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    The CFO Conundrum

    In today's private equity landscape, the competition for CFO talent remains intense, driven by lower deal volumes and macroeconomic uncertainties. This has led investors to prioritise value protection and maximisation across existing portfolios, resulting in heightened scrutiny of management teams - particularly the finance function. Despite record-high salaries, performance expectations for CFOs continue to rise, often necessitating strategic shifts or replacements.

    With fewer experienced CFOs entering the market, PE firms must consider new approaches to solve their challenges. In this insight, Managing Director Jack Lane explores what funds must look to do to overcome these challenges, and how critical strategic talent management is in navigating the complexities of the PE landscape.


    Read Jack's full piece here.

    CFO Remuneration, Equity and Outlook Report 2023

    The average salary for a UK CFO working in a private equity-backed business has risen by 7.5% in the last year, according to data found in Finatal's latest Remuneration, Equity and Outlook Report. The report, which canvassed views of UK-based finance leaders who are currently CFOs or have been involved in an exit over the last twelve months, is now in its sixth year. It reveals key trends reflective the challenging business backdrop experienced over the past 12 months and the increased demand by funds for experienced CFOs in the space. 

    The objective of the report is to provide a clear, current view of opportunities and challenges faced by CFOs working in portfolio businesses. It aims to provide insight for businesses, leaders and funds to make informed decisions, helping individuals and organisations to build success.

    The full 2023 report is published and available to download here. 


    Announcing Jack Lane's promotion to Managing Director

    We are thrilled to announce the promotion of Jack Lane to Managing Director, where he will oversee our UK portfolio, leading the CFO, Finance and Transformation teams. Jack joined the business as a consultant six years ago, during which time he has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and a deep understanding of the industry, stepping into the role of Director in 2021. This latest promotion is testament to Jack's contributions to the company's success and comes following a record period of growth for the business, both in revenue and headcount.

    Jack Lane, Managing Director, said: “Finatal has provided me with incredible opportunities over the last few years and I’m delighted to be stepping up to this new role. The business has grown and changed a great deal since I joined, and I'm fortunate to have been surrounded by some fantastic people and talented colleagues who have supported my own development. I very much look forward to continuing to play a part in building our business’s success.”

    Paul Blant, Group Managing Director, said: “Jack has played a pivotal role in Finatal’s growth since 2017, supporting a huge number of clients and candidates to build success. His dedication to developing talent within the business make him ideally suited to the Managing Director role, and it’s been a pleasure to watch his career go from strength to strength. I am thrilled to be continuing to work together to grow the business and deliver results for organisations across the private capital space.”

    Congratulations Jack! 

    Finatal sponsor Value Creation Conference

    Finatal was thrilled to sponsor the Real Deals Value Creation Conference this year. Key points of discussion covered best practices in Private Equity portfolios and how to implement ESG strategies to help drive value.

    Our Managing Director Paul Blant moderated the panel session on compensating and incentivising management teams.


    For more information on the insights of the event, please contact marketing@finatal.com.

    Finatal sponsor Unquote Private Equity Awards

    Finatal sponsored the British Private Equity Awards in partnership with Unquote in October. 

    The annual awards recognise the contribution of private equity to the growth of British business. In keeping with the values that have made Unquote the industry’s most trusted source of private equity information, there are four stages in the judging process for the awards. The independent judging process combines the balanced views of industry veterans with a vote from our expert readers.

    Finatal sponsor Real Deals Mid-Market Conference

    Finatal will sponsor the Real Deals Mid-Market Conference. The day event provides a deep dive into the future of mid-market private equity in Europe.


    Through a series of panel discussions, keynote addresses and fireside chats, the conference will offer insights from private equity players on latest trends and opportunities, amid an unprecedented macro and geopolitical landscape.



    Please contact our Head of Private Capital Charlie Linacre, for further interest in joining us for the day. 

