An assessment of Product in FinTech

Over the past two weeks, we have assessed the hiring of Senior Digital Product Leadership in FinTech in the UK. We have mapped 81 businesses in FinTech and consumer Financial Services across Challenger Banking, Alternative Lending, Investment, Payments, and Remittance, to assess the role of digital Product in this evolving industry. Businesses identified include Atom Bank, Aldermore, Funding Circle, GoCardless, Hargreaves Lansdown, Mondo, Nutmeg, RateSetter, PayPal, and World Remit.

Here are some of the key insights we have gleaned:

  • A digital Product function has been established in 82% of the target FinTech and FS businesses, even though it is not labelled as “product” 50% of the time.
  • In 84% of businesses researched, Product is not a part of the C-Suite.
  • Prior FS experience was not deemed a requirement for 54% of senior Product leaders.
  • 54% of Product leaders started their career in technology development.
  • 45% of senior Product leaders hold less than 15 years’ career experience and are typically on a base salary of between £90,000 and £150,000 plus bonus, plus LTIP.
  • Attempting to identify a candidate with a balance of Financial Services/Digital growth experience is extremely difficult. As a result, reflect within your business to which skills could be sourced from elsewhere and thus how this informs the prioritisation in competencies in the search for your Product leader.
  • Invest significant time with all the key stakeholders to the Product function to ensure that there is a consistent understanding of what Product should mean to the business and how it effects each stakeholder. This will set your Product leader up for success.

If you would like to see the full 5-page report, or discuss any of the content above or in the report, please contact Amy by email on amy@princedalepartners.com.
Alternatively, now is a great time to consider hiring with summer just around the corner, so please do get in touch.

FinTech People Moves, Q1 2016

We are happy to announce our first in a series of People Moves in FinTech. Below represents a snapshot of some high-profile leadership moves that have taken place across the broader FinTech landscape since the start of the year, both in high-growth SMEs and established businesses. We look forward to providing this valuable insight on a quarterly basis. From just this summary, it is interesting to see the mix of moves from well-known digital businesses and Financial Services into FinTech.

These are not necessarily our placements to be clear, but a holistic view across the digital talent marketplace.

  • Angela Yotov x Barclays, Joins Ratesetter as Head of Legal
  • Ben Brabyn x UKTI, Joins Level39 as Head of Level39
  • Ben Sanders x WorldPay, Joins Pockit as COO
  • Carl Schieble x Moneygram, Joins Ennet as COO
  • Dan Huddart x RSA, Joins Avantia as Chief Technology Officer
  • Darren Schindler x Metro Bank, Joins Property Moose as Executive Chairman
  • Darryl Bowman x Wonga, Joins Funding Circle as Chief Marketing Officer
  • Derek White x Barclays Bank, Joins BBVA as Global Head of Customer Solutions
  • Faisal Galaria x Alvarez & Marsal, Joins Octopus Ventures as Entreprenuer in Residence
  • Gareth Griffiths x ASAP54, Joins Property Partner as VP Marketing
  • Han Veldwijk x MyOrder, Joins Lloyds as Head of FinTech discovery
  • Jalin Somaiya x Property Partner, Joins Pockit as interim CMO
  • James Wise Balderton, Promoted to Partner at Balderton
  • Jim Gunner x HSBC, Joins Ratesetter as NED and Chair of Risk Committee
  • Jo Benton x Gain Capital, Joins Saxo Capital as Head of Marketing and PR
  • Jorg Asmussen x European Central Bank, Joins FundingCircle as Non-Executive Board
  • Kevin McQuillan x BA.com, Joins Aviva Director of Customer Experience
  • Laurent Le Moal x PayPal, Joins PayU as CEO
  • Marieke Flament x Hotels.com, Joins Circle as MD Europe
  • Mark Weedon x MSCI, joins Property Partner as Head of Institutional Development
  • Matt Macri-Waller Benefex, Joins SalaryFinance as Member of Advisory Board
  • Niall Wass x Uber, Joins Atomico as Entrepreneur in Residence
  • Nick Mcauliffe x Shawbrook, Joins Wellesley as Managing Director
  • Nigel Wilkinson x HSBC, Joins Ratesetter as Head of Commercial Credit
  • Nils Aden x Unibet, Joins CurrencyFair as CMO
  • Paul Marston x Secure Trust Bank, Joins Ratesetter as head of SME lending
  • Paul Muhr x Citi, Joins Finstar Financial Group as Director Capital Markets
  • Phil Marsland x Lloyds, Joins Arrow Global as Chief Operating Officer
  • Rob Moffat Balderton, Promoted to Partner at Balderton
  • Ruth Pearson x Simmons & Simmons, Joins Lendinvest as Legal Council
  • Sam Diamond x Shopa, Joins Azimo as Head of Marketing
  • Seema Desai x GSMA, Joins Zopa as Head of Product
  • Simon Veinuard x Hailo, Joins Travelex as Global Head of Digital
  • Steve Dukes x Wonga, Joins Dollar Financial as Chief Product Officer
  • Steve Pateman x Santander, Joins Shawbrook as CEO
  • Susanne Chisti FinTech Circle, Joins JustLoans Group as Non-Executive Director
  • Vipul Chhabra x Barclaycard, Joins Funding Circle as Global Head of Customer Analytics

If you would like to let us know of a recent hire, if we can assist you with your leadership hiring needs or if you would like advice, please contact amy@princedalepartners.com our FinTech consultant.

