CFO of the Month, UK: Mark Hampton, Collinson Group

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Mark joined Collinson Group in 2013 as CFO and is responsible for the financial management of the group’s operations, although he also holds a wide range of other responsibilities.

“As Group CFO, I have overall responsibility for all financial aspects of this diverse, international business. This encompasses all the traditional areas of finance including budgeting and reporting, tax, treasury and wider commercial finance support to the business.

“The group is currently experiencing a period of rapid growth which demands a finance team that can deliver hygiene factors such as compliance and accountability whilst also enabling the group to maintain its nimbleness so it can react to opportunities with pace.

“My role supports the group’s strategy, both by contributing to its development and by ensuring the plans are robust and that sufficient financial and human resources are available to deliver them. This includes assessing buy/build/partner options and where appropriate driving M&A activity for the group.

“As CFO, it is not just about saying no, indeed considering our private status and the absence of external investors, it is often easier to say yes as we have the freedom to take a long-term view on investments and to drive the innovation which has been our heritage.

“Beyond finance, I also have responsibility for Human Resources, Legal, Information Security and PMO across the group. I am also Non-Executive Chairman within our insurance business.”

The group has built an enviable track record of growing revenue, operating profit and customer numbers, and the past year was no exception as the group’s revenue passed £350m for the first time, a rise of 26% over the year. A proportion of the growth came from acquired business but importantly, most growth continues to come organically from existing clients and the successful launch of several new propositions.

Mark explained how this growth is the result of the group’s global perspective, collaborative culture and innovative strategies.

“Investment at the core of our organisation has been mirrored by an increasing workforce around the world. Our loyalty marketing brand ICLP, with the Group’s most widely distributed workforce in 16 global offices, has established a regional management structure to facilitate both growth and economies of scale. In parallel, a significant investment has been made in connecting our four major call centre sites around the world to create a unified operation which can support our customers around the clock. Our global perspective has enabled us to sustain top line growth amidst regional economic challenges, and this continues to be the case, with new contracts in Africa, South East Asia and South America offsetting slower growth in Europe.

“Our emphasis on collaboration not only enhances our sales to new and existing clients but is fundamental in achieving greater operating efficiencies across our network of offices. Our collaborative structure has been strengthened by senior hires responsible for group-wide, global activity, combining economies of scale with improved consistency. In parallel, investment in software, finance, human resources, client management and knowledge sharing will all improve the quality and consistency of our performance for the benefit of our clients.

“Remaining innovative is a core value of the Group. Frequently we win business by turning our size, our culture and our structure to our advantage. Being privately owned, financially entirely self-sufficient and being an agile organisation, we are uniquely positioned to take innovative ideas from concept to delivery more quickly than competitors.

“Since 2008 we have operated a dedicated team for the research and development of new propositions. The head of Collinson Product Innovation (CPI) reports to the board and manages a team of subject matter experts who work in tandem with our technology resource and develop insight from client facing teams and our internal research resource. With access to over 10 million of our own customers, we can combine client insight with consumer feedback. We regularly use workshops, survey tools and pilot launches to test and refine new propositions.”

The group is expected to see a high rate of growth over the coming years, something which Mark believes will be shaped both the group’s internal culture and a number of external market factors.

  “Collinson Group growth is expected to continue over the next five years fuelled by the strength of the mass affluent consumer, increased consumer expectations and a dramatic rise in customer data availability. This growth is likely to be particularly strong within financial services and travel, where we continue to focus our investment. The advance of technology, the exponential growth of personal data and the increasing complexity of customer interactions will continue to drive demand for leading expertise and functionality in our space of shaping consumer behaviour.

“Investment in new propositions and improved infrastructure, in sales growth and increasing efficiencies, and in a stronger, more collaborative structure across our global footprint, will safeguard our financial performance and, in turn, our independence. In a rapidly evolving market, staying true to our strategy will stand the business in good stead for continued, sustainable growth.”

Company: Collinson Group

Name: Janet Titterton

Email: janet.titterton@collinsongroup.com

Web Address: www.collinsongroup.com

Address: 123 Houndsditch,

Cutlers Exchange, London

Telephone: 07894480162

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