    Finatal Partner with IIM Webinar Series

    Our Head of Interim Jack Lane shared his expertise alongside the Institute of Interim Management as part of their Autumn webinar series.The session focussed on interim professionals' key drivers of demand and supply and included a live Q&A to discuss the challenges facing clients.
    For the link to the full recording, please contact marketing@finatal.com.

    Investment Professionals Salary Survey

    Finatal is running our first annual investment professional remuneration and outlook survey. The survey is aimed at investment professionals working full time across private equity, venture capital, growth equity and special situation funds.


    If you're interested in contributing to our findings or recieving the full report in December, please contact marketing@finatal.com 

    Finatal sponsor Left Lane Venture Capital Summit

    Finatal was thrilled to attend the Left Lane Capital Summit in the Autumn. 

    The day was a great success and provided a chance for global Venture Capital businesses to network and discuss key topics on growth.


    If you wanted to discuss more on the take-aways of the conference, please contact Jamie Irwin on jamie.irwin@finatal.com.

    Unquote British Private Equity Awards 2022

    Finatal sponsor the British Private Equity Awards in partnership with Unquote.

    The annual awards recognise the contribution of private equity to the growth of British business. In keeping with the values that have made Unquote the industry’s most trusted source of private equity information, there are four stages in the judging process for the awards. The independent judging process combines the balanced views of industry veterans with a vote from our expert readers.

    On the 4th October we will celebrate the industry at The Brewery with the best in the industry. Good luck to all those shortlisted!

    Finatal Future 40 Mid-Market Investment Leaders

    Finatal is thrilled to be partnering with Real Deals for the Future 40 Mid-Market Investment Leaders.

    The Future 40 Mid-Market Investment Leaders celebrates the individuals at the forefront of the private capital deal activity over the last year. This years’ list looks to highlight the top 40 mid-market private equity investment professionals who have achieved commendable exits in the calendar year of 2021.

    Follow the link to nominate here.

    Get in touch with Charlie Linacre if you wish to be a guest judge on the panel.


    Finance Functions: The Cost-Effective Way to Maximise Your Value

    It is often the case that founders and CEOs assess their finance function and the strength of their finance team post a liquidity event. In many ways this is putting the cart before the horse. The benefits of assessing and, if necessary, reshaping and/or upskilling your current team are huge even before such an event and can result in a significant value multiplier in a liquidity event.


    Creating value through your finance team is a critically important move, and this is equally true even if an exit is not on the immediate horizon. This can seem a daunting prospect sometimes as the temptation is to focus on position/quantity rather than the roles which will achieve the maximum ROI for the business, but finance does not have to be a huge beast of a function. Nevertheless, intelligent focus on your people and their roles within the function can create big wins that future proof the business for both a liquidity event and ongoing growth.

    One highly experienced interim CFO comments: “I have been an interim CFO, working exclusively with Private Equity backed SMEs, for the last 20 years. Time and time again I see the same issues post-deal that could have been addressed prior to an event.”

    “In almost all scenarios, these are issues that would have positively impacted the ultimate purchase price if they had been assessed and actioned pre-deal. The impact of a finance function review with sufficient time ahead of a sale process is drastically underestimated and something all business owners should strongly consider”.

    Are the right people in place?
    When looking to exit, having a good quality finance function in place is a great indicator to potential acquirers that you are committed and engaged to the process. It shows that company leaders have invested in the right areas of business – those areas that a buyer, and especially a non-trade buyer, will invariably focus on.

    Further to this fundamental need, having a proactive team in place that can help coordinate a process may well turn out to be the difference between a successful deal materialising, or not. In an extremely competitive buyout market, with lots of deals in the pipeline, a proactive finance function supporting an equally proactive management team can keep a deal live and front of mind to potential buyers.