Talent & HR Directors in FinTech Breakfast

Last Thursday, we hosted the first Princedale Partners HR & Talent Directors in FinTech breakfast, where guests from 11 of the UK’s leading FinTech business joined us to discuss the unique challenges they face in growing a business in this fast-growing and still very new industry.

We were delighted to be joined by the following guests:

  • World Remit: Chief People Officer, Audrey Stewart
  • JustGiving: Chief People Officer, Andy Meikle
  • World First: Group HR Director, Kelly Jackson
  • Nutmeg: Head of People, Robert Crowley
  • Index Ventures: Director of Talent, Dominic Jacquesson
  • OakNorth Bank: Head of HR, Adria Linder
  • FundingCircle: Former HR Director, Kim Stringer
  • Forward Partners: Head of Talent, Chris Wilkinson
  • Tandem Bank: Head of Talent, Mel Hetherington
  • Transferwise: Global Head of Talent, Thea Fineren
  • Property Partner: Head of People, Nick Yockney

We started by quickly establishing that the combination of growing a technology business while simultaneously adhering to strict regulation did in fact create a melting pot of difficulties un-paralleled in other industries. Furthermore, these challenges range across a variety of areas, such as culture, the hiring and retention of talent, stakeholder (and founder) management, diversity, development, marketing, compliance, growth strategy, internationalisation, investment and more.

Here is a summary of just some of the takeaways from the discussion:

  • The background of the founder has a significant impact on the focus on compliance in the business. The priority of compliance vs technology is different from business to business
  • Shifting focus onto compliance/risk in hiring can be difficult as there is a natural fear of “Risk” being a barrier rather than an enabler to growth
  • Different skill-sets are right for the business at different stages of development
  • Sometimes this can include the founders, circa 40% of tech business that have undergone an IPO were still founder led
  • Typically, this manifests in a broader skillset requirement in the early stages of a business, and becomes increasingly narrow/specialist as the business evolves
  • As a result, maintaining the right culture can become increasingly difficult
  • Many founders still meet every hire for the business. In some cases, this can be appropriate, however, it is a significant use of their valuable time that could be entrusted to the line manager/Talent Director
  • It is considered important that founders should, at the right stage of growth, move away from what might be considered total ownership of recruiting at every level and function.

This is just a small sample of what was a very enjoyable morning, and with plenty more still to discuss, we look forward to hosting another event in the second half of the year. We would like to thank everyone for attending.
If you would like to discuss any of the points in more detail, please feel free to contact Amy at amy@princedalepartners.com.

So, you want to join a FinTech business?

As a specialist FinTech headhunter that works with both early stage and established businesses, I receive calls every week from active candidates who are looking to make a move from their current, typically corporate, role into a high-flying “FinTech” business. However, there is a pattern forming in the advice I find myself giving candidates and the outcome of each call.

On these calls, I see myself asking the same four questions:

What stage of business do I want to join?

Typically, what attracts people to smaller businesses, is they can have a greater impact and take on more responsibility than in the corporate world. Earlier stage businesses require a different skill-set (and mind-set) and will require you to be highly hands-on and broad in your knowledge. A larger business, as it grows, will prefer individuals who become increasingly specialist in their area of knowledge.

Before making the decision to pursue the FinTech industry, I would ask yourself where you could add most value and how well you could adapt to the start-up environment – something which many candidates underestimate.

Which five companies would I most like to join and why?

I always find it surprising when candidates can’t answer this question. My best piece of advice here is to:

  • Take time to research the sector. If it’s FinTech you’re trying to move into, have more to say than “I hear it’s really hot right now” (yes, somebody actually said this last week).
  • Produce a clear list of your five favourite companies, have a clear reason for why, and you will find yourself more prepared for making this search.

What start-up experience do I have?

Making the move to an early-stage business is difficult and almost all of these businesses are looking for people who are “hands on” and have “growth experience”. But how can you move into FinTech with no experience? It’s up to the individual to be proactive in their interaction with the FinTech community. Join mentor programmes, attend events and advise early stage businesses. If you don’t already have this experience, it’s time to start getting out there and finding some.

What examples of past “hands-on” experience can I give?

When interviewing, I spend a lot of my time trying to understand whether candidates can provide evidence of being hands-on. The client is looking for you to give concrete examples of exactly what you have achieved and how.

This is especially relevant in larger organisations where you are operating as part of a matrix – another reason why, if you’re managing a 200 person team, moving in to a start-up business of 50 may not be the right move.

Lastly, when it comes to your CV, keep it short and sweet and only include the most “wow” and relevant points. Give solid statistics, briefly explain what you achieved and make sure it flows from experience to experience. Tell a story.

The search for any new job is always going to be lengthy and time-consuming. FinTech is ever-evolving and needs intelligent, creative and ambitious people to make it better. Research, thoroughness and preparation are key in any job hunt but in the FinTech start-up world especially. You need to be able to tell your new employer where and how you could add value to their business using solid past experiences – if you have no FinTech experience, what else can you bring to the table and how quickly can you learn?