Market Update – Manchester June 3rd, 2020 Ross Bull By Ross Bull

“Things have transitioned a lot in the last few weeks,” says Ross Bull, Finatal’s Manager for the Manchester office. “In the north, the primary focus for private equity investors has been, up until this point, focused solely on working capital and cash management, as they battened down the hatches to protect their portfolio as much as possible.”

Technology, E-commerce and SaaS focused businesses have fared relatively well in the face of the economic crisis caused by Covid-19. This is also the case more broadly across the market, according to Finatal’s recent survey of private equity investors, which shows that 51% remain focused on cash management, while 43% are preparing for new opportunities. 

Ross has seen an uptake of more commercial roles coming onto the market, as investors look to prepare their finance teams for the future. “From my conversations with investors, there has been a big rethink on what they need in their finance teams going forward. Many are now reassessing what their recruitment needs are. Many investors and senior management teams are starting to plan for the future and return to some semblance of normality of which finance will play a key role,” he says.

Many of the roles he is currently hiring for have been in instances where businesses have had to re-evaluate – and replace – underperforming teams.  “Finance has been very busy as a department, and what has come to light is that some just can’t handle the pressure,” he says. According to our survey results, the majority of investors have been impressed by their management team’s resilience and adaptability, yet for some, it has exposed weaknesses in their teams. 

For investors looking to hire top finance talent, Bull says he is seeing some of the most coveted candidates coming onto the market. “For really strong PE finance talent, there has never really been a time in recent years that they have found themselves actively looking for roles. They’ve had to really put themselves out there as there is a lot of competition for jobs. It’s a great time for investors to snap up great talent that otherwise would come available.”

He also sees an opportunity for finance talent to take a step up into bigger roles for lower mid-cap PE funds. “Some smaller funds are rethinking their hiring approach and just can’t justify the expense of senior CFO hires. Instead they’re looking for hands on, commercial talent who are willing to get stuck in, and have the capacity to step up into a bigger role.”

To speak with Ross about opportunities available in Manchester, get in touch at [email protected]

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