We formed City Adviser because of a long held belief that public companies need independent advice when they are considering a change of adviser. This view is shared by Corporate Governance and commercial law experts, leading fund managers and the London Stock Exchange among others.
We provide information and counsel to Boards as they assess their options regarding change and the process undertaken appointing new advisers. We operate in a highly discrete and professional manner taking advantage of an extensive network of City contacts. We have 50 years combined experience working with and within public companies.
Changing market conditions are resulting in consolidation among firms and regular moves among personnel in the advisory community. By remaining independent from, but close to, the advisory community we can help companies avoid mistakes when considering changes to their advisory team.
What we do
City Adviser works closely and independently with Boards of Directors of public companies to ensure they have the best possible team of advisers in place – whether Financial Advisers, Corporate Brokers, or NOMADs. We match companies with the right adviser and thereafter help define the obligations of both parties. This ensures that our clients gain the optimal return from their investment in a public listing.
With the media now increasingly fragmented, it is much harder for a company to deliver its message successfully to the market. We believe that a company should focus its communication efforts, where possible, through its corporate broker and Investor Relations channels.
In addition to our role of finding the best advisers, we act as an alternative sounding board for Directors looking to maximize the impact of their interactions with the market. We deliver high quality and independent strategic advice using our well-recognised expertise, insight and judgement. This service complements that provided by corporate brokers and concentrates on two key aspects of financial communications:
- Facilitating understanding and engagement on matters such as strategy, performance, risk, capital structure and corporate governance including remuneration
- Ensuring that the company is exposed to the full range of potential backers
Why companies use us
The extensive research we have conducted confirms that the appointment of NOMADs, Corporate Brokers and Financial PR advisers is rarely carried out in a structured manner. Instead it is often based upon advice from other professionals or personal contacts who may not fully understand the market and who may be relying upon their own closed network to make their recommendations.
The appointment of the Corporate Broker and NOMAD by public companies has to date largely escaped formal review under Corporate Governance guidelines. Our research indicates that Non-Executive Directors are rarely involved in the selection process. From our discussions with Regulators and other relevant parties, it is clear that this situation is now causing serious concern.
The engagement letters which companies sign are definitive as to the responsibilities of the client and the indemnities sought by the adviser. However, they rarely define the responsibilities of the adviser or provide a basis whereby service delivery can be measured against stated objectives.
We help companies deal successfully with the challenges thrown up by the current environment by:
- Clarifying their key Investor Relations objectives
- Identifying the most appropriate advisers
- Defining the strategy
- Maintaining a regular review to ensure delivery against plan
Listed and AIM companies that have the most rigorous approach to managing their City relationships generally receive the strongest support. The close involvement of capable and committed advisers, offering soundly based strategic Investor Relations advice, is key to achieving success.
We believe that for smaller AIM companies the role of corporate broker has become devalued and that these companies should focus more on this role when choosing their NOMAD.
How we operate
We start by seeking to understand fully the client’s business and the context of the public listing. We recognise that a company that is looking to fund future growth may have different needs of the market from one seeking an exit for existing shareholders.
This preliminary review allows us to define an Investor Relations strategy for our client. This is used to outline precisely the key attributes that an adviser should possess.
For existing Listed or AIM companies, we carry out an independent review and recommend alternatives. This is done without the need for a company to alert the market that it is considering a change of adviser. We subsequently make confidential approaches to the selected advisers to sound out their interest.
For potential new entrants we carry out a review and then recommend a short-list of firms suitable to sponsor the flotation. After this we conduct a competitive pitching process on the company’s behalf to ensure the optimal final choice is made.
We believe that, once the relevant adviser is appointed, it is important to establish stated Investor Relations objectives along with a framework for delivery for both the near and medium term. We recommend a regular pattern of review, which we facilitate, to review performance against these objectives.
We will not accept fees from advisers and offer a completely independent service with no conflicts of interest.
Who we are
Over the last 30 years we have worked both as Adviser to and Principal within a wide range of AIM, Listed and FTSE 100 Companies.
After a short service commission in the Parachute Regiment and an MBA from Cass Business School, Andrew spent six years working in the City for County NatWest Securities and then BZW as an Extel-rated equities analyst. He subsequently spent eighteen years directing financial communications in three FTSE-100 companies, reporting directly to their CEOs. These were BET (later acquired by Rentokil), Kingfisher and Rexam. During this period, he played a leading role tackling different challenges in many varied situations.
Andrew was elected Chairman of the Investor Relations Society in the late 1990s and has also served a six year term as a non-executive director of a listed company chaired by Neil McClure. He now specialises in providing financial communications consultancy advice to management teams.
After reading Economics at Durham University and qualification as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand (PWC), Neil spent two years in Merchant banking. He then joined brokers Phillips & Drew (UBS) in their corporate finance department where he advised a wide range of companies including Saatchi & Saatchi and Michael Page Group. Neil left to join Saatchi’s and worked on a wide range of corporate finance and investor relations projects, including their £450m rights issue and secondary Listings in Paris and Tokyo.
Neil subsequently has acted as Executive Chairman, Chief Executive or CFO of a number of public companies including Silver Shield Group, Property Internet and Table Mountain Minerals and has served as Non-Executive Director and Chairman of a number of AIM companies. He currently provides Investor Relations and corporate finance advice to both listed and private companies.