Finance

Welcoming new member Paul Browne

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Paul Browne with Lexington. Paul is combines a wealth of experience in international blue-chip companies with an intellectual drive, curiosity for data, and experience in helping high-performing complex executives get outstanding results. He has lived and worked extensively across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He lives with his author wife, (N.M. Browne) in Richmond-on-Thames, UK – useful for Heathrow.

Paul is an Associate at the Møller Institute at the University of Cambridge and also operates as an independent strategy consultant. Following a highly successful career within consulting then banking, he served in various law firm CEO and finance roles, and now focusses on consultancy to professional service firms.

After starting his strategy career with Bain & Company, Paul spent a decade in senior positions with Standard Chartered where he led the Board recommendation in the early 90s to exit the UK, US and Continental office network to focus on the fast growing markets of Asia Pacific and South Asia- a strategy that was not only ahead of its time, but resulted on SCB being the best performing FTSE 100 share in the year following the strategy’s announcement. He also led a global crisis team centred on India as well as being Regional Head, Sub-Saharan Africa. He then moved to Barclays Bank as Director for Group Strategy.

Paul completed his MBA jointly from Manchester Business School and HEC, Paris, also attending an executive programme at Harvard Business School which entailed study at Harvard, in China, and in Singapore as well as analyzing opportunities in India. His undergraduate degree was in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Trinity College, Oxford. In addition, he also has a first class Oxford University degree equivalent in Archaeology.

Paul takes a data-driven approach to solving problems, informed by his wide experience and a strong thirst for new insights and approaches to analysing and solving business and people challenges.

The State of Bank Challengers in Europe

 

Marcin Mazurek shares interesting financial insights on the major bank challengers in Europe.

A review of operations of major bank challengers after a year of significant challenges offers some interesting insights.

  1.   Slower customer growth

The group of major* players representing top bank challengers in Europe (Revolut, N26, Monzo, Monese, Starling, TransferWise, Curve, and Tandem) served nearly 39 million customers as of Q4 2020 as compared to nearly 27 million as of Q4 2019. What is striking here is a fast decelerating customer growth. While the acquisition rate remained stable at above 100% p.a. on average between 2016 and 2019, the growth decelerated to “only” 46% in 2020.

What happened that the customer growth rate halved in just one year?

Incumbent banks catching up. Large financial institutions might be slow, but they keep improving their value proposition and gradually reduce the service/offer gap to challengers. This includes leveraging PSD2/open banking opportunities as well as various product fixes and eliminating key pain points which helps to prevent further loss of customers;

 

Key points include:

  • Competition from incumbent financial institutions
  • Changing needs of customers
  • Falling valuation multiples

 

Read the full article, Back to Reality – Major bank challengers in Europe switch gears and focus on profitability, on LinkedIn.

 

Welcoming new member Piotr Bendykowski

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Piotr Bendykowski. Piotr has led and participated in over a hundred consulting projects at McKinsey, Accenture, KPMG and on his own. He has also spent over 10 years as CFO, CEO, board member and chairman of the board. His industry experience is wide, with most time in financial services and manufacturing. His specialty is rapid and radical improvement of key metrics, for example revenue and income. A strategy expert, he has also worked in finance, marketing, operations, and IT. Projects have taken him to the US (East Coast, West Coast and some in between) and Europe (Western, Eastern, Northern, and Central).

Piotr has an MBA from Stanford, Engineering BS from MIT, and an IB from Atlantic College in the UK. He is fluent in English and Polish and familiar with five other languages. Piotr lives near Warsaw, with his wife and son. He is a certified pilot, scuba diver, lifeguard, and sailor. He leads an active lifestyle: hiking, cycling, kayaking, swimming, skiing, mountaineering, sailing, riding horses. He has travelled through dozens of countries on all continents except Australia. Interested in history, art, books, politics, and nature.