    Chris Malcolm, Partner, finnCap Cavendish, comments: “Due to the volume of deals coming to market potential investors have become more selective about the processes they invest time and resources in. This has increased the importance of having a proactive management team that ensures that they have the right bench in place and have thoroughly engaged with the preparation phase ahead of launching a process rather than adopting a reactive approach to potential buyers.”

    Are finance team members adding value?
    Again, this can be a difficult point to countenance. Nevertheless, it is critical and in a high-growth, ambitious environment (whether you have plans for a liquidity event or not) the chances are that you are already assessing other areas of the business in this way. Refusing to scrutinise your current finance team is probably a good indicator of an outdated view of how much value finance can actually add. Specifically in a pre-sale environment, an understanding of the value-output of your finance function can really help to demonstrate alignment with investors.

    Finance is more than people
    It’s important to remember the finance function extends beyond the people in place; it is systems, it is reporting, it is compliance, MI, HR, IT, automation, data, sales, ops, and more.

    Depending on the complexity of the business, this can be a very broad consideration. It goes without saying that a lot of these things are interconnected to the people that operate them but are independently important.

    As such, it is crucial to hire the right senior finance person, who can shape and define these elements. Indeed, sometimes it is not all about hiring a huge team – a lot can be done by just creating the right infrastructure around a handful of ‘rockstars’. Furthermore, simply demonstrating a credible plan to achieve this infrastructure can be a breath of fresh air for potential investors/buyers. It shows that while you may not have the capital at hand to make these changes immediately, you have a genuine understanding of what improvements are needed. This can be a great sign of seriousness and competency.

    A harsh reality
    Make no mistake, assessing one’s finance function can be a brutal exercise. The harsh truth may be that your finance team is not fit for purpose. This can be exceptionally difficult to assess and indeed accept, especially for those that have built companies from scratch and have long-serving employees. But the fact is companies grow, circumstances change, and the challenges that face finance evolves with them, especially as they expand and scale internationally.

    For those that are driven towards continual growth – especially those looking to achieve a liquidity event – it is a must to acknowledge this and to be honest with yourself about the company’s needs. In the immediacy, a well- positioned recruitment consultant can help you evaluate your position. The medium to longer term may require an experienced CFO/FD to dig through the weeds and advise.

    It is incumbent on the diligent management team to assess everything – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and carry out a full health check on finance. This means never ignoring the historical issues, these will hold the company back, and gaining a full understanding of the capabilities of the finance team that are already in place.

    Complement your CFO
    What are your strengths as CFO/FD, or indeed as CEO? It’s important to be honest with oneself on this point, and complement that senior role with others that can add to their capabilities and/or fill in where there are gaps. Recognising and acknowledging weaknesses here is as important as celebrating strengths. Being highly self-critical and hiring into those knowledge gaps, as well as building on what is going well, will ensure a fully functioning team is future proofed against any challenges. Again, a recruitment partner can be invaluable here; someone who is willing to really challenge your thinking and in doing so illuminating the gaps.

    Get the foundations right
    COVID-19 certainly demonstrated in a great deal of businesses, that whatever the market and whatever the circumstances, a strong controller is paramount. A weak controller will inevitably catch the business out, even in good times, and particularly in bad.

    There is a temptation to pivot immediately to the ‘sexy’ finance roles, that help inform the strategic vision and support growth plans – FP&A business partnering – a sparring partner CFO to an ambitious founder CEO.

    It is, however, more important to have your financial bedrock in place. A strong financial controller will give you a clear insight into performance, help to inform risk appetite and create management information upon which the business can drive action. Critically, the strength of the financial controller will impact the value- output of FP&A. Without accuracy of historical performance, it’s very difficult to create an attractive but credible set of forecasts, and these are enormously important during an exit process.

    Take risks
    Taking calculated risks is an important business practice and should be applied to your hiring strategy as much as any other area or you will likely not achieve your more ambitious plans. The risk of not having a proper finance function in place far outweighs the perceived risk of ‘overinvesting’ before a deal has gone through. Making the changes you need to make will ultimately manage your growth trajectory better. Having a great finance team in situ creates value for the longer-term, regardless of future ownership structure, not having one is a far riskier prospect.

