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October 28 / Investment Management

Frontier Equity Fund Manager – Global Asset Manager

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The Brief

To identify a senior Frontier Equity Fund Manager for a global asset manager in London.

The Challenge

To take a top performing asset manager in their asset class out of their existing firm without a financial guarantee, and to place them into a global asset manager that was suffering from asset redemptions.

The Solution

As there were few fund managers with a strong performance track record managing a portfolio above $300m in the frontier markets, we utilised our extensive network across the buy-side to identify fund managers based in London, New York, Washington, Boston, Dubai, Singapore, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

With the role based in London, however, we needed to identify relevant candidates interested in relocating to London, and with the redemptions the client had endured over the past 12 months, our expertise in positioning the client’s culture and strategy to potential candidates was instrumental to the search process. Furthermore, as the chosen candidate would not be joining on a financial guarantee it was vital we identified a potential suitor who held the same values and cultural understanding as the client.

Using our assessment skills to identify each candidate’s motivations and values, we were able to recommend the most appropriate candidates, leading to a seamless and successful search process.

Key Contact

Chris Rowse
October 28 / Investment Management

Head of European Private Debt – European Asset Manager

The Brief

To find a Head of European Private Debt for a European asset manager.

The Challenge

To identify an individual with the right combination of experience, entrepreneurial mindset and seniority to successfully raise assets and build a team and business in a completely new area for our client.

The Solution

The European private debt market is extremely competitive and consequently the competition for talent is very strong.  Our client had no track record in this product line, which meant Riverhouse Partners had to use our extensive network in this area to identify the candidate with the right mindset and entrepreneurial spirit to rise to this challenge.

It was also crucial to identify a candidate with the gravitas and historical track record to convince investors, which would prove crucial in our client’s fund raising stage as well as in building a profitable business.

Key Contact

Tom Chamberlayne
October 28 / Capital Markets & Securities

Head of International Brokerage, Saudi Arabia – Global Investment Bank

The Brief

To find a Head of International Brokerage in Saudi Arabia for a global investment bank.

The Challenge

As the Head of International Brokerage required a trading background the role was impacted by Saudi Arabian capital market laws specifying that licensed traders have to be Saudi Arabian nationals. This resulted in a narrow target pool of candidates with sufficient international business experience to lead the bank’s crucial brokerage business.

The Solution

Fast execution and closure was of the essence as good talent was sought after competitively by all of the top banks on the ground in Saudi Arabia in preparation for the opening of the country’s stock market to foreign direct investments. Through Riverhouse Partners’ long-standing track record and network in the MENA equities market, we were able to use referrals and cross-referencing to identify a shortlist of top candidates quickly, giving our client a first-mover advantage in the bidding process.

Due to compensation restrictions in regards to written or verbal guarantees, our consultant played a key role in the offer and closing stages of the process.  It was essential for the candidate to buy into the long-term advantages and growth prospects of the position in order to forego other offers from competitors and bring the hire to successful conclusion on a basic salary and benefit package only.

Key Contact

Chris Rowse
October 28 / C-Level Management, Operational Infrastructure

COO – Global Investment Bank

The Brief

To find a COO for a global investment bank.

The Challenge

The client wanted to identify a non-traditional COO with a particularly strong understanding of front office functions across the securities market, which narrowed the target candidate pool and necessitated a creative approach.

The Solution

To provide the desired result necessitated a fresh perspective and the ability to look and think beyond the existing COOs within our client’s competitor banks. Our client’s remit required the right candidate to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of markets and the ability to transfer that knowledge from the front office to the CEO’s office for a truly transformational approach. Due to our cross-sector and cross-product expertise and our established relationships with senior candidates, we were able to look at solutions from the front office and in the end the successful candidate was identified in a front-office role.

Our success in this search depended on us thoroughly understanding both our candidate and our client.  Knowing our candidate, we correctly anticipated that the candidate would be interested in a completely new and different challenge outside the scope of their current remit. Through knowing our client well, we were able to find the right mindset, outside of the traditional skillset, to fill this brief.

Key Contact

Taru Oksman
October 28 / Financial Investors & Portfolio Companies

Senior Investment Professional, Eastern European Investments – Chinese Private Equity Firm

The Brief

To find a senior investment professional to cover Eastern Europe on behalf of a Chinese private equity firm.

The Challenge

The firm was looking to identify someone with a strong track record across banking or investing in Europe but with specialist knowledge of Russia, coupled with an understanding of the Chinese investor mindset.

The Solution

Whilst the target universe of Russia/Eastern Europe specialist investment bankers and private equity professionals is well known to us, we needed to identify the individuals with not only the skill set, but also the mindset to fully appreciate the China-Russia opportunity.

Our unique position among these market developments, combined with our ability to source extensively among the relevant investment banking and private equity universes, and our capacity for creative and lateral thinking, enabled us to successfully pinpoint the right person for this challenge.

Key Contact

Taru Oksman
October 28 / Financial Investors & Portfolio Companies

Head of Retail, Middle East Luxury Goods Company – Private Equity Portfolio Company

The Brief

To find a Head of Retail for a Middle East luxury goods company, on behalf of a private equity investor.

The Challenge

This role is a sample from our portfolio company searches. The specifics of the role required the successful individual to be based in Saudi Arabia, speak fluent Arabic, and to have experience in a senior level retail position within the luxury goods sector in the wider Middle East region. This combination of requirements resulted in a very limited number of relevant candidates.

