Coffee break with Core
Young, vibrant, personal and in it for the long-term - Core Fund Services (Guernsey) Limited is out to offer something different in the Guernsey fund administration sector.
In recent years, the fund administration industry has seen large scale consolidation with global financial businesses becoming ever larger.
However, large corporates can become faceless and often lack the personal touch sought after by both clients and staff.
Core CEO and founder Martin Scott has 24 years’ experience in the fund administration sector, working for some of the biggest players as well as independent firms that were subsequently acquired by larger businesses.
“Core is a Guernsey business being run for the Guernsey market,” he said.
“Our focus is on delivering a fantastic service by having great people who care about everything they do. We believe in creating a dynamic, vibrant business and have a passion to be the best that we can be. How have I come to this conclusion? I’ve learned over the years that when businesses do not have local autonomy, they can become a ‘one size fits all’ business. But of course, in the financial services industry each sector and jurisdiction has its own legal and technical requirements as well as its own local culture which sets it apart from its peers elsewhere.
“At Core, we want to focus on the positives of Guernsey, because we actually have a great industry here with very talented and ambitious people,” said Martin.
“I wish to bring those people together to create something special, and that’s probably my biggest driver.”
Previously, Head of Guernsey for one of the leading global fund administration houses, whose business was acquired by a competitor in 2022, Martin took the decision to set up Core and in doing so, create a business doing the opposite of the prevailing consolidation of businesses in the industry.
“I decided that it’s time to put my own ideas into action and go and do this myself’. As it’s a Guernsey business, the local management team will make all the decisions and therefore everything is entirely within our control, which isn’t the case in a global firm. That’s one of our biggest differentiators, we control our own destiny.”
The other key differentiator in the marketplace is that Core has been created for the long-term which is hugely important to staff and clients alike.
“I would love to see Core here in 20 years’ time,” said Martin.
“I’ll probably be long gone, but I hope to leave an evergreen business, where the next generation is already in place and incentivised to move the business on to the next level and then their next generation is lined up behind them and so on. That way, everyone can see an opportunity to develop and to build a career and a business they can be proud of.”
He knows that it takes time to create a successful business and that it may be a slow build in the first few years.
“However, if we remain patient, keep doing things the right way, and are prepared to accept the initial cost of this, after three years I believe that we’ll be in great shape. We have to stick by our principles and grow our reputation. By doing this, we’ll prove our business model works and show people what we’re about.”
Originally from Newcastle, Martin has been in Guernsey for the last 24 years.
“I’ve made Guernsey my home and my entire life is here. I know that I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunities that Guernsey has given me, not just in my career, but in my life, family, sport, everything. So, it’s a place I love and I strongly believe in the power of Guernsey PLC, therefore, I’ll always try and do my best for Guernsey too.”
Martin believes that the Island is well established in the fund sector.
“We’ve high standards, talented people, fantastic infrastructure and a proven track record. I believe that this is where Guernsey excels as a financial services centre.
“That Guernsey has long been a key jurisdiction for investment funds listed on major stock exchanges is a great example of the calibre of Guernsey’s fund industry. These listed funds demand the highest standards of corporate governance in order to meet their listing and reporting obligations. At Core, we aim to add even further to Guernsey’s reputation for such high standards.”
He takes inspiration on the culture of Core from the new way business is thriving in places like Shoreditch in London, where vibrant and dynamic tech-based businesses, including their investment fund manager target market have established themselves and disrupted the industry in a positive way.
“Could we do something special in that way, or set a new standard? Not just special for Core, but something special for Guernsey, whereby Guernsey’s reputation is enhanced by Core’s reputation? Where we are known to be an excellent place to work, have a fantastic team and a great work ethic. To the point that people really want to work with us, where potential clients say, ‘I know about these guys, I’ve heard great things about them on the grapevine, I want to work with them’. That’s where we want to get to.”
Core is also about providing a human touch in the financial services industry.
“Whether it’s a client, an intermediary, whether it’s the milkman or the cleaner, it doesn’t matter whoever it is, I want them to have a positive experience in their interactions with Core,” said Martin.
“If someone comes into our office, I want our team to make them feel good and leave with a smile on their face. That person may be a client, whose under pressure to get a deal over the line and our professionalism and technical help might take some of that pressure off them. However, it could also be our local postie who just likes delivering to us because we’re always friendly and engaging as human beings.” he said.
“That’s what Core’s about as a culture and I look for people who share that ethos. In order to do that a business needs engaging, outwardly focused people, who can hold a conversation with anybody. Such people are like sponges, soaking up new experiences, keen to learn more and develop their skillset. Therefore, I must do my best to help them as well.
“Guernsey is a well renowned financial services centre for private equity, venture capital, real asset and listed funds and that’s where we’ll focus Core’s business as I believe such sectors will continue to excel in Guernsey.”
Martin is taking everything he has learned during his time in the industry and added in his own beliefs and ambitions to create what he thinks a business should stand for in Core.
“People want to be part of something successful and they want to be part of something they enjoy,” said Martin.
“I think in the modern world, there’s much more desire from members of staff to want to work for a business that has a purpose. The days of people just wanting a bit more cash out of a job are long gone, they are more focused on their lifestyle, they want to work with friends and in an enjoyable environment.”
Martin cites a moment following his departure from his previous role as standing out to him.
“Following my departure, our team went out together for a meal. I stepped out of the conversation for a time and just sat back and listened to them. There were 15 people together who were just good friends. We had made friendships for life, not just colleagues. That’s how it should be.
”There is a move to flexible working in the modern workplace, but Martin also believes in the importance of an enjoyable office environment.
“I love the vibe in an office if you’ve got the right people. We have flexible working policies, but equally, I’d like to think most people would wish to come to our office because they just like the atmosphere, they like speaking with their teammates and that day-to-day interaction. That’s what drives me. I think if you’ve got that, the possibilities are endless for success because people care, they’re not just doing their job, they’re living their life as well.”
Martin says that the credit for Core’s name goes to his wife.
“Our name needed to reflect what we stand for. The first key point is that a fund administrator is right at the very centre of a fund’s operations. Secondly, the business must have good values and principles in how it conducts itself and finally, the intention is to create a business for the long term to provide stability and enable our team and clients to plan for their own long term.
“I had to admit, my wife’s suggestion of Core perfectly captured this!”
Link to published article: Connect April/May 2023 - Guernsey Edition (fliphtml5.com)
3 April 2023