How did you get into regulatory practice?
By accident! I’m a qualified accountant and that was my first job. I enjoyed accountancy, but I wanted to use my experience in a broader role. I called a recruiter and, from the two jobs I was offered, I chose to accept a role in the London Stock Exchange supervision team.
Was working in a regulatory practice your first career choice?
No. I planned to move into general management once I had qualified as an accountant.
How did you obtain your first job in a regulatory practice?
Following my resignation as a managing director at the FCA, I telephoned a partner that I knew at PwC to discuss moving to the firm.
What were you doing before?
After working as an accountant I moved into audit and audited a whole range of firms, including stock brokers and a national chain of butchers!
What attributes do you think have made you successful in your career?
I’ve made a career out of challenging the status-quo and always asking ‘why’. I have the ability to communicate and, importantly, to listen. I also try to be an inspirational leader.
Do you look for candidates with a particular educational background or particular qualifications?
A strong education and relevant qualifications are important. I look for a combination of knowledge and skills. It’s also important for candidates to demonstrate the ability to use their knowledge to help clients. I also like to employ staff who can think laterally.
What advice would you give to a junior starting their career?
Be open minded and get the broadest experience possible. I would advise doing a three year stint each in consulting, the Regulator and an in-house position.
What advice would you give to a mid-level professional?
Ask questions, develop your soft skills, technical skills and commercial knowledge. Challenge your thinking on career moves.
What advice would you give to a number two?
To succeed as a partner I recommend you develop deep relationships both internally and with clients. Also ensure you’ve developed your sales skills.
What do you see as the growth areas of regulatory consulting in the next 18 months?
I see the four biggest areas of client need are Brexit advice, GDPR, Mifid and the direction of the FCA agenda.
Who is the person or persons who have had the biggest impact on your career?
Richard Farrant, who was the CEO of the then SFA. In the 1990’s I was asked to write a report on the challenges for the Regulator, now known as the Kenmir Report, in which I recommended closing one of the divisions. Richard asked me to run this business area and turn it around which forced me to get out of my comfort zone.
Last, but not least, when you’re not in work, how do you unwind?
I spend time with my five children. I read books and enjoy holidays, fine food and drink. I’m also an avid Newcastle United fan.
If you enjoyed this interview you might also want to read our interview with Andrew Clark, Partner at PwC