    Your finance function extends beyond its people. It is the sum of its many parts that informs and drives future business growth. Ultimately, the value of your finance function cannot be seen as a cost, per se. Rather, it is an investment – one with direct and significant impact on your business valuation in a liquidity event.

    Contact Us
    If you would like to discuss the topic further or are interested in hearing more about what Finatal has to offer, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

    Finatal Sponsor Mid-Market Conference

    Finatal sponsors the Real Deals Mid-Market conference at The Wardorf Hotel.

    The day event will see our Private Capital Director Charlie Linacre on the panel discussing value creation through ESG strategy and internalisation. The Real Deals’ flagship Mid-Market conference annually attracts hundreds of the most recognizable names in Private Equity. From GPs and LPs to leading academics and expert solution providers.
    The event is a chance to discuss topical content across panel discussions, roundtables and networking time with peers across the private capital market. The conference will see speakers and delegates gather to discuss the current European mid-market landscape, developments in fundraising and deal types and what the coming year will look like.

    Finatal work in partnership with Real Deals, please ask our consultants for our exclusive Finatal discount on industry events.

    Brainlabs Case Study: Building a finance function

    Buy and build has been a strong and growing strategy for PE funds over the past five years; a recent survey we conducted showed 38% of PE-backed businesses were embarking on an acquisition-led strategy as a key part of their value creation. Both executing on M&A and integrating businesses are fraught with difficulties – with a recent stat showing 80% of listed company acquisitions do not add value. Here at Finatal, we have worked with funds and portfolio companies on numerous occasions to help ensure the success of the buy and build strategy. We wanted to share a recent case study – for Livingbridge-backed Brainlabs to demonstrate how it can be done.

    Case study: Brainlabs
    Finatal spoke to Olivier de Canson, Chief Financial Officer of Brainlabs, to discuss how he has built out his team to deliver on their strategic growth plans.
    The existing team at Brainlabs was led by the CFO with a lean core finance team but with significant gaps across M&A and integration. It had been fit-for-purpose for a business with strong organic growth potential but lacked the varied skillsets and abilities to execute a global buy-and-build play.

    The Brief
    Brainlabs had expanded significantly over the past 3 years since Livingbridge invested, and with CEO, Dan Gilbert, at the helm, had identified further international growth opportunities. The systems/ processes and infrastructure was starting to creak and the business needed more bandwidth from a corporate development standpoint.

    The Solution
    Dan approached us to deliver on a rapid search to find the right-quality CFO. Having placed Olivier as the new Group CFO, we had a strong understanding of the standard of finance function he sought to build to support the global expansion strategy. With a background across Apple’s rapidly expanding Emerging Markets division and EQT’s VFS, Olivier had clear expectations of a best-in-class finance function for Brainlabs.

    First, we were engaged to hire a full-time Director of Global M&A - someone who could carve out a distinctive M&A function, responsible for delivering the acquisition strategy from origination through to deal execution. Utilising Finatal’s waterfall model, we were able to rapidly build out the team with a Senior M&A Manager and Interim support to increase buy-side bandwidth. Within 4 weeks, Brainlabs had established an M&A function that could successfully drive deals at pace.

    Finatal continued to build out the team with an FP&A Director to implement a new and efficient group FP&A structure. With various lines of communication across the function, and more plugging in via new acquisitions across North America and UK, the business needed a single source of truth to deliver regular financial planning and forecasting to the investors and the CEO. With the successful hire of a highly experienced, global professional services candidate, Brainlabs could continue to scale without sacrificing the quality of FP&A on the journey. 

