Society, as it provides greater reserves to support members achieve their financial goals.

Swansea Building Society remains one of the few financial institutions in the UK that receives no wholesale funding or support from the Bank of England in the form of cheap funding. Its balance sheet is funded entirely by customer savings balances and its own capital reserves built up from retained profits over many years.

Quantum launch SME tailored employee benefit solution

Quantum Advisory, the leading independent financial services consultancy, today announced the launch of a new solution designed with small to medium (SMEs) employers in mind.

The service, which has only been available to a handful of existing clients to now, will advise SMEs on group risk, healthcare and wellbeing solutions tailored to them, and to best meet the evolving needs of their employees.

Commenting, principal consultant Graham Yearsley, who leads the employee benefits team at the firm, said: “Although gradually improving, the experience of small to medium employers in the market is generally still poor – they are often overlooked, cannot access the same resources and opportunities as larger organisations, and the quality of advice and consultancy they receive can be lacking. With SMEs by far the majority of the market, the disparity in service levels is unacceptable.

“According to government statistics, in the private sector 5.51 million businesses in the UK have less than 49 employees – this accounts for 99.2% of the total business population. Around 37,000 are medium sized and have 50-249 employees and only around 8,000 are large at 250 employees or more. And it’s growing, in 2023 there was a 0.8% increase of SMEs from 2022.

“Employee benefits programmes are critical attraction and retention tools – meeting employee expectations, ensuring the wellbeing and ongoing loyalty of staff, as well as optimising engagement. Getting it right is important whatever your size, but for SMEs it’s crucial.

“Recruitment is extremely competitive at the best of times and offering ever increasing salaries simply isn’t an affordable option, and neither does it address the overall wellbeing of staff. Frequent staff turnover can also be a real issue for a small employer, and difficult to manage. An expertly executed benefits package can have a big impact on an employment decision and, by proxy, the quality and loyalty of a team.

“It has to include honest investments in employees’ financial security, total health and career growth. As well, of course, as being accessible and affordable for an employer.”

Yearsley continued: “Our independent status means we can act nimbly and innovatively, creating truly bespoke solutions that are fit for purpose. We are able to access new and interesting things and act upon them quickly without the shackles of external shareholders – resulting in direct benefits to our clients and to their employees.”

 

Employers must evaluate Excepted Group Life Assurance arrangements in the lead up to the abolition of the LTA, says Quantum

Quantum Advisory, the leading independent financial services consultancy today urged employers to reevaluate Excepted Group Life Assurance arrangements in the lead up to the abolition of the Lifetime Allowance (LTA) on 6 April, voicing concern that many do not have a full understanding of the potential tax charges going forward.

Graham Yearsley, Principal Consultant at Quantum said: “Many employers have implemented Excepted Group Life Assurance arrangements for their employees, these group life schemes are trust based and provide for a lump sum to be payable in the event of death in service.  As they are not registered pension schemes, they have become very popular with high earning employees as they are not tested against the current LTA.

“Whilst lump sum death in service benefits will no longer be tested against the LTA, members of a Registered pension scheme from 6 April 2024 will be tested against the new Lump Sum & Death Benefits Allowance (LSDBA). As the LSDBA will be subject to the deduction of relevant benefit crystallisation events, of which an authorised lump sum death benefit is one such event, any excess death in service lump sum above the new LSDBA will be taxed at the recipient’s marginal tax rate which could reach 45%. This will make a big difference to both employer and employee.”

Yearsley added: “There is clearly still a need for Excepted Group Life Assurance and it’s very concerning that employers may not understand the potential tax charges associated before making a decision on who should continue to be insured in that arrangement. This could lead to significant issues going forward. Employers must evaluate all potential tax charges soon and decide if they are still fit for purpose as an option for their employees.”

For more information on Quantum Advisory visit www.quantumadvisory.co.uk

Swansea Building Society Commemorates Successful Faith in Families Centre Renovation

Faith in Families and Swansea Building Society are pleased to announce the successful completion of the renovation project at the Faith in Families Community Cwtch in St Teilo’s Church, Portmead.
Launched in 2023 with a generous £30,000 donation from Swansea Building Society’s centenary year philanthropic initiative, the transformation includes full waterproofing, insulation, and a new roof. This enhancement allows for year-round utilisation of a significant portion of the ‘Cwtch,’ reinforcing Faith in Families’ commitment to serving the local community with childcare and essential support services.

Faith in Families, a Swansea-based charity established in 1999, operates centres in Swansea and Brecon, offering a wide range of services from childcare to lunch clubs. With a vision to build brighter futures and create a city where every child can reach their full potential, the charity plays a pivotal role in uplifting families within the community.

Swansea Building Society’s involvement with Faith in Families began back in October 2022, with a donation facilitated by its Chief Executive, Alun Williams, and Area Manager, Jane Parker. The initial donation kickstarted the renovation project and highlighted the urgent need for a new roof at the Community Cwtch.

Moved by the charity’s plight, Parker orchestrated a project team, convening a meeting with members of the local business community, who were similarly inspired by the organisation’s remarkable story and rallied to offer their assistance.

In a heartwarming display of goodwill and community solidarity, support swiftly poured in. A roof survey was undertaken, along with re-costing of repair work by a quantity surveyor, and a bat survey. Additionally, donations were made by various businesses for materials, labour and scaffolding.