The Solution

Due to our extensive network of sources across the region we were able to identify an individual who fit the criteria and was willing to consider the relocation to Saudi.

A key part of the successful closing process was our in-depth knowledge of the unique business and employment requirements of the particular countries involved, as there were a number of complications surrounding work permit and visa issues. It is through being able to foresee such obstacles that we can avert problems later on in the process.

Key Contact

Taru Oksman
October 28 / C-Level Management, Investment Banking & Advisory

CEO, Russia – Moscow based Global Investment Bank

The Brief

To find a CEO for the Moscow business of a global investment bank.

The Challenge

A very narrow and over-broked target pool of “obvious” candidates in the Russian financial services market, most of whom were already known to the client and for various reasons had been discounted.

The Solution

Given the narrow candidate universe among our client’s peers in the Russian market, we set our search parameters much wider to encompass CEO level individuals with the requisite Russian experience and market knowledge but within other industries including professional services, accountancies and law firms. We also extended our search to include individuals who had previously held senior finance and banking roles in Russia, and so knew the market very well, but who had since moved on to other markets.

We were able to look this broadly because, thanks to our 20+ year track record in the Russian market, our network extends to the upper echelons of the Russian business community and allows us privileged access to very senior individuals. As a result we were able to efficiently identify the non-obvious candidates who nevertheless had the skills, seniority and client access required of the CEO position. It was just such an individual who our client, after considering the options we put forward, decided to appoint.

Key Contact

Taru Oksman
October 27 / C-Level Management, Operational Infrastructure

Head of Strategy, Consumer Product – North African Commercial Bank

The Brief

To identify a Head of Strategy for Consumer Products for a leading North African commercial bank.

The Challenge

The job title did not fully reflect the scope and seniority of the role, nor its central importance to our client in achieving their ambitious expansion plans in the North African retail banking market.   The challenge therefore was to understand what the role really meant to the bank, and to position it accordingly with the right candidates.

The Solution

Our relationship-driven approach to search means that understanding our clients, their businesses and their requirements fully is an essential starting point to our work.  Applying this approach, we were able to perceive how important this position was to our client’s future growth, and how much more senior the role was within the organization’s structure than first appearances would suggest.

Armed with this knowledge, we directed the search towards individuals with the necessary seniority and ambition, and shared with them the true scope of the position and the bank’s growth strategy.  The next phase was to demonstrate to the client that candidates of this level of seniority were indeed the most suitable. Our granular understanding of our candidates’ strengths and motivations, coupled with our ability to navigate the successful candidate speedily through the search and the bank’s complex hiring process further exemplifies the added-value of our relationship-driven approach.

 Key Contacts

Mikael Zoghbi
Taru Oksman
October 27 / Investment Management

Senior European Equity Long/Short Portfolio Manager – Global Hedge Fund

The Brief

Senior European Equity Long/Short Portfolio Manager to build a team and run a $1bn portfolio for a global hedge fund.

The challenge

The DNA of the firm was rooted in totally different strategies that made understanding the investment philosophy of a long/short equity manager very complex. We needed to guide the client carefully through both the generalist and sector driven markets, as well as the different investment styles to get them comfortable with making this hire.

The solution

In order to provide a thorough overview of the long/short equity market for each relevant sector and investment style, we systematically mapped out our client’s competitor institutions and presented them with a detailed market map, competitor intelligence and an initial shortlist of highly referenced, but stylistically diametrically opposed portfolio managers whom they met.  This enabled our client to form a clearer picture of the right type of individual for the role.

Armed with this information, we were able to refine our shortlist parameters and reverted with a second shortlist, closely focused on our client’s clarified requirements. By guiding our client through this process, our client was able to identify one candidate who stood out, and with whom we had to work closely to negotiate a compensation structure commensurate with his seniority. A successful placement was made in under 100 days.

Key Contact

Peter Mansell-Jones
October 27 / C-Level Management, Financial Investors & Portfolio Companies, Operational Infrastructure

CFO, Independent Power Producer, Sub-Saharan Africa – Private Equity Portfolio Company

The Brief

To find a CFO for an independent power producer (IPP), owned by a private equity vehicle and aimed at developing early-stage power-generating assets across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Challenge

Given the political sensitivities surrounding the power sector, the search was hard to position. In addition, the role required an individual with both greenfield power-development experience and very early stage project finance experience.  Our client’s firm mandate for impact investing necessitated gender and nationality diversity of candidates, with an emphasis on the Sub-Saharan diaspora.

The Solution

Understanding the profile of our client from the outset enabled us very quickly to identify suitable candidates. In our estimation the government-owned power providers across Africa would not provide candidates with relevant experience, so we investigated companies with emerging markets operating presence which developed the assets themselves and put power purchasing agreements (PPAs) in place.

Candidate sourcing was further facilitated via our large network across project finance and more broadly debt, particularly mining & metals, oil & gas, infrastructure and power.  Based on Riverhouse’s 20+ years of emerging and frontier markets experience, we were also able to identify internationally mobile candidates from frontier market regions. As a result of our comprehensive research approach, we were able to produce a highly relevant shortlist showing gender and African diaspora diversity. The search concluded with a successful placement.

Key Contact

Max Fraser