Partner, Head of Corporate, UK
Europe's fastest-growing financial services businesses are setting the pace for the rest of their industry. Despite facing challenges ranging from regulatory upheaval to the uncertainties of Brexit, they have been able to power ahead, exploiting their competitive edge to leave their rivals trailing.
This research sets out to understand how these businesses are achieving superior performance. It forms part of Pinsent Masons' Pacesetters research, published in association with Mergermarket. Based on 100 interviews with senior executives of some of the fastest-growing financial services businesses across Western Europe, it aims to identify the qualities, skills and characteristics that set these companies apart.
For while these financial services firms are based in different geographies and operate in a diverse range of sub-sectors, it is striking that they share certain characteristics.
In particular, these are businesses that understand the potential for technology and innovation to power growth. Not all of them would be considered financial technology (Fintech) businesses, though some such firms do feature in the fastest-growing firms in Europe, but most are highly focused on how digital transformation and investment in technology can take their growth to the next level.
Similarly, fast-growing financial services businesses share an openness to collaboration and partnership. Many have embraced mergers & acquisitions (M&A) as part of their growth to date and intend to do more deals. But they also see the potential for a broad range of alliances, from minority stakes to joint ventures, to create valuable new opportunities.
There are challenges ahead. Most notably, 82% of the fast-growing financial services firms in this research believe Brexit will have a negative effect on their growth (not one foresees a positive impact). Nevertheless, they remain optimistic. Pacesetters sets out the basis for this upbeat sentiment - and provides a roadmap for other businesses keen to secure similar rates of growth.