As we mark our tenth year in business we speak to our CEO Geoff Rowley and our COO Jeremy French about the last decade and their plans for the future.
Jeremy: While the core of our business is still restructuring advisory services, we’re actually a very different business today to the FRP we founded in 2010. Over the last 10 years we’ve introduced new service lines and grown organically to expand into new towns and cities across the UK. By introducing services such as Corporate Finance, Debt Advisory and Forensic Services we’re now in a position to support clients on more complex and wider ranging briefs, ensuring we can provide support for our clients’ needs.
Geoff: We’ve been sure to maintain a focus on recruiting the best talent in the market – and our growth through lateral hires has supported our expansion across the UK. This has underpinned year-on-year growth and that in itself has enabled us to continue to attract some really fantastic people.
Jeremy: While our business has grown and changed substantially, there are still so many elements that remain unchanged. For me, one of the most important is our culture. We have an entrepreneurial culture and avoid any unnecessary bureaucracy. We look after our people and give them the autonomy they need to operate in their local markets. If you do this, the rest looks after itself.
Geoff: Put simply, no. We’re real people and we want our clients to get straightforward, pragmatic advice – these are all an important part of our firm’s values. We tell it how it is. Clients don’t want to hear jargon, they want no-nonsense advice in a language they can understand. This applies to all of our clients, irrespective of the business’ size or the sector they operate in. The language we use is just as important as the advice we give.
Geoff: In some ways you don’t see the change until you take a step back. Our growth has been incremental, but taking a step back to look at how much the firm has evolved and embedded new service lines is really positive to see.
Our biggest step change was in 2015 when we decided to introduce Corporate Finance and Debt Advisory service lines. We recognised the need to make sure we were as relevant as possible, and we wanted to offer all of the services that we believed would support our clients moving forward. It was also important to us that no service line would sit in isolation – they needed to become an intrinsic part of our business and that’s why all of the service lines we have today are fully integrated. We need to be able to connect the right talent within our business to support our clients as and when they need it.
Jeremy: When I look back, for the first eight to nine years of FRP we were assisted by the benign economic climate. We had to really work on the business to ensure the partner mix was right and that we offered the right services.
Geoff: One thing that has been reinforced to us over the years is that you want to keep decision making simple. I believe we have got the basics right; we’ve never got ahead of ourselves and we’ve never believed we’re the finished article. This means we’re constantly focused on investing in the team and improving the quality of work we do. Getting the basics right underpins all of that.
Jeremy: Definitely. You soon learn that there are a number of basics that underpin any business. For me, our focus on company culture and the ability to align a large number of people all with the same purpose and sense of belonging is really important – it’s the approach we’ve always taken. We’ve learnt that you can push barriers and the parameters of what you can achieve if you have the right people around you and continually work as a team.
Jeremy: The team we have brought together. There are almost 400 of us now, spread across every corner of the UK, but we still have the culture of a close-knit, family firm. Our people are the cornerstone of our business and it’s important that we don’t lose sight of that.
Geoff: Of course we want to continue to expand and grow our teams, but this will always be driven by making sure we recruit the right people. We won’t seek growth for growth’s sake – the growth of our existing pillars and service lines will be driven to meet our clients’ needs.
Jeremy: We’ll continue to make considered strides forwards, but we also know we’re not close to the complete product and that gives us something to always work towards.
Geoff: People, culture and evolving. This is the heart of our business and that won’t ever change – we’ll always put our people first and will continue to strive for improvement for the benefit of our clients.
People and culture are at the heart of our business and that won’t ever change.Jeremy French Chief Operating Officer