The success of the renovation project would, therefore, not have been possible without the invaluable support of various partners and members of the local business community: Sam Hawking – Sam Hawking Property Lawyers; Mark Dixie – Glamorgan Services; Iestyn Evans – I & G Ecological Consulting; Nick Thomas – Greener Futures; Jason Evans – Evans Banks Planning; Paul Williams – P R Williams Ltd; Andrew Davies – Hurley and Davies; Carl Thomas – Absolute Scaffolding Wales; Jason Lewis – Spartan Scaffolding Solutions; Anthony Harrison & Scott Thornhill – Crest Ceilings and Partitions; Gethin Edwards – EBM; Steve Smith – SRS Building and Roofing Maintenance; Abby Truscott & Mike Coakley – PESS Ltd; and Ryan Miles – Miles Hire Ltd.

Cherrie Bija, CEO of Faith in Families, said:

“The amazing support from Swansea Building Society, local businesses, and partners has been incredible. Their generosity has allowed us to rebuild the space, providing a warm, safe place for children and families when they need it most. This partnership shows how much we can achieve when people and businesses work together for a better future.”

Jane Parker, Area Manager at Swansea Building Society, added:

“We are incredibly proud to have been able to help facilitate the renovation of the Faith in Families Community Cwtch. At Swansea Building Society, we believe in the power of community collaboration and the importance of investing in initiatives that make a tangible difference in people’s lives. Seeing the completion of this project and witnessing the positive impact it will have on the local community reaffirms our commitment to supporting worthy causes and fostering a stronger, more resilient community for generations to come.”

Quantum Advisory promotes Darren Wateridge to Principal Consultant in London

Quantum Advisory, the leading independent financial services consultancy, today announced the promotion of Darren Wateridge FIA to the role of principal consultant. Darren, who is based in the firm’s London office, took up the role on 1 January 2024.

Rhidian Williams, partner, said: “Our people are at the centre of our success as a business and we invest in the highest calibre of staff. Their continued support and development is part of our ethos so promoting talent from within is key.

“Throughout his career at Quantum, Darren’s talent, commitment and client management expertise has been apparent. We are confident he will continue to excel in his new position and play a pivotal role in the continued growth of the company.”

Darren Wateridge added: “The market landscape is the most dynamic and competitive it has ever been, and we welcome that challenge. We have some really exciting plans and initiatives coming up this year to further support our clients.

“It has been a privilege to be part of the evolution of Quantum over the last 10 years and I am very much looking forward to now being integral to the strategic leadership going forward.”

 

Darren joined the firm in 2013 as a senior consultant and actuary and has over 25 years’ experience in the pensions industry.

Darren is currently Scheme Actuary to a number of pension scheme clients and advises trustees and companies on the wide range of issues affecting pension schemes including scheme funding, company accounting, scheme benefit change exercises and de-risking strategies.

Darren is also a member of the Association of Consulting Actuaries.

This is the latest in a string of promotions for the firm, most recently with Simon Hubbard to principal consultant in Cardiff.

For more information on Quantum Advisory, visit www.quantumadvisory.co.uk

What IWD Means to Young Female Leaders in a Male Dominated Industry

Today is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.”

Laura Evans-Fisk is Head of Digital & Engagement at leading foreign currency brand, eurochange. Here she shares her thoughts on what IWD 24 means to her as a younger leader in the male dominated world of finance. 

It will be 50 years next year since the very first official UN International Women’s Day was established in 1975. At 34 years-old, I wasn’t even born then but even five decades on, the importance of focusing on the rights, opportunities and the future ambitions of women, especially in the workplace, is as vital as ever.

The United Nations has designated this year’s theme as ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’ and it is a topic that really resonates for me as a woman in business, working in the fast-moving area of digital and engagement.

Working in the very competitive and male dominated finance sector and in a leadership role, at a relatively young age, I have personally seen and experienced many positive developments when companies invest and nurture their female staff.

Not only does it accelerate individual progress, but the whole dynamic of the workplace and wider success of the business.

Companies with more women in leadership roles are more profitable. A Pepperdine University study showed that twenty-five Fortune 500 firms with the best record of promoting women into high positions were 18 to 69 percent more profitable than the median firms in their industries.

I am especially proud that as Head of Digital and Engagement, at leading foreign currency specialists, eurochange, I have been given the opportunity to flourish in my role and for my ideas to become a significant element of the wider business strategy.

Fortunately, the company culture at eurochange is very inclusive and all ideas and suggestions from staff at every level are welcomed and  embraced.

For me, stepping into a role on the Execo, is where I have personally been able to shine and accelerate my own progress; thanks to the insights gleaned in being part of a decision-making process and of course, being surrounded by a host of accomplished business minds.

So, this year’s IWD, is not just an opportunity for me to reflect on how I can grow professionally but also how I support the other women in the business and future ones by setting a precedent: that at any age, young or senior, anything is possible!

On a final note, championing more women in the workplace should not just be a numbers game but a positive process of celebrating and nurturing their skills and qualities. That way, in another 50 years, we will have an even bigger host of inspiring female leaders across even more industries making a difference.