    With Brainlabs enhanced capacity across M&A and FP&A, the business was able to drive growth harder than ever before. However, the SLT’s did not want Brainlabs to stand-alone, but rather to integrate companies and to scale into an international offering for their clients. We needed to help Brainlabs prepare for a future as a significantly larger, unified global business. By using market information across other PE buy-and-builds, we helped designed a distinct but separate Integration function.

    Finatal built out the team with a Chief Integration Officer with vast experience across Private Equity buy-and-builds. Again, leaning on our waterfall model we were able to successfully hire an Interim Integration Director and full time Integration Finance Manager. Now with focused and dedicated resources, the evolution of Brainlabs’ value creation strategy could be supported. The M&A team, strengthened by an M&A and Integration lead hire, could continue to ramp up their buy-side spree with a clear strategic offering to potential targets.

    Along with the dedicated finance function and M&A team, data professionals provided the cornerstone of a fully scalable Brainlabs. This enabled the brand to prepare for the emergence of new technologies. The implementation of SnowFlake Data Warehouse set solid structural foundations to ensure BrainLabs scaled at pace. Not only did this key data hire create and add value, but this prevented further structural issues arising over time.

    The Result
    With Olivier’s rapid team expansion, the result had two valuable strands of impact. It clearly had a profound effect on the business itself, but it also allowed him to flourish as the CFO Brainlabs hired him to be. By creating a new finance function aligned with both organic and inorganic growth strategies, the balanced support effectively prevents Olivier from being lost in the detail and enables him to keep him focused on the future performance of the business. With increasing demands from investors and an extremely ambitious CEO, it was absolutely critical for him to have capacity to be the true business partner and leader Brainlabs required.

    Olivier de Canson
    Kudos to Finatal, they understood our needs and ambition very quickly, and have found suitable candidates at the pace required by Brainlabs.
    Bottom line, they have been a reliable and trusted partner to facilitate the transformation of the finance function, as expected by the business, the CEO, the Board and the PE investor.

    Daniel Gilbert
    We were introduced to Finatal through our investors, Livingbridge, as we needed to both bring in a new CFO and a corporate development director with the business having scaled up hugely, and with a potentially transformative acquisition on the table. Both were time-critical hires – while also needing to match the calibre of management we have brought into the business across the board, and to be able to work in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial culture while also satisfying the demands of investors. I was really impressed by the calibre and turnaround of the project.

    Finatal collaborate to fully understand the requirements and nuances of each business and, should the diagnostics reveal the need for change, are able to leverage an unparalleled talent pool of senior finance talent. If you would like to discuss the topic further or are interested in hearing more about what Finatal has to offer, don’t hesitate to contact Jack Lane on jack.lane@finatal.com

    10,000 Black Interns Support Programme

    Finatal is proud to be partnering with 10,000 Black Interns. The support programme offers paid internships each year with comprehensive training to get interns ready for their positions.

    We look forward to welcoming the interns this summer.

    Finatal attend Graduate Careers Fairs

    Finatal attended the UCL and the University of Bristol graduate career fairs in the autumn.
    It was great to meet so many students looking to take the first step in their careers. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
    If you would like to find out about our live roles and job opportunities, please contact our Head of Talent Francesca Chantell on francesca.chantell@finatal.com.

    CFO Fifth Annual Remuneration and Outlook Report

    At Finatal we are specialist recruiters of CFOs, Finance Directors and Senior Finance Resources to private equity backed businesses. We have had sensational success working with private equity investors, their portfolio companies or privately-owned businesses looking to exit.

    Thank you to everyone for taking the time to complete our survey on remuneration, equity and outlook, aimed at full time CFOs working for mid-market private equity backed businesses or professionals who have been involved in an exit during the last 12 months.


    We had 675 respondents and gained some really insightful data and analysis.

    Our latest figures were published in Real Deals, but please email marketing@finatal.com to receive the full report. We hope this provides some interesting reading and do get in touch if you would like to discuss further.