Welcoming new member Peter Kovacs

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Peter Kovacs.  Peter spent almost nine years in various Strategic, Finance, and Business Unit roles at MUFG Union Bank in California. Prior to that, he spent four years in the FIG practice at McKinsey out of Budapest, Hungary. Since 2016, Peter has been balancing his time with independent consulting both as an individual and leading teams in a variety of engagements primarily for FIG and PE clients, as well as owning and operating several unrelated small businesses in the beauty, health, and wellness space. Peter’s passion is for strategy and execution work in the finance and banking space, but is always open to and excited to broaden his experience in an ever-changing market. He lives in Orange County, California with his wife and three young children and is either in the gym or mountain biking every morning. Peter particularly looks forward to collaborating on projects involving strategy, operations, and / or execution throughout the U.S.

Welcoming new member Christophe De Greift

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Christophe De Greift with NEXUSQUANTS. Christophe De Greift has 15 years of experience in management consulting, part of it at The Boston Consulting Group and more recently running his own consulting firm focused on business analytics. Christophe has led 75+ projects in Latin America and Europe and has particular expertise in marketing analytics and supply chain analytics in sectors such as media, finance, logistics, consumer goods, energy and mining.

He lives in Lima, Peru with his wife and two young children and will keep exploring Peru with them, as soon as lockdown ends.

Christophe is happy to collaborate in transforming data into business value, both remotely and in Latin America or Europe.

Welcoming new member Yevgeniy Rikhterman

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Yevgeniy Rikhterman.  Yevgeniy Rikhterman spent three years as the Director of Strategy at Herff Jones, a PE owned CPG company. Yevgeniy has experience in creating strategic plans, as well as an evergreen strategic planning processes. Yevgeniy led the strategic planned that helped to maximize the value of Herff Jones during a critical PE transaction.

He also led the corporate development, and M&A aspect, and as such has specific experiences that is applicable to mid-size companies looking to grow through partnerships and acquisitions. In addition, he led multiple product transformations, and is experienced in not only understanding root causes, but also guiding the implementation of the solution. Prior to Herff Jones Yevgeniy spent two years as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), working on a variety of projects in finance, retail, pharmaceuticals, telecom, industrial goods, and aviation.

Yevgeniy lives in New York City, and when not working enjoys travelling around the world, and outdoor activities. He is happy to work projects globally.

Digitization in Commodity Trading

 

This in-depth article from Boris Galonske explains how digitization helps improve resilience in commodity trading.

Commodity trading suffers from shrinking margins and in some commodity classes also from low price volatility. At the same time operating environments struggle with manual routines, legacy processes and systems resulting in high cost income ratios (CIR).

How can this challenge be addressed and how can the profitability and the resilience of trading businesses be increased?

Situation today

Commodity trading exhibits still several manual routines in its workflows, given the physical nature of the business and established processes in the industry. At the same time margin pressure increases as the inherent profitability of several trading businesses decreases. How can this be addressed?

Commodity trading business characteristics

Commodity trading businesses are typically lean by nature. Several years back, high performing businesses exhibited cost-income ratios (CIR) in the range of high 30% – medium 40%. These days these ratios are significantly higher. Large European commercial banks – as a comparison –  even exhibit cost income rations in the range of 70 % – 90% +.

In order to tackle the profitability gap, analytics and middle office activities have been scaled down.

However parts of the trading process have remained untouched.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • How digitization can help
  • Reservations about digitization
  • How to approach trading digitization

 

Read the full article or download the PDF, Monetizing Digitization Levers, on the Silverberg Partners website.

 

Accessing the Innovation Funds

Robyn M. Bolton provides a few inside tips on how to work with resource constraints and the people who control them when you need to access the resources that will fund your innovation.

 

The process of setting annual goals and budgets can be frustrating and even demoralizing for employees and managers alike as their visions and budgets get slashed in each round of management reviews.

This process can be especially painful for Innovators who feel like they are expected to do more with less and, as a result, can’t even try to do anything new or game-changing because they barely have the resources to operate the current business.

Resource constraints are a reality in every organization. The trick is not to give up when you run into them, but to figure out how to work with them and, more importantly, the people who control them.

 

The steps are:

-Acknowledge reality

-Know where there’s flexibility

-Channel your inner Mick Jagger

-Make your case

 

Read the full article, 4 Steps to Get the Resources You Need to Innovate, on LinkedIn.