    Finatal launches M&A and Corporate Development Practice

    We’ve entered 2022 as busy, if not busier, than we ended 2021.  It’s an incredibly buoyant market, with demand for M&A and Corporate Development resources in the PE market significantly higher than it has ever been. We finished 2021 105% up year-on-year, having placed a range of M&A and Corporate Development professionals to within various PE and VC-backed businesses. Last year we successfully placed within the portfolios of the likes of Livingbridge, Bridgepoint, Waterland, TA Associates, Marlin Equity Partners, CBPE, HgCapital, Advent International, ECI Partners, August Equity, and Greyhound Capital.
    As a result of this success and increased demand for M&A and Corporate Development talent, we have launched a dedicated M&A and Corporate Development Practice. It’s well publicised that 2021 was a record year for Global M&A transactions with over $5 trillion of investments for the first time ever. PE backed investments breached the $1 trillion mark for the first time, over double the amount achieved in 2020.

    With so much deal activity and opportunity out there, we have noticed a growing trend amongst PE Funds to now fully delegate the responsibility for M&A and Corporate Development activities to the portfolio companies, including origination work, strategy development, integrations, and organisational change. To match these trends in the market, we have seen the appetite for Corporate Development professionals increase year-on-year, with the demand for these roles doubling over the last year. We have listened to our clients want and have created an experienced team that will solely focus on this space.  

    All indications are that 2022 will continue in the same vein, so if you are a candidate with Corporate Development, M&A, Investment Banking, or Transaction Services experience, or simply want an update on the market, please do not hesitate to reach out to Nick Hague, Head of M&A and Corporate Development Practice.

    CFO Remuneration, Equity & Outlook Report

    Thank you to everyone who completed the Finatal survey on remuneration, equity and outlook, aimed at full-time CFOs working for mid-market Private Equity backed businesses. We had 705 respondents and gained some really insightful data and analysis. Please email marketing@finatal.com to receive the full report. We hope this provides some interesting reading and do get in touch if you would like to discuss further.

    Katie Beck joins Finatal’s Board of Directors

    Finatal are pleased to announce the appointment of Katie Beck to Finatal’s Board of Directors as Non-Exec Chair.

    Katie brings an impressive and diverse background to Finatal. She is a highly experienced and commercial board director with over 18 years’ experience working with and investing in PE-backed mid-market businesses; starting her career with Lazards before moving into private equity with Doughty Hanson and Darwin Private Equity.

    Katie was most recently a Partner and Head of Portfolio at August Equity LLP, where she got to know the Finatal team well. With a wealth of experience across high-growth businesses, Finatal are delighted to have Katie join the board.

    David Rooney, CEO said of the appointment “Katie’s experience and knowledge of both our company and the private equity industry brings a great strength to our business and I am delighted to welcome Katie to the board to advise us during an ambitious, high-growth period for the business. Her input from a strategic perspective will be highly significant as we plan the next phase of the business’ growth and expansion. Given the disruption to the industry from Covid, the business has traded extremely well through 2020 and enhancing the board with Katie’s arrival underlines our commitment to now accelerate the growth of the business.”

    Paul Blant, Managing Director: “We are delighted to welcome Katie to the Finatal board. Finatal will benefit from Katie’s extensive knowledge of the private equity market and how the industry operates. She brings a great mix of private equity knowledge and growth business acumen and will be a tremendous asset to Finatal”

    Commenting on her appointment, Katie said “Having known the Finatal team for a number of years I believe there is a great opportunity to build on business’ already established position in the private equity market to deliver significant growth. I am excited to be joining the Board at this time and look forward to working with the team during the next phase of the journey.”

    The Private Equity Awards 2021

    Finatal had the pleasure of attending The Private Equity Awards 2021 as headline sponsor on Friday 10th September. We were thrilled to sponsor and present 7 awards.


    Thank you to Real Deals for putting on a tremendous ceremony and a huge congratulations to this year’s winners.

    View the full list of winners here